Firstly I know it’s a bit late but Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a great Christmas.
Well it’s that time of year again folks, time to get back on the merry go round for another year and see what this one holds for our illustrious Council.
November and December Council meetings were again much the same as the previous meetings with much toing and froing between the major parties and lots of political point scoring, hopefully the campaigning will slow down after the March election but until then I would expect a lot more grandstanding.
Some of the items that came from these meetings are:
- Good to see Council contributing to a longstanding organisation such as the Austral Progress Group – with a donation of $5,000 for a security fence around the property and Council to enter in discussions with assisting them. The Austral Progress Group has been operating in Austral for approx. 20 years and provides a community facility for residents uses.
- Growth in Liverpool – while I can see the Mayor, Councillors and Council are working very hard to attract more development and ensure there is substantial growth within the CBD (and there are many cranes dotting the skylight) I hope they don’t forgot about the surrounding suburbs and the ongoing maintenance that they require i.e., roads, parks etc., Whilst I agree that Liverpool CBD does indeed require a facelift and more employment opportunities the same can be said for some of our outer suburbs.
Western Sydney Wanderers – Again it astounds me why $25,000 of yours and my rate payer money should go to the Western Sydney Wanderers football Club who are a professional organisation with corporate sponsors and a sporting organisation that is based in Parramatta – could not our money be better spent on local sporting organisations?
Luddenham Show – Luddenham is celebrating their 100 years in 2015 and thanks to Peter Harle and Peter Ristevski moving for a sponsorship of $5,000. They have a wonderful show and do great work for the rural area and it is nice to see them being acknowledged
Express Train Service
The Mayor has requested the CEO to circulate a petition to Liverpool Residents requesting the Government provide an express train service from Liverpool to Sydney . This all sounds great and is probably needed, however, having over 30 odd years of association with the rail industry and its workings it is a little bit “pie in the sky” at this stage. It takes approx. 2 years of planning that goes into the timetables before announcing them to the public and once announced they start work on the next timetable –( hence why when the Leppington line finally does open in Feb 2015 it will only be a shuttle service to Glenfield or Liverpool until it can be incorporated into the existing timetable) . I know Liverpool will be the next big regional city and we have to start planning how we fit into the “big picture” and officially request these changes, but commissioning a petition signed by the residents won’t make this process any faster and how much of Councils time will this involve?
A positive continuation of Peter Harle’s hard work is a review of the LLEP and DCP’s to include amendments on the social impacts of Liquor and Gaming when accessing a development application.
A sad start to the meeting with the Mayoral Notes expressing condolences to all from the Martin Place siege.
Whilst I applaud the Mayors comments calling on all community leaders to denounce this hideous crime, I cannot in all good conscience agree with his rhetoric and then using this tragedy to extol the virtues of multiculturalism. I personally totally disagree with his comments re this tragedy. This hideous individual used our tolerance of multiculturalism for the past 20 years to commit many crimes against society and was allowed to get away with these crimes because our governments are so scared that if they took action against his earlier acts of criminality they would be labelled racist. The Mayor continues in his notes to say we and the Council must work harder at tolerance of other cultures, however, this man was a criminal using religious beliefs and our tolerance to conduct these heinous acts. Whether you are born here or have migrated here and are of any religion or faith “a criminal is a criminal and should be treated accordingly”.
If you choose to live in this wonderful country and accept all we have to offer, you need to abide by our laws and embrace our culture and our freedoms. I prefer to believe that we are one culture with ethnic diversity. I urge all to read his comments in December’s minutes on the Council website and decide for yourself.
HIGH RISE DWELLINGS – I note with interest that the amount of development applications for demolition of existing single storey dwellings being replaced with multi-unit dwelling properties is increasing at every meeting. While this brings more residents to Liverpool it also brings its own set of problems with parking and providing more services, I would hate to see Liverpool turn into the next slum city as has been the case in many cities around the world.
SHALE MINE – BADGERYS CREEK – This DA was approved in 2009 and the new one is seeking a Sect 96 modification to the original DA by way of virtually doubling all the quantities of fill going in and product going out . Although Sect 96 modifications are supposed to be minor in nature this particular Sect 96 virtually doubles both the incoming and outgoing volumes. Peter argued the case against valiantly and almost swayed the Councillors, however, as with anything controversial the numbers had it and it was passed. The point here is if these volumes were put forward in the original DA it would never have been approved and these Sect 96 ‘s seem to be a back door way for developers getting what they want. I urge all residents to be vigilant when a controversial DA is passed to keep watching the paper for any Sect 96 Modifications or Staged Developments.
It appears that the Mayor enjoyed his last trip to America in 2013 and as such has accepted an invitation to the Future Cities Collaborative mission in the US again in June 2015 for himself, the CEO and 4 Councillors costing $40,000 of our rate payer money. Whilst the Mayor has stated that much was learnt from the 2013 experience and was used in “Building Our New City” project, I thought the purpose of commissioning Professor Ed Blakely (Honorary Professor of Urban Policy) was to have firsthand access to one of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of urban policy, so the question must be raised why are they are going overseas when we are already paying consultant fees for the world renowned Professor Blakely ????
On a positive note many of our LCIT members including myself attended a Christmas function organised by Liverpool Council at Light Horse Park on the banks of Georges River and it was nice to see most of our Councillors there mingling with residents, local business representatives and developers. It was a lovely night by the river, with good music, good food and good company.
I must agree with the Mayor on his plans to revitalise Georges River for more events, however, I have a very good memory and all the Council records dating back over the past 6 years and our own Peter Harle has been saying much the same thing for many years about cleaning up the river and attracting more people to it. (He is currently extensively involved with the Georges River Combined Council Committee or GRCCC to further that cause). As long as all parties agree with this concept I don’t think we care who gets the credit as long as something happens. I remember having many functions by the river in my youth and it would be great to see it utilised again to its maximum potential.
A further positive to add to this point is Peter’s tireless campaign for the reintroduction of the container deposit levy and it is looking like it may finally happen. The Container Deposit Levy can only be a bonus to keeping places like the Georges River and our parklands clean of at least cans and plastics – WELL DONE PETER , perseverance pays off.
A further positive note I have noticed driving into Liverpool that our Gateways are finally receiving the much needed sprucing up with flower beds and manicured gardens appearing heading towards Casula and more planter boxes being deployed around Liverpool – this small things make a difference and will hopefully initiate some pride in Liverpool and surrounds. Congratulations to Council for their good work.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday 2nd Feb 2015 and I look forward to catching up with everyone.
Edward Blakely is Honorary Professor of Urban Policy at the US Studies Centre, having previously served for two years as Executive Director of the Office of Recovery and Development Administration, the “recovery czar” for New Orleans following the devastation of hurricane Katrina.
One of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of urban policy, Blakely has been Dean of the School of Urban Planning and Development at the University of Southern California and Dean of the Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, New School University in New York City. He has also held professorial appointments at the University of California Berkeley, the University of Southern California and the University of Sydney.
Kind RegardsPauline Rowe Secretary