Welcome to the 7th edition of my E-Newsletter (June 2015). This has been an interesting month on Council, with the finalisation of our provisional budget for the coming year, increased community debate about the State Government’s O-Bahn plan and a push for more events in the West End of the city.
Adelaide City Council in the news
Rate Freeze in Council Budget
Council’s Finance Committee supported a motion to freeze rates in the coming budget. I voted against the motion as I did not want to see Council in a situation where we had to restrict services and activities in the city due to a reduced revenue base. The debate was reported in The Advertiser. While a rate increase is never popular, I believe a small increase in line with CPI would have struck the appropriate balance.
$1 Million for City Greening
I was delighted to support $1 Million dollars for the Greener Streets program in the provisional budget. This money will fund green roofs and walls and increased tree planting throughout the city through demonstration projects on Council buildings and a pilot project in the West End. Shortly after being elected to Council last year I moved a motion asking administration to identify opportunities for increased greening (including tree planting and vertical and roof top gardens) and it’s great to see this factored into this budget round. Indeed, this is a clear win for the community and I know there is a strong desire to see more greening across the city.
This development and Adelaide’s broader green future was the focus of this piece in The Adelaide Review.
Food Truck Debate
Adelaide Food Trucks made a deputation to Council requesting that we not change the food vendor program. As I indicated to Indaily, I’m concerned that tinkering with the existing model may deter food trucks from our city and I don’t want to see Council stifling innovation. I’m confident that we can accomodate both mobile food vendors and bricks and mortar businesses and Council has a role to play in assisting fixed businesses in adaptating to the changing market.
Horse Racing Revival? No thanks!
Last month, the Committee for Adelaide spoke to Council about plans to bring horse racing back to Victoria Park. In response, Council passed the following motion:
“That the Lord Mayor and/or appropriate staff make representations to the Economic Development Board, and other entities as required, on the concerns Council has on the return of horse racing to Victoria Park and indicates that as currently advised it does not and will not support the prospect of horse racing returning to Victoria Park.”
While I generally support new events and activities in our city, I do not support a return to horse racing in Victoria Park. Given Council has spent millions of dollars turning Victoria Park into a park that can be enjoyed by the whole community, it would be terrible to see the community shut out of this popular community space. I shared my concerns with 7 News. You can watch the story here.
International Day Against Homophobia
On May 16 I was delighted to speak at the Community Breakfast for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). An edited transcript of the speech was published on the Gay News Network.
Rise Above the Pack Campaign
I was proud to support the YWCA’s ‘Rise Above the Pack’ campaign last month promoting respect for women among men in Adelaide. All too often women are encouraged to change their behaviour to remain safe but it is men who need to change. Check out the Rise Above The Pack website and this article in The Advertiser for more information on this important campaign.
Last week the Government announced a revision of its O’Bahn plan – this involves expanding the length of the tunnel and reducing the road through Rymill Park. Council has been working with the state government to reduce the impact on the parklands and has endorsed the revised plan. Many residents have asked me about the status of cycling. The new O’Bahn plan includes off road separated bike lanes (one in each direction) through the Park Lands adjacent to Rundle Road, linking the on-street bike lanes on Rundle Street in the CBD and Rundle Street in the east (Kent Town). This news story on the ABC provides some more information on the government’s new proposal.
Council Meeting, 28 April
Public Forums and Deputations
Mr Andrew Wallace & Mr James Katsaros of the West End Traders Association spoke to Council about the need for more events in the city’s West End during the Fringe Festival season and the importance of better activating the area throughout the year to increase foot traffic for businesses. The deputation was the subject of a news story in The Advertiser:
Mr Anthony Brownbill of ‘Coffee Cow’ spoke also spoke to Council about the risks associated with changing the food truck scheme.
Questions on Notice
Exotic Animals Circus Ban
I asked the Lord Mayor to report on the volume of correspondence received on the matter of animal circuses on the Park Lands. He reported that he had received 56 emails, 48 supported a ban and 8 did not support a ban. The Lord Mayor also advised that he continues to receive email updates on an online petition, which at that time had 6,218 supporters.
Council Meeting, 12 May
Motions on Notice
Residential Growth in the City
Councillor Malani moved the following motion:
“That in order to inform Council’s Strategic Planning process (to achieve residential growth outcomes with a focus on affordable housing) Administration undertakes a review of Council’s property portfolio with a view to identify residential project opportunities. That the investigation also consider:
- Council’s entire property portfolio, that includes air space, with a view to determine residential growth opportunities;
- Current barriers to the supply and demand of affordable housing;
- New building technologies available to the marketplace; and
- Council’s role in the delivery of affordable housing projects.”
I supported the motion and believe Council should be doing all that we can to provide more affordable housing options for residents.
Council Meeting, 26 May
Ms Lily Jacobs of Renew Adelaide spoke to Council about her organisation’s request for increased funding. I moved that this request be referred to the Finance and Business Services Committee for consideration. This motion was carried.
Motions on Notice
Events in the West End
I moved that:
“Administration prepare a report on opportunities for events in the West End of the City, including:
- Existing events planned for the next 12 months;
- New opportunities for events (including during the Adelaide Fringe); and
- Opportunities for increased activation of Light Square.”
The Deceased Workers Memorial Forest
Councillor Priscilla Corbel moved the following motion:
- The administration report to Council by July on appropriate means of recognising the value of the Deceased Workers Memorial Forest to the community, through alandscape plan for the site incorporating signage, plaque(s), artwork and/or a feature memorial wall;
- The administration report on any budget implications of such an initiative.”
I supported Councillor Corbel’s motion and believe Council should be doing all that we can to protect this forest and honour those who have lost their lives as a result of industrial accidents.
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.
- Adelaide Park Lands Authority, 23 April
- May Day Dinner, 1 May
- Strategy , Planning and Partnerships Committee, 5 May
- Infrastructure and Public Space Committee, 5 May
- Guest Speaker, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) Community Breakfast , 15 May
- RSPCA 1 Million Paws Walk, 17 May
- Panel Discussion with Youth Council, 18 May
- Opening speech at Launch of Standing Up for Solar SA, Solar Citizens, 20 May
- Adelaide Park Lands Authority, 21 May
- Youth Council Meeting and Lord Mayor’s Reception, 22 May
- Feast (LGBTI Festival) Quiz Night, 22 May
- Speech to Environmental Politics students, Uni SA, 25 May
- Hindley Street West, Traders and Residents Meeting, 25 May
- The City Awards, 25 May
- Represented the Lord Mayor at National Sorry Day event, 26 May
- National Reconciliation Week Breakfast, 27 May
- South West Residents Association, Budget Information Session, 28 May
- Business Networking International Breakfast, 29 May
- Cabaret Fringe, 30 May
- Civic Recognition Working Group, 1 June
- Lord Mayor’s Reception to welcome the 2015 Bellringers Festival to Adelaide, 5 June
- Strategy, Partnerships and Planning Committee, 9 June
- Infrastructure and Public Space Committee, 9 June
- Faces of the Refugee Story Portrait Exhibition, 10 June
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 reflects the personal views of Councillor Robert Simms and does not purport to represent the views of Adelaide City Council.