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The area on the corner of Marrickville & Livingstone Roads Marrickville has been suggested for a small park in front of the new Library when it is developed. Note the matching Palms across the road, part of St Bridget's Church

During the Council Meeting on 14th December 2010, Mayor Byrne put up an amendment to a motion in the agenda item ‘The Future Accommodation Requirement For Council.’  The amendment was to include a new park on the corner of Marrickville & Livingstone Roads at the old Marrickville Hospital site.

It said – A report be provided to Council regarding future short term & long term options for Precinct B for use of the precinct as a park, these could include as a forecourt to the Library. Required budget of $20,000 – timeframe May/June 2011.’

I had left the Council Meeting so was unable to report on the debate. However, the Motion was tied. The Councillors that voted for the Motion were Cls Phillips, Olive, Peters, Thanos, Byrne & Kontellis. Against the Motion – Clrs Macri, O’Sullivan, Tsardoulias, Wright, Hanna & Iskandar. The Chair Mayor Byrne used her casting vote & the motion was passed.

An Extraordinary Council Meeting was called for the 21st December 2010. Clrs Iskandar, Macri & Tsardoulias had put up a Rescission Motion which would result in removing Mayor Byrne’s motion.  I registered to speak in favour of a staff report on the viability of establishing a new park on this site. However, not enough Councillors volunteered to attend & the meeting was cancelled.

This is enormously fortunate for the community as we have time to lobby the Councillors before the Rescission Motion goes back before Council in the new year.

The question is why would we want or need a new park in Marrickville?  The following are reasons I can think of. There may be others.

Marrickville LGA has very little parkland or green space in comparison to other Councils in Sydney & is one of the lowest with parks & green space per population in Australia.

We also have high density living with another 4,150 extra residences to be built across Marrickville LGA. A good chunk of these new residences will be the planned high-rise development of Marrickville & Petersham Roads, which is basically 1 small block from the proposed park.

The DA that was recently passed by the JRPP at the old Marrickville RSL site (The Revolution) is for 9,7 & 6 storey buildings making 180 apartments. This gives an idea of how much high-rise will need to be built to accommodate 4,150 extra residences.  I don’t know how many actual people will be living along Marrickville & Petersham Roads, but it’s safe to assume that most units will house at least 2 people & many will be families.  There is going to be a huge influx of people & they are going to need green space close-by to take their kids.

Another view of the land. A park is perfect here

Neither Marrickville nor Petersham Roads have any green space nearby. The closest that I am aware of is Steele Park & the Cooks River at the bottom of Illawarra Road. This is quite a hike away.  I have never seen kids alone in these places, even teenagers.

The lack of street trees, green spaces & parks has a huge impact on the physical & mental health of people. This is accepted current research.  Without sufficient green space & greenness, there is increased incidence of mental health issues, especially depression. People get sick & take longer to recover, boys act out, girls don’t learn as well.

Lack of green space also encourages graffiti & dumping. People start to not care about their environment when there is too much grey infrastructure & Marrickville Council are about to give the consent to at least 10 times more grey infrastructure in this area.

The kids need somewhere to go. A park outside the Library is the right thing to do. Council have the perfect opportunity to do just that. It will encourage more usage of the Library services. The park can also be used as a meeting space for other groups.

There are significant trees in this section of the old hospital site & they should not be removed. Council already has the basis of a park in this space with these beautiful trees & much wildlife lives in this area. Council prides itself on its climate change initiatives, but it doesn’t do enough to keep large trees, which sequester carbon. It doesn’t make sense.

The long-term health & happiness of the residents should be worth something. Marrickville Council will get a quick financial gain from over-building this space, but a new park will pay back both Council & the community year after year.

Mayor Byrne’s motion asks only for an assessment of the feasibility of a park in this location. This is what the Councillors voted for during the first Council Meeting.

With respect to the Councillors calling for the Rescission Motion, I cannot believe that they are trying to squash a new park before it has even been looked at. Marrickville Council cannot go on allowing construction of huge residential buildings with only token green space & expect people to have a good quality of life.

Political parties & beliefs aside, I think it is robbing the people of Marrickville if the opportunity to examine if whether a park on this site is feasible is stopped.

I know it is the Christmas holiday break, but if you would send an email to the Councillors saying that you want & support a park in this location, they can assess the community’s interest.  If the Councillors receive many emails from the community they are less likely to support the Rescission Motion to stop a new park even before it gets started.  If we sit back & do nothing, chances are the Rescission Motion will get through.

Your message can be as simple as –

“I want a new park outside the new Library, corner of Marrickville & Livingstone Roads at the old Marrickville Hospital site. Please vote against the upcoming Rescission Motion that takes the new park off the agenda & prevents Marrickville Council staff from assessing the viability of a new park in this location.”

This is a campaign you can participate in from your chair.  The current & the expected massive influx of new residents to Marrickville will be pleased that the community cared enough to fight for their right to have a little patch of green space near their home for them & their kids. The wildlife that live in this location will thank you also.

You can cut & paste the Councillors email addresses into your email to make it easier. You may need to remove the ‘mailto:’ depending on your email –

mailto:fbyrne@marrickville.nsw.gov.aumailto:siskandar@marrickville.nsw.gov.au, mailto:vmacri@marrickville.nsw.gov.aumailto:mphillips@marrickville.nsw.gov.aumailto:cpeters@marrickville.nsw.gov.au,mailto:lwright@marrickville.nsw.gov.au mailto:mhanna@marrickville.nsw.gov.au, mailto:polive@marrickville.nsw.gov.aumailto:mosullivan@marrickville.nsw.gov.aumailto:mkontellis@marrickville.nsw.gov.au, mailto:dthanos@bigpond.net.au, mailto:etsardoulias@marrickville.nsw.gov.au,

I thank you. J

Another view of the area proposed for a new park

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Recently we visited Leamington Avenue Newtown & as we drove there we saw something fantastic.  Either NSW Rail Corp or City of Sydney Council has erected a concrete wall between the raised section of the railway line and the nearby houses, presumably as a sound barrier for the neighbourhood.  What makes this so fantastic is, it is not just a concrete wall or a decorated concrete wall, it’s a green wall.

