Archive for the ‘Local economy’ Category

What happened at Spit Junction Master Plan public meeting Nov 25

December 11, 2013

IMG_4209The mayor explained that the session was not a decision making meeting. It was designed to provide a briefing to the public to allow questions and comments and to provide further background information for those considering making a submission. A key constraint was that the development was to be cost neutral.

It was clear from the Mayor’s presentation that the focus of the present Council is on the redevelopment of the Council landholding which covers the Council building itself, the car parks, the Library and Library Walk.

Craig Covich, the acting Director Environment and Planning, overviewed the original Master Plan which provided three options for the Council landholding. All options involved demolition of the existing Council building and putting in its place a building with high public usage (Art Gallery, Library, Council one stop shop). All involved significant residential development with outlooks over Alan Border Oval and various reconfigurations of the existing public space and village Green. (more…)

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24 hour clearways are not the solution

November 18, 2012

For the Northern Beaches transport corridor, the highest priority should be protecting buses from congestion delays. If we all knew that, if congestion occurred, buses would be given priority over cars, buses would begin to look a much more attractive proposition. Not because on average the journey time was competitive with using a car, but because buses had the shortest worse case journey time.

Giving buses priority wouldn’t just remove the uncertainty from journey time and thus allow us individually to operate on a tighter schedule, it would be very good for our health. By encouraging public transport use more of us would get the recommended 30 minutes a day of walking.

So how could buses be given priority?

There are in fact several distinct time periods, each of which needs a different solution.

In the weekday am and pm peak periods 5 traffic lanes are in operation (3 in the peak direction and 2 in the other). The kerbside lane is a bus or T3 lane. My proposal is to introduce electronic lane reallocation for the entire length of the corridor from Spit Bridge to the Freeway. This would involve overhead gantries as on the Sydney Harbour Bridge indicating which lanes were currently available for each type and direction of traffic. Some embedded lights on the road may also be needed. At pinch points, (but only at pinch points) some parking on the non-peak flow side would need to go in order to accommodate the pop-up bus lanes without further compromising general traffic capacity

The lanes would be dynamically changed to give priority to buses in the event of an incident or just unexpectedly heavy traffic.

This could be implemented in stages over many years, starting with hotspots. The Ourimbah Road Spit Road intersection has already been done. (more…)

NSW Planning Review

January 7, 2012

So far so good with the NSW Government’s review of the planning system. The current planning system was itself the result of a major review by an incoming government, It was introduced in 1979 and at the time was regarded as something close to world best practice. But community expectations have changed and the countless fixes that have been applied over the last 30 years, either to address perceived shortcomings or simply to railroad through the aspirations of the NSW government have resulted in a dog’s breakfast that doesn’t work for developers, doesn’t work for communities and doesn’t work for governments either at state or local level..

The review was one of the promises of the incoming coalition government. The two individuals conducting the review have impeccable credentials. Tim Moore, is a previous coalition government minister and senior commissioner for the Land and Environment Court and Ron Dyer is a previous ALP government minister. At first I was sceptical given the very short timeframe – the intention is to have a green paper of policy options published by the end of April this year and a white paper later on in 2012. My scepticism has turned into optimism now that I have read the issues paper. What has impressed me is that every issue raised in the extensive program of community forums conducted across the state in the last quarter of 2011 has been captured –in the form of 238 questions against which submissions are invited (by February 17)

Many of the issues raised are matters that have been of concern to residents and councillors alike in Mosman. I have been dismayed by the many serious shortcomings of the present system that up until now councils have been powerless to address. Needless to say Mosman Council will be making a comprehensive submission. Some of the issues up for discussion likely to be of interest to Mosman residents are as follows. (more…)

Fix the pothole or re-sheet the road?

August 30, 2011

Councils across the country are now required to have asset management plans alongside long term financial plans. A little while ago I attended a one day course on this topic sponsored by the COAG Local Government Reform Fund and put on by the LGA. Mayor Anne Connon and senior Council staff with asset management responsibilities John Carmichael; and Craig Covich also attended.

The driver of the reforms is to get councils and their communities to come to grips with the fact that all council assets, be they roads, footpaths, drainage lines, line markings, signs, marine structures or buildings have a finite life. If an asset is not renewed residents may be put at risk (eg trips) or the level of service declines (shabby look, rough ride or in extreme case total failure and need to close). The replacement value of Mosman Council’s assets runs into billions of dollars and each time a new asset is added, often by grant funding (the Drill Hall and the Marie Bashir Sports Centre are examples), a further maintenance and ultimately renewal burden is placed on Council. (more…)

Mosman steeetscape upgrade

July 5, 2011

While the exercise of coming up with an upgrade plan has been extremely useful, certain problems have been identified which would better be addressed by going “back to the drawing board” rather than making ad hoc changes. The best use of the existing design would be to use it as a starting point for a new design that could take on board what has been learned from the public consultation and could fully exploit certain new opportunities that have emerged since the original design was formulated. These include the fact that over the next few years there may be a major redevelopment of Spit Junction, the fact that bus services in Mosman may be reorganised on a trunk route feeder route basis and the fact that council will be considering a new parking policy later this year. (more…)

