Oct 27, 2011

Service or Process ­ or Madness

At last Council meeting, I presented a Mayoral Minute entitled “Service or Process?” in which I questioned whether taxpayers or ratepayers received value for money for many bureaucratic processes undertaken by the three tiers of government. 
Inherent in what I wrote was the question of whether a public instrumentality should, for example, spend $10 to save $1. Now I exclude any suggestion of expenditure to counter corruption in the theme or purpose of what I say – that goes without question.
I do not claim any skill of prescience, but an article in an edition of the Sydney Morning Herald last week showed that, perhaps, I might have some. 
The article detailed reviews and audits that had occurred involving and revolving around the sale, via a web-based auction site, of two billiard tables from the staff recreation area at Parliament House.  The review followed questions from the elder ALP statesman in the Senate, Senator John Faulkner.
I’ve known Senator Faulkner for some time and he has been unrelenting in his campaign for openness and transparency in government and in the oversight of public revenue and expenditure. But, in this case, I think even Senator Faulkner would bristle at what followed his questioning of the relevant government department responsible for management of Parliament House.
Following his questions, consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers were commissioned to audit the process. The audit found the process was within departmental guidelines but it did find some weaknesses in processes.
What government could live without “process”?
These weaknesses in process, or processes, led to a broader review by a former public servant.  As well, an investigation into whether staff had breached their code of conduct was commissioned from the Centre for Public Management.
Not content with all these audits or investigations, a survey of the cultural heritage value of items in Parliament House was also commissioned.
The secretary of the department responsible for Parliament House said he was grateful that such an affair had come to light as it had identified deficiencies in the department’s processes – there’s that word again.
The key is in the detail.  Let’s look at it.  PricewaterhouseCoopers were paid $42,000 for its audit.  The review of weakness in the processes by the former public servant cost $30,000.  Then the Centre for Public Management’s investigation came with a price tag of $25,000.  Lastly, the survey of the cultural heritage value of items will cost an estimated $5,000.
All up, the cost to review the processes of the on-line auction of two redundant Parliament House staff recreation billiard tables cost taxpayers some $102,000.
Process, after all, must be followed --- and reviewed, and investigated, and audited, and reviewed again.
That’s all well and good and the bureaucrats are no doubt reassured that the $102,000 expenditure was justified – all in the name of process.
The only issue I have is that, the outcome (another great word for bureaucrats) of the on-line auction was that the two tables sold for $2,500 each – a grand total of $5,000.
The federal bureaucrats spent $102,000 to check if all due process was followed in the $5,000 sale of two billiard tables.
If that’s the outcome of process then leave me out of it.  I’m just a mug taxpayer who helps foot the bill – for process, of course.
This is “Yes Minister” to the nth degree – or bureaucratic madness.
In Canberra, however, it’s normal process!

Oct 22, 2011

Your City - Summer Edition

Council’s spring edition of Your City will shortly be distributed to residents.  It is available for download at http://tinyurl.com/3qqakh9.

Mornings @ the Museum - Shopping

Shopping – something we all have to do, which some of us like while others do it under sufferance.  Shopping, especially food shopping, is perhaps the most prescient illustration of society and it’s one our Museum is about to showcase.  But before the exhibition the museum has organised another in its Mornings @ the Museum events that will get the community involved in our City’s history. 

A number of questions will be asked at Mornings @ the Museum and the answers will make the forthcoming exhibition even better.  Before the construction of Westfield’s Shopping Town, where did you go shopping? Did you go to a corner store where the shopkeeper knew your name? Perhaps you remember Quality Stores in Mascot which is now home to ‘Best and Less’.

The Museum is asking locals to come and share memories and memorabilia over morning tea. Information collected may be used in an upcoming exhibition on the history of shopping in the City of Botany Bay.  Mornings @ the Museum is scheduled for 10am Thursday 17th November 2011 at the George Hanna Memorial Museum, Mascot Library in Hatfield Street.   

Bookings are essential, which you can do by calling 9366 3888. The Mornings @ the Museum series has been very successful not only putting locals in touch with our City’s history but providing more information and memorabilia to make our history exhibitions better.

The picture below shows shopping as it used to be – when, in my kids’ opinion, we were all in the dark ages.

