Nov 3, 2012

This Blog is discontinued - New blog is www.ronhoenig.net

This blog has been discontinue on Ron Hoenig's election to the NSW Parliament. 

The latest blog is accessable at www.ronhoenig.net or alternatively at http://ronhoenig.blogspot.com.au

Aug 31, 2012

New Season for Little A’s


Given the track and field focus of the London Olympics, and the resurgence in the sport, it’s just about time for all aspiring athletes (and maybe some potential Olympians) to register for the coming Little Athletics season.

Registrations take place on Saturday, September 1 at Hensley Athletics Field, Pagewood. Randwick Botany Little Athletics President Tony Vecellio has already had a lot of enquiries about the coming season – our Little A’s 45th. Training is held Monday to Thursday at Hensley between 5.00pm and 7.00 pm with competition on Saturdays.

It’s open for those aged up to 17 and there are as many track and field events to train for or compete in as there were at the Olympics – hurdles, sprint races, long jump, shot put, walking and some more.

In recent years, many winter sports competitors have been part of the local Little A’s as a means to keep up fitness, and for some, athletics has become as important as football. If you’re interested, you can register online at: randwickbotanylac.com.au or call 9349 4862. Tony and his team of great volunteers do a tremendous job with the Little A’s and the training and competition has been growing year by year.

Garden Competition underway

Garden Competition entry forms were letterboxed last week to all residents, so I am hoping as we celebrate our 25th year that we have many new participants. As I say in the brochure we are not looking for creative masterpieces, just well kept gardens that contribute to how our city looks. Walking the streets these past weeks I have seen many attractive gardens all worthy of entering our competition. Our entries do not reflect these numbers. So don’t be bashful. Enter your garden or enter your neighbour’s garden. Yes, you can nominate someone else’s garden if they are too shy. There is over $25,000 worth of prizes to be won - cash, gift vouchers, lunch at a café or a mobile!

Aug 23, 2012

Eastakes Shopping Centre - Scandalous Application

I have been advised that we have been successful in getting an extension of time for objections to this outrageous development proposal. Submissions must be with the Department of Planning & Infrastructure by the end of September.

Residents in Eastlakes and the surrounding suburbs should have received a letter from me seeking their support to join with Council in voicing concern about the impact it will have on the local community.

Again, I stress Council and residents do want to see this shopping centre upgraded, just not at our expense. We don’t believe residents should suffer just because a developer wants to subsidise the upgrade with an excessive number of residential towers and no plans to upgrade the current road system to and from the shopping centre. If you have not got your letter in the mail call my office and I will forward one to you. Make sure that your voice is heard.

Aug 21, 2012

State Treasurer’s announcement of removal of Port Botany cap: Unlawful

The O’Farrell Government has announced the effective sale of Port Botany to the private sector by putting it on the block as a 99 year lease. Whilst privatisation of public facilities may not be in accordance with my political philosophy, the decision is one for the government of the day and not Botany Bay City Council. 

In announcing the government’s intention to sell Port Botany several weeks ago, the Treasurer indicated that the government would remove the 3.2 million cap on containers. According to newspaper reports of the Treasurer’s statement, the removal of the cap would mean that the government would receive more than one billion dollars extra. 

The cap on containers, or Twenty foot Equivalent Units (or TEU’s) is not an arbitrary figure. It was stated on the 13 October, 2005 as one of the Conditions of Consent when the then Minister for Planning, the Hon Frank Sartor, determined a development application for State significant and designated development under Section 80 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. 

Clause A1.4 of that consent provided as follows:

Port Throughput Capacity Limits

A1.4    Port throughput capacity generated by operations in accordance with this consent shall be consistent with the limits specified in the EIS, that is, a maximum throughput capacity at the terminal of 1.6 million TEU’s per annum and a total throughput at Port Botany of 3.2 million TEU’s. These limits may not be exceeded by the development without further environmental assessment and approval. Sydney Ports Corporation shall prepare, or have prepared on its behalf, such further environmental assessment for the determination of the Minister.

