(Happy Birthday to the Adelaide Central Market – which turned 150 on 23 January!)
Welcome to my first newsletter for 2019! I hope that you have had a positive start to the year.
Council has hit the ground running, with a series of meetings over recent weeks. We had our first meeting on January 15 and a Committee meeting on the 22nd of January. Key issues for consideration have been the ongoing debate about the Adelaide Oval Hotel, the barge on the River Torrens and trees in Hurtle Square. Some of the outcomes are summarised below.
Archie’s Club House
At a Special Meeting of Council held on the 15th January, the Adelaide Festival Corporation for Adelaide Pontoon Corporation applied for six extra operating dates for the event, ‘Archie’s Clubhouse’ at the Pontoon on the River Torrens.
The event includes an interactive art exhibition, local Adelaide music, stand-up comedy, cult movies, local food outlets and a bar. The additional opening hours will be:
- Wednesday 16 January 6pm to 12 midnight
- Friday 18 January 6pm to 2am
- Saturday 19 January 12pm to 2am
- Wednesday 23 January 6pm to 12 midnight
- Friday 25 January 6pm to 2am
- Saturday 26 January 12pm to 2am (times subject to final discussions with Australia Day event)
I understand that the use of the Torrens in this way has been controversial, however I decided to support the proposal on the basis that there will be a significant arts component to the activation (including an interactive art exhibition and installations from many young Adelaide artists). A motion from Cllr Abiad to approve the proposal was carried with all Councillors but Councillors Moran and Martin in support. The debate was reported in The Advertiser.
At the meeting, administration advised that there had been an application for the pontoon to remain on the Torrens after April. I have some reservations about this and would welcome your feedback.
The Committee approved an application for a Bike Share On-Street Activity Permit from AirBike to start a bike sharing scheme in Adelaide. The scheme will involve 200 bikes in the City and North Adelaide and bikes left in dangerous positions will be removed. You can read more about the scheme here.
I was pleased to support the proposal and see this as an exciting opportunity to encourage more cycling in the city. The unanimous recommendation from the Committee will go to Council for consideration next week.
Adelaide Oval Hotel
On 5 December 2018 the South Australian Legislative Council established a Select Committee to ‘inquire into and report on a redeveloped Adelaide Oval’, including the proposed Hotel development. Council administration drafted a submission for consideration by Council. The draft is available here (see page 68).
Committee unanimously approved the submission with some amendments from Councillor Martin that strengthened the document by highlighting the SMA’s deficient consultation. The debate was reported in InDaily here. As I stated at the meeting, I believe Council has been treated with complete contempt by the Stadium Management Authority and the approach taken has been a slap in the face to residents and ratepayers. I will continue to work with my Council colleagues and the community in opposing this absurd Hotel proposal.
Councillor Moran has indicated that she will be bringing a motion to Council next week, asking that the Adelaide City Council request a meeting with the State Government and Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority to discuss building the hotel on the vacant site on 88 O’Connell Street. You can read more about Cllr Moran’s proposal here. I am open to this as a way of activating OConnell Street and providing an alternative for the Government to consider.
Tree removal on Hurtle Square
At its meeting on 24 July 2018 Council resolved that: “Council requests Administration to replace all of the trees along the eastern side of the North Eastern quadrant of Hurtle Square with ‘matching, same size trees ensuring consistency of growth and enhancement of the panoramic vista of the area.” The motion was in response to a petition tabled in June that year and related to two trees.
A review into the decision cited community confusion about the nature of the petition, the failure of Council to consider the expert arborist’s recommendation that the trees be retained and Council’s own policy in favour of retention of healthy trees, as factors that demonstrate Council’s decision making could have been more “robust.”
Council administration recommended that there be further consultation with the community about the status of the trees. Councillor Martin moved that rather than undertaking more consultation, Council should rescind the original decision and keep the trees. I supported this position as I believe we should only remove trees as a last resort. The trees in question are healthy and pose no risk or danger to the community.
The motion was opposed by Councillors Abiad and Khera but supported by the remaining Council members. The Committee recommendation will go to Council for consideration next week.
Local Government Reforms
The Local Government Amendment Bill is currently before the state parliament contains a number of provisions relating to governance and transparency of local councils. A lot of these measures are positive but others are unworkable for Council. For instance, some measures would allow the Council to pass a motion of ‘no confidence’ in a Lord Mayor. This creates a conflict when both Councillors and Lord Mayors are directly elected.
Administration has prepared a submission on the Bill, which was supported unanimously by Committee. This will be considered by Council next week. Additionally, I will be moving a Motion on Notice asking Council to endorse the disclosure of political party memberships and any donations received, before the voting period for Council elections. I believe this will improve transparency and allow voters to make an informed choice. You can read more about my proposal here.
Council is in the process of reviewing its Standing Orders. As reported in The Advertiser, I have suggested that the prayer at the start of meetings be replaced with something that better reflects the diversity of our community.
If you have any suggestions for changes to Standing Orders, please let me know!
Phasing Out Single Use Plastics?
The State Government has recently announced two discussion papers on waste – one looking at improvements to the Container Deposit Scheme and the other on phasing out single use plastics. I’m delighted to see the government showing leadership in this area and will be moving at the next Council meeting for administration to prepare a submission on the proposals. If you would like to make your own submission you can do so online.
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.
I am based in Town Hall on Tuesdays. If you would like to arrange a time to meet please let me know!
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Please note, the views in this newsletter are my own and do not purport to be those of Adelaide City Council.