Oct 16, 2011

Construction gangs out and about

Council civil construction gangs have been busy down in McBurney Avenue Mascot installing new drainage lines and pits.  The work is designed to reduce flooding that’s been experienced during periods of heavy rain. As part of countering flooding, Council also installed new kerb and gutter, which channels the storm water into the new drainage system. When this work is finished, the gangs will move to Flint Street in Hillsdale for more drainage works. 

Along with the drainage works, the gangs are busy in Mascot shops, where the new footpath is under construction.  As I advised last week, the work along the Mascot shopping strip will take four to five week and to minimise disruption we’ll be working after 7.00pm at night.  When we’re finished the new footpath will add some new sparkle to the shopping strip as was the result when we did the pavers and planter boxes down on Botany Road along the Botany shopping strip.

Down at Sir Joseph Banks Park, the outdoor gangs are also upgrading the garden beds around the park, bringing the spring growth to what is probably our most popular park.

Local Volunteers Recognised

Last week it was my privilege to host a special function for about 70 of our local volunteers.  The groups represented were the Botany Historical Trust, our Meals on Wheels, the Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee, the Access Committee and the Knitting Network.

There are within communities, that is if a community is fortunate enough, a few individuals, a group or a few groups who selflessly, unstintingly and with no need for recognition or reward give of themselves. These people, these volunteers, give to their community without ever seeking recognition. To me it is almost instinctive giving. They don't think about it. They just do it. It was fitting that, through Council, our local community took the opportunity to both thank and recognise the invaluable work done by our volunteers.

Your health Your hospital

The next in the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation and Rotary Botany Bay series on better health and better health outcomes is scheduled for this coming Thursday night and the subject is one of growing importance – living and learning about cardiac disease. 

It will be presented by James McVeigh, a Prince of Wales Hospital nurse practitioner in the heart failure service area. James was the first cardiac authorised nurse practitioner in NSW and his presentation on this important subject will be well worthwhile. We all know that having a healthy life and making sure you don’t get diabetes, or taking care of your diabetes if you do have it, can go a long way in protecting your heart. And, protecting your heart means protecting your life.  James is keen to hear and answer questions after his presentation, which begins at 6pm Thursday, October 20

The location is the Edmund Blacket building at Prince of Wales Hospital. Tat’s the old stone building on Avoca Street. Light refreshments will be provided for those attending.  You can book by calling the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation on 9382 4261 or email info@powhf.org.au <mailto:info@powhf.org.au. The lectures and presentations that the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation and Rotary Botany Bay have organised in the past (and this is the fifth) have been extremely beneficial to those who have attended with positive health outcomes.

Oct 11, 2011

Mascot Shopping Strip Upgrade

Just as we’ve done down in the Botany shopping strip, we’ve kicked off works down in the Mascot shopping strip to upgrade the footpath – but it will mean some disruption.  We began last Saturday night and work will go on for about four to five weeks.  

We’re replacing the entire footpath on the eastern side of Botany Road between Hollingshed and King streets.  The existing pavers are coming up to be replaced by high quality asphalt.  To minimise inconvenience, we’re doing the work at night, starting from either 7:00pm or 8:00pm each night.  During the day, we’ll make sure there is a useable footpath for those who like to wander up and down the shopping strip.  In the end, the Mascot shopping strip will look as good as what we’re doing down in Botany.

Oct 10, 2011

Garden Competition Winners

After many entries and extensive judging, the results of this year’s Garden Competition are in. The judges gave me the list (I thought they would at least pass me the envelope!) and, as we’ve done in previous year’s, details are announced in my column in the Southern Courier on Tuesday, and today right here.  The overall winner was Andrew Stevenson from the Botannix Studio Café of Botany. The category winners are:

Front Domestic Garden 

1st Jason and Riley McFadyen of Daceyville; 

2nd The Kolbe Family of Botany; 

3rd Gregory Phibbs of Eastlakes

Angelo and Rita Propoggia of Eastlakes Highly Commended.

Rear Domestic Garden 

1st Pene, Logan and Hayden (who we know as HaHa) Ingle of Botany; 

2nd Kathryn and David Webb of Rosebery; 

3rd Jason and Riley McFadyen of Daceyville

Tom and Pam Vose of Botany Highly Commended.

The judges added a special award to this category with Dorothy Arthur of Botany being acknowledged for her knowledge and excellence; and 

Robert Jarvis gaining a merit award for his wildlife habitat.

