Jun 29, 2011

School Holiday Activities

It’s amazing that once your own kids leave school how quickly you can forget when the school holidays come around.  That’s what happened to me when our youth workers asked me to give a mention the events and activities they’d organised for the school holidays.  I gave details last week about the activities for the younger children but what’s been organised for the 12 to 18 year olds missed the deadline.  But I’m not too far behind and there are plenty of great things to do during the rest of the school holidays.

Wednesday next week and the following Tuesday, July 12, the activities are centered on Hillsdale Youth Centre in the Community Hall at 236 Bunnerong Road. Between 12 noon and 4.00pm have fun on the pool tables or try your skills with PS2 and PS3 and many other activities—and it’s all free but bring your own lunch.  

For the rest of the holidays there are movie and pizza days at the Entertainment Quarter (what used to be Fox Studios), rock-climbing, candle making, laser tag and painting.  For these there are some costs and the community bus will take the kids between the Central Library at Eastgardens and the venues.  For more information, please contact Yasemin or Patrick on 9366 3889.

Our Little Green Mean Machine

My comments about our latest acquisition, the small but powerful cleaning machine has created a bit of interest.  I asked locals here and in my column in the local paper to think of a name and already quite a few suggestions have come in showing the creativity of our residents. This is a prompt for some more suggestions (not that those we’ve got are no good – in fact they will be hard to beat).  Our little green car will soon be out and about in the shopping centres, cleaning footpaths or bins and making the strip shop areas more attractive. It’s an environmentally friendly, solar powered, cleaning machine that will be part of our local landscape for quite a while.  So get to it and let me have some more name suggestions – you can send them to mayor@botanybay.nsw.gov.au.

Jun 27, 2011

Beauty in the Burbs - A New Exhibition

Come join us for ‘Beauty in the Burbs’ our latest exhibition at the George Hanna Memorial Museum. On show are a series of colourful and surprising photographs by ’52 Suburbs’ photographer Louise Hawson. Sydney has well over 600 plus suburbs and in 2009 Ms Hawson realised she knew very little about them. As a result she set herself a year-long challenge of exploring one new suburb each week. The final product was her blog and book ‘52 Suburbs’. At our museum you can see all the beauty she captured when she explored Botany and Banksmeadow. To complement her images, equally appealing artwork by the students of John Brotchie Pre-School is also on display. The Museum of Sydney is currently holding an exhibition of Hawson work in the city. Luckily you only need to travel as far as Mascot Library and Museum at 2 Hatfield Street, Mascot where it is on display until August 26.

Stay Warm and Safe This Winter

Now that we’re in the cooler winter months, I thought it was a good time to remind our residents about the need to take care when using hot water bottles, which many of us still use (and given energy prices we’ll continue to use). While hot water bottles can certainly help to keep us warm and provide some comfort and relief from aches and pains they can, with incorrect use, also cause serious burns. To help make sure our residents aren’t among the 200 Australians admitted to hospital each year from serious burns from hot water bottles, before you start using a hot water bottle this winter, call into my office and pick up a brochure containing some important information and safety tips. If you would like a brochure mailed out to you, please telephone our staff from Aged Services on 9669 4640 and they will be happy to pop a copy in the post to you.  By reading and taking note of the information in the brochure you will be staying both warm and safe throughout the winter months.

Jun 21, 2011

Vacation Care

The July school holidays are not that far away and we’ve already planned the 10 day vacation care program at Botany Public School for school aged children up to 13 years old. The program will run from Monday July 4 to Friday July 15, a total of 10 days. We’ll open from 7.00am to 6.00pm each day and will provide the children with daily activities, including recreational games both indoor and outdoor. There are sports, art and craft and cooking on the program as well as excursions out of the centre.  

The theme for these coming holidays is “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and there will be lots of activities with a cold winter element including craft, cooking and science activities. If you want more information about the full program you can get it when you enrol tonight between 4.00pm and 6.30pm at Botany Public School. For more details you can call Sherryl on 93663576 or Grace on 96666128 between the hours of 3.00pm and 6.00pm.  You can also check out the program and download relevant forms from the Council website
www.botanybay.nsw.gov.au  Locate forms and program under Vacation Care in the Community Services section.

