Welcome to the first edition of my e-Newsletter! I will be issuing these after each Council meeting as a way of updating the community on my work. If you have any suggestions about how these newsletters can be improved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The last few weeks have been busy and rewarding as new Councillors have been setting up our offices, undertaking key training and meeting with Council staff. It’s an honour to be able to represent our community once more and I’m looking forward to a positive and productive 4 years!
The new Council was sworn in on the 22nd of November and met for the first time on Tuesday the 27th of November. Key Council decisions and discussions are summarised below:
Dr David Faber gave a deputation to Council about the removal of the Australasian Dardanelles Cenotaph from the park lands. The Cenotaph was erected in 1915 to honour soldiers from Unley and Adelaide who fought during World War I and is of great significace to many in the local community. I am concerned about its removal and will continue to argue for greater community consultation in relation to these matters.
Corporate Facilities Pass
Council approved the continuation of the ‘Corporate Facilities Pass’ for former Councillors (and Lord Mayors) who have served a cumulative 8 years on Council. The pass provides free access to the U-Park, Acquatic Centre and Golf Course and has been provided by previous Councils. Council will hold a workshop in the new year looking at other ways to acknowledge community service. Given increasing community concern about these kinds of arrangements, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss alternatives that may better meet community expectations.
Deputy Lord Mayor
Central Ward Councillor, Houssam Abiad was elected Deputy Lord Mayor (unopposed) for the period of November 2018 – November 2019. I congratulate him on his appointment.
Sustainable Events Guidelines
There was some discussion about the approval of the Draft Sustainable Events Guidelines. These guidelines set ambitious targets around sustainability for event organisers and provide practical tips on how to make events more environmentally friendly. Some elected members expressed concern that the guidelines will be too onerous for business, however Councillors Martin, Donovan and I argued that these are not mandatory and have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders. In the end, Council agreed to adopt the guidelines and a workshop will be held next year to discuss their implementation. I consider this to be a win for the environment and this best practice guide will hopefully serve as a template for other Councils to follow.
South West Community Centre
Council approved the execution of a lease with the new owners of the South West Community Centre. The lease will continue until September 2020. This is a great outcome and testament to a strong campaign run by many in the community. I will continue to argue fo the protection of the centre in the long term, beyond 2020.
Adelaide Oval Hotel?
You may have seen media reports about a proposal to add a hotel to the Adelaide Oval. The Stadium Management Authority has proposed a $42 million hotel complex be built on the eastern side. The State Government is supportive of the project and offered to loan the Authority the money to make it happen. I worry that the increasing commercialisation of this space sets a dangerous precedent for our Parklands. It also potentially reduces foot traffic to other businesses and hotels in the city and the use of public money to fund a commercial enterprise (when public sevices are being cut!) is of serious concern.
Councillor Phil Martin asked administration about the power of Council to influence the development. Administration advised that while the State Government is required to consult with Council, we have no authority to approve or influence the proposal. This is regretable in my opinion. It is clear that there will need to be a significant community campaign to prevent such proposal from getting the green light.
New Contact Details
My new Council phone and email have been set up. If I can assist you with a local issue, please do not hesitate to contact me on: R.Simms@adelaidecitycouncil.com.au or 0466 829 909.
Please note, the views in this newsletter are my own and do not purport to be those of Adelaide City Council.