Aug 31, 2010

Proposed New Off-Leash Dog Area

For some time Council has been working through possibilities for an additional off-leash area for dogs in our City.  We already have an area at Astrolabe Park in Daceyville so that dogs can run free and I’ve had quite a few requests from other residents for an additional area in Botany.  One of the problems with our City is the density of living and making sure we have enough greens space for residents as well as dogs.  

The most obvious place has been Sir Joseph Banks Park but fitting in an off-leash area with the existing playgrounds, walking tracks, bike paths and the natural bushland areas has not been easy. We’ve got native wildlife in the bushland and waterways at Sir Joseph Banks Park and to allow dogs to run free just wouldn’t be compatible. So, after a lot of thought and study, we’ve picked the western side of Hayden Place Reserve in Sir Joseph Banks Park as the most appropriate place. The Hayden Place Reserve is largely open grassland with established trees on the fringes.  It’s about 4,000 square metres in size and that’s sufficient for dogs to get their exercise.  

The area would be fenced off so that the recreational spaces on the eastern part of the reserve could continue to be used as they are presently and exercising dogs won’t intrude.  Along with the fence we’ll also have water for the dogs and bins where dog droppings can be discarded. We’ll also add to the trees and shrubs around the outside of the area. There are some nearby houses and in the weeks ahead we’re going to let them know what we plan and gauge reactions.  If all goes well during the consultation, we will move quickly to get this off-leash area ready for our local canines to get their exercise.  The rest of Sir Joseph Banks Park will remain unchanged for dogs – they have to be on leashes and we ask owners to clean up after their dogs.  I would welcome resident’s comments on this location and any feed back they might wish to provide.

$4.5m facelift to go long distance at Hensley

Southern Courier - 17 August 2010 - by Leesa Smith and Photos by Alan Pace. See story and more photos at

Botany benefits from Orica clean-up

Botany benefits from Orica clean-up - Southern Courier - 30 August 2010 by Leesa Smith

"Botany Bay Council will pump more money into local playgrounds after finally accepting $100,000 from Orica, a chemical plant in Botany.

Botany Mayor Ron Hoenig announced at the council meeting last Wednesday that Orica, as part of its community programs, had proposed to donate $100,000 for playgrounds or other infrastructure.

Mr Hoenig said council had always rejected any financial offers from Orica in the past but accepted this offer because the company had cleaned up its act.

'In recent years Orica has been cooperative in the clean up of the polluted ground water and working for the removal of the stored HCB’s,' he said. 'The changed attitude and approach by Orica should be encouraged by the community and Council is prepared to accept the company’s offer.'

Council will decide which of the proposed playgrounds should be allocated the funds.

Work has started on the area’s second regional playground, Sir Joseph Banks Park, which is expected to be finished by the end of November.

Also a design brief will be conducted for a district playground at Mascot Park."

Aug 30, 2010

District Playground ­ Mascot Park

As we’ve got the playground in Booralee and we’re working in Sir Joseph Banks Park, I don’t want anyone to think we’ve forgotten other parts of the City in the provision of playgrounds for our youngest residents.

Last week we approved the commencement of a design brief for a district playground at Mascot Park.
Whereas a regional playground is designed to cater for the widest possible age ranges in children, a district playground is more specific and for Mascot Park we can cater for the younger age groups.
Again, we’re matching facilities with demographics. In the past five to 10 years we’ve seen increases in residential development in this area, boosted by our Mascot Station precinct development and the Airport Rail Link.
The latest census statistics we have shows that the area around Mascot Park – Gardeners Road to the north, Botany Road to the east, King Street to the south and Alexandria Canal to the west – show that 22% of the population are children aged 0 to 19.  A significantly larger proportion of children are in the 0-4 year age group – those for whom a playground is important.
There are a lot of residential flat and unit buildings in this area, which makes the provision of playgrounds even more important.
Mascot Park and the adjoining Mascot Oval are approximately 3.8 hectares in size and the Mascot Park section is largely undeveloped, with scattered trees, gardens beds, seat and older style playground equipment at the southern end.
What we’re looking at is a large scale district playground at the Coward Street end, which our research shows is the most appropriate location to cater for existing and future residents.
We also intend to further embellish the playground with a cycle/walking/jogging path in a north-south direction that will, again, cater for local residents.  There will also be picnic areas, covered seating, security lighting, bins, drinking fountains and Council’s landscape team will ensure that this area will look great and inviting.