Planted Nature Strip

1st Janet Cole of Botany; 

2nd Helen McCleod of Botany;

3rd Richard Muirhead of Daceyville.

Annual Display

1st Phillip Tomczyk of Daceyville;

2nd Edith Nowlan for her plot in the Leon Lachal Community Garden;

3rd Lorraine Henderson of Daceyville. 

Highly Commended was Lesley Button of Botany.

Balcony Garden

Ben Forsyth and Rebecca Vietch of Mascot; 

2nd Annie Parkes of Botany; 

3rd Carol Ashmore of Botany. 

Botany resident Dorothy Arthur was Highly Commended.

Native Garden

1st The Kolbe Family of Botany; 

2nd Jason and Rile McFadyen of Daceyville;

3rd Pagewood Public School.

Edible/Sustainable Garden

1st Siri and Parichart Thongsiri of Pagewood; 

2nd Panayiotis and Thalia Achilleos of Pagewood;

3rd Botannix Studio Café of Botany. 

Mascot Public School was Highly Commended. 

Takashi Abe was awarded a Merit in this category for an unusual and interesting array.

School or Community Group Garden

1st John Brotchie Nursery School of Botany; 

2nd Pagewood Public School

3rd Banksmeadow Public School

Mascot Public School was Highly Commended.

Industrial/Commercial Gardens: 

1st Botannix Studio Café of Botany; 

2nd Botany Grove Business Park;

3rd Discovery Cove Industrial Estate.

Residential Complex (Communal) Gardens

1st Kevin Rayner of Botany; 

2nd Dave Rothery of Greenwood Apartments; 

3rd Rolf Koch of Daceyville.

Oct 7, 2011

Gaiarine Gardens Pagewood


Orica: Another Week—Another Spill

Last week’s release of mercury into the atmosphere from the Orica plant in Botany is, perhaps, a spill too many. 

Our questioning of Orica’s operations, and its misfortunes, has been on-going for years. For years we questioned the impacts on the Botany groundwater from Orica and were always told everything was fine.  Then we checked ourselves and the true pollution became apparent.  This led to an Orica clean-up, of sorts. 

Next there was the mercury clean-up, which began this year and was found to be useless within weeks. Unfortunately Orica never told us about that. 

Then there are the dangerous chemicals stored on the site until Orica finds a way to destroy them safely.  

Then there are the chemicals that are expelled into the air. 

And last week, yet another spill as mercury (above the safe levels as defined by NSW Health) found its way into the atmosphere. 

Again, Orica didn’t tell anyone for a few hours, much the same as Orica did in Newcastle a few weeks ago.  

At least this time, NSW Health is involved and I trust them to tell us the truth. Not like the Office of Environment and Heritage, which, like its predecessor the Department of the Environment, always assures us everything is fine – that is until we find out the opposite.

I’m looking forward to the State Government’s report into Orica to see if, perhaps, now we may know the truth of the way this company goes about its operations. Maybe it’s time for Orica to go – to locate where there are no residents for hundreds of kilometres.  But then Orica could be a threat to remote plant and animal life.

Council Staff visit Vacation Care

Members of our outdoor staff took time out last week to visit the youngsters attending our Vacation Care Centre at Botany Public School.  The staff, armed with plants, gardening tools and worm farms, showed the youngsters how much fun it is to your hands dirty in the garden.  They planted seedlings, made mulch and put together a worm farm.  Everyone involved had a great day.  Photographs from the day are available from my office on the ground floor, Eastgardens.

HSC Good Luck

I can’t believe it is HSC time again!  The year has flown.  I was very proud and privileged to be part of J J Cahill’s Graduation Ceremony when the school said goodbye and good luck to their Year 12 students.  The HSC kicks off in about three weeks and I wish all our HSC students the very best of luck.  As the father of two who has been through it I know it is a very stressful time for both students and carers.  Work hard, be prepared, do your best and the rest will fall into place. If you need a place to study the libraries at Eastgardens and Mascot can provide a quiet refuge.  Or alternatively the library can be a place where you can catch up with other students who all going through the same thing you are.

Christmas Carols December 11

Plans are well underway for our annual Carols in the Park which will again be held in Mascot Memorial Park from 6.30pm on Sunday December 11.  The Carols are organised by the Inter Church Council and sponsored by Council.  Each year the program is growing and becoming more professional.  Grabbing a blanket, and a picnic if you wish, and getting on down to the park to join in the carol singing is a great way to start the festive season.  Put it in your diary now.

