Saturday, 25 February 2023

 2023 Summer news

Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

                                We have a new Council. Thank you for returning me as your Mayor. We have four years to deliver the reality of a future Unley that is liveable.

Please let either Justine or I know if you do not wish to receive the four times a year emails with the quarterly newsletters attached.

Planning     Council Assessment Panel (CAP)   Vote 6/5

On 12th of December Council voted not to have any Councillor on the Council Assessment Panel. (CAP) Unley Council has no power over planning matters. The six members who voted not to elect a Councillor to CAP, did so to underline the reality that Council has no say. Our planning rules have largely been taken over by the State Government. The Unley CAP is made up of professionals who have to apply the State Planning Rules. We are trying to have the State Planning Minister give us the power to have a ‘tree offset fund’ so we can deal with a well-known local tree canopy problem. Our problem is not shared by so many Councils in outer areas like Playford with large tracks of open space. Council does however have the right to select the membership of the CAP. We will be looking for people with an understanding and empathy for our City. Five members opposed the motion because they believed that CAP would be improved with a member who understands the political will of the local people. Please open the link to the Council agenda and Minutes for December to see who voted each way. Cr Don Palmer moved the motion and Cr Michael Rabbitt seconded it.

Tree canopy and our future 50°C hot summer days? Vote 9/2

One of my key election commitments was to voice the reality of life in Unley with a loss of tree canopy. I was extremely relieved at the strong commitment of the new Council to continue to tackle head on the known loss of tree canopy in half of the new developments that increase the built form. Council voted 9/2 in favour of the motion for Unley Council to be able to have an offset fund.

After everyone else has had the opportunity to speak, I was able to address the concerns of the two members opposing the motion.  I argued that our motion did not let the State Government off the hook. Whole of SA planning rules do not address the particular need of the inner City Council with the least amount of open Space in SA. Should the State Minister give us some power to deal with our local issue, the State Government is addressing one real problem with the working of the code… the loss of trees on private property in an inner city suburb. No amount of public consultation and new ideas can address a problem over which we have no power to act. Please open the link to the Council agenda and Minutes for December if you wish to see who voted each way. Cr Jack Gaffey moved the motion and Cr Don Palmer seconded it.

Wishing you and all those you love a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2023.

I hope you enjoy the attached newsletter,

With my thanks and best wishes,

Mayor Michael Hewitson