Dec 21, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Christmas Day is just days away and the year 2010 is fast drawing to a close. 

On Friday evening family and friends will begin to gather to celebrate what is perhaps one of the happiest times of the year – Christmas. 

The kids are on school holidays, their studies done for another year and they’re bursting with energy. For parents and everyone else there’s not enough time to do all the things we have to do to get ready for Christmas. But that doesn’t matter, it’s part of the excitement the season brings.

On behalf of all our Councillors and Council staff – and along with my family – I want to wish all our residents a very Merry Christmas and a really happy New Year. 

I’m having a break over the next few weeks and I’ll be back in January, ready for another great year for the City of Botany Bay. My office at Eastgardens is closed and will reopen when the
schools are back after Australia Day.

Vale Roy Bilton

I, like many in the Botany community, was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Roy Bilton.  Roy was an avid gardener and was one of the first in our community to dress up his home each Christmas.  His Christmas lights display was renowned as was his beautiful garden.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad time. He will be sadly missed by us.


Dec 18, 2010

CHRISTMAS OFFICE HOURS

Over the Christmas-New Year period, Council’s Administration Centre in Coward Street, Mascot will have some changes in the
hours it is open. We’ll be closed on the public holidays and closing a little early on a couple of days. Full details of opening hours are:
Friday December 24 - Christmas Eve - Office closes at 12 noon;
Monday December 27 and Tuesday December 28, Public Holidays; Closed
Wednesday December 29 and Thursday December 30 - Normal hours;
Friday December 31 - New Years Eve - 8.30am - 3.00pm;
Monday January 3, 2011, Public Holiday closed,
Tuesday January 4 normal hours resume.

Garbage Christmas Collections

As Christmas and New Year fall on Saturday this year there is no change to our regular garbage service.

Library Christmas Hours

Over the Christmas-New Year period the opening hours for the Central Library at Eastgardens will have some changes. Opening hours are:
Friday December 24, 10am – 12noon;
Saturday December 25, closed;
Monday December 27 and Tuesday December 28 Closed;
Wednesday December 29 (normal hours)10am - 6pm;
Thursday December 30, 10am - 6pm;
Friday December 31 New Years Eve 10am to 2pm;
Saturday January 1, closed;
Monday January 3, closed;
Tuesday January 4, normal hours will resume.

Mascot Library will close at 2pm on Thursday December 23, and reopen on Tuesday January 4, 2011 at 9am.

Dec 17, 2010

Seniors Christmas Lights Tour this Monday

Don’t forget our annual Christmas Lights Tour for seniors next Monday, 20 December 2010. Transport is provided and light refreshments will be served at Council’s Aged Services Centre prior to departing on the tour. To reserve your seat, please telephone Pauline or Therese on 9669 4640.

Dec 16, 2010

A Premier moment for the Graphic Arts Club at Mascot

"Southern Courier" 14 December 2010
"It’s not every day that a state leader clears their diary to attend a club function - especially the night before a no-doubt gruelling sitting of parliament. In her address to the Graphic Arts Club Mascot President’s Dinner, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally made it clear, however, that this was not just any club. 

Taking the chance to relax and enjoy some pre-Christmas cheer with Club President Basil King, the Premier let it be known that the boutique, multi-award winning venue was a home away from home for her and her family especially on those nights when her busy schedule prevented her from cooking for her two sons. It was this aspect of the club, as a vital part of the community’s life, which she chose to emphasise to the sixty valued members and guests lucky enough to be sampling the five-star cuisine and hospitality for which the stylish venue is famous. 

Delighted to be invited to the President’s Dinner, Ms Keneally said it was “not only a great chance to publicly acknowledge the contribution that the Graphic Arts Club Mascot makes to our local community - it’s also a chance to enjoy a truly unique club in Sydney”. She continued to praise the “spirit and ethos” of the club highlighting the significant support it provided to local schools and in assisting disadvantaged and sick children. A view shared by Botany Bay Mayor Ron Hoenig who was also in attendance. 

Both took delight in some of the more novel events and services that the club had to offer on its new website www.ssgac.com.au, namely the Tight Arse Valentines Dinner, a budget meal for lovers with short arms and long pockets, and the services of a JP – perhaps, the Premier noted,  for those who took a long-suffering spouse to just such an event! 

Taking the time to chat leisurely with each table of guests before the evening’s end, the Premier was in no rush for the evening to end and it was widely tipped that the Graphic Arts Club Mascot will be the site for her campaign launch for the coming state election. A premier moment for Sydney’s premier club indeed. "

 President Basil King, Premier Kristina Keneally, Mayor Ron Hoenig, Steve McDermott

http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/a-premier-moment-for-the-graphic-arts-club-at-mascot/ 

Bowen Scholarship Applications

Now that the Higher School certificate exams are over and many students are beginning to focus on their further studies in 2011.  Part of the focus for local tertiary students should be the Lionel Bowen Scholarship, for which applications are now open.  The applications don’t close until after the first round of offers next year and the successful Lionel Bowen Scholar can be reimbursed for up to $3000 worth of study expenditure. This can include books, computers, iPods, study desks, excursions or travel to and from uni or your place of study.  Applications can be downloaded from Council’s website, or picked up from Council or if you call my office on 93663600 one can be mailed to you.  Applications are welcome from all fields of study, including TAFE courses.  The only requirement is that it is the applicants first year of tertiary or post tertiary education. Just remember to apply you must be a resident of, and live within, the City of Botany Bay.
 

Dec 14, 2010

Vacation Care for High Schools

Details of what’s planned for those aged 13 and above.  From Tuesday January 4 until Friday January 21 there is a range of activities planned either at Hillsdale Youth Centre (inside Hillsdale Community Centre at 236 Bunnerong Road) or at one of many excursions.  Ice skating (a perfect summer sport), rock climbing, ten pin bowling, movies, laser tag, trips to Jamberoo and the Sydney Aquatic Centre as well as our own Botany Aquatic Centre.  Some of the activities planned are free while there is a charge for others.  Like vacation care for the primary school students, this vacation care program fills fast and you will need to book.  Contact Yasemin or Patrick, our intrepid youth workers, on 9366 3889 for more information and to make a booking.

Carols by Candelight 2010





Dec 12, 2010

Seniors Christmas Lights Tour

Our annual Christmas Lights Tour for seniors will be held on Monday, 20 December 2010. Many of our residents are busy dressing up their homes for Christmas and they look amazing.  The number of homes a glow with Christmas spirit grows each night as I drive home from a meeting or function. I am certain this year will be quite spectacular.  Transport is provided and light refreshments will be served at Council’s Aged Services Centre prior to departing on the tour.  To reserve your seat, or find out more information, please telephone Pauline or Therese on 9669 4640. Be quick - numbers are limited and I have already had several calls from residents.

Dec 5, 2010

School vacation activities getting closer

A wide range of activities is planned for Council’s vacation care programs for school aged children up to 13. The program will run over three weeks beginning Tuesday January 4, after the New Year public holiday.  The program usually fills fast and if your child or children are going to attend you’ll need to come to our enrolment day to be held on Tuesday December 14 between 4.30pm to 7.00pm at Pagewood Public School.  