The expanded part of the Port is not yet completed. The total throughput capacity limits were designed because the transportation system could not, and cannot, cope with the movement of containers to and from the Port. The road system is currently in gridlock and that is without even the 3.2 million TEU throughput being reached. 


It beggars belief that a State Treasurer, with no credible knowledge or understanding of the Port, the environment or the capacity of the road and rail system, just wishes to arbitrarily remove throughput capacity limits because he thinks he will get another billion dollars in a sale of a public asset. 

The damage to existing infrastructure that the removal of the cap would lead to would, in reality, be a ten times what the Treasurer may receive. It is a frightening prospect that the Treasurer of the State does not seem to either understand this or just sees dollar signs in front of his eyes. Good governance of this state is no where in his equation. 

I am sorry to have to advise the Treasurer that he does not even have the lawful authority to do what he says he wishes to do. 

He seems to forget, or ignore, that the law binds the government of the day as it binds all citizens and the law requires the NSW Government to make an application under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. 

To do what he says he wants to do, and stay within the law, requires the government undertake an environmental assessment and seek approval of a variation to the existing consent. 

I would be surprised if it was even possible to obtain an environmental assessment that could cater and make provision for the movement of freight with the cap being removed. In any event, the Treasurer and the NSW Government is bound by the law. 

Botany Bay City Council has decided to seek an undertaking from the NSW Government that it will act in accordance with the law and, if such undertaking is not received, then Council will institute proceedings against the NSW Government, seeking orders restraining the Government from proceeding in accordance with the Treasurer’s announcement other than by law.

Aug 20, 2012

Communicating with Teenagers

The teenage years can be the treasured years for both teenagers and their parents – but better two-way communication can make the years even better for both. To assist parents in engaging with and understanding their teenagers, our Community Services section has organised a free two hour workshop. It will be held on Thursday September 20 (so you’ve got plenty of notice). It will be at the Central Library, in Westfield Eastgardens and will begin at 5.00pm. As spots in the workshop are limited you’ll need to book, which you can do by calling our Community Services people on 9366 3889.

Aug 19, 2012

Eastlakes Shopping Centre: An outrageous overdevelopment

I have had for several years very great concerns of the actions of the developer of the Eastlakes Shopping Centre in their approach to the former State Government. Those approaches were to seek the development application being assessed under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, were totally inappropriate and designed purely to avoid proper and local scrutiny of any development application.

Council has indicated publicly and clearly, and repeatedly, to the developers that it has no objection to the redevelopment of a modern shopping centre for Eastlakes. To say that the existing shopping centre is tired and in urgent need of revitalisation is stating the obvious. 

However, the developers see their pot of gold not in the redevelopment of the shopping centre. No, far from it. The rainbow leading to the pot of gold is found in the high rise, residential flat buildings over the shopping centre. 

Council has repeatedly said that the Eastlakes Shopping Centre development and the surrounding residential flat buildings are a disgraceful example of overdevelopment. Probably, the worst in our City. The existing structures are classic examples of what occurred in the 1960’s. They are also classic examples of what happed when this State was run by the Liberal Party under Barry O’Farrell’s predecessor Sir Robert Askin – a man not noted for turning his hand away from an ill-gotten gain. 

What all of us know all too well – there is little open space and amenity for residents and this area cannot tolerate any further residential density. 

What Council did do was that it indicated it would support a Master Planning Proposal, involving a shopping centre and residential development. But there was a proviso. Council strongly advocated the acquisition of the residential flat buildings at the corner of Racecourse Place, Gardeners Road and Evans Avenue as well as a detailed environmental master planning process. 

These were not prohibitive provisos – they would have enhanced any proposed development and given a focus for further redevelopment in the surrounding area. 

The approach to the former Government and the designation that the application would be determined under Part 3A were two strikes against sensible redevelopment. I had thought we had a glimmer of success with the change of government in 2011. I thought the people of Eastlakes would be protected by the mandate given to Premier O’Farrell to abolish the Part 3A provision. 

Premier O’Farrell after scrapping the Part 3A Provisions on 3 April, 2011, announced he had given increased planning powers back to local councils. There was, as I’ve said, that glimmer of hope. But, tragically, Premier O’Farrell has shown he is another opportune-seeking politician and his promise to devolve planning powers to local government, have been borne out to be a broken promise. 