Green wall along the rail line behind Leamington Avenue Newtown

At regular intervals, steel mesh going up 5-6 meters high has been attached along the wall & Chinese Jasmine is growing.  Not only does this make the wall look good, but the vines are designed to cut down the Heat Island Effect created by the sun bouncing off the concrete.  When the Chinese Jasmine flowers around Christmas it will look spectacular & smell great as well.

This is such a simple & cheap intervention, which begs the question, why this isn’t done elsewhere as the norm?

On 26th August 2010 a letter written by Clr Marcri was published in the Inner West Courier.  In this letter he said he wanted “to set the record straight in regard to my role in the approvals process for the Marrickville RSL site development.”

He went on to say “I think it is a landmark development that shows confidence in the future of Marrickville.” He said the development was approved both by Marrickville Council & the JRPP. He also said “Design is subjective,” going on to say that the development was designed by an award-winning architect.

Andrew Woodhouse, President of the Australian Heritage Institute wrote a reply that was published in the Inner West Courier on 2nd September 2010.  Mr Woodhouse wrote “It’s about time Clr Macri was told. He tries to sweep away design objections to the proposed bulbous Marrickville RSL saying design is of course subjective as though anyone’s views are valid but no-one’s view counts. He is wrong.”

Mr Woodhouse then wrote about various factors of measurable design excellence & said, “On all accounts this mega-project fails.” I agree.  My impression was that all those who spoke against the project at the JRPP Meeting were against the design aspects of this building & judging by the applause after every speaker so were the large group of local residents who attended. Why would the JRPP listen to the community when the development had been endorsed by Marrickville Council?

Marrickville ex-Councilor Colin Hesse, who attended the JRPP meeting was the first to write to the Inner West Courier about this development.  The letter was titled, ‘7 Storey Disaster.” He wrote “The approval of the massive 7 storey development of the old Marrickville RSL club has set a shocking precedent for Marrickville ..” He also mentioned “..genuine community participation  & is based on sustainability.”

It’s not my aim to go on about the development on the old Marrickville RSL site because it is going to happen & there is nothing we can do to prevent this.  What I do want to discuss is the information Clr Macri’s letter gave the community.

He said Marrickville Council approved this development & that “this building under the new LEP will be an underdevelopment. …“ Add these statements to his earlier statement of “… it is a landmark development that shows confidence in the future of Marrickville.” & it tells me that Marrickville Council fully intends to give the okay to many more developments that not only look like the development for the old Marrickville RSL site, but are as high, as dense & bulky as this is.  I am worried.

Clr Marcri also gives notice that the new Draft LEP about to be released for public consultation will not be making green buildings or green design mandatory.  I think this is very important when you consider that Marrickville, Illawarra & Petersham Roads will become between 6-9 storeys high with 13 storeys recommended for the old Marrickville Hospital site.

We have known Marrickville is going to change as well as other areas around the LGA, but designs that are compatible with the old pre-climate change/ pre-global warming paradigm is not something I am happy about.  When I see green walls for a railway line wall, yet the newest residential building declared a landmark & most likely used as a benchmark for future development has 180 air-conditioned units, not counting the retail space & 4 street trees along the Illawarra Road frontage & none for Byrnes Road I feel a little …..  When I remember the dismissive attitude to solar panels & a green roof during the JRPP meeting my blood starts to boil.

Another view of the green wall along the railway line in Newtown. It has made a back lane that was probably full of graffiti tags & rubbish look lovely

I’m a realist. I know Sydney as a whole is going to change. I read last year that the NSW state government wanted the industrial area next to Marrickville Metro to hold around 9,000 plus residences. Don’t quote me on this. I didn’t save the article & I cannot find anything about it now, though I know I didn’t dream it as I have spoken to a couple of others who also knew of this plan.

I was told that a recent application to have the area rezoned residential was unsuccessful.  I’ll predict here that this area will be rezoned residential one day in the not-too-distant future & I bet AMP Capital anticipate this, like the M6 planed someday for Edgeware Road just 1 block away.

High-rise residential is coming to Marrickville LGA & it will be dense & tall. Now that the world is talking about global warming & climate change wouldn’t you think that both the Council & the architects would make the shift to the new paradigm when designing new buildings meant to last the next 60-100 years?  If not, why not?  Why has Marrickville Council said any development for the old Marrickville Hospital site has to be a 6-star sustainability rating & yet they have not required this for any other high-rise residential building across the LGA.  I’m baffled.

The signage for the development at the old Marrickville RSL is, “The Revolution Begins.” We need our Council to ensure that the ‘Revolution’ follows the climate change paradigm that insists future developers create a true revolution by designing green buildings.

Green walls are not rocket science, yet their benefits are outstanding. Heat is not reflected thereby lowering the Heat Island Effect. They lengthen the life of concrete, they look good, they improve the streetscape & make ugly areas pretty, the prevent or significantly reduce graffiti & they are almost as good as trees in the benefits they bring. Psychologically they would do much to break down the oppressive feelings tall buildings can often bring.  Lastly, they are cheap to create.