There are a total of 12 days of events for vacation care based at Pagewood Public School – some free and some where a small fee is required.  Vacation care is open from 7.00am to 6.00pm each day and provides the children with daily activities including recreational games both indoor and outdoor. We incorporate sports, art and craft and cooking into the program as well as providing excursions as well as special events at Pagewood Public, such as the popular reptile show and a sea animal show. 

The theme for January is “Life’s A Beach” and will include lots of craft activities about the beach, sea animals and sea life. Excursions have been planned to Little Dynamos, ice skating, La Perouse, Vaucluse House, Malabar Park, the movies and Sydney Aquarium. Some excursions are age specific. Children who do not attend excursions will have an awesome day back at Pagewood Public with lots of activities to keep them busy.  Vacation care will end with lots of water and splashing around as we enjoy a “Wet’n’Wild” day with lots of water activities including a slip and slide and fun games. This will be followed by a “beach picnic” lunch.
For more information and an information pack, call Sherryl on 93663576 or Grace on 96666128 between the hours of 3.00pm and 6.00pm.

There’s also vacation care for students aged 13 and above and I’ll give details of that program soon.

Playground updates...and upgrades

In the next two to three weeks (weather permitting) we should have completed the upgrade of the playground at Bridget Tight Reserve in Eastlakes as well as the new playground in Sir Joseph Banks Park, off Fremlin Street in Botany. 

The Bridget Tight Reserve playground is aimed at children below 10 and will have adventure activities, soft fall and seating for parents and carers.  The playground at Sir Joseph Banks Park is what we term as a regional playground – it’s bigger and better than playgrounds in our smaller parks and caters for wider age groups with divided areas as well as places for parents and carers to sit and watch the children.  Based on the great success of our first regional playground at Booralee Park, what will be unveiled at Sir Joseph Banks will attract kids from outside the immediate area. 

There will also be a special attraction in the Sir Joseph Banks playground – a water feature.  This will be a huge hit on hot days when the kids get to splash around, make mud pies and generally have some real fun.  There will be a new shelter for parents and carers and we’ve upgraded the BBQ, which is just off the playground.  What we’ve done, as we’ve done elsewhere in the City, is match new or upgraded playgrounds with local children.  A check of the census data shows us where there are concentrations of various age groups and the parks match those groupings – hence the one for under-10’s at Bridget Tight Reserve.  Booralee and Sir Joseph Banks are regional playgrounds and cater for under-10’s and over-10’s, with the activities separated by landscaping.  The end result is playgrounds that meet the needs of children from nearby residential areas – the right outcome as far as I’m concerned.

Your City - Community Newsletter

The City of Botany Bay Summer 2010 Community Newsletter is now available for download  at http://tinyurl.com/2cxesyq

Nov 23, 2010

Youngest Garden Competition Winners

Mayor Ron Hoenig with Logan and Hayen Ingle   
Banksmeadow Public School with Hon. MIchael Daley and Mayor Ron Hoenig

Nov 22, 2010

Save the Date­ Carols in the Park

For our annual Carols in the Park, I’m happy to say that our ever-popular host, Joy Smithers, will be handling the on-stage duties this year along with co host Brendan Moar from the Lifestyle Channel. Our plans are well in hand and on track for Sunday, December 12.  The setting is Mascot Memorial Park and things get underway from 6pm onwards. For those that arrive early their will be face painting for the children and Pagewood Soccer Club are back with their famous sausage sizzle.  Our thanks go to the members of the Inter Church Council for once again organising this wonderful event on Council’s behalf.

Nov 21, 2010

Upgraded Children's Crossing

After we received requests from parents of students attending St Michael’s Primary School at Daceyville about safety of the children’s crossing in Haig Avenue, Council organised an on site inspection with the RTA and local police.  In order to make sure the school crossing was even safer, Council has decided that it will be both upgraded and repainted.  Painting the crossing pavement itself and adjacent markers means motorists are even more aware that there are school children around. 

We’ll also install a safety fence as well as a special 25 metre drop-off/pick-up zone on the eastern side of Haig Avenue from the end of the current No Stopping zone right up to the school driveway.  Signs and line marking will also be upgraded and pram ramps will be provided on each side of the crossing.  It’s all about making our school zones safer for our children. We’re going to use the upcoming school holidays (not that far away) to revitalise some other school crossings and safety markers around school.  The aim will be to have everything looking good – and safe – for when the schools come back for first term next year.

Nov 20, 2010

Kmart Wishing Tree

Last week, the 23rd Kmart Wishing Tree appeal began – and it’s something we all should support.  The Wishing Tree appeal, which Kmart organises in conjunction with the Salvation Army, makes Christmas brighter for many thousands of Australian families.  What began in Adelaide in 1988 is now an Australia-wide appeal.

Christmas gifts are collected at all K-Mart stores and distributed by the Salvation Army and several other groups, to families in need. What better way to make a child’s Christmas than to donate a gift.  The gifts can be bought or hand made and all you need to do is drop them off – or more particularly – put them under the wishing tree just inside the door at Kmart’s Eastgardens store. All you need to do is fill out details of the gift (so age groups can be determined) on a Wishing Tree appeal gift tag.  If you want a bit more information, you’ll find one of Kmart’s Wishing Tree Champions in the store who will give advice and help you donate.  Council has supported the Kmart Wishing Tree appeal for many years and at last week’s launch, the Lady Mayoress was on hand to put Council’s gifts under the tree.  This is a really worthwhile appeal and one that puts a smile on lots of faces at Christmas.

Nov 18, 2010

Welcome Back Little Athletics

I was delighted to pop in and visit the Little Athletics at Hensley recently at the invitation of their President, Tony Vellecio.

I had the honour, and privilege,  to present the Club Captains with their medals and to congratulate the Club on increasing its numbers to well over 660 this season!  This year’s Club Captains are Theresa Coyle and Alland Odisho. The Vice Captains are Emma McKinney, Serena Kyriacou, Tim Young & Ryan Brijones.
 

The growing interest in Little Athletics was obviously a combination of the new facilities, but largely, he believed, it was due to the hard work of Tony Vecellio and his committee who have been working closely with other sporting organisations to encourage youngsters to keep fit and improve their skills during the summer months.

The City of Botany Bay wishes all its budding athletes a very successful and fun-filled season.  And remember it never too late to join up just give Tony a call on 93494862 or turn up at the track on Saturday morning.



Botany Road/Mill Pond Road Congestion

One day, hopefully in the not so distant future, the geniuses at the RTA may make a decision on what to do with the intersection at Botany Road and Mill Pond Road.  In peak times this is perhaps the most congested of all our local intersections.  It’s where outbound Botany Road traffic has to get across airport-bound traffic and cut around to General Holmes Drive and the airport tunnel. Overhead are both the Southern Cross flyover and the port rail link.  As it is under the final part of the flight path to the east-west runway, we can’t have another overpass (eve we have to keep the trees lopped so they don’t interfere with landing aircraft). 