Correcting an oversight in art

When things get hectic sometimes you miss out on doing something that you should. For me this happened earlier this year with our annual Youth Week Art Competition. Always a hit with local youth, the art competition allows aspiring young local artists to give us their interpretation of our City, its environment and its people and places – this year in hip hop. Unfortunately, I slipped up and didn’t put details of the winners of the competition in my weekly column. When a proud dad pointed this out to me I undertook to remedy the situation. First prize in the competition went to Hana Holman of Mascot and second prize went to Sagar Aadarsh of Pagewood. Congratulations to both of these promising young artists for some great work. And thanks to the dad who pointed out my omission.

Botany Historical Trust: Changing of the Guard

If the Botany Historical Trust is the guardian and protector of our local history then the Trust’s President is our principal guard. Last Thursday night we saw a changing of the guard at the Trust when Nancy Hillier the person who has done so much for our community and our community’s history relinquished the presidency. 

Nancy Hillier is known locally as a champion of environmental issues and an environmental activist. Since it began in 1994, Nancy has been the personification of the Botany Historical Trust, which is a local committee that works to protect, conserve and educate the local residents about the importance of their heritage. Nancy was elected Vice-President in 1996 and has been President since 2002. Now, it is Nancy’s decision to stand down from that role. 

Her replacement as President is Eastlakes resident Jacqueline Milledge, a highly respected Magistrate. We will all miss Nancy’s participation in the Trust but we will always have the benefit of the works she has done through the Trust and the many other community pursuits she has undertaken. In the months ahead we will organise a fitting tribute to a woman who has done so much for our City and its residents.

Oct 5, 2011

Swimming Season

The warm weather of this week is a reminder that the swimming season is just about on us – and with it the reopening of the Botany Aquatic Centre.

Our Aquatic Centre will begin is learn to swim classes from Monday, October 11 from 3.00pm and the classes run for a ten week term until December 20.  The classes cater for all standards of swimming. There is also an intensive program during the school holidays.

The ten week, ten lesson term costs $140 per child, although discounts of $10 and $20 respectively are offered for a second and third child from the same family.

The Botany Aquatic centre is also the home for the Botany RSL Youth Amateur Swimming Club and its season gets underway on Saturday, October 8 at 7.00am.
The swimming club has been operating from Botany Aquatic Centre since the early 1960’s and provides an opportunity for children of all abilities to participate in swimming races. 

The club’s Saturday morning club races are handicapped and based on a point system that encourages children to swim against their personal best. 

Council supports the Botany RSL Youth Amateur Swimming Club, which is open for children from 4 years old to 25 years of age and there is a registration fee of $75 per swimmer. 

Children have the opportunity to swim all strokes, in 15, 25, 30 or 50 metres either socially or competitively. Relay and distance swims conclude the morning sessions.

The club also competes against six other RSL swimming clubs at Zone carnivals for a chance to swim at the State carnival, which this season will be held at Ulladulla.

Through the Aquatic Centre’s own activities, along with those from the Botany RSL Club, this summer season will provide both fun and exercise for swimmers and safer times in the water.

Greens and Democracy

A Couple of weeks ago an edition of our local newspaper, the Southern Courier, carried an article on how the Greens considered that democracy was absent from our City and that how our current electoral system, overseen by the Electoral Commission of New South Wales, was indeed “deeply undemocratic” – to use the words of the Greens spokesperson on local government, David Shoebridge.

The fact is that, in this City, candidates must get the majority of votes to be elected.  Thus, elected members reflect the wishes of the majority of electors. To me, that is quintessential democracy.

But what failed to resonate to me the most in Mr Shoebridge’s comments was: “There wasn’t even an election in Botany.”

First, Mr Shoebridge, as you’re the spokesperson on local government, you might learn that we are the City of Botany Bay – not Botany.  But I suppose Greens MPs can never learn – they know everything there is to know when they drape themselves in their green cloak.

Next, it was not any action of this Council that led to all elected members being returned unopposed.  In our democratic system, anyone can nominate to stand for election.

But in our City to win election you must have majority support.

As far as the Greens are concerned (and they know everything, remember) they feel that they are entitled to be elected – on five per cent or ten per cent and not 50 per cent.
The superior knowledge of the Greens along with their self perceived and inherent entitlement to be elected on even the flimsiest vote is something that never fails to astound me.