The many faces of volunteering

May 12, 2011

Last week I attended the graduation and mini-expo of the latest Young Entrepreneurs Business Mentoring Program that has been running in Mosman since late January. The program which is supported by NSW Government, Mosman Council and the Mosman Chamber of Commerce has involved a group of small business owners in the 18-30 demographic, and connected them with mentors. The participants get 10 hours of one-on-one mentoring as well as 15 hours of business skills development workshops. I was impressed by the enterprise and creativity of the participants as evidenced in the stories they told, and even more by the dedication and enthusiasm of the mentors. (more…)

Balmoral comes in at 97th

May 10, 2011

Sandstone, Pulpit Rock

The US website TripAdvisor has declared Sydney as the second only to Capetown as the worlds best tourist destination, Along with announcement they have published a list of what they consider Sydney’s top attractions. Mosman’s first mention is the Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay walk at 54, then Balmoral which comes in at 97th. This compares with North Sydney with 3 in the top 100 (Milsons Point, Blues point and the Olympic Pool) and Manly with 4 (Manly Beach, Shelley Beach. the Spit to Manly walk and the Manly Fast Ferry). The other Mosman entries are Bradleys Head Walk (106), Sirius Cove (112), and The Spit to Pulpit Rock walk (unranked) . Sydney Harbour National Park comes it at 91.

Who knows what basis they use for their ranking. It is intersting to note the order that beaches are listed: Coogee (5), Manly (9), Bondi (12), Watsons bay (16), Palm Beach (21), Avalon (26), Bronte (33), Shelley (37), Tamarama (66), Lady Bay (69), Clovelly (81), Harbord (93) and finally Dom’s “Pearl of the Pacific”, our Balmoral at 97.

For the full list click here

Our cities – why we need a national urban policy

February 2, 2011

Infrastructure and Transport minister Anthony Albanese has just released a discussion paper which provides some encouragement that the Commonwealth is recognising its responsibility to play a key role in funding transport and other infrastructure for our cities. To be fair, this process was commenced by the Rudd government with the establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the release of an excellent set of Planning Criteria for Cities (Appendix A of the report), but the push by Dick Smith and others to challenge the wisdom of pushing more and more people into our cities without the necessary infrastructure has elevated the significance of the issue.

We have until March 1 to make a submission. At the end of the document there is a comprehensive set of questions that I found were very useful in structuring the submission that I intend to make. There are two areas where I want to lend my support to the policies being canvassed, and one that I will be arguing against. (more…)

Leadership, the economy and the environment

January 4, 2011

Just before Christmas I attended a one day workshop organised by CLAIR which investigated how local government in Australia and Japan were striking the balance between environmental and economic objectives. To give the Australian perspective there were speakers from City of Sydney and Byron Bay. The Japanese perspective was given by the long serving mayor of Iiyama City, a town of 23,000 in a remote area with heavy snow cover throughout Winter.

At the end of the session Professor Graham Sansom from the UTS Centre for Local Government pulled together some common themes. (more…)

Community Gardens

November 3, 2010

Andrew Leigh, the new ALP member for the seat of Fraser in the ACT and Professor of Economics at ANU has just published a new book called Disconnected in which he presents evidence that as Australians we are less connected than we were 40 years ago. We have fewer real friends, fewer links with our neighbours and we are less likely to play sport, be part of a church community, or be a member of a political party.

Adele Horin has pointed out that we haven’t so much lost community as shrunken it to a small circle of the like-minded. We have limited time, and so our precious time is spent with close friends, our partners and children. We passionately care about this little community but there is a risk. If we never leave our tight circles, then our “hearts will dwindle and our humanness may wither”, according to Turkish writer Elif Shakak. We will shrink inside the walls we build.

Fortunately there is one age demographic that is bucking this trend and it is happening across the world, and no more is this evident than in the community garden movement. On my recent trip I visited community gardens and talked with enthusiasts in Vancouver and London, Totnes and Todmorden in England. You can view some of the photos here. But I didn’t really need to go around the world as there is a thriving movement here in Mosman and in all the neighbouring council areas. Mosman Community Gardeners Inc has a small garden in the grounds of the electricity sub-station in Bardwell Rd and a bigger one on Middle Head. Others are in the planning stage.

Last Sunday I attended Australia’s first Big Lunch organised by Mosman Home Gardeners and Mosman Community Gardners and held on the Village Green. Groups of families and friends gathered on the lawn and shared dishes, each one of which contained a least one home grown ingredient. Big Lunches are well established in England (1 million attendances this year) and I am sure they will become a fixture in Mosman. It was great to meet others in Mosman who grow some of their own food, and to sample some of their produce. The Yates contribution was a lemon cake. Our lemon tree is our only plant ready for harvesting at this stage although we have beans, peas, tomatoes, spinach, beetroot and eggplant all growing vigorously.