Welcome to the first edition of my E-Newsletter! I will be publishing these after each Council meeting and hope that this will be a useful resource for the community. If you have any suggestions for things I should include in future editions, please do let me know.
My first few weeks as an Area Councillor have been been busy but rewarding and I have really enjoyed learning about the workings of Council and meeting with key stakeholders and groups…
Community news and events
SWCRA Annual General Meeting
I was delighted to attend the South West City Residents Association AGM on the 12th of November. Congratulations to the SWCRA team on a big year which has involved campaigning for a more democratic planning system and organising a number of community events. Kudos in particular to SWCRA Chair Julie Jordan who has been a passionate and effective advocate.
Giant apartment tower for Whitmore Square
I was shocked to learn that a 220 apartment complex for Whitmore Square has been approved without community consultation. I am concerned about the impact such a development will have on heritage and the look and feel of the neighbourhood on which it is being imposed. I hope to work with community groups in coming months in campaigning for a fairer, more democratic planning system.
Pride March and Feast launch
On the 15th of November, I was proud to walk with new Lord Mayor Martin Haese and Councillor Houssam Abiad (Central Ward) in this year’s Pride March. Despite wet weather, about 4000 people participated in the event and the opening night party in the West End provided a great way to kick off Adelaide’s Feast (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Intersex) Festival. See the Gay News Network for more information about the event.
New Council sworn in
I was honoured to be sworn in as a new Area Councillor on the 18th of November and am delighted to be given this opportunity to represent our community. The new Council (pictured above) offers a mix of experience and fresh ideas which I hope will serve our city well for the future. See Channel 10 news and the Adelaide Advertiser for some media coverage of the day.
Community Leader’s Program
On the 19th November I attended the graduation of the Adelaide’s Leaders program – a terrific leadership course run by Adelaide City Council to build community capacity and encourage emerging leaders. Groups presented on their projects which have produced positive results within their communities. One of these was the Helicopter Park Library in North Adelaide. This is a free children’s book sharing hub but is unfortunately running a little low on books. If you have any you would like to donate, please get in touch with the team.
Royal Croquet Club
The Royal Croquet Club will continue in Victoria Square in 2015 with an increased emphasis on Fringe venues and performance space in response to some of the concerns raised by local businesses. You can read more about the new arrangements here.
Lord Mayor’s Precinct Forum
On the 28th November I participated in the Lord Mayor’s Precinct Forum. This was a great opportunity to hear the views of precinct groups and, in particular, discuss strategies for engaging residents and businesses during the festive period.
Council Meeting, November 25
Please note these are just some of the key outcomes from the meeting and do not include all matters of discussion. Complete agendas and minutes are available from the Adelaide City Council website.
Appointment of Deputy Lord Mayor
Cllr Malani’s (Area) term as Deputy Lord Mayor was extended until January 31 2015 after which time she will be replaced by Cllr Abiad (Central). Both were elected unopposed. My congratulations to them and I look forward to working with them in 2015.
Cllr Abiad asked about the progress of the motion he moved on May 2014 calling for an independent interim evaluation of the Frome Street bikeway.
The Lord Mayor, Martin Haese provided a reply at the meeting. He advised that it is expected that the final evaluation report will be completed by mid next year (May or June). The evaluation will consider the use of the bikeway over summer, along with the options and costs of retaining the bike lane and using the traffic lane during peak times and parking lane during non-peak times. Feedback will be sought from businesses and residents and broader users of the street. He further reported that initial bike counts on Frome Street have revealed an increase in bike riders and a reduction of vehicles.
As I indicated during the election, I personally remain very supportive of the Frome Street bike lane and would like to see cycling infrastructure rolled out more broadly throughout the city.
Precinct Group Christmas funding
Cllr Abiad moved that precinct groups be provided with one-off funding of $2000 to support Christmas in the City activities and that the CEO identify a funding source for this activity through the December budget process. The motion was supported by Council.
While I am a strong supporter of precinct groups and the vital role they play in our city, I voted against the motion on the basis that I was concerned that groups may not have the capacity to spend the allocation between now and Christmas. I considered that this money could be spent on programs with a longer term benefit.
Old Royal Adelaide Hospital
Cllr Abiad moved that Council request that the State Government release the economic impact report on the Old Royal Adelaide closure on the East End of Adelaide. The motion was carried.
White Ribbon Day
I moved a motion that Council support the White Ribbon Day campaign and the elimination of violence against women. The motion was carried unanimously. I believe that raising awareness in public forums about the impact of violence against women is an important way of changing attitudes and behaviour and was glad to see Council sending a strong message in this way. I look forward to joining the White Ribbon Day march in Adelaide tomorrow morning.
- White Ribbon Day march – Saturday, 29 November, 10-11am, Victoria Square
- Feast Picnic in the Park – community event to close Adelaide’s LGBTI Festival – Sunday, 30 November, 11am – 6pm, Pinky Flat (entry $10)
- World AIDS Day – Monday, December 1. See Adelaide events here.
- The West End Xmas Art Market and Carnival – Sunday 14 Dec, 12-10pm, Leigh Street and Peel Street
Keep in touch
If you have an issue you would like me to take on, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. It would be great to hear your ideas for how I can help improve our city! You can call me on: 8203 7945 (office) or 0438 358 204 (mobile) or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively, we can connect on Facebook and Twitter.
Please note, this newsletter includes the personal views of Councillor Robert Simms and does not purport to represent the views of Adelaide City Council.