May 29, 2011

Free English Classes

The Sydney Multicultural Community centre has dropped me a line letting me know that they are running free English Classes for those residents who do not have English as their first language.  Learning the language can give our new residents more confidence, greater independence and also the opportunity to make new friends.  It’s a win, win situation.  Give them a call on 9663-3922 to find out days and times.

May 28, 2011

Garnett Jackson Reserve plans on exhibition - comments welcome

The plans for the upgrade of Garnett Jackson Reserve are on display at the Council’s Administration Offices, Coward Street, Mascot and we would welcome resident feed back and input.  If you can’t get to Mascot you can call my office, 93663600, and I will be happy to send you out a copy of the last edition of Your City, which should have been in your letterboxes last month. The centre spread was devoted to the proposed changes.  Or you can go on line and view it on Council’s website. The link is  If you have any suggestions or ideas please do not hesitate to send me an email or letter.

New Safety Camera

The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) have advised Council that a new Safety Camera has been installed for south bound vehicles at the intersection of O’Riordan Street and Coward Street.  The Safety Cameras are capable of catching us for both speeding and running a red light.  So be warned.  Slow down and drive safe.

Pagewood Seniors have fun

If you are enjoying your retirement years and exploring new ways to relax, meet new people and have fun then why not join up with the Pagewood Seniors who meet at the council run centre in Dalley Avenue, Pagewood.  The centre has a very active committee who organise a range of activities from gentle walks to informative bus trips or you can have great work out Line Dancing.  There is also Lawn Bowls, Tai Chi and exercise classes.  If you are interested simply give Don or Carol a call on 96691182 and they will fill you in on the days and times of all their activities.

Birds on Show

It’s one of our favourite events, the annual Bird Show in Coronation Hall, Mascot and this year it will be held on Saturday June 11 and 12.  The show caters for mixed aviary birds and attracts more than 800 entries.  It is held in such high esteem that this year the guest judges will travel from Canada and the United Kingdom to take part.  It is a great afternoon and the kids love it.  There are canaries, finches, parrots and budgerigars in all colours and size!  The South Sydney Avicultural Society would love to have your support and invite you all to pop along on Saturday afternoon, any time after 1pm, to view the magnificent exhibits.

Whooping Cough on the increase

After reading the weekend papers I was concerned to learn that Whooping Cough is on the increase and thought that it was timely to remind our residents of the importance of immunisation and the free program offered by Council.

Immunisation is important because it controls the outbreaks of these horrendous diseases.  If you have ever witnessed a baby or toddler with whooping cough, as I have, it is very scary and heart wrenching.  That is why when my two sons were born I did not hesitate.  The pain of a needle, which is over in seconds, was nothing compared to watching my sister-in-law’s three year old with whooping cough. If we support immunisation then these diseases can be removed from our communities. Most of the parents with young children today would not be aware of the horrors of polio or even measles and chicken pox which were prevalent when I was a child.  This is because of the success of immunisation programs.  As the Daily Telegraph story highlights when we all relax and think immunisation is no longer warranted, that is when they creep back in.

Council’s clinics are conducted by a Doctor and Nurse and are held on the first Thursday of every month.  Session are held at the Mascot Baby Health Centre from 9am to 10am and the Central Library, Eastgardens from 2pm to 3pm and from 6pm to 7pm. For more information phone 93663666.

May 23, 2011

Rising waters in Pond Sir Joseph Banks Park

I have had a number of residents contact me regarding the ponds in Sir Joseph Banks Park.  Council is aware that there is problem and we have been working to bring the situation under control.  Experts have been bought in to look at specific issues and a Plan of Management drawn up.  Now, another issue, the rising water levels, is causing more concern and several staff are working with authorities such as Sydney Water and the Sydney Ports Authority to determine why this occurring and how it can be fixed. The problems are not uncommon to urban waterways, but they are complex, and do take time to correct.  I just want to assure our residents that Council is being proactive and given the importance we place on our open space and parklands are taking it very seriously.

May 21, 2011

Photos from Senior's Garden Party now available

The photos from our Senior’s Garden Party are now available from my office in Eastgardens.  Just pop into the office between 9am and 5pm and you can peruse the proofs and place an order with Teagan or Linda.  Here is just a few.