All-in-all it’s where three modes of transport (road, rail and air) converge and given traffic light phasing, we have congestion backing up along Botany Road, often beyond the Wentworth Avenue intersection.  In recent years I think I’ve seen several options that the RTA has examined (and I know there are a few more they haven’t told Council about) but nothing, so far, has proceeded beyond an option.  Residents and those who work in our City have to go through this shambles each and every day.  Frustration among motorists grows and minor collisions are never far away.   From the level crossing on the final bit of General Holmes Drive (the city side of Wentworth Avenue) to Mill Pond Road and the Southern Cross Drive flyover and the rail line are all in the mix but there must be an engineer’s solution to ease the congestion.  Council will keep at the RTA until one of the many options that has been considered moves from being an option to an actual project.

Nov 16, 2010

Food Inspections

Over the past couple of months, Council’s health inspectors have cast a close and careful eye over more than 130 shops and factories where food is prepared and/or sold.  Buying pre-prepared food is now an established part of all our daily lives.  Making sure that pre-prepared food is safe is a central part of Council caring for the community. It’s also part of our relentless campaign to ensure that those preparing or selling food does so with the highest hygiene and safety.  We inspect and we work with those who prepare food, making sure they are aware of all the standards that have to be met.  One slip or one cut corner can lead to illness among those who consume the food.  It’s a testament to the effectiveness of our on-going inspection and education of food outlets and factories that of all those inspected only two were issued with penalty notices.  Six were informed that they had to upgrade their operations and Council’s inspectors will be back to make sure all the necessary safety and hygiene standards are in place. Our aim is to make sure food prepared and sold in our City is of the highest standard.

Nov 15, 2010

Immunisation

I was very disturbed to read reports in the last week or so about numbers of children in the Eastern Suburbs who had not been immunised. 

For many years Council has organised free immunisation clinics every month – on the first Thursday.  These clinics enable all children to be immunised against life threatening diseases. 

A lack of immunisation increases the risk of suffering from diseases that are preventable – whooping cough, polio and many more.  Immunisation not only protects your won children but those they mix with at school, pre-school, play groups and in playgrounds. 

The monthly Council immunisation clinics are held, as I’ve said, on the first Thursday of each month in three locations – Mascot early Childhood Centre, 51 Coward Street, Mascot between 9.00am and 10.00am; the Central Library, Ground Floor Eastgardens Shopping Centre between 2.00pm and 3.00pm and again between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.  The next date the clinics will be held on is December 2.  I’ll give the dates for next year in a later column.  If you need any more details or information, contact Council’s health services staff on 9366 3666.

Hensley Field

I must confess I was a little surprised at the comments in the local paper by some people and organisations over fees and available times to use Hensley Field. The athletes, who describe themselves as “elite”, wanted to use the field when the kids from Little Athletics are using it. 

Little A’s have been using Hensley for a long time and we’ve supported them.  Were we to throw the kids off because the “elites” wanted the track?  The answer was no, resoundingly no.  The request to Council indicated there was a group of 10.  If so, the cost per athlete would be $12.50 per hour – not an outrageous amount.  The fees for Hensley were set with consultation with a wide range of people and are comparable with similar facilities.  Council also has a responsibility to our residents and ratepayers – to allow the use of local facilities with priority to locals (surprisingly the number of organisations outside the City who want special preference) and to ensure ratepayers’ funds (funds that pay for the facility) are used properly.  For that combination, we make no apology.

Nov 11, 2010

Kingsford-Smith Scouts

Scout Leader George Murray with Kingsford-Smith Scouts

A Sensible Planning Outcome in Pagewood

For the past couple of years Council has been working (and negotiating) with the Department of Planning over the future use of land in Pagewood, around Page Street, Holloway Street and Green Street – near Pagewood Primary School.  The land has been used as industrial for many, many years and Council saw an opportunity to rezone it to mixed use, including residential.  

We felt any new industrial operations right next to the school was not good planning, although we understood the Department’s policy of maintain the land as port related for employment and economic reasons. We worked through all the issues with the Department and I then invited the Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, to come and have a look. What we wanted the Minister to understand were the views of local residents and how they saw the future of this area.  

The Minister and his Department agreed with those views and a week or so ago the local planning scheme was altered to allow varying developments.  The Minister was right when he said the land off Page Street didn’t really fit within the scope of port-related. The State Government’s decision opens up some real planning opportunities for Council and local residents.  This was real cooperation and consultation between Council and the Government and one that will result in better local outcomes.
 

Mascot Library Open Day Photos

When we held the open day on Saturday October 23 to celebrate the reopening of the expanded Mascot Library and George Hanna Memorial Museum, our photographer was on hand to record the event.  As a result, we’ve got a large number of photos – with just about everyone who attended being captured.  We also organised a photographic record of the first Rhyme Time at the library, held on Wednesday October 13.  

If you were at either of these events and want to see all the photos, then call into my office on the ground floor at Eastgardens (next to our Central Library) and have a look through the proofs.  We’d be glad to print them for you so you can have a personal record of these outstanding community events.

Botany Public School Fete

Botany Public School P&C have advised me that they are in the midst of organising the school’s Spring Fete.  This great family event will be held at the school on Botany Road, Botany (where else?) on Saturday November 13 between 10am and 2pm. 

The school’s actual address is 1076 Botany Road, Botany and everyone is invited to attend. The fete will feature its own side show alley with thrills such as the Teacup ride, Dunking machine, Tiger Jumping Castle and a bungee trampoline. There will also be performances by Southern Cross Tae Kwon-Do, Shaolin Monk Group, Dynamics School of Dance, R&D School of Dance and the school’s very own dance and choir group. There will, of course, be a range of stalls, from Guess the name, Guess the weight, plants, Crazy Hair, lucky dips, popcorn and fairy floss, a white elephant stall and more.  There’s an open invitation to the community to come to our great school & enjoy a fun day at the Spring Fete.

Nov 10, 2010

Local Vets honoured

I had great pleasure last Saturday hosting a civic dinner for the members of the Botany and Mascot RSL Sub-branches.  Attending were veterans from the Second World War to those who served in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Timor and the Gulf and Iraq/Afghanistan.  Our local RSL members have been in many, many areas on conflict.

In the past, we’ve hosted events to coincide with the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the end of the Second World War. This time, what we focused on were the men and women who are our local veterans.  These men and women epitomise the Australian identity, an identity forged in war, on the cliffs of Gallipoli, in the mud of France, the sands of northern Africa and the jungles of Papua-New Guinea. The jungles of Malaya and Vietnam reinforced that identity, as did the sands of the Middle East in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Desert and jungle, sand and snow, the oceans and the skies of the world, all have seen Australian defence personnel.  It was fitting that in the lead up to Remembrance Day we honoured our local vets.