You can read Clr Marci’s letter here – Opinion page 19 – http://digitaledition-innerwest.innerwestcourier.com.au/?iid=39854

You can read Andrew Woodhouse’s letter here – page 23 – http://digitaledition-innerwest.innerwestcourier.com.au/?iid=40124

You can read Colin Hesse’s letter here – page 17 – http://digitaledition-innerwest.innerwestcourier.com.au/?iid=39608

Tonight the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) met at Marrickville Town Hall to consider the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site. Well, they did approve it (unanimously) despite around 100 people from the community attending & 12 people, including Clr Kontellis, Clr O’Sullivan speaking at length about what they believed were the problems of this development. I also addressed the Panel. There were many arguments  from the community including that the proposed building was ugly, inappropriately big, greedy, non-green & insensitive to the locality.

The Panel members were Clr Macri, Mr Ken Hawke, Mr John Roseth, Ms Mary-Lynne Taylor & Mr David Furlong.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

The JRPP gave the following reasons for approval:

  • The height of the development is not reasonably out of context with other developments & future planning
  • The current floor space ratio requirement is 2:1, the development will be 2.29:1
  • The height of 26 metres is allowed for this site
  • The traffic impact is acceptable
  • There will be some views loss, but on balance the proposal allows reasonable view sharing
  • The developer advertising the units before approval by the JRPP was noted, seen as ‘unfortunate,’ but did not influence the Panel.

The JRPP imposed 2 conditions:

  1. The waste storage had to be designed in a way that the garbage trucks can enter the property, this be dealt with & with the okay from Council before development starts
  2. Install appropriate AS115A street lighting across the street at no cost to Council

Essentially, why would the JRPP knock back a 7 storey development when Illawarra Road & Marrickville Road is about to be developed with 5-6-9 & 13 storey buildings?

The Architect spoke about his cultural background, that he grew up in Campsie, danced at the Marrickville Town Hall when he was younger & was an award winning Architect.

He said along the following lines,  I designed the Lamia development & am extremely proud of that. It was refused by Marrickville Council & has won an architecture award.  People were complaining about that. I’m not shy about landing a big building in Marrickville as it can do an enormous amount of environmental good. It’s called urban consolidation.

He said he had 25 more points (I would guess they were issues brought up by the residents to address), but decided not to, asking the Panel if they had any questions for him.  They had 3.

1. Why is the building so high?

A: We have a mandate to work within what is already presently there. 7 storeys is a significant offering to the street. There is an enormous amount of amenity in buildings these days. Hollowing out the centre does this.  High is an appropriate form.  Marrickville Town Hall has enormous height.  Any building next to a railway should be a public building.

2. Why haven’t you included solar panels?

A: Technology would be token. We do not have the solar cells. Better would be passive like not being required to turn the light switches on. (All 180 units have reverse cycle air-conditioning. Now that’s green.)

3. Had you considered a green roof?

A:  Not an environmental mandate.  You have to water a green roof. To what end is pumping water up to the roof? (Actually, I have read that certain succulents routinely used for green roofs planted on a purpose-built green roof base do not need watering, survive solely on rainwater & can sustain long periods without water)

So there you have it. The local people at the meeting left angry.  I feel very sad.  This building is just the start of high-rise development in Marrickville town centre.  The only building that I have heard discussed as having green requirements, is the Marrickville Hospital site. I can only hope that the new Local Environment Plan includes green building & sustainability such as green roof, green walls, solar power, decent sized trees & green space as a mandate.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start. This photo was taken from a 2nd floor balcony so the size of the building will look bigger when you are standing on the ground.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel meets this Thursday 12th August 2010 at 5.30pm at Marrickville Town Hall to decide on the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site corner of Illawarra Road & Byrnes Street Marrickville. Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to address the Panel, you need contact Ms Carol Pereira-Crouch before 4pm tomorrow Tuesday 10th August 2010 on 938 32105 or

carol.pereira-crouch@planning.nsw.gov.au

The developers of the 5,6 & 9 storey development on the old Marrickville RSL site must be super confident because they are already advertising the units for sale & doing letter box drops.  Does this mean they think the process is a farce?  Imagine just how far we would get if we tried to sell a 2nd storey on top of our house before our DA was approved?

You can view the units for sale by clicking on the following link –

http://www.realestate.com.au/property-apartment-nsw-marrickville-106730992

To read the issues about this development –

September 2009 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/15th-september-09-marrickville-greens-to-hold-public-meeting-re-9-storey-rsl-site-da/

July 2009 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/report-from-the-gallery-–-20th-july-2010-part-2/

June 2009 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/report-from-the-gallery-–-8th-june-2010/

April 2009 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/my-place-2021-da-for-old-marrickville-rsl-site-is-back-on-the-agenda/

Last night was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan on leave. The Deputy Mayor of Larnaca, Cyprus was acknowledged as a special guest in the Gallery.  As usual, the following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

2A-4 West Street Lewisham – 9 two-storey townhouses. A local resident spoke against the DA saying it was more destruction of significant Lewisham history with another substantial house being demolished & local residents were concerned with the amount of new housing in the area. He asked that a comprehensive Dilapidation Report be done on his property. Clr Marcri confirmed that a Dilapidation Report would be prepared. The DA was passed unanimously.

40 Albermale Street Newtown – 2-storey house with a 2-storey garage. This is the 3rd time before Council.  The neighbour is concerned about loss of sun, loss of light, changes to the line of houses & streetscape. He said the house is a gross overdevelopment for the size of the land & of the 8 grounds for refusal, only 6 have been partially addressed. He also said that cracks appear in his walls from month to month due to the small foundations & therefore was worried about deep excavation 1 metre from his house. The speaker for the DA said they had compromised by doing deeper excavation, lowering the roofline, reduced the room above the garage by 9 sq metres & they will cut a hole in the roof to allow sunlight to go into the neighbour’s property.

