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

Friday, 2 July 2021

Mayor July Report... climate, budget, and, a musical and sensory garden

Click on the link above

City of Unley Mayor Michael Hewitson talks about highlights from the June meeting of Council, including endorsement of the 2021-22 Business Plan and Budget and some of the key items funded, and about more investigation into elements of the city's climate and energy initiatives.

(Apologies for the softer than usual focus, there was a technical problem while shooting.)

Friday, 28 May 2021


Mayors May message 


May Council meeting report

A divided vote "what should we do?' and three 4 year plans sail through after you had your say. 

Thursday, 15 April 2021


Mayor's Message 

Published on 01 April 2021       Cntrl Click           Mayor's March 2021

Mayor Hewitson's highlights from the March meeting of Council cover three important draft plans:

  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery Plan 21-25
  • Climate and Energy Plan and
  • Cultural Plan 21-26.

We are also seeking community feedback on the structure of Council in its Representation Review - the proposal is to reduce the number of elected members and wards within the City of Unley.

The Draft Cultural Plan and Representation Review Phase 2 community consultation are now open on Your Say Unley for your feedback.

The Draft Climate and Energy Plan and Waste Management and Resource Recovery Plan will be open for consultation from mid-April.

Watch the video and visit Your Say Unley to provide your feedback on these plans.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Dear Owners of Unley

I sent out my newsletter in ignorance.  How silly are our SA laws? In Victoria, ACT, NT and Tasmania you can ride an approved e-scooter limited like our hire scooters to 10 KPH.

Can I ride my own e-scooter?

You can only ride your privately owned e-scooter on private property - not on roads, footpaths or other public spaces. Otherwise, you may use the e-scooters owned by the operators permitted in each trial, as per applicable rules and restrictions.

If you are caught riding an e-scooter not approved for this trial you may be fined for driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle $1,232.00

 With only 2,000 receiving my regular email quarterly newsletter this newsletter is being distributed to every house hold and postbox across Unley. 

We have a range of policies actions and expenditure proposals coming to final consultation I believe will shape life in our City. We are looking for community feedback and involvement in shaping our out future direction. 

Ros and I are paying for 20,000 coloured printed copies and distribution across Unley with two post codes by Australia Post and our grand children and I delivering the balance.


Mayor's Message - February 2021

Published on 01 March 2021                       right click

The key topic this month is the Economic Development Growth Strategy and what it means for the people and businesses of Unley. The Strategy will be open for public consultation and seeking feedback from residents and businesses during March 2021.

Thursday, 18 February 2021


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

                                    2020 is behind us but the impact of COVID19 is not. We need jobs and a determination to work together. We are delighted with the support from for the Unley Central development reported in the newsletter attached.

Rates for 2022



Climate Change action


 Congratulations to Unley’s Isobel Marshall, Young Australian of the year.  In 2016 with Eloise Hall won our inaugural City of Unley Fish Tank, an entrepreneurship competition. “Taboo” is a great success as a business and as a leader in social justice. The village green cottages house entrepreneurial start-ups and our museum, pottery and planned gallery.


            With the loss of the delivered Eastern Messenger a new regional paper called the EASTERN HERALD is up and running. It is a local newspaper covering news, events and current affairs in the Adelaide Eastern Suburbs and copies can be picked up from many newsagents and shops… Unley Council also has copies at it Civic Centre and Community Centres  

Sunday, 3 January 2021


Response to Sunday Mail Article “Council’s theft of $1m in Utilities”

14 December 2020

“Council’s Theft of $1m in Utilities” not true says Unley Council.

The Sunday Mail story about the Soldiers’ Memorial Gardens and Supreme Court proceedings brought by the Duke Group lacks balance.

Our defense was submitted to the Supreme Court on Friday 11 December, before the story was published. Here is a copy of our defense.

Council rejects and will contest for very good reason the Duke Group claim. It is in the best interests of Unley ratepayers for Council, on their behalf, to reject and defend claims such as these.

The claim involves the use of water and electricity.

Immediately after Council was approached by Griffin Lawyers on behalf of the Duke Group, we engaged an external services consultant to review, quantify and identify the source of both water and electricity used on the Soldiers’ Memorial Gardens.

With water, the report indicates the Garden always was watered through meters from Unley Road and Thomas Street. This is confirmed by SA Water documents that record quarterly usage and charges since 1996/97.

On electricity, the consultant confirms that all monument lighting was fed by a SAPN (formerly ETSA) connection. The report indicated power to the public toilets for lighting, hand dryers and a small hot water service came through the adjacent shopping centre and had likely done so since Council sold the shopping centre in 1997.

This was corrected in June 2020 immediately after it was identified. Review of daily usage and assessment of power consumption over the past 20 years by an independent expert indicates that if council was found liable to pay for the use of shopping center’s power the cost of that power is no more than $4000.

 Council offered to settle the matter ahead of court proceedings, but this was not accepted. Council will defend what it considers to be its strong position on this matter.

Mayor Michael Hewitson