Welcome to the 5th edition of my E-Newsletter! During March I’ve had the opportunity to soak up the festival season and I continue to be impressed by the talent and enthusiasm of the arts community in our city.
Council recently clocked up 100 days in office. The above graphic highlights some of the things I’ve been working on since my election last November. My thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me on the journey so far!
Adelaide City Council in the news
Dry Zone extension
At the Infrastructure and Public Space Committee on the 2nd of March Council voted in favour of a recommendation to extend the Dry Zone in the Parklands for a further 6 months. I opposed the recommendation as the preliminary report (see page 30 of Agenda) stated that the Dry Zone is simply displacing anti-social behaviour to other parts of the city and not addressing the root causes of this behaviour. In particular, I am concerned that this law and order approach may be further marginalising vulnerable people. Some of my comments were reported in The Advertiser. I also opposed the Dry Zone extension when it later came before Council.
Time for Adelaide City Council to divest from fossil fuel
Last week I spoke to InDaily about my plan to push Council to divest from any indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry (Council does not have any direct fossil fuel investments). While Council currently has some excellent environmental policies in place, we do not have any specific policy for sustainable investments and procurements. This is a gap that I believe should be addressed. I plan to put a proposal to Council in coming weeks. See this report in InDaily for more information.
Adelaide’s Rainbow Crossing Movement
In their latest edition Blaze published a feature on the campaign for a rainbow crossing in Adelaide. My proposal is currently being investigated by Council administration and I anticipate a report in coming months. You can read the article here.
Free Wi-Fi for North Adelaide?
At a recent Committee meeting Councillor Alex Antic moved a motion to investigate extending the free Wi-Fi network into the South Ward. I supported the motion but amended it to include an investigation into also extending the network into North Adelaide. In my view the network should be made available to tourists and visitors across our city, not just in the CBD. Administration will provide a report on the potential costs of such a scheme in the future. This report in The Advertiser provides some information on the debate at Council.
Council Meeting, 24 February
Public Forums and Petitions
Mr Simon Stretton made a presentation on behalf of residents of North Adelaide. Mr Stretton presented a petition requesting Council abandon the concept of a bikeway in any part of Margaret Street in North Adelaide.
Council then received a deputation from Mr Grahame Footer who tabled a petition to reconsider the decision to endorse Option Three ‘LeFevre Terrace’ bus stop location for the free City Connector service (made by the previous Council last year) and for Council to endorse Option 2 ‘Tynte Street – Beviss Street’, as the permanent location. I moved that the petition be received and that the matter be referred for further discussion at Committee. I moved this motion as I considered the strong and divergent views on the issue within the community warranted further consideration. The petition was received by Council but the motion for referral to committee was not supported. The bus stop will therefore remain in its current location.
Accessible parking on Adelaide Oval
At Committee the previous week, Council rejected a proposal from administration for disability parking on Pinky Flat. This generated some public discussion and debate within the media. It has always been my view that Council should work with the relevant authorities to find a solution and improve the provision of accessible parking around the Oval. At the meeting, I therefore seconded the following motion from Councillor Malani:
- the practical need of the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority (AOSMA) to accommodate approximately 25-30 disability permit holders within the immediate vicinity of the Oval during the 2015 AFL season
- construction works to improve the Northern entrance area, which will ultimately result in 100 dedicated disability permit parking spaces being provided at the northern entrance in the long term.
- The use of War Memorial Drive to accommodate the maximum number of parking spaces for disability parking permit holders during event controlled periods and notes that whilst these spaces will not be deemed as fully DDA compliant for this period they are far more suitable for people with a disability than parking within Pinky Flat and will be managed through appropriate traffic and pedestrian management;
- The use of access paths in Pinky Flat for the movement of vehicles only to ensure safe and appropriate movement of vehicles and people in the area during events for the 2015 calendar year or until construction of the 100 car parks in the Northern Car Park is completed, whichever, is the latest.
Notes that the AOSMA are currently working on a long-term solution that will accommodate the demand for parking and improved access for people with disability and requests the CEO to negotiate an MOU with the SMA to achieve the long-term outcomes of meeting the total demand for disability parking within the core and license area of the Adelaide Oval precinct (approximately 250-260 spaces) and removing the need for the use of Pinky Flat for either car parking or vehicle traversing in the future.”
The motion ensures increased provision of disability parking in the short term and details a strategy for improving this in the longer term. It was carried unanimously. See this news report for more information on the debate.
Motions on Notice
Scooter / Motor Cycle Parking
Councillor David Slama moved the following motion:
- In line with Council’s Smart Move Strategy, the CEO’s Working Group for Parking investigate as a priority the parking needs and opportunities for Scooter and Motorcycle parking and reports to the Strategy, Planning & Partnerships Committee at the earliest opportunity.
