Monday, 9 May 2022


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

Together, we have achieved so much during this term on Council. Thank you for your continuing help.

In addition to the topics in my newsletter I wish to draw your attention to the following….

Our Community is concerned with overdevelopment, the destruction of heritage and the ongoing loss of our cooling tree canopy.

As you are aware from my previous communications to you, we were successful with the previous government in avoiding the overbearing developments the new PDC could have created. We have protected our heritage areas, which is 80% of our City. We also succeeded in securing the 30° rule for building over 3 storeys.

We have yet to win however our battle to protect our tree canopy loss resulting from over development.


We are now seeking permission from the current Minister for Planning to go to public consultation for a tree offset fund for FUTURE new developments that increase the built form. If we don’t succeed in establishing such a fund, we are heading to 13% tree canopy cover and very hot summers.

Council elections are coming up at the end of this year. I am being encouraged to run again to ensure issues of governance, climate policy implementation, better waste management, and ensuring new developments contribute to mitigating rising temperatures across Australia over the past 100 years are progressed.

Should I decide to run again I will need your help to succeed.

You are welcome to contact me over any issue of concern or interest,

With my best wishes,


Monday, 7 March 2022

 Autumn News Rusty Cannon

Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

We are heading into State Elections, and I hope whoever is elected to be the Government of SA will enable Councils to have the powers we need to deliver for our local community.

Councils want to have greater powers to be able to ensure our waste is recycled and not going to land fill. We want to be able to meet our tree canopy targets and have local rules to enable us to do so.

I look forward to working with our next Government to be empowered to deliver for our Unley.

It is easy for Councils to blame the State Government and avoid making decisions that may not be universally popular

Sunday, 6 February 2022

 Dear Friends on Mayor Michael' tree email group,  

I regret that Council voted 4/7 against the motion to support in principle and to draft a policy for public consultation to provide financial incentives for private land owners to retain or plant trees.

I am disappointed but not giving up.

The main game is the permanent loss of both trees and the future capacity to plant trees ……..  Your Council has taken a UNANIMOUS decision to fight this ….. either new developments will have a 15% tree canopy or they pay 10% higher rates to buy land elsewhere to plant trees on. This will make existing large trees valuable. 

We need the State Minister for Planning’s approval to be able to do this.

We have had three years searching for every idea… most have been implemented.

We have had three years implementing all other ideas such as tree giveaways and education and this has made a 2 Hectare difference each year. We are losing 4+ Hectares each year.

As a result, we now have the following situation…

If we are successful with the state government agreeing to an Unley Offset Scheme, we will over 50 years drop to 20% canopy.

And if not to under 13% Canopy cover.

Some members recognising this shortfall spoke about asking for new ideas and going into public consultation, such as the one we are undertaking for a city-wide parking strategy. A great idea, but we will lose at least 2-3 years of action. If those voting against the motion are still unhappy that the “perfect idea” is not forthcoming…. 13% canopy is coming for Unley’s children.

Thank you, Mary, for the article… ‘Ultimately uninhabitable’: western Sydney’s legacy of planning failure (

Tree Canopy LiDar Data Summary


Annual M²

Unley Council has a 27.99% 2021 canopy cover


We need to save 40,748 m² each year (p/a)


We need to plant 21,435m² p/a to increase to 31%


State Offset Scheme support will save 20363 m²


Free giveaways education street trees plant….




Wednesday, 12 January 2022


This is a very big story and one I am passionate about.   

If our Citizens have to consider the facts, help make hard decisions, then we will gain understanding and a better community, one we can all share. I have submitted this to the Eastern Herald.

Shaping Unley

24,000+ Owners of Unley are wanted to become strategic planners.

Is parking a problem where you live? Are there more cars parking in your street than there are parks available?

Early Unley was built before cars existed. Some houses and streets have no off-street parking. Parking is now a problem across the City of Unley.

Just outside Unley, a hospital grows ever larger. The nurses want to park in Unley streets. Residents complain they have no parking for visitors. Some local businesses in Unley have no parks for staff or customers. 

Who should get the parks?

For decades we have been making changes in one street to enable fairer access to parking generally with permit or timed parking zones. What happens is that parking problems just shift to the next street. Should Unley become a car park for people not paying rates?

The big story is not parking.

The big story is how Unley plans to allow all ratepayers to become partners in planning. Two smart cities in Europe already do this.

One of their most successful Smart City projects was “e-Dialogos”, where the City of Trikala provides a platform for citizens to participate in the Council’s decision-making that combines online deliberation and voting processes.

