Monthly Archives: November 2015

November

I’d planned this to be a much more detailed post, but time has got away from me, so I’ll summarise and get it out the door. It’s long, dry, and no picture. I’ll try harder next time, promise.

13 November – Community Recycling Network

Community enterprises and recycling are both things that interest me, as is breakfast, so on 13 November I went along to part of Community Recycling Network Australia‘s national forum. The speakers were:

I went away excited and inspired. I like hearing about people getting on with good things.

16 November – Long Term Financial Plan and Council Committees

Monday’s council workshop was on our long-term financial plan and on how our meeting and committees are scheduled – more to come.

18 November – International GIS Day

Geographic Information Systems (GIS to his friends) is my idea of fun. I grew up in a family of map lovers and I work with data in my day job, so GIS is a great fit for me. Wednesday 18 November was International GIS Day, a much-neglected celebration. I dropped in to the Hobart City Council GIS department who were holding an open day, ate their cake and saw some exciting things they’re doing with data about the city. I left with my head buzzing with ideas about how to measure the places we live to make better decisions about land-use, infrastructure maintenance, climate change mitigation, and much more.

18 November – Cycling South AGM

Active transport matters to me. I drive most days of the week, but I dream of a world where we have more choices for how we get around. Cycling South is the organisation that coordinates cycling between the greater Hobart councils (Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart, Kingborough, and Brighton) and with Bicycle Network and Department of State Growth. We meet every two months and Wednesday was our AGM.

The Cadence Award is Cycling South’s annual award to someone who has made a major contribution to cycling in southern Tasmania and this year it went to Rae Wells of the Bonnet Hill Community Association in recognition of her work advocating for the shoulder widening on the Channel Highway. Rae was the first non-cyclist to receive the award, important because cycling infrastructure is as much about removing cyclists from dangerous roads as it is about providing us with attractive places to ride.

19 November – Southern Tasmania Councils Authority AGM

‘Tis the season for AGMs. Thursday 19 November was the Southern Tasmania Council Authority (STCA) AGM. The guest speaker was Shane Gregory, General Manager State Roads with the Department of State Growth. His presentation was encouraging, including public and active transport in his idea of transport, and talking about maximising value from existing infrastructure, rather than planning to build more roads.

21 November – ALGWA AGM

I joined the Australian Local Government Women’s Association because I want to see more women elected to local government. At our AGM her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM spoke about women in public office, discrimination and all sorts of other interesting things, but you had to be there.

22 November – Diversity Rally

On Sunday there was a rally in Parliament Gardens to promote diversity. It was gentle, fun, and welcoming. The Tasmanian Police did a great job of keeping the small group of unhappy shouty flag-waving types away in the forecourt of PW1, where their shouts were drowned out by the wind.

23 November – Council Meeting

At the council meeting we discussed, amongst other things:

You can read the agenda and minutes for more details.

25 November – Culcha

Wednesday night and Loud Mouth Theatre opened their Hobart season of  Those Who Fall In Love Like Anchors Dropped Upon the Ocean Floor. I’m not going to spoil it, just brilliant. Go and see it if you ever get the chance.

26 November – Landcare and Coastcare

The Kingborough and Huonville Landcare and Coastcare groups had a Christmas function at Peverata Hall. Another humbling event, lots of lovely people who give up their time for the community. Council staff from both councils talked about working with children law and climate change.

26 November – Community Grants

Twice a year Kingborough Council community grants provide up to $5000 to groups for capital works. This round the recipients were:

I enjoy the presentation of these grants; people from a wide range of community groups who are working hard for things they care about, and Council joining in to help build community. Each group told us a little about what they do, perhaps the highlight being hearing that Show Jumping Tasmania welcome anyone “who owns a horse, or can steal a horse”.

28 November – LGAT Planning Workshop

A pleasant drive to Launceston and a day hearing and asking questions about land use and planning approvals, what else would you do on a Saturday? The Local Government Association of Tasmania run training courses for local government elected members and staff from time-to-time and this one seemed important to me as planning is going through some big changes at the moment.

29 November – Climate Change March

To draw attention to the IPCC Conference of the Parties 21 in Paris, many groups around the world organised events. The ‘march’ in Hobart was in Parliament Gardens and was organised by Climate Action Hobart. 4000 people turned out and listened to some interesting speakers, including farmers, wildlife carers, divesting students and a priest.

2 December – Spies

A night off on Wednesday. Bridge of Spies at the State. Well produced cold-war spy exchange story. I went because Bob Ellis recommended it and enjoyed every minute. (I can’t link the review, he’s pulled it down.)