- Specifically, these investigations should focus on encouraging the use of motorcycle and motorised scooter use as a sustainable, low impact, minimal space transport option for city users and that the investigation explores options and best practice examples around the benefits of this type of transport option, short term and all day parking, on-street, off-street and on-footpath parking to free-up more on-street spaces, infrastructure requirements, management requirements and any quick-win opportunities, including trials of options identified.”
I supported Councillor Slama’s motion to investigate this, however I will need to be convinced that any future policy does not involve encroachment on footpaths at the expense of pedestrian access and space.
Carbon Neutral City
Councillor Malani moved the following motion.
“With the Premier recently announcing the plan for Adelaide to be a carbon neutral city by 2025, can Council administration please prepare a report that identifies the areas where Council can contribute to this goal including:
- internal operations;
- external stakeholders;
- initiatives and opportunities; and
- potential long term budget implications.
I seconded the motion and look forward to hearing administration’s suggestions for how Council can better progress this carbon neutral goal.
Motions without notice
Council’s Customer Service Culture
Councillor Slama moved a motion that Administration provide a report to the Economic & Community Development Committee detailing how Council’s Customer Service Policy and Strategy was developed, including planned key actions for continuous improvement of the Council’s Customer Service Culture. I supported Councllor Slama’s motion but expressed reservations about the potential scape-goating of staff who work on the Council frontline and have responsibility for executing our decisions as elected members. In my view it’s important that we don’t shift blame to staff who work for Council and often have the difficult task of delivering bad news (for instance, parking inspectors).
Council Meeting, 10 March
Mr Andrew Robertson addressed Council on his concerns regarding the impact of the O-bahn tunnel proposed by the state government for Rhymill Park. Ultimately, of course, this is a decision for the State Government however Council does have an advocacy role to play. I look forward to hearing the views of the community in relation to the government’s proposal in coming months.
Queen Adelaide Room
Councillor Malani moved an amendment to last week’s Committee decision regarding the refurbishment of the Queen Adelaide Room. Councillor Malani expressed concern at the inconsistencies in the use of carpets within the proposed plans and therefore requested that administration provide further options (including if possible using local suppliers and design elements) and for the surrounding civic rooms as part of the overall phased plan to refurbish, upgrade and maintain the civic rooms of the Town Hall. Given the importance of the Queen Adelaide Room to Council’s civic program I was happy to support the motion.
Dry Zone Extension
Councillor Martin moved an amendment to the Committee recommendation to extend the Dry Zone in the Parklands for 6 months. His amendment was as follows:
- Applies to the Commissioner for Consumer Services, Liquor and Gambling for an extension to the trial timed Park Lands Dry Area for a period of three months.
- Thanks the Senior Officers Group for their attempt to address the complex issues involved and requests the development of alternative strategies to the trial Dry Area.
I did not support Councillor Martin’s motion as I do not believe the case has been made for an extension. The evidence of displacement of vulnerable people to other parts of the city made available to Council was of concern to me. Similarly, the saddling of vulnerable people with debts they have little capacity to pay is not an ethical approach to a health and welfare issue. I also remain deeply concerned about the failure of government to address the root causes of anti-social behaviour and excessive alcohol consumption in the Parklands, including structural inequality and social exclusion. This must be addressed if we are to develop a long term approach.
Motions on Notice
Appointment of the Lady Mayoress
Councillor Clearihan moved a motion noting the formal appointment by the Lord Mayor of Mrs Genevieve Theseira- Haese as Lady Mayoress of Adelaide, as per Council’s Standing Orders (2.13). Under Standing Orders a Lord Mayor is able to appoint an ‘official partner’ (this is available to all Lord Mayors irrespective of their gender or that of their partner). The Lord Mayor has chosen to appoint his wife to this position. The motion simply noted that fact and I supported it.
This newsletter summarises the key outcomes from Council meetings but if you would like to read the minutes in full these are available from the Adelaide City Council website.
Community Activities and Events
Over the last few weeks I have attended the following community and Council activities and events. If you have an event in your neighbourhood that you would like me to attend, please do let me know.
- Lunar New Year Street Party, 21 February
- Commonwealth Club Luncheon, 24 February
- Lord Mayor’s Precinct Forum, 25 February
- Reconciliation Committee, 25 February
- Lord Mayor’s Reception to Welcome Clipsal 500, 25 February
- Adelaide Parklands Authority, 26 February
- Adelaide Festival Opening, 27 February
- Lord Mayor’s Resident Group Forum, 2 March
- Strategy, Planning and Partnerships Committee, 3 March
- Infrastructure and Public Space Committee, 3 March
- Adelaide Festival Sponsors’ Event, 5 March
- Womadelaide Opening, 6 March
- Special Council Meeting, 9 March
- Reconciliation Committee Workshop, 11 March
- Breakfast with City of Adelaide Architecture Prize, 13 March
- Premier’s Reception for the launch of the new Convention Centre, 13 March
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: email@example.com . Alternatively, we can connect on Facebook and Twitter.
Please note, this newsletter reflects the personal views of Councillor Robert Simms and does not purport to represent the views of Adelaide City Council.