Jun 20, 2011

Constitutional Recognition of Local Government

I have received an urgent approach from Bill Gillooly AM Secretary General of the Local Government & Shires Association of New South Wales seeking my cooperation in regarding Constitutional Recognition for Local Government.

Mr Gillooly reminded me that the President of the Australian Local Government Association, Cr Genia McCaffery, had written to me requesting that Council pass a resolution in supporting the ALGA’s Constitutional Recognition proposal. He advised that this request was an integral part of Cr McCaffery’s endeavours to secure the full support of all Councils throughout Australia for the proposal.

May I say at the outset that I certainly recognise and appreciate the concept that the third tier of government, Local Government, a democratically elected tier of government, should be given recognition in the Commonwealth Constitution. In fact, I regard such an amendment to the Commonwealth Constitution Act having a significant and possibly far reaching consequences for Local Government and State Governments in Australia.

However, none of the material submitted to me contains the proposed legislation that would need to be considered in an amendment to the Commonwealth Constitution Act. Platitudes such as Constitutional Recognition of Local Government are fine words, however, legislation is required amend the Commonwealth Constitution Act.

I have made this point on a number of occasions at the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Australian Local Government Council, of which I am a member. I am sure I was speaking English and not Swahili when I repeatedly asked to be provided with a draft Bill. Surely with all the resources of the Australian Local Government Association and the New South Wales Local Government & Shire Association, a draft Bill could be prepared that Parliament would have to consider and be put before the Australian people at a referendum.

Before the Council is able to express its opinion in relation to Cr McCaffery’s request, we need to be provided  with a copy of a draft Bill so that the proposed changes to the Constitution can be considered so that Council can indicate either it’s support or otherwise in those amendments. Local Government has to deal with issues of substance, not catch the “spin disease” of the State and Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Metrobus Route 20

As I and other Councillors move around the City many and varied issues are raised with us.  One that has come up in recent weeks concerns the operation of the Metrobus Route 20.  The service, which runs between Botany and Gore Hill via North Sydney and Crows Nest, is, according to the State Government’s State Transit, a popular service with over 1,000 passengers a week of whom 800 begin their journey in our City.

The benefits of Metrobus are, again according to State Transit, several fold:

  • No timetable required – high-frequency service running seven days a week, with a 10-minute frequency during peak periods, every 15 minutes during the weekday off-peak, and 20 minutes in the evening and on weekends.
  • Easy to follow route - simple bus stop numbering and on-bus next stop displays and audio announcements make travelling on Metrobus an easy alternative.
  • Easy connections - Metrobus services stop at major bus and rail interchanges.
  • Safe and comfortable - all Metrobus buses are air-conditioned and feature digital CCTV for enhanced security.
  • Wheelchair-friendly - low-floor entry and priority seating make Metrobus very accessible for wheelchair users, less mobile passengers and parents with prams.
  • Greener way to travel - each bus features the latest environmental controls to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Those are the benefits, but for some people in Banskia, Edward and Daniel Streets in Botany, there are some problems, mainly caused by the actual size of the buses.  The Metrobus is a “bendy” bus and, as such, can only do a complete turnaround in a few spots – and it is certainly not able to do a “U” turn on Botany Road.

The problem is that to begin its return journey, the Metrobus goes around Edward Street, Daniel Street and Banksia Street to get back onto Botany Road at the set of traffic lights at the Botany Road and Banksia Street intersection.

Adhering to the State Transit high frequency service does, however, means that the buses park for a while.  They have been parked in Botany Road and on some of the other streets.  This has caused inconvenience to some residents, who have advised us that sometimes their driveways are blocked by the buses. Such a situation needs, obviously, to be avoided.

When the issue has been raised with Council there seems to have been some confusion about actually which organisation is responsible for determining the Metrobus route. In some instances, Council has been described as the route determiner.  This is simply not the case.