Parking Around Schools ­ Safety for our kids

From next week, our rangers will begin distributing leaflets around our local schools outlining the parking restrictions that apply near schools during the morning and afternoon drop-offs.  We enforce the parking rules and, for that, we are often abused.

My message is simple – you obey the law and you won’t get booked and fined.  For that we offer no apology and no excuses.  So that everyone taking their kids to and from school knows exactly what the rules are – and what you can do and what you can’t – we’ve produced a simple leaflet that covers sings, intersections and double parking.  The leaflets show clearly how the law is applied around schools.  We don’t do it to be a bunch of busy-bodies, we do it because we want to protect the safety of our kids.

If you take children to school please make sure that in the next week or so you get one of the leaflets and read it.  Then you’ll know what you can do and can’t – and remember, if you break the law, you will be fined.  The safety of kids is, to their families and to us, paramount.

55 Plus Walk in Lane Cove

Our local community group, 55 Plus (where the name tells the age group of members) organises a lot of events for members – and prospective members – and, in a couple of weeks, they are organising a walk through Lane Cove National Park. It’s on May 25 and the walk through the park takes the northern route along the river from Fullers Bridge.  It’s a bring you own lunch deal and there is a cost of $12 – but it’s well worth the money.

In late June, 55 Plus will be organising another walk – this time south along the Lane Cove River.  So, if you do both walks, you’ll see the beauty of the Lane Cove River both north and south.  

For further information and to book contact Doreen on 9667 4280.  And, while you’re talking to Doreen about the Lane Cove River walks, you should also ask her about the 55 Plus guest speaker program where a lot of interesting people come along and talk about all sorts of things – from saving energy to garden planting to Metro buses and retirement care.  55 Plus does a great local job in the community and organises a wide range of activities.

May 13, 2011

Alcohol Free Zones Extended

Council has decided to extend the alcohol free zones in specific locations at Botany and Eastlakes for another four years. The decision is supported by both community support and requests from our local police officers.
The first of the two zones is in Botany – along both sides of Botany Road between Hickson and Hale streets, both sides of all of Chegwyn Street, both sides of Bay Street between Chegwyn Street and Nilson Lane, Banksia Street between Botany Road and James Bourke Place, in Hale Street from the northern side of Chegwyn Street to Botany Road and in the Botany car park.  

The second zone in Eastlakes begins with the block bounded by Maloney Street, Gardeners Road, Want Street and Macquarie Street; the far side of Macquarie Street, Gardeners Road between Macquarie Street and the south side of Berry Street and the far side of Maloney Street between Gardeners Road and Evans Avenue.  

In the past the alcohol free zones could only be established for three years but following changes in legislation we can now extend them for four years, which is what we’re proposing for the Botany and Eastlakes zones. In the past the alcohol free zones have reduced public disorder and made life better for those who live near hotels.  The extension of the zones is also supported, as I’ve said, by local police.  By having the zones, the police can take proactive action to control disorderly behaviour – again a win for the local community. The Botany and Eastlakes alcohol free zones are now extended for another four years.

May 12, 2011

Jellicoe Park Playground nearing completion

A good cause

I had a note from the President of the Maroubra Parkinson’s Support Group inviting people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers to the group’s next meeting at 10.30am on Friday 20 May at the Maroubra Bowling Club, Malabar Road, Maroubra Beach.  The Support Group meets every third Friday of the month and if you’d want more information you can contact them on 93491859 or 0407951531.  Or you can just come down and join them.

What is democracy?

I have a lot of time for Randwick Mayor Murray Matson. Over the years he has aggravated a number of people with the views he has advocated, particularly my labor colleagues on Randwick Council.  However, like all views that come from the philosophical far left, they may seem aggravating and "way out there", but they are a break on decisions of policy makers, they force consideration of their views, and even if those views are rejected by the majority, it does makes for good public policy.

I do, however, take issue with Murray’s views about council voting systems.  I am a firm believer that to be elected to a council you must be supported by the majority of electors. If the words of Abraham Lincoln at the “Gettysburg Address” are to mean anything then  "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" cannot mean that someone like Murray Matson who was elected with 4.8% of Randwick City Council voters, can lead a city of more than 100,000 people.

In the City of Botany Bay, to have the honour to be elected Mayor or a Councillor on the voting system that applies in this city you need to be elected by a majority of voters.  Murray calls it a “gerrymander”, I call it democracy.