Nov 7, 2010

Disabled Parking ­ and abuses

Down in Mascot in the streets closest to the airport and where we’ve got a resident’s parking scheme, both I and local residents have noticed an increase in the number of parked cars displaying authorised disabled parking permits.  I’ve also seen more and more when I’m working in the City, especially around Macquarie Street, the courts precinct and outside St Mary’s Cathedral.  The permits grant special parking privileges to disabled persons and are issued by the RTA.  They are a great boost to the disabled and around medical centres and shopping centres they can make life easier, as they should. 

But they are also being abused by those who are not disabled and use them as a means to get all day free parking – and at times fill up spaces that should be used by genuine permit holders.  I see that in the City where the same cars are parked in almost the same spot every day and we’re starting to see it in some of the Mascot streets.  I realise some of the permits are used by disabled persons working in both the City and in our suburbs and nothing should impinge on that.  What does concern me and many I talk with is the abuse by able bodied people of the disabled permits. 

I know standing committees in both the State and Australian parliaments have investigated the issue and given that there are some 800,000 disabled parking permits issued in Australia there will, unfortunately, be some abuse.  What I would ask the State Government to look at is the possibility of imposing a, say, four hour limit on the use of disabled parking sports, with the exception, of course, of disabled person working in nearby premises.  If the disabled spots are near medical facilities and a patient is required to stay more than four hours, a simple note from a medical practitioner would override any parking infringement notice.  I’m not looking at imposing burdens or bureaucracy on those who use disabled parking permits in the spirit in which they are issued.  What I am endeavouring to do is put a halt to the abuse of this special parking spots, parking spots that are intended to assist the disabled and not the rorters.
 

Helping Learner Drivers

It’s the last one for the year – and it’s an opportunity to help our young learner drivers by helping their parents and supervisors. 

Council works with the RTA is organising and running workshops not only to help learner drivers become better drivers but also as a way to reduce serious accidents.  Statistics show that drivers aged between 17 and 20 are three times more likely to be involved in serious accidents.  Anything we can do to reduce that is worthwhile.  When we had the last workshop, just under 40 parents of aspiring young drivers came along and all felt it was a positive step.

The workshop focuses on helping Parents and Supervisors of learner drivers, and the Graduated Licensing Scheme, which requires learner drivers to have 120 hours of supervised driving practice. Places are limited and the free workshop will be held on Thursday November 18 from 5.45 - 7.45pm.  For further inquiries and registration please contact Patrick or Yasemin on 9366-3889.

Nov 3, 2010

Date for the Diary ­ Carols in the Park

Plans are well in hand for this year’s Carols in the Park which will be held on Sunday, December 12, in Mascot Memorial Park from 6pm onwards.  Organised by the Inter Church Council and sponsored by our City, this year promises to be bigger and brighter than last years.  The line up of stars for the night is still being finalised but there will be some old favourites as well as a few new surprises.  I will keep you informed.

Welcome Back LA's!

I was delighted to receive a note from Tony Vellico and the Randwick Botany Little Athletics this week advising that they are now up and running on the newly installed athletic track at Hensley and that this season has bought an increase in members with registrations still coming in! 

The growing interest in Little Athletics is obviously a combination of the new facilities, but largely I believe, due to the hard work of Tony and his committee who have been working closely with other sporting organisations to encourage youngsters to keep fit and improve their skills during the summer months.  Good Luck to all our budding athletes for the coming season.  Its not too late to join up just give Tony a call on 93494862.

Oct 30, 2010

Great Day at Mascot Library


If you weren’t at the special Mascot Library open day last Saturday, October 23 then you really missed out on a great community celebration – and some special treats.  To mark the reopening of the library after our extensive renovations – and an expansion – library staff hosted a day for just about everyone in the community.  It was a great way to reintroduce the library in Hatfield Street, Mascot and the George Hanna Memorial Museum.  By Monday everyone was still talking about the open day and the revamped library and museum.

Talking of the museum, the exhibition on Daceyville’s rich past is building in popularity and well worth a visit.  As Australia’s first public housing scheme, Daceyville has a unique history and through the exhibition that history unfolds. What was a dust bowl, sand everywhere, was Sydney’s first planned urban area with generation after generation of proud residents.  It is well worth a look when you check out our new community asset – the Mascot Library.


Here are some of the pictures of the great day. 



Oct 23, 2010

Helping Learner Drivers

It’s the last one for the year – and it’s an opportunity to help our young learner drivers by helping their parents and supervisors.

Council works with the RTA is organising and running workshops not only to help learner drivers become better drivers but also as a way to reduce serious accidents.  Statistics show that drivers aged between 17 and 20 are three times more likely to be involved in serious accidents.  Anything we can do to reduce that is worthwhile.

When we had the last workshop, just under 40 parents of aspiring young drivers came along and all felt it was a positive step. The workshop focuses on helping Parents and Supervisors of learner drivers, and the Graduated Licensing Scheme, which requires learner drivers to have 120 hours of supervised driving practice. Places are limited and the free workshop will be held on Thursday November 18 from 5.45 - 7.45pm.  For further inquiries and registration please contact Patrick or Yasemin on 9366-3889.

Oct 22, 2010

Locals have no taste for McDonald's

Southern Courier 19 October 2010 by Leesa Smith.

"Police and residents fear crime will spike again in Eastlakes if the development of a new 24-hour McDonald’s restaurant is given the green light.

A development application for the fast food venue at 279 Gardeners Rd is proposing to be built next to a previous McDonald’s store which had 24-hour-trading with a drive-through service.

Mascot crime manager Mike Birley said crime had dropped 15 per cent in Eastlakes since the restaurant on Racecourse Pde closed in August, 2007.
Detective Inspector Birley said the crimes included assaults, robberies, malicious damages, and break and enters, but did not include the significant anti-social behaviour caused from the youths using the venue as a meeting point.

He said the problems spilled out onto the park across the road and the South Point shopping centre.

“I would anticipate if another one is built we would potentially see a similar increase in crime in and around the area of McDonald’s,” he said.
“It was used by the youths for drinking and drug use but now that’s reduced because there is nothing to actually bring them to the area. But if they’ve got a food outlet they can readily access then they will utilise the park as well.”

Eastlakes resident Davina Mayfield has a petition of 200 signatures from locals who have not been informed about the application and who have the same concerns as the police.

She said Botany Bay Council originally only gave residents seven days to submit objections, but she asked for an extension, which was granted until October 29.

“Residents said they have really tried to clean up the area and the closure of McDonald’s did make a massive difference,” she said. “It’s just going to encourage kids to hang out there at all hours and just cause problems.”

A council spokesman said the process for the development was still at a very early stage and council was waiting on further information from the applicants."
http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/locals-have-no-taste-for-mcdonalds/

Mascot Library and Museum Open Day Tomorrow

Just a reminder that the newly refurbished Mascot Library and Museum will host an Open Day tomorrow Saturday October 23 to showcase its new look.

There will be a few some freebies as well as the added attraction of a sausage sizzle and animal farm.  Remember the Daceyville exhibition is on display at the museum, which is fascinating. The Library will be open from 10am to 2pm. Look forward to seeing you there.  The Daceville exhibition is fascinating.