In view of the concerns being raised with me, I have asked for the Metrobus route to be put before the Local Traffic Committee so that the views of the Botany residents can be examined.  As everyone is aware, the Local Traffic Committee is comprised of representatives of the Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW Police, State Transit, our two local members of State Parliament as well as Council. In this way we can get the community views before State Transit along with requests for reconsideration of the route.

After the Local Traffic Committee has examined the issue I propose that Council make representations to the Minister for Transport, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian, as well as formally to the Member for Maroubra, Michael Daley.

This is not a Council issue and we have neither the jurisdiction nor responsibility for determining bus routes.  What we can do, however, is put the views of our residents before those who actually determine the routes.

We need a name

Our latest acquisition is a small but powerful cleaning machine! If you see a little green car powering through the shopping centre, along footpaths or cleaning bins you will know it is our outdoor staff busy at work.  It is an environmentally friendly, solar powered, cleaning machine.  It will be busy giving our city a good scrub in coming weeks from bus shelters, pavements, street furniture to garbage bins and even removing some graffiti and posters.  And residents will know exactly what we are up to as it comes with a variable message board which Council staff can change depending on the task.  If it is in Botany or Mascot Shopping strips you will know it is cleaning pavers, or removing chewing gum and scum, or cleaning the bins.  I am very excited about the new addition, which should be rolled out in the next two weeks.  

When I first saw it, the name “Shrek” came to mind, but I don’t think Dreamworks, the movie’s producers, would give us the copyright for that!  So I think the “kids” (no age limit) in our community should come up with name.  Be creative and let your imagination run wild!

Your Health Your Hospital

A month or so ago I mentioned the series of information sessions being run by the Prince of Wales Hospital about the myriad of services the hospital delivers.  The sessions cover your heart, your spine, eyes, aged care and more.  The hospital is supported by the Rotary Club of Botany Bay in providing these interesting and extremely helpful sessions.  

The next one is scheduled for June 23 and will showcase the hospital’s Hyperbaric Unit – a unit that really does deliver a great service for the community. Dr Rob Turner will deliver all the information on the hyperbaric unit and answer any questions you may have. The information session will be at the hospital in the Edmund Blacket Function Room and you’ll need to let them know you’d like to attend.  You can do that by calling Tanya on 9382 4263.  The sessions begin at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start and light refreshments will be served.

Jun 13, 2011

Playground Lighting

Council recently installed Utility Solar Street Lights at several playgrounds through out the city as a trial to see If it will help to reduce the graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

For many years Council followed the research which indicated that lighting parks attracted bad behaviour. This has certainly not bean a deterrent In some areas. The lighting of the playgrounds is In an effort to Increase what is now termed passive surveillance of these areas.

Thers is a fine balance between lighting the playgrounds to discourage use (by increasing surveillance), and lighting the playgrounds too brightly so as to encourage the night use of the playgrounds. The light that is emitted from these solar light poles provides enough light to make out figures but does not
light the whole playground as a sports ground floodlight would. The lights are set to a timer, switching on at a designated time (which can be adjusted to suit), and lasting continuously for 8 hours, for example 6pm-2am. let's hope it works.

Well done Pagewood Seniors

Congratulations to our Pagewood Senior’s on their recent fund raising effort for Cancer.  The Club hosted a “Big Morning Tea” and they raised over $400 for the Cancer Council.  Don’t forget if you are looking for activities – physical, social or fun – then give Don a call on 9669 1182.  The club are always ready to welcome new members.

Squash back in fashion

Getting together for a game of squash was popular in the 80’s then more fashionable sports took over and you didn’t hear much about the game. But like all trends it is now back in fashion!  It’s fast and furious and gives you a great work out.  Council has always had a squash court in Mutch Park and now it is back in demand.

Our squash courts managers, Jimmy and Andrew, have formed a new Squash Club and currently have 13 men’s and four women’s team playing in all divisions throughout South Eastern Sydney.  They are now looking for youngsters to join in the fun.  Players of all ability are welcome and coaching is available if you wish.  For information given Jimmy or Andrew a call on 9366 3594 and have a chat or pop in and see them at the Courts which are located in Mutch Park off Wentworth Avenue ( entrance near Kelloggs).  

