Aug 27, 2011

History Week Events Next Week

History Week 2011 kicks off next week and this year’s theme is one I will enjoy – “Eat History”. The aim is to take everyone across the food and fads of history, what we ate, where it came from and why it ended up on our tables. From our City’s perspective, “Eat History” will be about where it came from.

We’ve got two events for History Week and both will be at the Mascot Library and Museum, at 2 Hatfield Street, Mascot. There’s a one day event and an exhibition that runs through until March next year. First, the one-off. Our City used to be the location of the David Gelatine factory – now an apartment complex, which shows how we’ve changed. But long before TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs, our own Davis Gelatine encouraged home cooks to get away from bangers and mash, or chops or steak and be adventurous. Dainty dishes was the clarion call of this local manufacturer and through exotic moulds, cook books and some strong presentations at the Royal Easter Show (when it was at the Showgrounds) Australian cooking made perhaps it biggest change prior to the influx of European and Asian influences. David Gelatine was Australia’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods prior to the Second World War and was both a local and national landmark.

So, on September 17 the Mascot Library will host a locally-oriented discussion “Dainty Dishes; The Story of Davis Gelatine”, commencing at 2.00pm. It’s free but you will need to book, which you can by calling our library staff on 9366-3888. The second event is an exhibition “Made in Botany: The history of Manufacturing in the City of Botany Bay”. The most known – and eaten – food manufactured in our City comes from Kellogg’s. Corn flakes through to the myriad of breakfast cereals have all come from the manufacturing plant established in 1928. The exhibition will feature the old cereal boxes, photos and much more. Again the exhibition (which runs from September 5 through to March 2, 2012) is free and you don’t need to book. The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 12.00pm and 5.00pm and on Tuesday and Thursday between 9.00am and 2.00pm. Both the talk and the exhibition give a great representation of the food history of our City.

Aug 25, 2011

Immunisation Dates

Council’s next free immunisation clinic is scheduled for Thursday September 1. The aim of the vaccinations at the clinics is to provide immunity against a number of diseases including: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal C and chicken pox. Many of these diseases have made a comeback after being almost eradicated in past decades and immunisation is the proven way of keeping them in check. The immunisation clinics operate on the first Thursday of each month at Mascot Early Childhood Centre, 51 Coward Street, Mascot, between 9.00am and 10.00am and the Central Library, Eastgardens Shopping Centre, between 2.00pm and 3.00pm and again at night between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.

Be a Heart Foundation Volunteer

The Heart Foundation of NSW is gearing up for its annual Doorknock Appeal in September and the CEO has asked me to invite people from our community to be one of the 118,000 volunteers to knock on doors and raise funds for the Foundation.  The Doorknock Appeal raises funds for critical research against the scourge of heart disease.  If you’d like to help and be one of the volunteers, contact the Heart Foundation Doorknock Hotline on 1800 55 22 55.

Aug 24, 2011

2011 Lionel Bowen Scholar Johanna Garvin

The presence in the Council Chamber last Wednesday of members of the family of former Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon. Lionel Bowen, meant only one thing – we had with us this year’s Lionel Bowen Scholar to both welcome and honour. As everyone is aware, the Lionel Bowen Scholarship was established by Council, with the support of local business and industry, to recognise the unique community contribution of Lionel Bowen.
Lionel is a true friend of our City and a man who has represented the community in the three tiers of government in Australia, rising to be Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister.  He is a worthy Australian indeed.
For 17 years, Council has been awarding the Lionel Bowen Scholarship to a student who lives within our City for assistance in the first years of his or her full time tertiary studies or special research.
Joining an illustrious list of local scholars as the 2011 Lionel Bowen Scholar is Johanna Garvin of Rosebery.
Johanna is an amazing young lady – and indeed a worthy recipient of this honour.
She has, despite many challenges, achieved a great deal. This year she has begun her tertiary studies in Communications and Media at the Notre Dame University, which she achieved via a submission, an interview and her past academic performance. Johanna plans to use her studies to develop her passion for social justice and human rights.
In her nomination for the scholarship, Johanna said how she aims to work in the not-for-profit sector in the area of social justice.
The degree she has chosen uniquely, according to Johanna, offers study in social justice and in its final year there is an internship in a social justice environment, such as the Human Rights Commission. Johanna, has chosen a degree and an ultimate career that will benefit your fellow citizens. Inn that she is following in the path of the man after whom the scholarship is named and who it honours.
Lionel Bowen, in every part of his illustrious career was about his fellow citizens, their way of life and their future.
Johanna has the same drive, the same ambition and the same outcome. Johanna, is a worthy recipient of this scholarship.
Johanna was accompanied by your mother, Maureen Hallahan, who must be very proud, and she has every right to be.
Johanna was presented with the scholarship by Lionel’s daughter Margaret Dwyer.