I had written to the previous ministers of planning on a number of occasions to express my and Council’s concerns about the developer’s activities. Our entreaties fell on deaf ears. The developer made no genuine attempts to acquire the buildings Council identified to improve the quality and amenity of the proposed development. 

Rather, he directly and indirectly approached a number of previous Premiers and Planning Ministers in the former government. Personally, I had a bad feeling that something underhanded was happening in relation to these usual and totally inappropriate approaches. It was unreasonable and in stark contrast to Council’s reasonable approach. 

In my view, there was always something shifty about the communication with the Department of Planning at the very least. 

I have previously written to the Former Minister of Planning about a private meeting his Director General sought with the Council’s former General Manager about this application. I indicated in that letter that it was grossly improper for there to be private discussions with Council’s General Manager and the Director-General of the Department of Planning. 

The development application was referred to the State Government’s Planning and Assessment Commission and, in my view, the Commission deliberately listed the hearing of the matter on Jewish New Year. They knew full well I would not be able to attend. The conduct between the proponents and the former government in my view left me a very uneasy feeling – then and now. 

I was much relieved when the O’Farrell Government made the announcement on Part 3A assessment and the return of planning powers to local government. When it made the announcement, I wrote to the Planning Minister seeking for the application to be returned to Council for determination. 

However, for some bizarre reason the Minister for Planning, the Hon Brad Hazzard, refused to return this application to local government, namely to our Council in accordance with Barry O’Farrell’s promises and the mandate he received to keep those promises. I urged the Minister for Planning to examine the correspondence I have had with his predecessors. 

I advised the Minister that the developer seemed to have manipulated the government processes to this point and urged the Minister that any such application under Part 3A should not be retained for determination. I requested removing his department as the Consent Authority and send the application back to this Council in accordance with the stated O’Farrell Government’s policy. 

I advised the Minister that as the Eastlakes Shopping Centre was full of three storey walk-ups it was a planning disaster of the sixties and, as such, was very difficult to address. In addition, the population densities were far too great and any application had the opportunity not only to rectify the previous planning disasters but to generate some economic investment in this area. I urged the Minister for his personal intervention. 

Despite the Minister’s stated planning objectives and his Government’s policy, he refused to remove the application from the Provisions of Part 3A and said:


“I have asked the Department to further explore with a proponent to Council the option of acquiring the adjacent flat buildings as to integrate them into the development proposal. Failing this, it will be necessary for the project to show how redevelopment of the site can occur without isolating or compromising the ability to redevelop adjacent sites.”


Despite this assurance, there has been no discussion with Council whatsoever. All we’ve seen, or been given, is a Development Application received by the Department and which is to be placed on exhibition. The application, which is currently on exhibition, is the worst and most disgraceful overdevelopment of a site I have seen in all my 31 years as Mayor of this Council. 


The application contains 12 five to eight storey residential flat buildings with many containing room sizes that do not even match the State Environmental Planning Policy. Tragically, the designs suggest the buildings are smaller than the disgraceful developments of the sixties and seventies, which dot the adjoining streets. Worse still, the high rise buildings stand straight, right next to Eastlakes Reserve and provide, in effect no open space. 

Council’s Planning Officers are currently assessing the application and obtaining independent experts in an effort to deal with it on a merit basis. However, Council needs the support of the people of Eastlakes and the surrounding streets in opposing this application. 


Very often, in respect of dreadful attempts to redevelop parts of this area the public has trusted its Mayor and Councillors to represent their interests. This is an occasion where we urgently need the peoples’ support. 

I can’t help feeling it is too coincidental that the timing of this application being placed on exhibition is at a time when I am to leave the Office of Mayor. This could have been a deliberate action in the same way it was to refer the matter to the Planning and Assessment Commission. 

So bad is this application, and the stage it has reached, that I cannot but genuinely suspect there has been some gross impropriety not only for many years but also now. And that feelings flow from the former government to the present government. 