But then I believe in democracy and its reflection of the will if the people.

One of our electors, a perceptive person from Rosebery, sent me a copy of a letter he had written to Mr Shoebridge. He said, and I’ll paraphrase, that he didn’t want “bloody Greens” to “stuff up” Council’s work. He added: “The people of Botany and Mascot don’t have to consult the Greens as to the democratic make up of Botany Bay City Council.” I couldn’t have expressed it better.

Each and every elected representative in this chamber is ready to face an election next year.  Maybe Mr Shoebridge would like to join us – but then he’d have to get more than five or ten per cent of the popular vote. Maybe that’s a step too far.

Joint Regional Planning Panel - Secret Briefing Meetings

The Council has received correspondence from Mr John Roseth, Chair Sydney East Region, Joint Regional Planning Panel advising that, to date, the City of Botany Bay has not participated in any Briefing Meetings with the Panel to discuss applications prior to formal Panel Meetings.

He advised that these Briefing Meetings are to provide the Panel with an overview of the Development Application and to outline and discuss any major issues at the Panel/Officer level. The Joint Regional Planning Panels were introduced by the former State Government to take the place of Council in dealing with major Development Applications.

It is my view that the attendance at any secret Briefing Meetings, which are informal discussions about a Development Application with Council Officers would be improper and possibly even unlawful. It is a fundamental requirement that the decisions, deliberations, and material upon which Councillors rely in determining Development Applications be subject to public scrutiny. These deliberations are required to be in the presence of the press and public and not behind closed doors.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel sits in the place of this Council and this Council requires its Committee and Council Meetings not only to be in the presence of the press and public but goes to extraordinary extent by being one of the very few Councils in this country that broadcast its meeting by Webcast.

Any information that is provided to a Councillor about a Development Application in my view should not be in an informal context.  As well, the suggestion of building stronger relationships between the Panel and Council and to achieve a better understanding of the objectives of the Council by the Panel is something that can be dealt with in the absence of the press and public is, to me, an alien concept. It is also a concept that does not, and would not, have my support.

Development Applications affect the fundamental rights of individuals to the extent of hundreds of millions of dollars. Members of this Council do not discuss privately with objectors or developers the merits of a Development Application. The suggestion by Mr Roseth is, in my view, a misunderstanding of the public scrutiny and responsibilities of Consent Authorities.

Planning Law Review

I received a letter from the Senior Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court, Tim Moore, that he and the former Minister for Community Services, Ron Dyer, had been appointed by the State Government to undertake a review of the planning system in New South Wales.  Mr Moore and Mr Dyer are currently seeking the views from a variety of stakeholders with a view to replacing the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 by legislation.

In a formal submission to the review, I have responded to Mr Moore advising that whilst I am happy to provide whatever input and assistance he and Mr Dyer might require, I have suggested that they go back to the original legislation as enacted in 1979 as a first step.  Examine that legislation without the myriad of legislative changes that followed its enactment.

It is my view that the Act, as originally enacted, was a fine piece of environmental and planning legislation. However, much of it was changed and tinkered with by the legislature where members of Parliament were often seeking political solutions rather than planning solutions. Proper planning often came a poor, and distant, second.

It has long been my view that with many of the amendments to the Act over the years, the government of the day was seeking to avoid the environmental scrutiny of its decision-making processes and, as a result, many of those changes had the effect of detracting from the very premise of the original legislation.

I have offered for consideration the following two points:
  • Previously applications for the construction of new homes or alternations did not require development consent. All that was required was a building application. These applications on the whole were dealt with promptly and not tied up with the development application processes. When the decision was made to repeal the building application regime in the old Local Government Act, normal housing matters were required to be dealt with as development applications under the Environmental and Assessment Act.  This decision resulted in considerable delay, either because of the additional requirements involved in determining development applications, or alternatively, the applications were in the same queue with a number of other development applications which could have difficult or complex aspects. Whatever the purpose of the legislative amendment, what I referred to was the practical reality of those changes.
  • The original legislation always provided a mechanism for the State Government to call in development applications, which were determined to be of regional or state significance. The Government was entitled to do so, but the processes involved in the assessment of those development applications required not just public input, but also public scrutiny. Provision was made for a Commission of Inquiry that would then report to the Minister for the determination of the application. Despite the controversies that often occurred with applications of this nature, a Commission of Inquiry that was seen to be independent, provided for an appropriate and open mechanism for the community to have input. The Minister of the day then had a firm basis for making his or her determination and even if the public was dissatisfied with the result, a forum was provided to give the public the opportunity to voice opinions, and the determination by the Minister was not seen to be political, even if it was.