Congratulations to John and Phyllis Reeves on their 60th Wedding Anniversary

On October 28, John and Phyllis Reeves of Vernon Avenue, Eastlakes will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. On behalf of all the people of our City I want to extend my congratulations to John and Phyliss on reaching this great milestone of life.

Oct 21, 2010

Rhyme Time Mascot Library

A popular activity with our local babies and toddlers.  Rhyme Time at Mascot Library is Wednesday 10.30am to 11.15am.


Port Botany ­ Facts or Fiction

For the last couple of editions, the Southern Courier has carried articles revolving around expansion of Port Botany, as well as a story on the official opening of the some community facilities that were part of the approval of terminal three.
 
As part of the first article, Sydney Ports Corporation advised that it could not give a forecast of expected trade and throughput for the next 30 years, adding that throughput is capped at 3.2 million teu’s, or twenty foot equivalent – containers in our understanding.
 
As one who has followed port development very closely, this rang untrue to me.  By checking submissions received by Infrastructure Australia as part of its development of a National Ports Policy, my inclinations proved to be correct.
 
The Australian Government, through Infrastructure Australia, is developing a National Ports Policy and an associated National Freight Policy. Part of that strategy development is to issue discussion papers and then call for submissions.  That, Infrastructure Australia did.
 
It was strange to me that while the Port of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Geraldton in Western Australia, the Maritime Union of Australia, the National Farmer’s Federation and the NSW Business Chamber, among others, made submissions Sydney Ports Corporation did not.  Seeing as it is the second largest container port in Australia, the absence from making a formal submission seemed strange indeed.
 
However, the NSW Department of Transport did and buried in that submission is an admission that would surprise no one.
 
The Department refuted the IA forecast and, quoting what it described as the trade simulation that NSW agency, Sydney Ports Corporation, is developing has an average growth rate of just under 6%, which puts container trade in 2029/30 at 5.8 million.
 
When queried about this inconsistency by the Southern Courier, Sydney Ports Corporation says this week that yes it gave the figures to the Department of Transport but that the figures were only preliminary.
 
In reality, the 5.8 million figure has been privately acknowledged by Sydney Ports Corporation for some time.  The corporation tends to dismiss the formal ministerial approval of Terminal 3 and the cap of 3.2 million teu’s.
The view held by the corporation is that, when necessary, it will gain government approval for the higher throughput.
 
What this means to the residents of our City, and those of our neighbours, is chaos, congestion, environmental disasters, noise and a diminution of our standard of living.
 
Foreshore Road, Bunnerong Road, sections of Botany Road, the M5East and M5West, Southern Cross Drive, the Eastern Distributor and all the streets and roads in between will feel the impacts.
 
Even with the mythical 40 per cent of movement by rail, we would still see 3,500,000 containers go via road.  If rail handled 30 per cent (and that is about the top of the real estimates), then over four million containers would be on our roads.
Either 30 per cent or 40 per cent would still mean more containers on the road than would go through the port at the capped level of 3.2 million.
 
I realise some people think I harp on this too often, but unless we keep the debate going we won’t get government action to enforce a transport mode shift from road to rail.  Unless we get that mode shift, what we’re looking at is almost beyond contemplation.
 
We won’t be able to use any of the roads out of our city – they will be blocked constantly and for the sake of the future for our residents, this debate must be continued.

Oct 15, 2010

Garden Competition Winners

It’s that time of year when, after exhaustive judging, we can announce the winners in the various categories of our Annual Garden Competition.  While there are winners, I always think that everyone who enters is a winner. All those who proudly show off their green thumbs – and those of us who just spend time in the garden – all contribute to making our City look good, whatever the time of year – even in winter.  I congratulate everyone who has been part of this year’s competition on their efforts and their hard work. I’ll be able to do that at our presentation evening. Wander around our streets and you can get the real benefits of our local gardens – private and commercial. Rather than a fitness walk or run, have an amble and take in what many of our locals have done to make their homes, and our City, look better.  
This year it was very competitive and while some familiar names grace the winners’ list there are some new comers.  
 
The winners for 2010 are:

FRONT GARDEN
1st Kolbe Family, Botany, 2nd Phillip Tomczyk, Daceyville, 3rd Roy Bilton, Botany while Jason and Riley McFadyen of Daceyville gained a Highly Commended.

REAR GARDEN
1st Pene, Logan & Hayden Ingle, Botany; 2nd Pam Vose, Mascot; 3rd Jason and Riley McFadyen, Daceyville;   Highly Commended: Sarah and David Callan of Eastlakes.

ANNUAL DISPLAY
           
Here we had two taking 1st place Dulcie Whitmore of Daceyville and Roy Bilton of Botany; 2nd Lorraine Henderson, Daceyville; 3rd Phillip Tomczyk, Daceyville with Maria Varga of Mascot: Highly Commended.

NATURE STRIP
1st Helen McLeod of Botany; 2nd Pene, Logan & Hayden Ingle, Botany; 3rd Jason and Riley McFadyen, Daceyville with Sofia Hasapis of Mascot being recognised with a Highly Commended.
 
EDIBLE GARDEN
1st Rita and Angelo Propoggia, Eastlakes; 2nd Guiseppe Raco, Mascot; 3rd The Leon Lachal Community Garden, Eastlakes while Nadia Hampartzoumian, Mascot and Pene, Logan & Hayden Ingle of Botany were all Highly Commended.
 
NATIVE GARDEN
1st The Kolbe Family, Botany; 2nd Jason and Riley McFadyen, Daceyville; 3rd Danielle Pretty, Botany and Brad Humphries of Botany was Highly Commended.

INDUSTRIAL or COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPE
1st Goodman International, 2-12 Beauchamp Road, Matraville; 2nd ING, 10-14 McPherson Street, Banksmeadow; 3rd Goodman International, McPherson Street, Banksmeadow while Botannix Studio Cafe, Botany and Sue Riley, 14-16 Green Street, Banksmeadow were both Highly Commended.
 
SCHOOL/COMMUNITY GARDEN
1st Banksmeadow Public School; 2nd John Brotchie Nursery School; 3rd The Leon Lachal Community Garden, Eastlakes; Highly Commended: Mascot Public School.
RESIDENTIAL COMMUNAL LANDSCAPE AWARD
1st Greenwood Apartments, Botany; 2nd Meriton Apartments, 635 Gardeners Road, Mascot; 3rd 19-21 Church Avenue, Mascot.  
 
OVERALL WINNER FOR AN OUTSTANDING GARDEN:  Pam Vose of Mascot, who, in the words of the judges presented a delightful garden of artistic surprise at the front with a relaxing garden in the rear with trees and mirrors.
 
 

Mascot Library Open Day October 23

The newly refurbished Mascot Library will host an Open Day on Saturday October 23 to showcase its new look.  