Council has also decided to refer the application to the Independent Commission Against Corruption with all the correspondence exchanged between the Mayor and the Council and the Department and Ministers with a view of the Commission using its powers to ascertain whether or not there has been any corrupt activity involved in the way in which this application has proceeded. 

I do not make this assertion lightly, and I have no evidence of it other than the fact that the nature of the application and the conduct of various participants is so bizarre and contrary to proper principles. As well, the costs of making the application in a manner in which it is made could not have occurred without aid and comfort being provided to the applicant. 


Aug 14, 2012

DIY Injury Care

The public health information sessions undertaken by the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation in association with the Rotary Club of Botany Bay have to date proved successful and popular with our local residents. The sessions have ranged over a wide range of topics and health issues and the next one will continue in the same vein.

The one scheduled for August 23 is part 2 of a two part series on what to do to treat injuries – hence Do it yourself injuries – Part 2. Questions we all have: Should I put cold water or heat on an injury? Do I put my head back or forward when my nose is bleeding? What do I do if someone is having a seizure? These and other questions will be answered by Dr Michael Golding, Director of Emergency at the Prince of Wales Hospital will take up when he left off with Part 1.

The forthcoming session will give advice and skills on how to treat common household burns, bites, sprains, loss of consciousness, loss of blood and more serious episodes. Dr Golding’s Part 1 was informative and helpful and Part 2 will be more of the same in giving confidence to help other who might be injured.

The session will commence at 6.00pm on August 23 at the Edmund Blacket Function Room in the Prince of Wales Hospital. Access is via Avoca Street. Please reserve your place at Dr Golding’s session by calling Elizabeth on 9382 4263 or via email: elizabeth.thomas@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au If you RSVP to Elizabeth you’ll be in the running for a lucky door prize – and on the night coffee, tea, cakes and sandwiches are free. These are really great sessions and the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation and Rotary Club of Botany Bay are to be congratulated for partnering in presenting them.

Aug 13, 2012

Laycock Street Mascot has become Laycock Walk

At the end of last week Laycock Street became Laycock Walk and the Mascot Station Precinct has a new landmark. The street is gone, transformed into a pedestrian mall with decorative pavers interspersed with a combination of ground level gardens, raised planter beds, low sitting walls and attractive street lighting. 

It will prove to be a much needed pedestrian link from Mascot Station to the surrounding residential and commercial buildings. Laycock Walk is just one part of the transformation of an old industrial area into a stylish and modern residential/commercial place that is breathing new life into that part of our City.

Aug 6, 2012

City's Garden Competition Turns 25!

This year our annual garden competition turns 25! Many of our regular entrants were only youngsters when it was first held and now they are home owners and keen gardeners. 

Our annual garden competition is a great way to celebrate what our City has become “a vibrant attract place where people want to live and raise their family.” 

Whilst it was always mine dream for our City to become a “Garden Suburb” I am always grateful that our gardening community has embraced the vision and contributed to helping it become a reality. Driving around I sometimes wish the former editor of the Messenger Newspaper could see our city today. When I first became Mayor she told me I would never “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” I think even she would agree she was wrong. 

The private gardens in our residential streets are the ones that make our City look good, well kept and vibrant. 

As we celebrate our 25th year I urge all residents to spruce up their front gardens and enter. You don’t have to have a landscaped masterpiece to enter, just a well kept garden. 

There are great prizes to be won with sponsorship totalling more than $25,000. This year we also welcome celebrity gardener Brendan Moar to our judging panel. Brendan will help judge the overall winner. 

Let’s make this our best gardening competition ever. Get your gardening skills sharpened, your gardens spruced up and your entry form in.

Aug 5, 2012

Thank you Botany Bay residents you have touched me deeply with your gracious and kind remarks

I have been really touched by so many letters and emails received recently about my decision to seek the support of fellow residents for election as the State Member for Heffron on the Saturday, August 25.

That decision meant I could no longer continue in the office of Mayor of the City of Botany Bay. All those letters and emails are kind and gracious, each expressing disappointment. I will write back to everyone who so kindly wrote to me. I thought, however, I will publish one of those letters without the name and address of the author.


"Dear Mr Hoenig, 

Re: You’re Resignation, 

Mr Hoenig, let me start by saying I am not happy with the news of your resignation. 