Australian Open Golf ­ November at the Lakes Golf Club, Eastlakes

I wanted to inform residents of circumstances surrounding the Men’s Australian Open Golf Championship 2011, which is due to be held at the Lakes Golf Club between 10 and 13 November 2011. As well, there are two extra days scheduled, one for practice on Tuesday November 8 and then the traditional pro-am, scheduled for Wednesday, November 9.
Several weeks ago, Council have been involved in All Agencies Meetings, hosted by the NSW Government events personnel from the Department of Premier and Cabinet to discuss arrangements for this event.
The reason for the increased involvement of the NSW Government is due solely to the appearance of perhaps the best known golfer in the world – Tiger Woods – and crowd numbers are expected to double, or perhaps treble.
A spokesperson for the event organiser, Tony Roosenburg advised the meeting that the event is on a month earlier than last year and the confirmation of Tiger Woods’ participation has changed the event.  As a consequence, traffic arrangements, on-course grandstands and food facilities will be re-organised completely than earlier discussions with Council had suggested.
Given the projected increased crowd numbers, Mr Roosenburg stated that the capacity for public attendance would be capped at 15,000 people per day from Thursday to Sunday with a further 3,000 on the practice day, the preceding Tuesday, and 5,000 people for the Pro-Am on the Wednesday.  Friday and Sunday – November 11 and 13 – would be expected to be the busiest days. However, spectator numbers are, as to be expected, dependent on the weather and which golfer make the cut for the final two days of the tournament.
Last year’s event averaged 6,000 to 8,000 spectators for the four days.  It was a big even and this year it will be even bigger.
Event organisers have indicated, both at the meeting and before hand in discussions with Council officers, that they require 5,000 car spaces to use for park and ride service to the event.
One pleasing factor to emerge at the meeting was that a real emphasis will be given to getting spectators to and from the event by public transport.  Indeed, like events at Sydney Olympic Park, the organisers will aim to provide access to public transport as part of the admission price.  Railcorp with work with State Transit to provide a shuttle service from Mascot station to the Lakes Golf Course and back.  This way, we may reduce the amount of traffic in our local streets.
But, there will be some disruption to local residents.  There is no way around that, given the event and the drawcard players.
Our job will be to minimise the disruption. We will also be working with our local police command and the Botany Police LAC, Karen McCarthy, advised the Premiers’ Department meeting of the extra risks, security and parking issues as compared to last year.  
When this year’s Australian Open was first discussed with Council, Astrolabe Park was mentioned as a venue for spectator parking.  This was the location of parking for last year’s event. Unfortunately, so far Sydney Water, which controls Astrolabe Park, has refused permission to the event organizers.  If Sydney Water does, however, give permission for the use of Astrolabe Park, this Council would only permit up to 1,400 vehicles to use the area, the same as we allowed for the 2010 event. This clearly would be insufficient given the projected numbers we now have for the event.
Through the State Government, the event organiser is examining further sites at Randwick Racecourse, which can accommodate 2,500 cars, and Moore Park.  Currently, no events are programmed at Moore Park during the Championship and it was confirmed that Moore Park could accommodate 3,000 cars. The event organisers are also examining additional public entrances to the course from Sparks Avenue, Wentworth Avenue and Florence Avenue, which were used last year.  
Council stressed at the meeting – and we will continue to stress – the importance of notifying all residents in the vicinity of the venue entrances and traffic and parking arrangements.
While the event is not considered by the State Government as a “Major Event” it has been given “Hallmark” status, which means it will require DA approval from Council.
The Team Leader of Development, who attended the Premiers’ Department meeting with our Director of Assets & Environment, outlined to the organisers the DA process and the heritage listing issues, plans showing the location of food facilities and grandstand locations, statement of environmental effect, which would need to address the capacity of the event, hours of the event and the parking arrangements.
There will need to be a Traffic Management Plan, which will have to be approved by both Council and the Event Management Group. This plan will need to include all STA and Railcorp transport options, comment on all shuttle bus arrangements and routes and any parking arrangements that will impact on residents of our City.  Council officers advised the meeting that that the DA and TMP would be required before the end of August to allow adequate time for approval prior to the commencement of the event. This time estimate was reinforced by the Premier’s Department, although the event organisers expressed concern about deadlines.
Both Council and the Premier’s Department understand the rules and regulations must be met and the organisers were left in no doubt as to what was required and the time frames to meet all approvals.
We, and the State Government, are not being difficult – we are making sure the event is held in line with all the legal requirements. I will continue to keep residents updated on progress.