Clr Tsardoulias supported the DA saying he was not concerned with overshadowing. Clrs Olive & Phillips said that the open space was less than required & thought this DA set a bad precedent for the area.  The DA was lost with Clrs Hanna, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar & Wright voting for it to be passed.  Clr Olive then moved for refusal on Council outlined grounds which was carried with the same Councillors voting against.

174 Denison Road & 36 Piggot Street Dulwich Hill – Subdivide this land

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park

into 2 lots. A DA for this site was last before Council in May 2010 for twelve 3-storey townhouses. This saw a return of the Save Hoskins Park community group who were united in opposition of the amended DA. 3 residents spoke against the DA saying it was an unsympathetic over-development that would ruin an intact area of 1920s houses, create parking problems, overshadowing & that scant consideration was given to Marrickville Council’s own development requirements & policies.  They said 150 objections were sent to Council with a petition of 800 signatures & their Face Book site had 230 friends demonstrating the community was against this DA. They also said it didn’t make sense to sell off the heritage & streetscape for short-term gain.

Clr Thanos said the development was wrong & would ruin the look & feel of the area.  Clr Tsardoulias supported Clr Thanos & asked Council to look at classifying 134-136 Piggot Street as heritage houses.  Clr Kontelis wanted safeguards to stop development that is “greedy & disrespectful” to protect our cultural heritage.  The DA was refused.  I wrote about this development here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/3-more-street-trees-up-for-removal-local-news/ & https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/report-from-the-gallery-–-4th-may-2010/

Operating hours of the Annette Kellerman Pool – Opening at 5.30am Mon-Sat. A resident spoke against the extended hours saying they will

Once a tree

set a precedent for increased hours for Marrickville Metro & asked that hours be unchanged & reassessed in 12 months.  Another resident spoke about increased traffic, parking, noise that will impact on residents by affecting their sleep & therefore their health. He asked why did Council think earlier than 8am was not okay for Sundays, but 5am was okay for the rest of the week.

Clrs Thanos, Macri, Iskandar & Wright supported a 5.30am opening. Clr Macri said Council will not be running the pool, therefore they won’t have control over what goes on. (I was shocked to learn that Council will not be operating the pool. 17 plus million of ratepayers’ money to build it, yet the profits go elsewhere?)  He put up an amendment that there be an incentive to the operator to keep noise down by having a 12 month report on noise.  He also said it was important to give residents recourse to come back to Council. Clr Peters was concerned that there was a gym & noise from music could affect neighbours & wanted a 12 month trial. The amendment from Clr Macri was lost with support from Clrs Tsardoulias & Peters.

Cyprus Club – 58-76 Stanmore Road Stanmore – 4 storey, open piazza, 11 room guest accommodation, 25 place child care centre & 46 one bed & 10 two bed units.  The Architect said they had lowered the building by 200mm & reduced the numbers of units by 4. He also said they had consulted with the community.   A resident spoke saying the resubmitted plan made token & cosmetic changes, that they were asked to follow the topography & they haven’t done this & will set a precedent for the area.  He said community consultation was bad, they met with the developer, took the information back to the residents & when they tried to meet with the developer again, he remained unable to be contacted.

There was a long debate with Clrs Byrne, Philips, Peters concerned with height, size, bulk & overshadowing problems & not working with the topography.  Clr Peters was concerned that environmental strategies were  not included in the design & that the size is above Council’s own floorspace standards.  Clr Thanos, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Kontellis & Hanna spoke in support of the development.  Issues discussed were the requirement of 2 hours direct sunlight for neighbours, that the roof height was only 8 cm over the requirement, the community has been there a long time, they are setting up independent living for elderly people & it is important to support the Cyprus Club.  Clr Kontellis supported the DA, but said she would like the developer to “consider incorporating her colleagues’ valid points.” The DA was passed with Clrs Olive, Peters, Phillips & Byrne voting against.

525 Illawarra Road Marickville South – 4 storey Residential Aged Care facility for 120 beds & a 2-storey Child Care Centre with off-street parking for 86 vehicles.  This DA will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel on Thursday 12th August 2010 at Marrickville Town Hall at 5.30pm.  (Also decided at this sitting of the JRPP will be 359 Illawarra Road Marrickville, the old Marrickville RSL site.) The public are welcome to attend & speak before the panel.

This area of land is to be an Residential Aged Care Facility & a Child Care Centre

Last night was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan & Clr Peters. Thanks to Council for the minutes made large on the projector screen. It allowed the people in the Gallery to read what was being written. The following was my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

359 Illawarra Road Marrickville – DA for the old Marrickville RSL site – Clrs Iskandar & Macri are both members of the JRPP for this development so they left the chamber.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start

Two members of the community addressed the Councillors, both against the DA.  Issues raised were: bulk, scale & height (8 storeys at one end), parking, garbage bins (180 bins one week, 126 the next), noise, traffic, pollution, non-compliance with LEP on floor/space ratio & parking space shortfall (140 spaces for 180 units). They said the community did not understand why Council approved the traffic & parking projections when they didn’t know what the retail space would be used for. Council received 115 submissions & the community petition has 1,114 signatures. Looks like the community don’t want this “landmark” brick of a building with just a few ornamental trees in the driveway.