I first moved to Botany in 1967 as a 12 year old with my parents. My father’s work had him transferred to Botany, we were living in Drummoyne before that. 

You can imagine how I felt at the time, living in a bare unattractive and polluted suburb. I hated it. 

Then you came along. Well need I say more, for all you have done for this unbelievable little suburb and time has proven it. I am married with a family. My husband wanted us to move to Kensington when we married, but I fought to stay here for the way you transformed Botany . Thank you for the support you have given all us residents and let’s not forget that ‘Hail Storm’ when Botany Council was by our side helping us all as usual. When our rates are not paid on time, no threatening letters, when the elderly are unable to mow their lawns you are there I could go on and on. One of the best things you have accomplished is that the Council is not in debt and you have always put money back into the community. 

Now let’s see how our new Mayor stands up to you. We all know this will not happen so you can understand why I am not happy in you going. I have always felt safe, secure and justified with you leading the helm. 

One more bit of information, I have always voted Liberal, all my life. I have only ever voted Labour for you and you only. So I guess those days are now over. I do not think the Labour Party is worthy of you and your ethics. You will always be the only time I have voted Labour. 

With all the above aside, I can only wish you every bit of success and happiness in your future as you so deserve it. I hope they treat you as good as you have treated myself and all the residents in Botany. 

Yours faithfully,"

To all our residents as I said a couple of weeks ago when the Labor Party announced my decision to seek election to state parliament I said that I’ve been Mayor of the City of Botany Bay for over three decades, during which much has changed for the better. I said that it had been a privilege to serve as Mayor, our suburbs and our streets have undergone massive change. The successive Councils on which I represented our residents, worked relentlessly to transform what was a polluted industrial area into a modern and vibrant city, where the quality of life for residents is paramount. In this, I feel, without being immodest, I’ve had some success. 

I reminded our residents that many of the issues that impact on our every day lives are State Government issues. The cars and trucks that clog our main roads are now filtering through our residential streets. There’s aircraft noise, which can only be reduced by a second airport for Sydney and the need for proper and efficient public transport for all residents of Heffron. 

There’s also the vital issue of planning. The State Government is moving to bring in a planning system that will let bureaucrats and outsiders with no local knowledge decide what will be built in our neighbourhoods and next to our homes. We have to stop this and State Parliament is the place to stop it. 

The only way I can make our local voice heard is for me to represent you and all of of Heffron residents in State Parliament. For a better way of life for all our residents, State Parliament is where I can work on you behalf. 

Residents should understand that if I am elected as the State Member for Heffron I will still be here fighting for your interests and quality of life as I always have.

I am certain that the people of this City will make a wise choice as to who will replace me as Mayor, and I will not shrink from making a recommendation to our residents to continue the journey we all began together 30 years ago.

Aug 4, 2012

A great idea if you have a little time

I had a lovely letter from the President of the Randwick Botany Little Athletics, Mr Tony Vecellio, who has put forward what I believe is a really good idea. Tony is looking for local seniors who have some time on their hands to become involved in his club.

He has a number of positions, such as time keepers, place judges or general helpers, which are not too difficult, and not to strenuous, but might interest some of our seniors who would like to be a little more active and involve. As well as helping the club you would also have the wonderful experience of mixing with and mentoring our many young athletes. If you are interested give Tony a call on 93494862.

No experience is necessary, Tony will provide any training necessary to ensure that you are well equipped for the task when Little A’s get back into full swing in September. Tony wrote: "Mr Mayor we would be happy to welcome them and encourage them and show them how valuable they are … " so don’t be shy he is waiting for your calls.

Jul 30, 2012

On the Campaign Trail with the fabulous Young Labor Heffron Team



Pedestrian Crossing Bay St & Botany Rd Botany - Now the landscaping



Bay Street Botany Pedestrian Crossing

I know that traffic lights are the preferred option for the intersection of Bay Street and Botany Road, Botany, but until we can get them approved and installed by the Roads and Maritime Services we are happy to announce that a zebra crossing and signage will be installed and up, hopefully, by the time you read this. The pedestrian crossing should help our youngsters and their parents/guardians to cross safely at this busy intersection. I will keep you posted on the progress of traffic lights. 
 