Aug 18, 2011

Banksmeadow Public School Trivia Night

The P&C at the Banksmeadow Public School is looking for some support for its main fund raising event – The Banksmeadow Public School Trivia Night.  Over the past three years, the P&C has been raising money to create a computer room and install electronic Smart Boards through out the school.  Now the focus is raising money to improve the numeracy and literacy skills of students.  The P&C does a great job but they could always do with a little help – and any donations you might have which could increase the prizes on offer on the night would be appreciated.  Council helps where it can but some community support would make the night even better.  The trivia night will be held on Saturday September 10 and will be a mixture of games, trivia, prize draw, art auction and a great deal of fun.  If you can help, then contact the P&C President, Anne on 0410 347 326 or via email at:  If you can help please do as this is a really worthwhile annual event.

Aug 16, 2011

Orica ­ Déjà Vu

There would not be too many residents in Botany who would not feel a sense of déjà vu when reading media reports of a leak at the Orica chemical plant at Stockton in Newcastle.

The impacts of the Stockton leak we’re now told is three times what was originally thought – from six blocks to 30 blocks.

The Stockton residents, we’re told, should take precautionary measures over the leak of hexavalent chromium.

The leak was eight days ago.

The residents were not told for three days.

For three days chemicals, carcinogenetic substances, were in the air but the nearby residents were not told.

It even took 17 hours for Orica to contact authorities to inform the proper regulators that there had been a serious leak of dangerous chemicals.

Does any of this sound familiar to this City, this Council and our local residents?

Why would we experience anything but déjà vu?

Orica vents chemicals into the atmosphere.

Orica pollutes.

Orica tells no one immediately.

Regulators are slow to react.

This is Stockton now.

It was Botany in the past.

Have Orica or the State regulators learnt nothing?

It would appear not.

Déjà vu!

Our sympathies go out to the people of Stockton.

Our hope is that maybe, perhaps, possibly, Orica and the regulators will learn this time what they refused to learn or confront in the past.

Then residents – here and in Stockton, or wherever Orica is located – will be protected.

Aug 15, 2011

St Bernards Fete

St Bernard’s School is holding its fete on Sunday, August 21 beginning at 10.00am at the school in Ramsgate Street, Botany.  There will be a lot of stalls, a jumping castle, pony rides, sausage sizzle, face painting, chocolate wheel, raffles and much more as well as entertainment, including dance displays and some magic shows – always worth watching. I really enjoy both trivia nights and fetes, where you can find all sorts of things, some you can use and some which you just buy. The local community can donate items for the fete at St Bernard’s and the donations just add up to the success of the day. St Bernard’s Parents and Friends’ Association do a great job in organising the fete and if you’d like to help you can contact Katrina via email at:

Aug 14, 2011

Botany Public School new hall

Last Thursday it was my pleasure to be part of the official opening of the new School Hall at Botany Public School – and it’s a great addition to a great school. The hall which has been named after the Late Johnny Warren was built as part of the Australian Government’s initiative to improve our nation’s schools.  Principal Jason King presided over a fitting ceremony to officially open the new hall and I was joined by Matt Thistlewaite, who from July 1 entered the Australian Senate, and local member for Maroubra the Hon. Michael Daley. There was a very distinctive soccer theme for the event and I was glad to see some of the late Johnny Warren’s family there to remember our local soccer hero and one of the sports all time greats. Both current and future students at Botany Public School will enjoy this new facility.