Jun 8, 2011

Meals on Wheels get an "A"

The NSW Food Authority recently conducted an audit of our Meals on Wheels and Centre Based Meals food operations. Our services were assessed as meeting the highest standards and we have retained our “A” Rating.  I would like to congratulate Pauline and her staff on this wonderful achievement. I would also like to thank our loyal group of meals on wheels volunteers, for without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide such a well run and successful service. The real winners though are our community – you can be assured if you or one of your loved ones is receiving our services – they are of the highest standard and quality – something we expect, and you deserve.

Council welcomes "Shrek"

We’ve named our latest acquisition “Shrek” because it’s green and mighty!  Residents will soon see “Shrek” out and about on our streets and in our parks.  “Shrek” is an environmentally friendly, solar powered, cleaning machine.  It will be busy giving our city a good scrub in coming weeks from bus shelters, pavements, street furniture to garbage bins and even removing some graffiti and posters.  And residents will know exactly what “Shrek” is up to as it comes with a variable message board which Council staff can change depending on the task.

If it is in Botany or Mascot Shopping strips you will know it is cleaning pavers, or removing chewing gum and scum, or cleaning the bins.  I am very excited about the new addition which should be rolled out in the next two weeks.  When you see it on the streets if you don’t agree with the name let me know!  But I bet “Shrek” (for those who have seen the movie) will come to mind.

Jun 6, 2011

Drainage concerns

Last week I mentioned the problem we are having with the rising water levels in the pond in Sir Joseph Banks Park as a result of Sydney Water’s Stormwater pipe outlet being blocked where it empties into Botany Bay.  This week our engineers have raised the alarm that it might be causing bigger problems by effecting our residential streets, particularly when heavy rain falls.

An inspection of the three stormwater outlets revealed two are completely submerged under sand and the third partially submerged.  Simply, this means stormwater from sections of city is not escaping into the bay as it should but building up in the pipes.  Council is pressing Sydney Water and Sydney Ports to have the problem rectified as quickly as possible.

Bread and butter issues

Council has completed its annual line marking program which involves maintaining areas where road markings have deteriorated or need to be reinstated after pavement works on our local road infrastructure.  This is an important part of council’s daily works program as it goes to ensuring the safety of road users and pedestrians. Maintenance work around local schools is a priority for this program.  Council has a commitment to maintain safety on our Local roads for the benefit of the community.  

Garden Competition on again

Planning for our annual garden competition, judged in September, is well underway and I told that this year we will have a new category for “Balcony Gardens.”  There seems to have been a number of enquiries from keen gardeners who live in units or flats to be included.  I look forward to meeting them on the presentation night.  

The competition is open to all residents who have an interest in gardening or simply like to maintain a neat and tidy garden to complement their home.  Gardens of all size and design are welcome.  Brochures are still in the planning stages, but will be distributed next month to all letterboxes.  There are great prizes to be won and the Awards Evening is a highlight on our civic calendar.  

While we are on gardens it is not too late to get your
Water Rebate applications in.  Remember you must re apply each year.  If you are not the list for 2011 your nature strip won’t be inspected.  If you have misplaced the one you received in your letter box, again give my office a call and we can send one out to you.

Recycling upgrades

Council this week installed new bins, including recycling bins, in our major parks and sporting facilities.  The green bin is for general garbage and bin with the yellow lid is for recycling.  These bins have been placed in Rowland Park, Booralee Park, Jellicoe Park, Eastlakes Reserve, L’Estrange Park and Hensley Athletic Field.   All organised groups using these facilities will be asked to encourage their patrons to recycle.  

Council is also looking at options at upgrading its residential recycling system.  For many years Council has opted for the two crate system as it provides a much cleaner product with less contamination.   Many of crates are old and brittle this combined with the fact that recycling and separating technology has improved makes it the right time to look at other options.   If Council does make the decision to change it will not occur for some time as budgets (an allocation of funds) and implementation methods will need to be put in place. Recycling is about reducing garbage in landfill not changing for change sake.