To celebrate there will be a few some freebies as well as the added attraction of a sausage sizzle and animal farm.  The Daceyville exhibition is on display at the museum, so it is well worth a wander through.  The Library will be open from 10am to 2pm. Look forward to seeing you there.  The Daceville exhibition is fascinating.

Swim with Libby Trickett October 24 at Botany Bay Municipal Pool Complex

Sunday October 24 the Black Dog Institute is holding a fundraising event at the Botany Bay Big Splash Municipal Pool, Myrtle Street, Botany.  

Everyone is invited to come along and support Libby who will be joined by Ky Hurst and Brendan Capell for a 100 x 100 (10 km) challenge.  Patrons can relax to the sounds of the Enormous Horns Jazz band, and watch the swimmers do the hard work!  But we do ask that you encourage them with a donation on the day.  The action gets under way from 9.45am and goes till 2pm. The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering

Oct 8, 2010

Hensley Athletics Field Today

Think Believe Create 
Hensley Field view from Grandstand Southern Side

Henslsy Field Eastern Side looking North

National Water Week ­ Free Water Crystal

National Water Week starts Sunday 17th October and serves as a timely reminder to us all about the need to conserve our most precious natural resource. Our City is very fortunate to have access to bore water to assist with irrigating our playing fields and watering our streetscape plantings. We are also doing our part by using the backwash water at the Pool to irrigate Booralee Park, installing water tanks for watering, cleaning and for the flushing of toilets, installing water saving devices throughout our facilities and promoting recycling.

All of these initiatives help to reduce our reliance on tap water. To help promote National Water Week we have a limited number of free RainSaver water crystals sachets for use on plants to give away through our Central Library at Eastgardens. Just call into the Library next week to pick up your free sample - be quick, stocks are limited.

Remember, every drop counts!

Oct 5, 2010

Bowen Scholarship

For those of you who are thinking about further studies in 2011 then after the exams are all done give some thought to applying for our Lionel Bowen Scholarship.  Applications don’t close until after the first round of offers next year, so put it in your diary to look at December!  The winning applicant can apply to be reimbursed for up to $2000 expenditure for their studies.  This can include books, computers, ipods, study desks, excursions or travel to and from uni or your place of study.  

Applications can be downloaded from the website, or picked up from Council or if you call my office on 93663600 one can be mailed to you. Just remember to apply you must be a resident of the City of Botany Bay.

Aged Pensioners Pool Pass

Just a reminder if you are an Aged Pensioner who lives within the City of Botany Bay entry is free.  Simply fill in an application form when you arrive at the pool for your first visit and you will be issued with your season pass.  Aged Pension Cards must be shown. The season pass is not transferable and admits only one aged person.  The pool, home of the Botany Big Splash Waterslides, opened its gates for the summer over the weekend.  Hopefully the weather will be kind and we will all have a great season enjoying the activities on offer including the 50 metre pool, the toddlers wading pool and the well kept grass area together with picnic tables and barbeques.  

Oct 1, 2010

Do Not feed the Birds

In the old Mary Poppins movie Julie Andrews sings “Feds the Birds” and shows an old lady in Hyde Park feeding the pigeons.  That may have been ok 46 years ago, but today we strongly urge our residents NOT to feed the pigeons.  Pigeons today are a pest in our suburbs as they scavenge for food.  I have received some ongoing concerns from residents regarding pigeons and the big question is always how to get rid of them.  There are Pest Control who specialise in Bird control, or there are a range of items that one can purchase, such as a Bird Gard Kite or pigeon spikes that can be attached to flat areas or one can simply tie shiny fabric that floats in the breeze to deter them.

Please I urge all our residents DO NOT FEED these birds your old bread scraps, either in your back yard or our parks, as it cause problems for your neighbourhood.  A good website is http://www.birdgard.com.au

Sep 30, 2010

Bicycles on footpaths

I have received a number of letters this week from residents concerned about adults riding their bikes on the footpath.  It is illegal for adults to ride on the footpath, unless you are supervising a child under the age of 12.  Children under 12 years of age can ride on a footpath.

Shared paths: Across NSW there are paths that can be used by both pedestrians and bicycle riders, such as the newly constructed shared cycleway along Wentworth Avenue. These will be clearly signposted. Always travel at a speed that promotes safety for you and the pedestrians you encounter.

Ban on Trans Fat

In October 2009 the Hon. Bob Carr, the former Premier of New South Wales, was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Local Government Association.  In what the Daily Telegraph described on 27th October, 2009 as an impassioned speech, Mr Carr called on New South Wales councils to stop children “being poisoned” by fatty, salty and calorie laden fast food.  Mr. Carr asserted that councils had the power to force manufacturers to stop using dangerous fats – such as hydrogenated, saturated and trans fats – and could force restaurant chains to display the calorie content of meals on menus.

Mr Carr said; “trans fats are poison, a paediatrician from Macarthur said to me recently. Food manufacturers find it best for doughnuts and biscuits, they load them up with trans fats. They are devastating - they reduce good cholesterol and increase the bad stuff. It’s murderous to your health.” I pointed out to Council when those comments were made that Mr Carr
would readily appreciate that New South Wales councils do not have the legislative power to introduce such legislation.  What he suggests is something that could only be implemented by the New South Wales Parliament or  the Commonwealth Parliament.

However, councils could utilise powers under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, by conditioning development consents in certain circumstances on the basis that it is addressing a serious health issue. In determining any Development Application, councils are required to consider, what is contained in s79C, the public interest. There can be no greater public interest than that of the Nation’s and the community’s health. This may not be a solution but may prompt the State or Commonwealth Legislature out of their apathy/

The banning of trans fats might be novel in Australia, but this is not the case overseas. As early as March 2003 by Executive Order, the Danish Government required major reductions in trans fat.
And on the 25 July, 2008 the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzeneggar signed legislation, Assembly Bill 97, or AB 97, that in effect will phase out the use of trans fats in all California restaurants by the beginning of 2010 and from all baked foods by 2011.

Governor Schwarzenegger announced that “California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first State in the Nation to phase out trans fats”. The Governor said “consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step towards creating a healthier future for California.”

 In signing the legislation, the Governor drew the attention of Californians to scientific evidence that demonstrated a strong association between the consumption of artificial trans fat and the development of coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as other chronic conditions such as diabetes. The Governor drew attention to the article published by Susan Okie, M.D. on 17 May, 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine where the author suggested eliminating artificial trans fats from the food supply could prevent between 6 and 19 percent of heart attacks and related deaths each year in the United States. Governor Schwarzenegger indicated that coronary heart disease was the leading cause of death in California, and AB 97 was a strong step towards removing this harmful substance from foods that Californians purchase and consume.

In the City of New York, the Board of Health took steps to ban trans fats, making it the first city in the US to ban the use of what are considered to be artery-clogging artificial trans fats in restaurants – from the corner pizzeria to the high end bakeries. The determination by the Board of Health stated that restaurants in New York were barred from using most frying oils containing artificial trans fats by July of 2007 and had to eliminate the artificial trans fats from all their foods by July 2008.