Clr Olive put up a motion that Council make a submission to the JRPP saying they do not support this DA as it exceeds floor/space ratio & height, will cause unacceptable traffic, has privacy & amenity issues & the DA should comply with current LEP standards.  He said the DA even breaches the proposed LEP & residents should not be excessively impacted by this development. He asked what is the point of having an LEP if non-complying DAs get approved.

Clr Thanos opposed this amendment saying floor space ratio is not something we can afford to enforce in a commercial area, Council waived parking requirements because of the proximity to the railway station & that it was a relatively good DA.  Clr Phillips said Council does have a right to recommend refusal to the JRPP & recommended the JRPP be abolished & power to asses large projects be returned to Councils. He added a further item to the amendment that the powerlines should be put underground. Clrs Kontellis & Byrne spoke about elected Councillors giving the community a voice at the JRPP. Carried. Clr Thanos against.

Changing lanes Festival – A speaker for FBI Radio a non-profit community arts radio wanted permission to hold a fund-raising event on Eliza Street Newtown as part of the Fringe Festival. Carried unanimously.

Mayoral minute: Review of Multicultural Services – The sound system played up again, alternating between sounding like frying eggs & a jack-hammer. The debate lost its way at some time, making understanding of what was being debated or decided very difficult. At some point one Councillor tried to summarize the points others were making. I counted 4 different understandings on the part of Councillors themselves.

So, because trying to follow what was going on became impossible, I’ll take the opportunity to break my commitment to not mention Council staff members by name. I do this because for months now I have watched Ross move silently around the Council Chamber looking after Councillors, other staff & often members of the Gallery, generally making everyone comfortable. I know it is his job, but Marrickville Council has an exemplary staff member here & they are lucky he is not head-hunted.  He is kind to everyone & always has a smile for us.

There were other issues on the agenda, but we decided to leave after an hour of debate regarding the review of Multicultural Services. Here ends the report for this week.

Land Use & Assets Committee Meeting & the Services Committee Meeting.  Absent: Mayor Iskandar, Clrs O’Sullivan, Kontellis, Hanna & Thanos.  The sound was almost perfect & the gallery could hear well. It was wonderful when the minutes were made full-screen as this allowed the gallery to read what was being recorded & keep up with what was being debated. Thanks for that as well.  As usual, all mistakes are mine.

The DA for the old Marrickville RSL site on Illawarra Road was postponed until next week’s Council Meeting. As Clr Macri is a member of the Joint Regional Planning Panel he has a conflict of interest in the item. He would have to absent himself, which would leave insufficient Councillors in attendance to make a quorum.

Local Traffic Planning & Advisory Committee – Regional Cycleway Route 5 –  Council

Beautiful old Brush Box casts a shadow across the road

has 2 options for the route from Victoria Road Marrickville to Cooks River path at Mackey Park.   In Fitzroy Street they plan for either a bike/parking lane or a protected 2-way cycle lane, which will result in loss of 62 parking spaces.  In Carrington Road they plan to have a 2-way cycle path losing 17 parking spaces. This will be exhibited for public consultation.

2 residents from Fitzroy Street spoke against the proposal saying 20 residents had met regarding the plans. Issues were: loss of parking, high volume traffic, parking needed for businesses, Marrickville Bowling Club & residential housing. They said Sydney Street had lots of double-parked trucks, as there were no off-street loading docks & the gutter was 3-4 feet deep in water when it rained. They suggested a shared pedestrian/bike footpath instead.

Clr Olive moved to defer & take back to the Traffic Committee who should consult with local bike group MASSBUG, saying problems could be fixed before the plan was exhibited for public consultation.  He outlined a number of suggestions for other areas along the proposed route. Clrs Byrne, Phillips, Macri supported the motion. Clr Tsardoulias said he wouldn’t as these issues could be dealt with after community feedback when the plan is exhibited.  Carried.

Dulwich Hill Local Area Traffic Management Scheme – 1 resident spoke about the plans

Trees on a garden island bed in Tempe

for Yule Street saying she has been in contact with Council for 3 years regarding speeding traffic & although assured this would be addressed, found that no traffic calming measures have been included in the new plans despite Council acknowledging vehicles speed 7kms above the limit here. She said there is a bike path here & 2 schools nearby & the street needed traffic calming devices.

2 residents spoke about the round-about at Ewart Street. One brought in a large diagram that allowed her to clearly show the multiple problems facing this pedestrian crossing.  They said large numbers of children use this pedestrian crossing to travel to 3 schools, a local park & a nearby skate park & it was a very dangerous crossing.  The community wanted Council to install speed cushions at all 3 entries to the round-about, add signage, flashing lights, warning bumps & a raised marked zebra crossing.

After discussion about the cost of raised pedestrian crossings & issues of roadside drainage, the Council will look at meeting the requests of the community regarding the pedestrian crossing & the round-about on Ewart Street & to install angle parking & other calming measures in Yule Street.

Camden Street Enmore – request to reduce length of ‘no stopping’ zone – A resident spoke saying this is a high traffic street with lots of congestion & regular gridlocks. He said there was no community consultation & Council’s recommendation does not address safety issues. Clr Wright moved to defer for community consultation with a view to making Camden a 1-way street. Clr Olive was concerned as he thought people drove faster in 1-way streets.  Carried.

Inner West Light Rail Feasibility Study – A resident spoke against the study saying the

Beautiful old Camphor Laurel on Glebe Point Road

overall consultation process “was appalling” & his local Member has not responded to his communication.  He was very concerned about the placement of Waratah Station as the platform is 15 metres from his back garden & worried about noise, loss of privacy & security, increased traffic especially ‘kiss & ride’ traffic. He said there were 3 stations in close proximity to each other & the Greenway detour should go along Victoria Street instead.