Council has chosen our parking problem to become the first issue to develop how participatory democracy works in Unley. This is beyond consultation. We involved our community in designing our planning brief for King William Road. Hundreds participated but with ‘Shaping Unley” no one is excluded, all 24,000+ are encouraged to shape our future.

We have chosen “parking” because no decisions have been made and work will commence on a holistic city-wide planning strategy. If this works well in Unley, I hope this will be the way we plan in the future. Our citizens already pay for council, choose their Mayor and Councillors, and now as owners of Unley, all will be able to be involved in our City-Wide strategic planning.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

 Just click and enjoy? Mayor Michael's report on the 22nd November Council Meeting 

 Mayor Michael November 22 meeting video

Monday, 8 November 2021

Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

I hope you enjoy the summer newsletter below. I couldn't fit in the news of the 150 years Picnic.

Coming out of Covid in style

Leaving Covid 19 behind will be tough on many. We can all be somewhat affected by the prisoner effect. Some will feel at risk and may stay at home or avoid human contact. We need to rebuild community and at the same time care for those who will succumb to the new versions of the flu or covid19.

The final 150th Unley Community picnic is well timed and totally open to every citizen of Unley. Let us all celebrate together, come together and enjoy public life in Unley again.

We have had limited events, cancelled events and this is a real curtain raiser as we come out of Covid lockdowns. We can be thankful for the successful vaccines and the high level of uptake that makes this event possible.

The event will be held on Sunday 5th December at the Soldiers Memorial Gardens from 11 am to 3 pm and will feature an array of amazing live music including the “The Three Little Sisters” Andrews Sisters Tribute band.

There will be food available for purchase (a local service club will provide a BBQ, plus we will have toffee apples, popcorn, fairy floss, and the Maison de France will have a French food offering on the day plus more) and attendees will also be able to bring their own picnic to share. 

Vintage games, pony rides, face painting, an Unley Museum pop-up exhibition, and a walking tour will keep everyone entertained on the day.

Ros and I will be there from 11.00am and I look forward to meeting you all in person, sharing, relaxing and celebrating our coming together again. 


Saturday, 16 October 2021


Dear Friends of our trees and environment,

We have some recent successes that we all should all be proud of:

A National Award

2021 National Landscape Architecture Awards: Award of Excellence for Urban Design | Landscape Australia

The National Award was for a road that had just one tree… look at it now!

I took the photos 30 minutes ago… enjoy and invite you friends to see a shopping strip of national excellence.

 A State-wide Award:

The State Award: The City of Unley won the SA Award for Environment & Sustainability for our project

Have you looked on your rate notice to find you tree canopy coverage for your property? After a minute of searching I found ours in the main bill box in small dark print. Easy to find if you know what you are looking for! 

2021 Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards 


Aerometrex and the City of Unley won the SA Award for Environment & Sustainability for our project “Very high-resolution LIDAR-derived tree canopy change detection to explore financial measures to improve tree canopy cover on private land.”  - in other words, the work we presented to you recently at a briefing which showed some of our analysis of LIDAR data.

The judges said “Aerometrex and the City of Unley successfully collaborated to create property-specific tree canopy change spatial data. A full urban forest assessment across the LGA was captured with LIDAR in 2021 to provide an updated tree canopy coverage, to be compared with a 2018 benchmark. The work greatly supports efforts to retain and increase urban canopy cover on both public and private land as we adapt to a warming climate. The City of Unley today has a better understanding of the tree canopy area, coverage, and change on which they can base policy decisions. The judges noted the benefits of having the data to communicate more effectively with the community on tree management.”

 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) National Awards.

2021 National Landscape Architecture Awards: Award of Excellence for Urban Design | Landscape Australia

“Design King William” (i.e. our King William Rd rejuvenation project) was awarded the highest honour, the Award of Excellence for Urban Design.

The judges said:

“In terms of its aim of creating a “more beautiful street,” Design King William has undoubtedly succeeded. With a significant amount of new planting (including street trees), additional pedestrian safety and comfort outcomes, technical innovations and improved functionality, King William Road in inner-city Adelaide now shines as a main street. In awarding this project, the jury acknowledges the rigorous and collaborative process that has thoughtfully responded to the interests and ideas of stakeholders and the local community. Design King William stands out as an inspiring example of civic design and a great community achievement that is notable for the journey undertaken by all involved.”

Both awards reflect the efforts of staff to ‘go beyond’ and the importance of collaboration across the Council, as well as the support of the Elected Members in these initiatives.


I am certainly proud of our staff and their work on these projects.