Aug 29, 2010

Hensley Athletics Field

Two Saturdays ago I had the privilege to preside over the first day of competition at the upgraded Hensley Athletics Field.  It was a great day and a day that ushered in a new era for sport in our City.

To witness the display of skills from Randwick-Botany Little Athletics and Pagewood Soccer was, to me, the best way to set the scene for the future of Hensley.  The exuberance, the passion for their sport and the skills they showed auger well for the future of sport in this part of Sydney.

After the display of skills by the Little A’s and Pagewood, It was the curtain raiser for the first match on the new centre pitch – between the under 13s of Sydney University and Central Coast.  A strong local team and their visitors from the outside of Sydney illustrated the reach of the new Hensley Athletic Field.

The only thing that didn’t go well on the day was the inability of the Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, to attend. Mr Albanese was otherwise occupied on electoral matters.

The upgrade and expansion of the Hensley into a multi-sport facility was only possible by the actions of this Minister and the Australian Government.  It was because of the Australian Government’s decision to deal directly with local government in economic stimulus projects that we got any action on Hensley.  We had knocked on so many doors in so many government departments and offices in the past, seeking support for Hensley.  We got nowhere.  We got to the stage where we seriously considered closing Hensley down.

Anthony Albanese and the Australian Government listened and acted. They did it for Hensley, they did it for the new pedestrian/cycle link between Mascot and Eastgardens and they did it for the Mascot Library.

Each of these projects will benefit the people of our City now and for the future.  Council could have done none of them by itself.  We needed help and we got it.  For those reasons, I want to place on the public record our appreciation of Anthony Albanese and the Australian Government.

At this stage we don’t know the outcome of last Saturday’s federal election but we do know the assistance and the support this City received from Mr Albanese and the Government of which he is a senior member.

Aug 28, 2010

Answers for some school projects

In the last week or so I’ve had a number of emails from some of our local primary school students asking questions for school projects.  It seems our local students have been assigned projects on local government – which I think is great.  To better understand local government, the tier of government closest to and most reflective of the people, is to better understand civics.  And, in the days following the Federal Election with the inherent national focus, means these projects can bring students closer to government.  

I was asked to explain Council wards.  These are the areas that a local government area is split into so that the councillors elected from a ward more closely represent that ward. Our City is split into wards with roughly equal numbers of resident/electors.  This means more effective and equal representation. Each councillor represents a ward. To answer another question, the six councillor who represents our wards are: Councillor George Glinatsis, Councillor Brian Troy, Councillor Anne Slattery, Councillor Stan Kondilios, Councillor Greg Mitchell and Councillor Mark Castle.  As Mayor I do not represent any particular ward but am elected by all the resident/electors of the City.  I applaud the interest in local government being shown by these school projects and I hope my answers to questions I’ve received will help. Civics is a great subject to study.

Remembering forever VP Day

On the August 15 we recognized VP Day which coincides with the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day). Keep 45 Alive Committee is assisting the Australian War Memorial and the National Library of Australia in creating a living memory of VP Day in 1945.

On August 15, 1945 the then Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced: “Fellow citizens, the War is over.”  Australia reacted to the news with wild celebrations – right across the nation. Via the RSL, a group of volunteers is working to record memories of that momentous day.  While the numbers of people who celebrated VP Day is dwindling, we need to collect and keep their individual stories – their whereabouts, their emotions and their activities of that day in August so long ago.  A website has been established ( <> ) as the gateway for the collection of the stories and I’d urge those who remember that day to participate in the preservation of an important day in our nation’s history.  VP Day in Australia was the day when, perhaps, the greatest celebration this nation has ever witnessed took place.  Let’s not let it be forgotten.

Aug 26, 2010

M5East Taskforce Formed

I have received in my capacity as President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils a request from the Mayor of Bankstown, Cr Tania Mihailuk, seeking my participation in a taskforce to push the need for expansion of the M5East with the federal and state governments.