Clr Wright said Council didn’t made the decision where stations would be placed & put forward a resolution to ask the state government whether there is a need for so many stations in such close proximity & ask them to revisit the bike path between Davis & Canterbury Road to see if it can be kept within the light rail corridor.  Carried.

Proposed Parking Management Study – Council recommended a budget allocation of 300,000 to undertake a LGA-wide parking study, the money to be taken from Section 94 reserves & Car Parking.   Clr Wright was against waiting for the study & thought work should be done in areas so Council has results.  Clr Olive was against spending so much money on a parking study.  He asked that raised pedestrian crossings be the standard in Marrickville LGA & the feasibility of this was discussed at length.  Essentially, the cost of raised crossings can be significantly higher if storm water drainage is not in-situ. Outcome was that raised crossings is the preferred model & done where costs aren’t prohibitive. Carried.

Sale of part of Crescent Lane – T.J Andrews Funeral Services wanted to buy part of the lane for parking of funeral cars & the organization of corteges. The area has been fenced off & inaccessible for more than 20 years. Carried.

All other items carried without discussion.  Meeting ended.

Next was the Services Committee Meeting.

Coptic Church – Council recommended inviting expressions of interest from parties

Gorgeous row of street trees in Livingstone Road Marrickville

willing to renovate the building for use as an artists studio/gallery, performance space, general community facility, including place of worship.

Clr Olive wanted Council to prepare a business plan to take over the building for use as artist studio space for rent & to do this concurrently while seeking expressions of interest. Staff advised it would be poor practice for Council to take this approach. Clr Wright wouldn’t support doing this concurrently, but would support if no suitable expressions of interest were received.

Clr Peters noted the many discrepancies in costing assessments in the repair quote. (The last quote was $2.288 million) Clr Macri said the plan for Council to spend such a large amount of money for 30 artists to pay rent “revolted” him & he would put up a rescission motion if it got up. Carried. Clrs Macri, Wright & Tsardoulias against.

Henry Tax Review & Housing Affordability – Clr Macri said he didn’t believe some of the factors in the report saying he thought it was due to a lack of supply & there wasn’t a need for a broadbase tax.  He said some of the aspects in the report will remove incentive for people to invest in rental housing. Clr Phillips disagreed with Clr Macri saying there were many other factors such as stamp duty which stops older people from moving into smaller homes, that the current taxation was encouraging people to become 1st home owners & the answer was not to pull down heritage buildings & erect apartments.  Carried with Clr Macri against.

This is the end of this week’s report.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start of high-rise

1.    The Environment Department has done aerial seeding of 1 million trees across nearly 6,000 hectares of exposed lakebeds in South Australia to ease soil acidification. “It is hoped the plants will stop a spread of toxic dust & add vital organic material to the soil, in a region which faced prolonged drought.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/28/2938871.htm

2.   Clarence Valley Council has done something amazing for the environment. Funded by the Department of Environment Climate Change & Water, they planted 300 rainforest trees for flying-fox habitat over an area of about 3,400 square metres in McLean to manage the bat population. Terrific & compassionate program, far better than the usual to just chuck the bats out or simply cut down the trees. Loud applause. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/DecMedia10061801.htm

3.   Yesterday I posted about Goondiwindi Regional Council chopping down Fig trees despite community opposition. Now the Council is going to spend $96,000 on floating footpaths made out of more than 80,000 recycled milk bottle caps. Using this type of footpath means they won’t have to cut the roots of trees or even worse, remove healthy trees because of roots affecting footpaths.  They said they were prepared to send this kind of money because they, “understand how important these trees are to residents.” http://www.goondiwindiargus.com.au/news/local/news/general/tree-choppers-are-really-tree-huggers/1872430.aspx

4.   Nine 150-year-old trees in Burdekin Park near Singleton are to be chopped down because bats classified as threatened species have destroyed them. Singleton Council has arranged to have a qualified bat handler assess & stay with the bats during the nights when their homes are being removed. http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/singleton-trees-cut-but-bats-guarded/1873363.aspx

5.   In NSW a research team from the science & research division of Industry & Investment NSW has managed to record thousands of calls of the Microbat for the first time, making it easier for scientists to identify & protect their habitats. Microbats consume up to 1.5 times their own body weight in one night & are a vital part of our ecosystem. They, like many other of our wildlife are threatened due to loss of habitat because of development. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/bat-man-bugs-hungry-wee-beasties-to-save-them-20100626-zavf.html

6.   Bats are thought of very differently in Italy where people have purchased more than 12,000 bat boxes at £25 each since April 2010 to combat the tiger mosquito that has infected hundreds with Chikungunya Fever. Each bat eats around 10,000 insects a night so they are a non-chemical organic approach to mosquito control. Everyone wins, except the mosquito. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italians-recruit-bats-to-take-sting-out-of-summer-2006124.html

7.   Hornsby has a new community action group called Stop 20 who are opposed to Hornsby Council’s draft housing strategy, which includes 20-storey housing developments. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/stakes-are-high-for-new-action-group-stop-20/

8.    On 28 June at the Commonwealth Forestry Conference in Edinburgh UK, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said, “We need to show, financially, that trees are worth more alive than dead. Forests, we know, represent almost three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Cut them down, & they are responsible for almost a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions. Tackle deforestation, & we go a long way towards tacking climate change.” He also said in 20 years time 80% of the forests that covered the earth in 1947 will be gone.   As well as the loss of thousands of species, this will also “accelerate the climate changes that destroy our other natural environments, our glaciers, grassland & coral reefs.” http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/34580/34581/225538/280610forests.htm

