March 26th, 2009
Sydney’s hard pressed police were called in this week to remove protestors from the City of Sydney’s works site in Wood St, Forest Lodge. The protestors were trying to make the Lord Mayor see reason and remove a large switchback path that was a last minute inclusion in the design of the important wildlife habitat area contained within the project.
The protestors are all local residents who live on either side of the works site, and they are hopping mad because they are been denied the habitat refuge that has been promised to them for over a decade.
On Monday 23rd March I asked the CEO who from the City of Sydney had called in the police to remove the protestors from the site. Protestors had informed me that a City of Sydney car was visiting the site on a regular basis and that the driver had taken photos of them. The CEO replied that no City staff had called the police. However it seemed odd to me that five police officers, and an inspector would be attending the site on the basis of an anonymous phone call.
The protest has continued each day since and on Wednesday 25th the attending police gave a direction that protestors leave the site. Most followed the direction and one protestor refused. Police carried her from the site. It should be noted that she was treated with respect and police were courteous. I commend the manner in which they carried out their duty.
The project manager, an employee of the developer (Frasers), spoke to the protestors before the police direction and revealed that all his instructions about work on the site came from the City of Sydney. Further he stated that the request for police intervention also came from the City of Sydney.
It is clear that someone from the City of Sydney has called in the police – we have direct evidence of that now. It is also clear that this could not have happened without the agreement of the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.
The Lord Mayor appears to have introduced a new model of City engagement with the community. ‘Do what I say or we will call in the police!’ This is an absurd response to what is now a large Forest Lodge community united against the City over last minute, unwanted changes to a small local project in their backyard.
It really is about time that the Lord Mayor has a reality check and starts listening to this community. Arresting people because they are concerned about what is going on in their neighbourhood is contrary to everything that the Lord Mayor peddles as her approach to civic leadership.
Wake up Clover. It is time to let go of this intrusive pathway that you seem so attached to. Give the Forest Lodge people their wildlife habitat.
Photos: Top: Clover’s response to peaceful protest - call in the cops
Bottom: Peaceful protestors and councillors at the site
March 23rd, 2009
The Minister for Transport should intervene and reverse the decision to implement the latest cut to the 311 Bus service in Eastern Sydney. The reduction in the service is the latest in a succession of cuts in this bus route since 2002.
It seems clear to me that the 311 bus service is on the chopping block following the elimination of the Elizabeth Bay loop from the route in this latest review of Sydney bus services. The 311 is the only public transport service in Elizabeth Bay which also happens to be the most densely populated district in Sydney.
This latest reduction in service follows cuts to the frequency in the bus from 20 minute to 30 minute intervals in 2002. This was followed by a further service deterioration in 2006 when weekend and evening services were hacked by 35 services per week and travellers had a 45 minute wait between buses.
This gradual reduction in the frequency, coverage and reliability in the 311 bus will not encourage increased patronage of the service. On the contrary, it will become an increasingly less attractive transport option. Many of the residents in this area are elderly and rely on this bus service.
The original proposal floated for the reduced 311 service included the elimination of the railway square section of the route. But hostile submissions from bus users caused a rethink by bus planners. However, the fact that such drastic cuts were even proposed gives a clue to the long term plans for the 311 service.
It really is death by 1000 cuts for this important bus service. And this is at a time when the Government should be encouraging people to use public transport. Many Elizabeth Bay residents will be very disappointed by this decision.
As an aside, it is interesting that the local member, Clover Moore, has been claiming some sort of victory over the latest review of the 311 bus. Her media spin is contrasted by the reality that over a seven year period the service has been cut from a frequent 20 minute service to one that is less frequent, is less reliable and doesn’t even go to the most populous part of her electorate. Some victory Clover!
The Greens will continue to argue for increased spending on and an expansion of public transport facilities throughout all Sydney communities.
Photo: Councillor Harris with an Elizabeth Bay resident who died waiting for the 311 bus
Below is a link to the story as it appeared on page 6 of The City News on March 19
City News Story
March 19th, 2009
Forest Lodge residents are furious at the refusal of the Lord Mayor of Sydney to provide the wildlife habitat that was promised to them for over a decade. The bushland reserve is located along Hereford Street near Wood Street at Forest Lodge. It will pass into public ownership following the completion of the development of the Children’s Hospital site at Camperdown. The project had its origins with Leichhardt Council over 10 years ago and throughout this entire period the local residents have wanted part of the land to be a thriving and healthy habitat for native plants, birds & animals
The pleas of local residents have been ignored by the City of Sydney Council and the Lord Mayor who is supportive of running a “v” shaped switchback pathway right thorough the middle of what is supposed to be a habitat area. This will totally degrade the habitat values of the crescent moon shaped piece of land because what is already a modest sized habitat area will be divided into three or four even smaller sections by concrete - its integrity will be destroyed.
The switchback pathway will be about 130 metres long with a one in twenty slope - it will be irresistible to young people who will have great fun skating and cycling on the sloping path with a 180 degree turn at the end of the first section. And that’s not a criticism of young skaters & cyclists – if I was 40 years younger I’d be down there with my mates in a flash! No doubt, every kid in Glebe will know about this path before long.
Read the rest of this entry »
March 19th, 2009
Greens get action on ESD policies
I put forward a notice of motion in February to ensure that the targets and aspirations of the City’s 2030 policy translate into action in the City’s public works and lead to measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Grand statements and headline grabbing targets are great to inspire people but the real changes happen at the street level detail where water is diverted from rooves into storage and onto gardens that nourish our trees and edible plants and solar panels run day to day appliances and feed excess power into the grid for others to use.
A friend of mine, environmental warrior Michael Mobbs, sent me this brief message a couple of weeks ago about the power of these small changes in his immediate neighbourhood:
“About 500 m2 of gardens along footpaths, on both sides of Myrtle street, and in some parts of Shepherd and Rose Streets, are now watered by rainfall from the front rooves of houses. The rooves have a combined area of some 2500 m2 (50 houses x 50m2). Add to that the street gardens - some 1200m2. Thus, the total area of rain harvesting is 3700m2. Each year each square metre of that area will receive over 1200 litres of rainwater. This provides a saving of over 4.4 million litres of water which previously ran off into Sydney Harbour.”
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March 2nd, 2009
In 2006 I put forward a proposal to develop a strategy for the City of Sydney Council to encourage and provide affordable housing in its local government area. I followed up regularly with suggestions on strategic direction and Questions on Notice urging the CEO and the Lord Mayor to get on with developing a plan.
Finally, this month, February 2009, we have a draft strategy endorsed by the Council going on public exhibition for an extended period to allow for maximum public input.
The draft strategy outlines a range of possibilities for the provision of affordable housing, but most importantly the City has set a target that requires 15% of housing in the city to be affordable by 2030. This is made up of 7.5% of social housing (principally supplied by the state government) and 7.5% affordable housing which is defined as accommodation which will cost no more than 30% of the resident’s income. The City has also employed a specialist Affordable Housing Officer. Read the rest of this entry »