I congratulate the Mayor of Bankstown for her initiative as it builds on what we’ve been doing in this City for the last few years.  We have focused on the traffic outfalls of the expansion of Port Botany while Cr Mihailuk is focused the delays and congestion on the M5East.

As representative of local government, Cr Mihailuk and I are not that far apart.  While I have been vocal, and consistent, in my campaign for both the state and federal governments to address the need to boost rail as a more significant mode of transport for the containers that will come over the wharves at Port Botany, Cr Mihailuk is looking at the traffic implications from Campbelltown to Mascot and beyond.

She is quite right when she says that in addition to current congestion, growth pressures will further erode the operation of the M5. I quote from her letter:

“The development of the south west growth centre in the Camden, Campbelltown and Liverpool Local Government Areas is likely to see an additional 100,000 homes over the next 30 years and an additional 100,000 homes are predicted in established areas along the M5 corridor.”

Cr Mihailuk acknowledges the adverse impacts on both the M5 and the M5East when the third terminal at Port Botany comes into operation between 22012 and 2013.

What the Mayor of Bankstown is proposing is that Mayors along the M5 corridor, from Campbelltown through to us, and the presidents of the regional organisations of councils participate in a task force.  The aim of the task force is to advocate to state and federal governments that a firm timetable be put in place for the M5East duplication and other important projects to upgrade the capacity of the entire M5 corridor.

She is right to demand firm commitments from government. Unless we get some movement on this vital corridor then its impacts will be felt right across Sydney.  It is a vital corridor and it is vital for freight, for commercial traffic and for commuter traffic.

Council has agreed to participate in the task force and the Deputy Mayor Cr George Glinatsis will represent us.  

Regional Playground ­ Sir Joseph Banks Park

When Council created at Booralee Park the first of our new initiative of regional playgrounds we really had no idea of the success it would prove to be among local residents.  We always thought it would be successful but, almost from the moment it was opened, the playground at Booralee has been packed.  Go down any afternoon and you will see children, watched by their mothers and carers, having fun on the equipment.
Based on that success, we’ve embarked on our second regional playground – down in Sir Joseph Banks Park.  What we’re doing is to expand the existing playground with a whole new area and a central shelter for parents so they can supervise children.
The playground is for those under 12 and will have rockers, swings, a pod swing, the biibox climbing and activity structure, a climbing hut and, in the middle of a sandpit, a Kompan waterfall, which is an activity centre for younger children.
Last week, we added a parents’ and carers’ shelter, which had not been in our original plans.
By November of this year, we will have our second regional playground as we expand the special facilities we provide for our City’s youngest residents.  As we’ve done in the past, we match demand for playgrounds with the actual provision of playgrounds. Via examination of census statistics, we determine where there will be an increased demand for playgrounds due to a rise in the number of children.
As our City grows, our demographics change and we’re seeing more and more young families move into our suburbs, creating a need for playgrounds.
I think we’ve kept pace with growing demand and our playgrounds, both new and existing, have become a welcome place for children and those who supervise the children.

Aug 25, 2010

The Origins of Mascot

Suburb Takes off with airport- Southern Courier 24 August 2010 by work experience student James Mcdonald

Mascot rose from humble beginnings as a scattering of dairy farms, piggeries and gardens on the outskirts of Sydney. Today, the suburb is one of Sydney’s most eclectic, featuring residential areas nestled among industrial and commercial areas, including Australia’s largest airport.

Maie Barrow, the archivist at Mascot Library, said Mascot’s journey through time had been a unique and interesting one. “Back in the mid-1800s, this was a long way from the city and people were out here living the country life,” she said.

The push to incorporate began as residents demanded roads and infrastructure, which required ratepayer funding. This was resisted by the farmers and industrialists, but in 1888 the area became the municipality of North Botany, alongside the sister borough of Botany. At the time, the area had a population of 2000 in 400 dwellings.

After incorporation, it was decided that Botany would be a pleasant place to live. Applications for slaughterhouses, poultry farms and boiling-down works were refused.

“This went on until 1911 when the people decided they didn’t want to be called North Botany anymore,” Mrs Barrow said. “What they really wanted to be called was Ascot, like the racecourse.”