The reason governments did not like Commissions of Inquiry was that planning officers, and no doubt the political interests of the government of the day, did not like public scrutiny of the deliberations.  Nevertheless, these commissions provided good planning outcomes, even when the government of the day engineered those outcomes.

I fundamentally believe that elected Councillors are well qualified to make decisions on development applications because of local knowledge. Councillors are, in theory, able to know what the impact of a proposed development is and should be able to formulate conditions to minimise adverse impacts.

Many of the problems that arise relate to needing to confine councillors to considerations under Section 79C. It is my view that if councils debate a development application and argue over matters that are irrelevant to Section 79C, then any council decision must fail to meet what the Act intended and therefore the decision miscarries.

Councillors need to be accountable for taking into consideration only those matters that the law permits. This is an issue that somehow needs to be addressed, or deliberations relating to development applications get used for political purposes rather than the purpose that the law intended.

I have offered Mr Moore and My Dyer any assistance they may require as they conduct their review.  This is an important issue and one that could have long and wide ranging impacts on local government and the people represented by local government.

Proper, effective and open planning assessments and deliberations are fundamental to proper, effective and open government.

Intergalactic Botany Bay

The link may be tenuous, but it’s worth it for the image that anyone’s imagination can create.  On the footpaths of our main shopping strips, our little green machine Oova – the Remoova is hard at work and winning friends by the day – so much so that we may have to give it its own Facebook page.  But Oova would be quite at home in the “new” Botany Bay on Mars!  I read in one of the newspapers recently of the names given to landform features on Mars and I thought it was great of NASA to remember our little corner of the world. I remember all the stories of little green men and women on Mars and, tongue in cheek, I think little Oova would be quite at home running down the Endeavour Crater Rim on Mars past Botany Bay, Nobbys Head down to Solander Point – the green machine cleaning up after the green population of the red planet.

Port Botany Lease

The State Government’s decision, announced in its Budget, to lease Port Botany to the private sector has, quite obviously and correctly, generated intense local debate. Council’s view on this is similar to other disposals of public assets – the conditions of consent for any private sector operators must be the same as for the public sector. There must be no – not even the slightest – variation of the existing conditions of consent.  

From its misguided inception, this project should never have been contemplated much less approved.  Council said this time and time again and the best interests of our residents were ignored by government. Putting to one side that successive governments in this State have done no effective planning of transporting containers to and from the expanded port, and, as the rail share is reduced, the congestion on our roads will increase, the existing conditions of consent must be rigourously applied. As it markets to proposed lease, the new State Government must enunciate this fact clearly and repeatedly. Anything less will just exacerbate the adverse long-term life style and transport impacts our community will experience from the expanded Port Botany.
Talking of the port and its impacts, the new Banksia Avenue pedestrian bridge over the port railway line will mean a month-long closure of the intersection at Ellis and Banksia streets. The closure won’t affect any resident access to property and the bride, which replaces the old pedestrian line crossing, is scheduled for completion in December this year.

Next Playground

The next of our playgrounds to undergo renovation and upgrade will the playground in L’Estrange Park on the corner of King and Sutherland streets at Mascot.  Tucked in the corner away from the sporting fields, the playground has always been popular and the upgrade will make it even more so.  The somewhat tired equipment (swings, slides and platform rocker) will be replaced with a feature piece of equipment – the explorer dome – along with 3D rubber animals, basket swing and the embankment slide. 

We’ve installed explorer domes in other playgrounds and they give a great deal of fun (and some motor skill development) for kids as they climb the ropes over the dome.  We’re also going to install the waterplay features we’ve used in other new playgrounds. Waterplay mixes kids, water and creativity for a whole lot of pure (and often wet) fun. The playground will be dotted with new plantings of native trees, colourful groundcovers, new furniture and pathways.  When finished it should be a welcome addition to our network of City playgrounds. We will be looking for any comment (and suggestions) that residents may have for the proposed playground and the plans will go on display in about a fortnight.  You can see them at Council’s Administration Centre in Coward Street or on a special display board on site at L’Estrange Park.