Six-a-Side Soccer

The new season kicks off in a couple of weeks (September 3) and if you want to be part of one of the teams then you’ll need to register.  This year we have more divisions and more opportunities to play this exciting version of soccer. There are spots available in the boys and girl’s and youth divisions as well as men’s and women’s divisions.  The games are played at the Hensley Athletic Field. Now the sporting centre of our City, Hensley with its cushioned synthetic field means that the games are never rained out.  Nominations close on August 19 and an interactive application form can be found on Council’s website:  Once the forms are filled in, we have a registration session slated for August 29.  All the details are on the web, so grab your mates, get a team together and don’t miss out on the action.  

On the subject of Hensley
Little Athletics is about to get underway for the summer. I can’t believe the year has gone so quickly. Little A’s is also a great way to keep fit and challenge yourself.  Tony Vecellio is the person to contact if you are interested on 93494862.  Combine the two and you will be in great shape for your winter sports!

Better Driver Outcomes

When it comes to teaching young learner drivers all of us can do with a little help – that’s something I know from experience with two teenage boys.  For the last couple of years, Council in conjunction with the Roads and Traffic Authority, has run free workshops for parents and supervising drivers who are teaching people to drive.  The workshop goes through the new laws for L and P licence holders, how best to be a supervising driver, how to complete the necessary learner driver log book and the benefits of supervised on-road driving.  When we’ve held the workshops in recent years they have been really popular – and worthwhile.  The next one is scheduled for September 8 at the Central Library at Eastgardens between 5.45 and 7.45 pm.  You’ll need to book as places are limited and you can do this by calling Yasemin or Patrick from our Youth Services on 9366 3889.

Botany Shopping Strip Upgrade

If you’ve been down to the Botany shopping strip recently, you would’ve noticed that we have been doing some work to the paving along the footpaths. We are levelling the pavers and giving them a good clean.  We are also widening the area around the bases of the trees preparing them for a new decorative porous gravel surround.  Once we’ve the tree surrounds, the footpaths and planter boxes will be cleaned to remove built up grime and moss. Litter bins will be freshly powder coated - half of them have already been done.  Damaged seats will be replaced and others painted.  Finally those planter tubs with missing plants will get some new colourful plants. All the streets throughout the City are swept and cleaned on a weekly basis and the Botany shopping strip is currently swept and cleaned each day.  During this time of the year when our trees drop their leaves it means a far greater amount of cleaning up. Council has recently purchased an additional street sweeper and cleaning machine, which will enable us to increase our efforts in making our City look its best all the time.

Aug 7, 2011

Our City....A City in Transition

I don’t usually do this, but given the change we are seeing in many parts of our City, I thought I would republish the editorial I wrote for the Winter issue of Council’s regular newsletter – Your City. What I enunciated in the editorial is what I experience when we move around the City and talk to our residents. What I wrote was:

For a modern day City, and one that first experienced residential and industrial development in the early years of European settlement of Australia, many would not expect that our City is still a city in transition.

It is. 
It is growing, expanding in new directions.  It is welcoming new residents and keeping in line with residents who have lived in it for decades.

And as a growing and expanding City, ours must constantly adapt, embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things. Our transition is constant – as it should be.

What was acceptable in the 19th or 20th centuries can be neither appropriate nor acceptable in the 21st.

But within the changing face and direction of our City there must be acceptance that while we can adapt to growth and expansion there are physical limitations on what we can do.

Residential settlement was first laid out when motor vehicles were the exception rather than the norm. As a result, two or three car garages, common in new residential area in Sydney, are uncommon in the City. The streets can be narrower, the residential allotments smaller.