9.   Chen Maoguo, a very brave man sat up in a Euclyptus tree in China for more than 3 months to protest the planned demolition of his home for the building of a shopping mall.  Mr Chen is being tried for disturbing public order. I hope he doesn’t get a gaol sentence. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/bird-man-faces-charges-in-china-for-sitting-in-a-tree/story-e6freuyi-1225885245007?from=public_rss

10.    A number of communities in the state of Massachusetts USA have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of street trees that have died as a result of underground gas leaks in degrading pipes in the National Grid. http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/quincy/2010/06/gas_leaks_are_killing_trees_in.html

11.   The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission in the US has approved $35.7 million for 6 million acres of wetlands & bird refuges across the US &  Canada. http://www.humanitariannews.org/20100617/wetlands-migratory-birds-get-357-conservation-grant-government

12.   Pavlovsk experimental station Russia, one of the world’s oldest seed banks is soon to be demolished to make way for housing.  The seed bank holds more than 4000 varieties of fruits & berries from which most modern commercially grown varieties are derived. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627663.500-vital-fruit-and-berry-collection-set-for-destruction.html

13.   8 turbines are to be put under the bridges crossing the river Seine in Paris to raise energy from the rivers currents. There is already an underwater turbine under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This article also mentions that Paris has a free bicycle scheme. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/28/paris-power-turbines-seine

14.   Chicago is going to do a census on its trees after doing one 17 years ago.  http://ht.ly/21Ht3

Watching the documentary Greatest Cities of the World on Tuesday night I learnt the finest honey in France is from a beehive on the roof of the Paris Opera House.  Not illegal, just using available good quality space.

lovely old tree in Dulwich Hill

This week’s Council meeting was the Land Use, Assets & Corporate Committee Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting. I have not included items that did not attract full debate. Any mistakes are mine.

1. Local Traffic Committee Advisory Meeting:

Old RSL site Illawarra Road Marrickville. The Traffic Committee recommended the DA “be supported in its present form, given that there are no significant adverse impacts on traffic or parking.” The DA proposes 180 residential units with 171 parking spaces

Now empty Marrickville RSL building on Illawarra Road looking down Byrnes Road

for residents, visitors & shoppers. The developer amended the DA removing the supermarket, using smaller trucks & moving the loading bay to Byrnes Street.

A resident who spoke against the report said she has collected 1,114 signatures against the DA from the local community who are concerned with the bulk, height & scale of the development & believe it will bring significant traffic onto already congested Illawarra Road.  She said Council was underestimating traffic movement in & out of the development & living next to railway stations did not mean people didn’t own cars. She spoke about the current parking difficulties saying many patrons of the previous RSL either walked or came by courtesy bus or taxis.

Clr O’Sullivan put up an alternative motion: that the Councillors note that the Traffic Committee believes there will be no problems with parking, but the Councillors advise the JRPP Secretariat of residents’ concerns regarding the validity of traffic projections contained in the applicants traffic study & request that any consent conditions have minimal or no impact on surrounding streets.

Clr O’Sullivan expressed concern about traffic saying Councillors are dependent on our Officers as Secretariat of JRPP to determine a sensitive, future-orientated response to the DA & talking about traffic is different from experiencing it.

Clr Thanos opposed the amended motion saying that it didn’t achieve anything because Council staff had assessed the traffic impact & believed there will be no traffic impacts & the motion was misleading to Council staff, residents & JRPP.  He asked whether the motion was asking staff to change their minds & felt the JRPP will ignore a motion like this.   He spoke about providing housing around transport nodes saying no one owns parking spaces on public streets & the number of cars people choose to own is their decision.

Fire Wheel flowers

Clr Olive said he agreed with a lot of what Clr Thanos said, but he also thought there were valid points in the amended motion & would be supporting it.  He said even though staff have made recommendations, this doesn’t mean we can’t make things better.  He spoke about looking at traffic minimalisation by placement of driveways, entrances, sizes of entrances as examples & thought the report was coming from the position of looking at the previous DA.  He said Councillors should be expressing the community’s concerns so the JRPP can look at the issue closely.

Clr Phillips supported the amended motion saying it highlights the problem of the JRPP being the decision maker instead of Councils & it’s important for Councillors to voice their concerns.  He was not convinced there will be no impact on traffic & reminded that there will be further development in this area.

Clr Peters reminded everyone that the JRPP just approved a development at the Newtown RSL site that is to be a 66-room hotel, RSL Club, retail with only 17 parking spaces.

Clr O’Sullivan said that her motion was minimalist in that it only takes into account the traffic &, though she agreed with much of what Clr Thanos said, she said Councillors were representing the community’s interest for both the short & long term. She said the JRPP took heed of community concerns regarding the Tempe Depot development.  Carried with Clr Thanos against.

– Mobility Parking spaces – One was approved in Terminus St Petersham & another rejected in Lymerston St Tempe because there was a space within 10 metres of the property.  Clr Thanos said that every time someone wants a parking space, they claim disability. He said if it were important to the resident, they would have come to speak at the meeting.  The Director recommended that the refusals be referred back to the Traffic Committee following proper procedure to prevent any appeal. Carried with Clrs Thanos & Peters against.

2. Report on Marrickville Transport Planning & Advisory Committee 20 May 2010 – Clr Tsardoulias said he had questions regarding the position of stops on the Light Rail.  Clr Byrne said she was disappointed Railcorp is not providing a public toilet in the ‘unpaid’ area of Newtown Railway Station & hoped they would drop the access fee regarding airport access as this will increase use of public transport to the airport.  Clr Thanos said he thought the access fee would not be dropped, mentioning that Airport Services use Council’s parking spaces at Tempe for their own employees. Carried.