To be Mayor of a City the size of Randwick City with less than 5% of the popular vote is not just a “gerrymander”, it is a voting system roughly equivalent to the voting system that elected Colonel Gaddafi, Fidel Castro or Robert Mugabe.

Murray should confine his remarks to his own constituency, or better still propose a referendum and see whether his own community supports his view. I will make him an offer.  If Randwick Council has a referendum and asks their community whether they are happy having a Mayor that is elected with only 5% of the vote, I will ask mine whether they are happy to have councillors elected that do not have the support of the majority of the people.  I wonder what those results would be?

May 11, 2011

Relay for Life

Signs promoting the Cancer Council’s Relay for Life can be seen throughout the community – and beyond – as the series of relays supporting the fight against cancer gets closer.  The relay is not a race. Rather, participants walk or run around a track or oval as part of a wide social gathering – and for a great cause. Being part of Relay for Life makes you part of the biggest cancer fund-raising movement in the world. Remember, your support can – and will – make a different in the fight against this insidious disease.  But it’s more than just a relay – there is associated entertainment as well as great food and other activities.  For the Eastern Suburbs the venue is the magnificent Centennial Park and the Relay for Life will be a 24 hour event – on May 21 – 22.  Go to Centennial Park and you’ll soon find where everyone is and join is – get up a team or just bring the family and friends.  Whatever you do, you’ll be part of the great day supporting a truly worthwhile cause.

Youth Centres and cool nights

As the nights begin to get cooler, our local youth know that Council’s three youth centres are the place to be really cool!  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 to be cool, even during winter, is Patrick from our youth services, who you can call on 9366-3889.

May 6, 2011

Visit by the Mobile Blood Bank

The Red Cross Blood Service is a service that’s there when needed but cannot exist unless there is community support.  In emergency situations when people need blood the Red Cross always comes through.  But with blood donors there wouldn’t be a blood service – and those who donate perform an invaluable community service.  The Mobile Blood Service will be in our City on the 24th and 25th of May at Coronation Hall, on the corner of Botany Road and Coward Street.  On Tuesday the 24th the service will be open for donations from 7.00pm and on the following day it will be open from 3.00pm. You need to call 13 14 95 to book your appointment – and we need not just existing donors but new ones. .  As the Red Cross says: “Do something special.  Give Blood.”

Council Landscaping Works in progress at Mascot Railway Station

New Solar Lighting the Playground in Mascot Memorial Park

Solar Lighting at Mascot Memorial Park Playground

Mascot Oval Parking

I have received a number of representations and complaints from people who work in the vicinity of O’Riordan Street, Mascot regarding the use – or misuse – of the car park at Mascot Oval.  The suggestion, indeed the complaint, is that this car park is not being made available for the use of people who work nearby.  In short, they want to use the Mascot Oval car park as a free day time car park.

Mascot Oval and Mascot Park have been reserved for public recreation purposes.  In other words, the land is for the recreational needs of our community and the wider region. The classification of the site under the Local Government Act 1993 as “community land” also reflects its importance to the local and wider community.  It is land for the community and for recreation.

The prominent focus of community land such as Mascot Oval and the adjacent car park is not for use as a public car park for commercial purposes.  The car park itself is to be used as a public car park for those who use the Mascot Oval and Mascot Park.

Recent attempts to regularise the parking of vehicles in the car park has been successful.  However, we’ve found it necessary to manage the car park during the week so that it is available for those using the adjoining park land. To ensure that the car park is always available for its intended purpose, Council is firm that the parking of vehicles by employees of any nearby businesses during normal working hours will not be permitted. Indeed, there is no area in this region that is better serviced by access to an efficient rail line and rail network and buses.

Developments Consents granted by Council require provision to be made for employee parking. One recent complaint I’ve had was from a person who worked in the immediate area.  This person felt he and his fellow work colleagues should be permitted to use the car park at Mascot Oval.  When I checked the consent for the building in which he worked I found that his employer was required to provide parking for employees.  Indeed, You would be surprised to know that the allocation for the company for which he worked was 208 spaces, more than enough to satisfy the needs of both employees and customers. If employers renege on providing employee parking, it is not up to Council to step in and meet those demands to the detriment of our residents.  

Council acknowledges the importance of local employment and seeks to assist new job creation in our City.  But we have to balance the needs of the daily influx of people to our City with those of our residents.  And, alienating parkland for commuter car parks is not something we’ll be doing.