In industrial areas, streets and access was originally planned when modern trucking movements were beyond imagination.  Even Jules Verne could not have predicted what we experience today.

Council addresses the pressures and conflicts that arise in transport and parking issues and demand within the constraints of the reality of our physical city. We can’t change that.

What we have to do is match what we have to live with in a physical sense with the aspirations and needs of our residents. Our suburbs are not like low density Castle Hill or other suburban fringe areas.

We are a group of suburbs close to central Sydney and, like other inner city locations, streets and roads can be narrow and congested and parking opportunities difficult to find.

We also have the extra problem cause by the daily influx of people who work in our City.

In new residential developments Council demands sufficient parking for the new residents with some additional spaces for visitors.

In established residential areas (where there were no cars when the houses were first built) we endeavour to skew available parking to residents via parking restrictions and the requirement on new industrial developments to ensure employee parking on site.

But when families living in busy streets have two and sometimes three cars per home, pressures increase and make solutions difficult. We are also working with the State Government to improve public transport.

I find it almost incomprehensible that we have a rail station at Mascot without direct bus access.

We’re having issues with the operation of the Metrobus Route 20, but while we can have dialogue with State Transit, the bus operators, about this we don’t seem to be able to get that organisation to look at bus routes within the City to get to and from the rail station.

To Council that makes clear sense. We’ve got a rail station then let’s have bus services to get residents to and from the rail system. An efficient and safe public transport system would be a viable alternate to road congestion – without even taking into account the environmental benefits.

I understand frustration about road congestion and parking but everyone has to understand, and acknowledge, that we have physical constraints that Council must overcome – and getting the right policy settings from the State Government.

We don’t shirk from addressing the issues – we just need the support of our residents so that our voice is louder and stronger.

We don’t shirk and, in the future, we still won’t.

Aug 6, 2011

2011 Australian Census

On Tuesday of next week – August 9 – information for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will be collected from every household in Australia. In preparation for this major event, I have received from the Australian Statistician an information kit for the census. The kit is now in the Central Library at Eastgardens for any resident to access if they want census information.

The information collected via the Australian Census is used almost on a daily basis for our future planning and development of policies. Our planning and policy development are factually based and information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is often the centre piece of our evidence based development platforms. Perhaps the best example of this can be found in our local playgrounds.  As with the new major playgrounds now being enjoyed at Booralee and Sir Joseph Banks, the new one at Jellicoe Park is where it is because of the changing population in the immediate vicinity.

We base the provision of playgrounds on the census statistics for the immediate and surrounding areas. We see growth in the number of children and we know we will need play and recreational space for them. This principle applies to just about every aspect of Council service delivery – services go where the need is apparent and determination of need is reliant on credible statistics. That’s why the 2011 Census of Population and Housing is vital to us. I urge all our residents to take part in this important community exercise. If anyone requires any more information they can access the Australian Bureau of Statistics information kit at the Central Library in Eastgardens.

Metrobus Route 20

At last month’s meeting of Council, I raised concerns about the operation of the Metrobus Route 20, which I and other Councilors had received from, local residents.  As everyone is aware, this service runs between Botany and Gore Hill via North Sydney and Crows Nest, and is, according to the State Government’s State Transit, a popular service.

The concerns raised with us, predominately from people in Banskia, Edward and Daniel Streets in Botany, revolved around 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 outlined was 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. Parking, congestion and noise in otherwise quiet streets were the central causes of concern.

In view of the residents’ issues being raised with Council, I asked for the Metrobus route to be put before the Local Traffic Committee so that the views of the Botany residents can be examined.I must stress that 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. After discussing my concerns the Local Traffic Committee decided  that Sydney Buses are to refer the item to the Department of Transport to consider and assess the option of left turn into Stephen Road and then left into Swinbourne Street, William Street, Banksia Street to Botany Road, and also the option of left turn into Bay Street, proceed to layover adjacent to Booralee Park, then turn right into Jasmine Street and right into Banksia Street to Botany Road. Sydney Buses will report back  following referral to the Department of Transport. I will keep residents informed.