5 December – Community Consultative Forum

Every 3 months, on a Saturday morning, the Council invite community members, mostly from community associations, to a presentation and discussion on what we’ve been up to. This month was another lively discussion about the new planning scheme, the sewerage pipe through Howden. For more, read the agenda and the minutes.

10 December – Bruny Island Advisory Committee

I’ve never had a bad day on Bruny, and last Thursday was no exception. BIAC is a council special committee that brings forward issues of concern to the Bruny Island community to Council. After the meeting the Bruny Island CWA hosted a delicious cooked lunch in the Bruny ISland Community Centre hall at Alonnah. It was a bit disconcerting to be greeted by of the committee members with “you’re Ian’s son and you used to work for Telecom”.

10 December – Infrastructure and Recreational Services

Waste, sport, bikes, road safety, works capital works. Always an interesting meeting with informed and informative staff present. You can read the agenda and minutes (or even listen to the audio) if you want details.

And then…

Apart from that I’ve visited and spoken with some constituents, mainly about planning issues, attended Greens meetings and finally done something about divesting my superannuation and savings into ethical schemes.

 

Bicycle Lanes and National Greens

Last week started with a briefing from the Department of State Growth on the Bonnet Hill Safety Lane and finished with the Australian Greens National Conference and a committee meeting.

Bonnet Hill Safety Lane

Channel Highway at Bonnet Hill

Channel Highway at Bonnet Hill

Bonnet Hill Shoulder Widening

Department of State Growth staff are well underway with the design work on widening sections of the shoulder of the Channel Highway between Kingston and Taroona to make it safer when cars are passing bicycles and pedestrians. The local community have been lobbying for this project for several years. In June 2015 the government announced that funding would be made available. It’s one of several similar projects around the state. The government are taking advice from Bicycle Network on which ones are priorities.

The work for this year is planned to take place in four stages. Part A is the south end, up from Proctors Road. This should start in December and take around a month. Then they’ll move on to Part B at the north near the Shot Tower. Part C is that nasty left hand bend before the long straight and part D is the bus stop at the top near Sedgebrook Road at the top of Bonnet Hill. They’re planning to keep the work outside peak commuting times so as not to block traffic and buses too much. Hopefully the first two parts will be completed within the school holidays. All this might change, literally with the weather. The best place to find details is on the transport website.

Australian Greens National Conference

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Greens senators taking questions from the floor

From Friday 6 to Sunday 8 November I attended the Australian Greens National Conference in Adelaide. I’ve recently become a state delegate for Tasmania. This was my first National Conference. I met several people who I’d only dealt with by phone, email or Skype. I also got to know interstate delegates and observers and broadened my knowledge of how the party operates and the issues faced by members in other states. Nearly all the Greens senators attended for at least part of the time, as well as the federal member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, and some state and local elected representatives.

The national Greens leader, Richard di Natale spoke convincingly on several current issues and the senators present spoke about initiatives in their portfolios. The conference was a mixture of discussion panels, policy workshops and budget discussions. The discussions on indigenous constitutional recognition, work in the 21st Century and power-sharing government I found particularly interesting.

One thing that struck me was how much influence members can have on policy. There were no faceless men scheming in back rooms, here were members representing the views of their fellows and holding a civilised debate. Also of particular note was the quality of facilitation of the discussions. The Greens make decisions by consensus rather than vote and it was heartening to see this practice adhered to and working so well.

November Planning Authority and Development Committee Meeting

On Monday 9 November Council had our monthly Planning Authority and Development Committee meeting. The agenda was short with only two items to consider. I was happy to see several members of the public present and even a question from the public.

The first agenda decision was over rezoning of some land at Margate. This was not controversial and passed after a short debate.

Kingston Hotel Apartments Shadow Diagram

Kingston Hotel Apartments Shadow Diagram

The second item was more difficult. It was a development application for units to be built next to the Taroona Hotel. This was a difficult one for all the Councillors. If you want to hear the whole debate it’s up on the Council website pretty soon, if not already. For me the issue was whether increasing housing density was appropriate in Taroona. The counter-arguments were one of neighbourhood character and overshadowing. The overshadowing was controversial as there were several iteration of shadow diagrams from both the applicant and representors that differed in what they showed.

In the end I voted for the development. I could see no reason not to trust the qualified advice from our planning staff that the shadow diagrams they used were correct and so the application complied with the planning scheme. I also believe that the Channel Highway through Taroona is well provided with transport options, being on a main bus route, having a cycle path soon to be extended through to Hobart by the Hobart City Council, and within walking distance of some local shops. This is exactly the sort of area where we want to increase residential density. Increasing number of residents may also result in more local shops opening. Other Councillors took into account the chance of losing an appeal and that the developer had an existing approved development application for the site that they thought less desirable. The development was approved unanimously.