Some Community Faith

Sometimes my faith in our local community (or a very small minority of it) is sorely tested.  Vandalism and just plain theft have both damaged some new community Council initiatives.  

Just a short time ago we opened the off-leash dog exercise area down in Sir Joseph Bank Pleasure Gardens.  The area was fenced off, landscaped with facilities for dogs to roam free and away from the public. Now some thoughtless individual has seen fit to steal some of the fence panels as well as three of the gates.  It appears someone was looking to build a new fence at home and didn’t want the expense associated with the construction.  What it means is that Council will have to replace the fence panels and the gates – which we’ll do.  

If this theft wasn’t enough, a bit of vandalism at Bridget Tight Reserve in Eastlakes capped off a bad week. New playground equipment was set up in Bridget Tight Reserve which the local really liked and used.  Well, again some thoughtless individual (or a couple of them) thought they’d have some fun and take a box of matches to the swings. The result was a burnt-out mess – and a useless piece of play equipment for the local kids.  Again, we’ll replace it but every time we replace the end result of vandalism, it costs our ratepayers money.  

What kick someone gets out of torching a piece of playground equipment escapes me.  We often get requests to put shade cloth over our playgrounds but I have to explain to people that where we’ve done it in the past it gets torched – again the action of people which I and the overwhelming majority of the community can’t understand. If you see acts of theft or vandalism, don’t interfere just call the local Mascot Police, who do a great job of watching over our City.  Overall, we have a great and caring community but, unfortunately, there are a few who are really out of step with the rest of us.

Botany RSL and Anzac Day Dawn Service

As I noted in a recent Mayoral Column in the Southern Courier, the unfortunate demise of the Botany sub-branch of the RSL’s registered club meant that the traditional dawn service at Booralee Park wasn’t held this year.  

I’ve had a number of people call me at my office to express their regrets that this important and always moving service wasn’t held this year.  For many years, being down at Booralee in the pre-dawn dark with local returned service men and women on Anzac Day was one of the most poignant and emotional events of the year.  

As the sun came up, remembering those Australians who gave their lives in conflicts around the world was a common feeling among everyone who attended.  

In recent years I was pleased to see a growing number of young people attending the dawn service – as they do for the major Sydney dawn service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place – showed that the Anzac spirit had transcended generations.

Although Anzac Day has always been organised by our local RSL branches, I viewed with concern about the the loss of our local dawn service, so prior to Anzac Day I approached Robert Morris of Mascot RSL and offered the RSL sub-branches assistance so that the Botany dawn service will be held next year – and in the years ahead – down at the memorial in Booralee Park.

So, next year, in conjunction with this Council’s good friends in both RSL sub branches we’ll continue the tradition of the Booralee dawn service.

Cycle ways...some facts

I was disturbed to read criticism of Council about a proposed shared pedestrian-cycle way along Gardeners Road.  At the outset let me reiterate that Council supports shared pathways, but where they can be done in safety for both cyclists and pedestrians.  The tragic death of a woman pedestrian on Gardeners Road after a collision with a cyclist on a narrow footpath ensures this location is subject to closer scrutiny before a cycleway is introduced. The proposal is from the City of Sydney and would be done on the Sydney side of Gardeners Road (between Dunning Avenue and opposite Sutherland Street) – where we have no jurisdiction.  Our engineering staff is talking to the City of Sydney to ensure that full pedestrian safety can be achieved if it is to go ahead.  I’ll keep everyone informed – but I did feel that the facts should be known.

Council's Draft Management Plan

Council’s draft management plan is on exhibition for the next 28 days and residents are invited to comment as they see fit. It is available to download at

Last reminder ­ Seniors Garden Party

To all our City’s seniors this is the last reminder if you want to attend this year’s Senior’s Garden Party, which will be held on Saturday May 7, the day before Mother’s Day from 11am to 2pm. The location, as usual, is the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens and plans are well in hand to ensure that the day is, as always, a success. All you do is contact my office on 93663600 and register your name and address. The day is for all senior citizens who live within the City of Botany Bay.  