The postmaster-general vetoed the name because there was an existing Ascot in Victoria, and after a competition for a new name, Mascot was chosen by referendum, ahead of Boronia and Booralee.

“Mascot went on happily until the big amalgamations in 1948, when the Mascot became part of Botany,” Mrs Barrow said.

Today the suburb of Mascot continues under the City of Botany Bay and while the times have changed, the memories remain.

“The racing industry has been quite important in Mascot for a very long time,” Mrs Barrow said. “The whole area used to have a lot of pony clubs and two racecourses. The owners of the horses weren’t rich, they were ordinary people.”

At the old Rosebery Racecourse there was a thriving trade in race- related industries, including gambling.

“I have met many an elderly gentleman who now tells me that he was a bookie’s runner in his youth, and it kept him in pocket money,” Mrs Barrow said.

“The airport came and it swallowed up the old racecourse but it was exciting in its own way. People tell me they used to visit their friends in Lauriston Park, which has now disappeared completely. On weekends, they would sit on the back porch and look at the planes taking off.”

Outstanding Council Service

Last Thursday night in the recently reopened Mascot Library I hosted a small celebration which recognised over 1300 years of service.  What we did was recognise those who work for Council, and our community, with more than 20 years service.  The longevity of the commitment to our City that we experience with Council employees is actually quite remarkable.  We recognised 38 employees with 20 years service as well as 12 with more than 30 years.  The longest serving Council employee has a remarkable 41 years of service.  All up, there was over 1300 years of proudly working for our City.  I reckon we’re probably pretty unique in local government.

Aug 24, 2010

Hensley Field's first event!

The massive upgrade and revitalisation of Hensley Field took another big step on Saturday August 14 when we saw the local Little Athletics and the young players from Pagewood Soccer take to the playing fields for the first time. The young athletes showed their skills and then performed a march past as the curtain raiser to the first football match on the new soccer pitch.

In partnership with the Australian Government, a new multi-sport, multi-user facility has been created giving new life – and a new future – to the Hensley Athletics Field, perhaps our most important sporting facility since it was established in the mid 1960’s.  The new facility will continue to be the home of the more than 550 members of Randwick-Botany Little Athletics as well as the venue for numerous school athletics carnivals.  In addition, the new synthetic football pitch in the centre of the field will be able to host soccer (as we saw on Saturday), rugby league and rugby union.

The “new” Hensley meets just about all the international sporting conditions and is already being looked at as part of Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup. We’ve still got to finish of the last coat on the running track and set up the lanes – unfortunately wet weather has held us back.  The athletics part of the venue, with new facilities for competitors and spectators, will be ready for the beginning of the athletics season next month.   In the meantime, the great time all the young athletes had last Saturday more than showed what a success it is, and will be.

Aug 23, 2010

An historical walk through Daceyville

Every year Council gets involved with History Week, a week when different aspects of our history are brought to the fore. We are what we were – and through History Week we can see exactly who we were and how we are what we are now. This year the theme of History Week is “Faces in the Street” – the people, the characters and the personalities that shaped our lives. Across Sydney there will be many and varied events during History Week, including ours.  

What’s planned for our City is a walk through Daceyville on Saturday September 4 where the names on the street signs are brought to life with the stories of the people whose names adorn our Daceyville streets.  The streets of the planned garden suburb of Daceyville, laid out so soon after the First World War, are, as is to be expected, carry more than the usual military theme.  We have the generals – Haig and Joffre – the men who planned the campaigns in France that saw so many die for a few metres of smashed soil. We have Colonel Braund Crescent, named after the first Member of Parliament to enlist and die for his nation.  There’s Jacka Crescent, named after the solider who was awarded Australia’s first Victoria Cross at Gallipoli – and who probably should have been awarded at least another VC if the generals had not intervened. Many other soldiers’ names are remembered on our Daceyville street signs.  

Council’s esteemed archivist Maie Barrow will join with our heritage librarian Mark Butler in the walk around Daceyville and enlighten participants with the stories behind the names on the signs.  Like all good events, this one is free but you will need to book, which you can by calling our Central Library on 9366 3888. The tour is between 2.00pm and 3.30pm on Saturday, September 4 and everyone will meet on the corner of General Bridges Crescent (yet another general) and Bunnerong Road at Daceyville.  If we get a lot of bookings (which I think we will) we would run another walking tour on Thursday September 9, again between 2.00pm and 3.30pm.  Whether they do it once or twice, Maie and Mark will present a fascinating expose of some of the history of a unique suburb in not only our City but also across Sydney.