3. Council Infrastructure for investment for Healthy, Safe & Happy Children’s Home/School Journeys – Council surveyed schools & families regarding the pedestrian routes used to travel to school seeking to learn about obstacles/problems that made this difficult or unsafe with the aim to create child-friendly routes.

Clr Byrne was unhappy that Tempe High School, Tempe Primary School & St Peters Public School were not included in the survey.  Clr Olive agreed with the direction of the report, but wanted it noted that Council was not proposing an increase in the budget for this.  He said people were expressing excitement about what they thought would happen, but in reality Council won’t be able to do much in the next 10 years.  He gave the cost of a traffic light at $120,000 as an example. He said he was not against increasing the budget for this.  Motion carried.

4. Floodplain Management Advisory Committee Meeting report April 2010 – recommending the report be adopted, especially the Eastern Channel Flood Study.   Clr O’Sullivan mentioned the substantial risk of flooding in Marrickville & St Peters industrial areas.  Clr Phillips mentioned climate change & extreme rain events citing Kogarah coast & Mackey Park deemed at risk.  He said the science around climate change is changing rapidly with scientists thinking there will be a sea rise of 1-2 metres this century so did not want to see this study predicated on a ½ metre sea rise.

Clr Olive asked how much it was going to cost & whether Council would be approaching the state & federal governments for money.  The Director said he did not know at this stage.  Carried unanimously.

5. Membership of Wollongong City Council of Westpool & United Independent Pools – public liability, professional indemnity, personal accident, motor vehicle, property & travel insurance.

Clr Phillips expressed concern admitting a Council into an insurance scheme that doesn’t have a good track record.  A staff member advised extensive due diligence was undertaken by 3 Pools leading up to Wollongong Council requesting to join & all 3 Pools were concerned about Wollongong Council’s application, especially around professional indemnity insurance. The only exposure Marrickville Council will have concerns motor vehicles & property. Clr Phillips was happy with this. Carried unanimously.

6. Council investments at 30 April 2010, Changes to Code of Meeting Practice, Update on status of petitions & Status update, Councillor Conferences, Outstanding Reports, Action Arising from Notice of Motions & Mayoral Minutes were dealt with together.

Gum flowers

Clr Peters asked about the workshops & expert external input regarding Marrickville Council’s Urban Forest Program & whether it was still Council’s intention to provide this to Councillors.  The Director said Councillors would have a conference at the end of June & a draft is ready to put to Council. Clr Phillips said she recalled a motion by Clr O’Sullivan last February that Councillors would be given education workshops & external input regarding  tree management & now we will be getting the plan without the workshops.  The Director said Council can do this.  All items carried.

I remember discussion previously was to provide Councillors with training workshop about the issues surrounding greening the LGA. The emphasis was on getting external experts to provide an alternative view to removing 1,000 trees per year for the next 5 years that was recommended in February 2010.  It appears to me that the Trees Strategy Issues  Paper is being brought back to the Councillors with a new name: The Urban Forest Plan & training for Councillors on this issue is no longer suggested  by staff.

7. Rescission motion by Clr Macri regarding previous decision to put 2 restricted parking spaces on Marrickville Rd Marrickville. Clr Marcri said Councillors did not follow usual procedure, there was no support from the community for the motion & the numbers were against any changes.  He said the issue should have gone through the proper channels back to the Traffic Committee.

Clr Hanna said businesses in Marrickville Road had difficulty keeping staff because of parking fines. He mentioned that some councilors thought the $10 fee for parking in the Frampton St car park was too cheap, whereas Leichhardt Council provides it free. Clr Phillips said the café owner asked for 2 parking spaces, the process was transparent & if there are complaints from the community he would be happy to revisit the issue.  Clr Macri said it was about democracy, that the survey was heavily against any parking restriction, it should have been advertised & taken to the Traffic Committee.  Clrs Macri, Hanna, Tsardoulias & O’Sullivan voted to rescind.  The rescission motion was lost & the meeting concluded.

Next was the Services Committee Meeting.

8. Branch Operational Costs –  Clr Thanos declared a particular interest in libraries saying Council should saving money now to get a new library with many services up & running soon. To do this he believed some libraries in the LGA would need to be closed. Clr Phillips said he wouldn’t support closing libraries, but said there could be a new library at the Marrickville Hospital site when it was developed.  Clr Byrnes was against closing libraries saying they provide many more services to the community than simply book loans. Clr Hanna didn’t support closing libraries yet, but said he would once a new library was built.  Carried.

9.  Review of Major Community Events & Community Cultural Events Programs

gorgeous bark

Motion moved to defer item until Mayor Iskandar returns from his Sister Cities visits  because he has had significant input & should be able to contribute. Clr Thanos supported deferral & said he will be voting against all events in preference for having money for a new library. Clr Olive said he was unhappy that the Cooks River Festival has gone to Canterbury Council & would be arguing for Council’s retention & involvement in this festival.  He said both the Council & the Cooks River Committee’s involvement have been instrumental in good things happening at the Cooks River. Clrs Tsardoulias, Peters, Kontellis against motion to defer. Carried.

Here ends Report from the Gallery for this week.

If you are interested in signing a community petition against the development application which wants 6, 7 & 9 storey high-rise development at the old RSL site on the corner of Illawarra Road & Byrne Street Marrickville,  Heather & Laura will be at the public square next to the Post Office Cafe on Marrickville Road Marrickville from 10am – 12 noon this Saturday 10th April.

The Post Office Cafe is at the corner of Marrickville Road & Silver Street.

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