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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.

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.

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