Aug 15, 2010

Dogs and cars and the law

Recurring in my community conversations are issues over parking and dogs.  Now I’m not anti-dog (I like dog and, no, some of my best friends are not dogs) but like the overwhelming majority of local dog owners, I don’t want to see mess on the streets or in parks.  Let dogs run free down at Astrolabe Park, take them for walks along our streets and down in Sir Joseph Banks Park but clean up after them.

Next issue that comes up when talking to locals is the lack of consideration when it comes to parking cars.  If a mum or dad, or grandparents, are talking very young children for walks in prams or strollers then they don’t need cars parked on footpaths of over nature strips blocking the way.  Think before you park is the message I want to get out.

If you ignore community commonsense – or the local regulations – then it could be costly.  In the past few months our rangers have impounded dogs, issued warnings and penalty notices and booked a lot of cars that were inappropriately parked – including my particular bugbear, parking in disabled parking spaces.  The rangers will continue to be out and about and if someone does the wrong thing then they’ll pay the price.  For that I don’t apologise.

Congrats to Madge and Philip Charlier

A local couple will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in the next couple of days and they’re in for a surprise.  After 40 years in Hillsdale they now live in retirement on the north coast and, as such won’t see the Southern Courier so the surprise won’t be spoiled.  Madge and Philip Charlier celebrate their milestone on August 18 and I would reckon the family has something in store for them. To both Madge and Philip we add our congratulations to the family’s for this special occasion.

Walking is good

Just an early notice – Friday October 1 will be “Walk to Work” day.  It’s been going for eight years and grows in popularity each year.  I don’t walk to me day job but, as much as possible, I walk around our streets – it not only keeps me fit but is the way I see at first hand what’s going on and I can talk to our residents on the way. I’ll give more information about “Walk to Work” day in the weeks ahead but, for now, put it in the electronic calendars so you can join with thousands and take to the streets to get to work.

Aug 12, 2010

Youth Centres and cool nights

During the cold nights of winter there’s usually an inclination for most of us to stay in the warm comfort of home.  But our local youth are stronger than that and the cooler weather doesn’t keep them away from Council’s three youth centres. In fact it’s pretty cool at our centres. There’s always something happening at the youth centres with a wide range of activities – from hip hop to cooking and games to fitness and safety sessions.  Our three Youth Centres – at Hillsdale, Eastlakes and Botany – are where it’s happening.  Hillsdale Youth Centre, which is open on Thursday nights, Eastlakes on Tuesday nights and Botany Youth centre, is open Friday nights.  Each of the youth centres provides a range of activities, including computer games, pool, table tennis and a whole lot more. As things and events and activities can change all the time, it’s worthwhile keeping in touch with our youth workers.  The best contact is Patrick on 9366-3889.  So continue to be cool as winter comes to an end and be at our youth centres.

Aug 8, 2010

Lionel Bowen Scholarship Recipients

At last week's Council meeting we presented the Lionel Bowen Scholarship for 2010. For the first time we not only have two winners but they're twins. And, as they are both studying for the same degree at the University of New South Wales, we've really got a triple first.

The two Lionel Bowen Scholars for 2010 are Aryetta Pazpinis and Deon Pazpinis, who both live at Pagewood and are studying for Bachelor of Industrial Design degrees at the Kensington campus.

Like twins, they couldn't be separated for the Lionel Bowen Scholarship. Both Aryetta and Deon have a real passion for their chosen degree and in their application forms they detailed how, through industrial design, they hope to make our world a little better – and a little more functional.

Lionel Bowen's daughter Margaret was along to present the scholarships that honour the public life of a great Australian – a man who represented his community in local, state and national governments retiring after service as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. We were also pleased that Margaret's son Matthew came along, representing the third generation of a distinguished local family.

Better foods … better health … better you

My comments in my column in the Southern Courier and this blog last week on obesity resulted in more than a few calls to my office – and just about all of them were supportive.  Again, it's just another in my community conversations and the feedback generates not only discussion but also some positive outcomes.  