The US National Restaurant Association was outraged saying: “we don’t think that a Municipal Health Agency has any business banning a product the Food and Drug Administration has recently approved.” Rejecting the outcry from the vested interest groups, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “nobody wants to take away your French fries and hamburgers – I love those things too.”  He added “that if you can make them with something that is less damaging to your health, we should do that.”
To me, that is logical and sensible.

On the other side of the world in the State of New South Wales, the State Government’s Food Authority refers to what it considered to be considerable controversy surrounding the safety and use of trans fats both over overseas and in Australia.  The NSW Food Authority asserts  “studies show Australia has one of the lowest levels of exposure to trans fats in the world and is well within World Health Organisation’s recommendations for trans fat consumption.”

The Authority advises that despite that, it is working with the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand in conducting formal scientific reviews of trans fat in our food supply. And, as well, it is working with the National Heart Foundation of Australia, the Dieticians’ Association of Australia and the food industry itself to develop strategies for further reducing trans fats in food.

I don’t consider, as the NSW Food Authority does, that there is considerable controversy surrounding the safety use of trans fats overseas and in Australia. The controversy rises when a government seeks to eliminate trans fats and this action impacts on and is opposed by the vested interest groups.

The NSW Food Authority publishes on its website that, trans fats are trans fatty acids. Fatty acids, together with glycerine, are the main building blocks of all fats and oils. Trans fatty acids are unsaturated but, unlike the “good” unsaturated fatty acids found in fish and vegetable oils, trans fats behave similarly to saturated fats in the body and have similar health issues. The New South Wales Food Authority advises that trans fats can be found naturally in meat and milk from certain animals and as a product of fats and oils altered by industrial processes, such as hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is widely used to solidify liquid vegetable oils to make products such as margarines and shortenings and involves adding hydrogen to the oils. Trans fats are not formed through deep frying food in vegetable oils. Commercially produced fats such as margarine spreads, fats used in deep frying and fats used in pastry dough, are likely to contain some trans fats.

In addressing the question “Are trans fats bad?”, the NSW Food Authority makes the salient point that “trans fats and saturated fats increase the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower the ‘good’ cholesterol levels.” “This,” the Authority adds, “can cause a number of serious health problems.”

It is my view that Mr Carr was right about one thing in respect to councils and that is that we are the tier of government that can make a difference straight away. It is nearly a year ago that Council adopted a policy to address this serious health problem whereby Conditions of Consent are attached to any Development Application, or variation of a Development Application, that relates to any food retail outlets, food manufacturer or food suppliers by applying the same prohibitions that were enacted by the New York City. We are about to undertake a review of the effectiveness of that policy but I suspect unless the food industry is compelled by legislation to address the issues in the same way as some other countries we will as Mr. Carr asserted just contine to allow children to be “poisoned” by fatty, salty and calorie laden fast food
 

HSC fast approaching

With the school holidays coming to a close our HSC students are gearing up for the “grand finale.”  I am sure they will be feeling lots of mixed emotions over the next few weeks.  Excitement and sadness at the realisation that they have no more “school,” yet nervous at the weeks ahead as they do their HSC exams.  As I told my two sons on many occasions during this time it doesn’t matter whether you choose tertiary study or work as long as you give yourself options.

Study hard, have no regrets, and simply do your best. On behalf of myself, and my colleagues, I wish all those about to embark on their HSC exams all the best, and every success.  

A Quiet place

And don’t forget if you are looking for a quiet place to study the Central Library at Eastgardens is a good place to start and the staff will only be too happy to help if you need to find a reference or book.  Over the next few weeks the staff open up the Committee Room as well when it is not booked. Mascot Library also has quiet areas, particularly the new study rooms upstairs.  

Sep 29, 2010

The Youngest New Aussie

School Crossing safety improvements

Council will begin work in Brighton Street, Banksmeadow, in front of the Banksmeadow Public School to improve the safety of the children’s pedestrian crossing.  Complaints about the crossing were subject to a report and inspection by the Local Traffic Committee.  The Committee which is comprised of the representatives from the RTA, the Local Police and the two State Members of Parliament, have made a number of recommendations to Council which will be implemented immediately and carried out during the school holidays.  The safety of the many children who use the crossing on a regular basis is paramount.

Sep 28, 2010

Ports Minister takes a stand

At last we have a Minister for Ports who is actually prepared to do the right thing when it comes to moving freight from Port Botany. I commend the new Minister, the Hon Eric Roozendaal for slapping a ban on Patrick’s planned price hike for rail access to Port Botany and his announcement that he would be regulating freight prices.  As the Minister rightly stated the stevedore’s unjustified act not only held everyone in the supply chain to "ransom" but it also went against the spirit of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) framework of moving 40% of freight by rail.  

There is no justification for a new rail charge. It will force more trucks onto our roads.  There is a long way to go to ensuring that the Port Botany Expansion does not completely clog our streets and roads with trucks, but the strong stance shown by the Minister last week is encouraging, and it reassuring that we now a Minister who is committed to meeting the target of moving 40 percent of freight by rail.  

New Learn to Swim Programs at Pool

Last week I received emails from about twenty or so residents in relation to Council’s decision to call for Expressions of Interest for the Learn to Swim program at the City of Botany Bay Municipal Pool and complaining about Council’s  decision to  award the right to conduct such program to Pamstream Aquatic and Leisure Management.
 
I was a little perplexed by so many people writing to me on behalf of only one applicant for an Expression of Interest, suggesting somehow I had some right to interfere in a public tender process. Never in the entire time in office had I ever been requested by so many people to do something, that had I endeavoured to do, would have been so improper,  it could have been considered to be corrupt conduct.

Learn to Swim classes for the 2009/2010 swim season which was formerly conducted by Seas the Limit terminated when the pool closed for winter in April of this year. During the off season Council, like any efficient organisation should, conducted a review of all of the operations at the swimming complex which included the Learn to Swim Program.  In August 2010 Expressions of Interests for the program were called for Learn to Swim Classes to be conducted on the re-opening of the pool in October. Council Officers  judged each Expression of Interest on its merits and Council awarded Learn to Swim program rights to Pamstream Aquatic and Leisure Management from when the pool opens.
 
Ratepayers and residents would expect council, as is required, to work through a proper process and to consider a number of factors and apply weightings to those factors.  To do otherwise would be improper.  As a public authority Council must ensure that the proper return on ratepayer’s assets is a primary responsibility.  Not to do so would be an abuse of that trust.  Council has not worked so hard, and succeed to be one of the very few council’s that is  DEBT FREE by not properly managing ratepayers assets.
 
This Council cannot not make a decision solely based on an orchestrated campaign from fee paying customers of a competing applicant who had submitted an Expression of Interest, and who would gain financially from such a determination. Nor could Council officers be influenced by a media campaign from a group of residents threatening to take their custom elsewhere.  Again, to influence the independent determinations of the Expression of Interest, had the council been so influenced, would have been improper and, could be regarded as corrupt conduct. As would any attempt by any elected representative to interfere in that process.
            
