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.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Against the trend

Unley Council is working well and is against the trend. See the three minute September Council meeting report

We lose about 850 trees each year 2018-2021 shown in red
We plant about 410 trees each year shown in bright green
We are keeping the kaki trees
and these are growing shown in the darker green around existing trees

Wednesday, 1 September 2021


Unley’s Bronze Medal 

Across Adelaide our trees are going….. but in Unley….

 some extraordinary highlights….


Between 2018-2021 Unley Tree canopy has increased by 5.19%


Are we on target to achieving our 31% tree canopy cover? It looks like it. However, it is a fool’s gold prize just now. Why?


We have been able to drill down to every property in Unley and our October rate’s notice will include the canopy cover percentage for that rateable property.

Let’s go a little larger to show how the increase is demonstrated pictorially.

·        The increase in growth is shown below in “grass” green.

·         The continuing tree canopy cover is shown in the faded green.

·        The loss due to pruning is shown in orange.

·        The loss due to tree removal in red.


The devil is in the detail.

 So let’s drill down to the total overall picture.


 Our increase is because our existing trees are being allowed to grow.

We have twice the number of trees being removed that we have being planted. 

The majority of Unley residents are contributing to the growth.

Without incentives that actually change peoples’ behaviour to retain trees on private property, we will fail in the long-term.

Why? We can only succeed if we plant more trees than we lose.

Please keep up your support and enable our great children to have a city with 31% tree canopy cover….. up to 10 degrees cooler on our stinking hot summer days.

We will share a lot more with you as our staff now have the encouragement of Council to continue their work…. Including presenting all the information in a way that can be understood without further explanation.

I would like to congratulate our staff for work which as far as I know is totally new across Australia. I know of no other council putting the tree canopy % cover on their rate notices.


Friday, 13 August 2021

 Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

Please find attached Michael’s 2021 Spring “light” Newsletter. Now some breaking news….. 

CLIMATE: It is an extraordinary achievement for our Council to top 341 Councils across Australia in the climate change adaptation assessment report via.

At our Monday August 23rd Council meeting, we will be voting on our climate and energy plan. (This can be found in the 2021 spring news links Please email me for the links ) We have a great staff and our Council has over the past 8 years seriously addressed climate matters as the temperature across the globe rises.  Are we wasting your $$ rates?

We could be Carbon Neutral next year by buying Carbon Credits for as little as $36,000 (Overseas tree planting) up to the Gold plated standard of $162,000. (See briefing notes attached) This would be less costly to ratepayers than actually becoming Carbon neutral within Unley. Our Carbon Offset workshop states … “Offsets must be a ‘last resort’”. The greatest CO reduction gift our City of Unley can give our planet is to make our city internally carbon neutral. Our city will be a better place to live, and the example we set can be copied by urban areas across our planet. This will truly lower global CO emissions.

Will Unley cook?

Whilst the climate management plan does not address the loss of tree canopy in Unley, nor our resulting rise in our hot summer temperatures, our tree strategy recognises the problem. Without providing incentives that successfully encourage private owners to retain trees, we will fail. We are planting more trees on council land. We know that Council does not have enough land to succeed. We know that 30% tree canopy lowers the temperature of a stinking hot summer's day by up to 10°C. 32°C is better than 42°C and saves CO from air conditioners at home and in cars, too hot to walk or ride.

In our home garden fruit trees are ripening about 6 weeks earlier than they used to just 10 years ago. The temperatures across Unley are observably increasing. The continued annual loss of trees on private property makes our City hotter in Summer and colder in Winter. The IPPC 6th report shows the temperature across Australia has increased by 1.4°C and that rising CO₂ levels contribute to this.

Parkinson research:  The work of Rotary and our Medical researches help us all. Please see the attached to find out more.

Our City Motto is from the 1800s is “Salus Populi supreme est Lex.” “Safety of the people is the supreme law”. As Covid 19 spreads across Australia I hope you keep well and can vaccinate in preparation.

With my best wishes,


Mayor Michael Hewitson AM