Carp Removal from Ponds

As part of the water quality improvement program for the main pond in Sir Joseph Banks Park, Council will be removing the noxious freshwater pest fish European Carp from the pond this week.  A permit has been obtained from the NSW Department of Industry & Investment in accordance with their Control Plan for the Noxious Fish Carp (Cyprinus carpio).  The fish will be netted on 3-4 occasions to reduce overall numbers.  Once the fish have been removed and the water quality of the pond improves, native fish will be re-introduced.

May 2, 2011

Last reminder ­ Senior's Garden Party

To all our City’s seniors this is the last reminder if you want to attend this year’s Senior’s Garden Party, which will be held on Saturday May 7, the day before Mother’s Day from 11am to 2pm. The location, as usual, is the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens and plans are well in hand to ensure that the day is, as always, a success. All you do is contact my office on 93663600 and register your name and address. The day is for all senior citizens who live within the City of Botany Bay.

Thank you to the children of Eastlakes Public School

A big thank you goes out to the children of Eastlakes Public School for their wonderful Easter gifts for our Meals on Wheel recipients.  

The children have once again donated Easter Eggs which have been beautifully presented in colourful hand crafted baskets.  The gesture certainly puts a smile on the face of our seniors when they find them amongst their meals on wheels delivery for Easter.  

Thank you to the Eastlakes Parents and Citizens Association who purchase the eggs on behalf of the children, and the teachers who help with the art and crafts.  The Mayoress was delighted to attend the school’s Easter Hat Parade where the many eggs where presented to her to ensure that they arrived at their destination.

Unwelcomed Top 50 spots

Normally inclusion in the Top 50’s in anything (like the Bowen Scholars mentioned above) is to be welcomed. But inclusion in one Top 50 list published in the Daily Telegraph last week was anything but welcomed.  NSW Police released the top 50 suburbs for heavy footed motorists and, regretfully, just about all our suburbs were positioned between 18 and 44 in the Top 50.  

The list wasn’t about people caught speeding on our streets and roads but where the speeders lived.  These are not statistics I want to see regularly reported and I’d join with all the road safety experts in asking people to slow down and drive within the speed limits.  Let’s see if our local motorists can get our suburbs further down the list – human nature suggests that it’s impossible for us to be off the lists altogether. Speed kills and injures and, if you speed, you will get caught in the end and pay the penalty.

2011 Lionel Bowen Scholar

The 2011 Lionel Bowen Scholar is Johanna Garvin from Rosebery.

After careful deliberation by the judges of an impressive field of applicants, the decision was unanimous and Johanna, who is studying communications and media at Notre Dame University, is now included in a list of outstanding young local scholars.

The Bowen Scholarship will assist Johanna in a number of ways – assisting her mobility and independence in getting to and from university and for technology to download and enlarge texts for easier reading. The restrictions that living with Cerebral Palsy would impose on education have not held Johanna back as she strives to succeed in her chosen filed of social justice. Her aim is to use her communications and media degree in the social justice field in policy development and communications.  She has, as she said in her application, “a strong desire to work in an environment where I can help.” The desire and dedication she has shown to get through her secondary education and to now in the beginning of her tertiary education, along with her aims and community commitment, make Johanna a worthy inclusion in the roll of Lionel Bowen Scholars as the 2011 recipient.

Botany Rotary Special Event

The Rotary Club of Botany (a group of people who work for the community) several weeks ago an event t to introduce the organisation to local community and business potential members.  The idea was for locals to come along and meet other local businesses, build business networks and explore opportunities.  If you want some more information about local Rotary, contact Kylie on 0431 531 769.

Nature Strip Water Rebate

The application forms for our nature strip water rebate are now in your letter boxes and already quite a few people have dropped off the completed forms to my in Eastgardens. Council gives a rebate of $25 to cover costs for locals who keep their nature strip and street trees watered.  It’s a partnership between us and the residents and it makes our City look better.  To be eligible for the rebate you must re apply each year, using the forms which have been letter boxed.  All nature strips will be inspected and only those that meet the criteria will receive a rebate.  If you didn’t get an application form, call into my office at Eastgardens Shopping Centre and pick one up or you can download it from the web on

Robey Street road works

Work began and will soon be finished along Robey Street in Mascot, between Botany Road and O’Riordan Street.  We’re putting a new layer of bitumen along the road and painting an unbroken line along the pavement to define the parking lane.  There might be some minor disruption in the area but it is well worth it as the new surface delivers a smoother ride for motorists.