We've had that with some parks and gardens issues, footpaths and some issues at our sporting venues.  After last week's item, the National Heart Foundation supplied me with some additional information on reducing trans fats and saturated fats for better heart health.  

We've already begun working with our local food processing and retail outlets in a campaign to reduce trans fats.  A diet high in these fats is linked with an increased risk of heart disease and if we can reduce these fats in our food then our health outlook is better.  You find trans and saturated fats in palm oil, lard, coconut oil, copha, coconut milk, baking margarine, shortening and similar products.  

The National Heart Foundation tells me we should first, identify when fats are present in food, then use healthier ingredients and cooking methods and, for food outlets, let their customers know. Knowledge is the key to this and, if you're interested, pop into my office at Eastgardens and get a copy of the information.  

Aug 6, 2010

Fixing Drains

As part of Council’s ongoing work to keep our City’s drainage system in top shape, we’ll soon be doing some work around Cleland and Francis streets in Mascot.  After heavy rain we’ve had a bit of a flooding problem in this area.  To fix the problem our engineers will upgrade the pipes and some drainage pits. Around Cleland and Francis streets the water problem is part of a large water system that drains from around King Street and Maloney Street down via the golf links to Mill Pond Road.  The work should fix this particular problem.

Road works

We’ve just finished some major road works as part of the Australian Government’s Roads to Recovery Program.  The program runs until 2014 and Council receives a grant of over $130,000 a year to upgrade roads in our City.  Work is now complete on new road pavements at Florence Avenue, between Evans Avenue and King Street, Mascot, on Barber Avenue between Evans Avenue and St Helena Parade, Mascot, on Pemberton Street between Clevedon and Warrana streets and on Baker Street at the intersection with Anderson Street in Pagewood.

The Australian Government assistance program is a great boost in keeping local streets and roads up to scratch.


Get the green thumbs ready!

An early call for all the aspiring and dedicated gardeners in our City (along with those who just enjoy being in the garden) that our annual Garden Competition is about to get underway. Entry forms will be letterboxed in the near future – so don’t confuse it with any election material.  Our judges are scheduled to get their task underway towards the end of September so everyone should plan to have their gardens looking the best around mid September.

We’ve got nine categories in this year’s competition – front domestic, rear domestic, planted nature strip, annual display, native garden, edible/sustainable garden, school or community garden, gardens in industrial or commercial properties and gardens in residential complex maintained by a professional gardener.  There’s something for everyone and I know we have a lot of regular entrants (including my favourite young gardeners HaHa and Logan).  I’d like to see entries from as many of our local gardeners as possible so that we give the judges a big challenge.  I’ll let everyone know when the entry forms are being circulated.

Aug 2, 2010

Hensley Field Today

Think  Believe  Create

Obesity and simplicity

At times I may appear to be simplistic but all through the debates on obesity I must say I wonder.  Sure we have a problem and if things continue as they are with overweight people then adverse health issues will also continue to increase.  Heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and a myriad of other problems are on the rise.  Indeed, endocrinologists express concerns when they see patients as young as 10 presenting with advanced Type 2 diabetes when, in the past, the age of such patients has been between 40 and 50.  

My contention, and again I may be accused of being simplistic, but if you cut down on eating a lot of sugar and fat infused foods then you can begin to solve the problem.  In shopping centres, at sport and all the places children congregate you can see all the wrong food that’s being consumed.  You see parents and carers give kids the wrong food in large amounts.  Public better health campaigns are good but we need to begin at home.  Less of the wrong food, more of the good food and less of a waist line.

Dedication of the Alf Kay Eastlakes Community Centre

The Late Alf Kay served as a councillor from 1977-1980 and from 1987-1995. Alf gave his community so much, selflessly and constantly. He was a tireless worker for our community, especially in community services.  Because of his work, Council felt it appropriate that Alf’s name become part of the Eastlakes Community Centre as it epitomised Alf’s area, both in representation and in commitment to the residents.

Picture below at the dedication ceremony on 1 August 2010 is Mayor Ron Hoenig, Mrs Lydia Kay, and the Hon. Peter Garrett.