Council’s decision does not relate to any swim club that may wish book or use the facility.  The facility remains to be used and hired in accordance with Council’s policies. This decision only affects the financial interests of those who submitted Expressions of Interest. Anyone has the right to attend Learn to Swim classes or swimming clubs at either Council’s facility or any other facility where similar services are available. They do not have the right to ask me do to do something unlawful or improper.
 
            

Sep 26, 2010

Windgap triumph at Local Gala Day

Jellicoe Park was the location for a great day of football when our local Windgap Warriors took on the MRS (Multicultural Respite Services). I am told there was a lot riding on one particular match which last year ended in a 7all draw.  Well, each team must have got that much better this year as it still ended in a draw only this time it was 11all. Both teams have vowed to return to battle it out again next year!  The day was organised by Windgap, Pagewood Football Club and the Special Olympics Team New South Wales.  Well done to the Windgap Warriors who have been training with the Pagewood Football Club for the past couple of years.

Pool Opens next weekend

Botany Aquatic Centre, home of the Botany Big Splash Waterslides, will open its gates on Saturday October 2 for the summer season. Hopefully the weather will be kind and we all have a great season enjoying the activities on offer including the 50 metre pool, the toddlers wading pool and the well kept grass area together with picnic tables and barbeques. Just a reminder if you are an Aged Pensioner who lives within the City of Botany Bay entry is free.  Simply fill in an application form when you arrive at the pool for your first visit and you will be issued with your season pass.  Aged Pension Cards must be shown. The season pass is not transferable and admits only one Aged person.

Sep 23, 2010

Little Athletics back on the track

The 2010 season for Randwick Botany Little Athletics is off and running … training on the new track will begin in October but in the meantime they are all warming up at Mutch Park for the big comeback! Registrations for this season are up but they are always ready to welcome any young athlete who wants to train and have fun.  Joining Little A’s is the perfect way to get an edge over your team mates for next seasons winter sports.  Increase your speed and agility and run rings around your mates on the footie field next season! Give Tony Vecellio a call on 93494862 and find out how you can keep fit, have fun and improve your athletic skills all at the same time.

Sep 22, 2010

School holidays in the Library

The library staff have organised some events to keep local school children occupied during the holidays.  

First up is Christmas Baubles -
Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to prepare than making your own Christmas baubles to decorate the Christmas tree.  You will have an opportunity to use different techniques to create a wide range of effects for your personalised baubles.  You’ll need to book for these sessions which will be held on Monday, 27th September between 2:30 – 4:30 pm and Tuesday, 5th October between 10:00am and 12:00 noon. This one is for those aged over 6 and there is a small charge of $3 per child per session to cover costs.  Call Candy at the Central Library Eastgardens on 9366 3888 to make your booking.

“Backyard Bugs” show  This one is not for the faint hearted.  Rangers on the Run will visit the Central Library at Eastgardens on Friday, 1st October  between 10.30am and 11.30am with their show Backyard Bugs which focuses on the world of mini beasts. Three groups of bugs are investigated– Myriapods, Insects and Arachnids. Backyard Bugs is totally interactive and allows children to hold and screaming! Backyard Bugs is for those aged 4 and over and bookings are essential as places are limited. There is an entry fee of $3 per child, which includes one parent per family (if desired). Bookings need to be made in person to Candy on 9366 3888.

Sep 21, 2010

Playgrounds - upgrades and improvements


Our outdoor staff are very excited about two new “regional” playgrounds that are underway and, when finished, will complement the very popular Booralee Park playground, in Botany.  If you’re around Jellicoe Park you’ll see that excavation is progressing for the new playground.

The first lot of new equipment is due in the next week or so and we plan to have this new playground open for the Christmas school holidays.  The new playground in Sir Joseph Banks Park is about 40% done and we plan to have it at a safe level by the end of next month – for “testing” by the kids who live in the area.  All other playgrounds  - there are 46 in total, varying in size – are also being inspected in preparation for the warmer months when the kids have energy to burn on swings, slides and all the other playground equipment.  Some of our smaller ones, which meet the needs of the children living nearby, need some updated equipment and soft fall and the like. We’ll be doing the work progressively as we match population statistics to playgrounds.  What we do is check the population figures, see where there are children of different age groups and plan playgrounds to meet the particular needs.  

Sep 20, 2010

Special weeks coming...

In the next couple of months we have some special weeks to celebrate and promotions to organise.  First is National Water Week (in October) when we’ll place emphasis on saving water while keeping gardens and communities sustainable.  After that we’re into National Recycling Week (in November) when we’ll be focusing on recycling and reuse of resources.  In the next few weeks I’ll give more information about these events and not only what we’re doing but also some of the special things we’ve got planned.

Sep 19, 2010

Athletics Associations

With the new season of little athletics ready to launch forth on the track and facilities at the upgraded Hensley Athletics Field, the difference in athletics between the various levels of competition has never been more apparent. We will have at Hensley a new season of great competition by young athletes who are the future of their various disciplines.

To watch them any Saturday is to see athletics at its most exuberant. I contrast that with the organisation of athletics at the national level. Remember when we were going through all the planning for the Hensley upgrade and the criticism we got. The alleged elite athletes were our constant critics. Nothing we were doing was right. Our crime at the stage was not to hand over a valued community asset to a small group of athletes who, in their minds, knew better than us We resisted the entreaties of the critics and went ahead and delivered a new community asset that will benefit our City and athletics in our region for generations.
 
This was brought home to me in the past week when reigning Commonwealth 400 meter champion John Steffensen withdrew from the Australian team for the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
 
He withdrew because of the inflexibility and bureaucratic mindset of officials in Athletics Australia – one of the organisations that was used to criticise us over Hensley.
 
Steffensen is the Commonwealth champion and he won’t be competing in the Commonwealth Games.
 
His crime, as far as the officials were concerned, was that he had to follow their inflexible rules when it came to qualifying.
He’d had a back operation and wanted an exemption on qualifying. His operation was timed so that he could compete in Delhi – but that wasn’t good enough for the black and white bureaucrats who love their official roles.
 
If he didn’t run to qualify – and that would have been after surgery – his spot could be guaranteed.
Even though he was the champion, others with lesser times could take the spot. The official inflexibility means the Commonwealth champion won’t be at the Commonwealth Games representing Australia. Steffensen isn’t the only one.
 
Long distance runner and Melbourne Commonwealth Games hero Craig Mottram was another.
Mottram had an Achilles tendon injury and could do the qualifiers.  Others have filled the places and he’s left out.
 
Having had some experience with athletics officials, I cannot only sympathise with John Steffensen and Craig Mottram, I see but don’t understand the bloody mindedness of athletics officials.
 
These two elite athletes experienced it in their quest to represent their nation.
 
We saw it, on a much smaller scale, over the redevelopment of Hensley.
We persevered and produced a community asset for this City. Our community won.  Steffensen and Mottram lost and athletics is the poorer for that loss. But the officials go on regardless.