On the subject of traffic lights, it is not in our area, but I know many of our residents will be pleased to learn that the RMS has finally agreed to install traffic lights at the intersection of Beauchamp Road and Perry Street, Matraville. I have received many letters regarding this intersection which have all been referred to the RMS and several Ministers responsible for Roads. At last, thanks to the intervention of our excellent local member, Maroubra MP, Michael Daley we have some action and the lights should be up and running by August.

Jul 29, 2012

My Heffron State By-Election Campaign Opened in Mascot Yesterday

Former Premier Kristina Keneally launches Ron Hoenig's Heffron  Election Campaign yesterday in Mascot

E-Waste Collection on again August 18

Put Saturday August 18th in the diary, as that is the next E-Waste Collection Day at Botany Depot. Following on from the success of our first E-Waste Day the depot staff have organised another. Just one little reminder if you do dump your old computer remember to delete or save any information that is stored on it. A couple of people show up a few days after they had delivered it to the depot hoping to retrieve their hard drive, but unfortunately it had already gone to the recycling depot and been dispersed. I know a few people wrote asking for a collection point in Mascot, but for the time being Botany Depot will be the collection point.

School Exhibition at Mascot Museum Launched

Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of launching the latest exhibition on show at the George Hanna Memorial Museum on the weekend, and I must say I think this is our best ever. The topic appeals to all ages – after all we have all had to go school and we all have stories to tell. It is just a little hard when I realise that our current students look on my time in school as “our history!” If you have some time pop in and have a browse, and remember Mascot Library which houses the museum is open until 8pm on Wednesdays.

Jul 26, 2012

Heffron by-election 25 August - Why I am standing

As residents of the City of Botany Bay you’re entitled to know why I’m seeking your support for election as the State Member for Heffron. 

The decision to seek election as the Member for Heffron on Saturday, August 25 was not taken lightly. I’ve been Mayor of the City of Botany Bay for over three decades, during which much has changed for the better in your neighbourhood and for local residents. 

During the time I’ve had the privilege to serve as Mayor, our suburbs and our streets have undergone massive change. The successive Councils on which I represented our residents, worked relentlessly to transform what was a polluted industrial area into a modern and vibrant city, where the quality of life for residents is paramount. In this, I feel, without being immodest, I’ve had some success. 

Many of the issues that impact on our every day lives are State Government issues. The cars and trucks that clog our main roads are now filtering through our residential streets. There’s aircraft noise, which can only be reduced by a second airport for Sydney and the need for proper and efficient public transport for all residents of Heffron. 

There’s also the vital issue of planning. The State Government is moving to bring in a planning system that will let bureaucrats and outsiders with no local knowledge decide what will be built in our neighbourhoods and next to our homes. We have to stop this and State Parliament is the place to stop it. 

The only way I can make our local voice heard is for me to represent you and all of of Heffron residents in State Parliament. For a better way of life for all our residents, State Parliament is where I can work on you behalf. 

Over the years, I think I’ve shown I will speak out and fight for what is best for the residents. No matter who is in power in the State or what agendas they may have, for me, our residents always come first.

With your support, it’s in State Parliament as the Member for Heffron where I can continue to work for you, your family and your neighbours. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years and, in a different place, I’ll keep doing it

Jul 25, 2012

Volunteers Recognised

Last week I had the privilege to host a special dinner for our local volunteers – people who give so much to our community and many of our residents. It takes a very special person to volunteer to assist others in the community and all of them were worthy of our thanks. A number of local volunteer groups were represented: 

The Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, which is instrumental in providing input and advice into the planning of events such as the Garden Party and information sessions and tips on health and safety issues and other matters of importance to our older residents. 

The Access Committee, with which Council liaises for advice to help make our city more accessible for all of the community. 

The Botany Historical Trust, which is helping us preserve the history and heritage of our area for the benefit of current and future generations. The Trusts is also involved in mounting exhibitions, like the Shop Locally one and our upcoming Back to School exhibition on schooling in the City of Botany Bay. 

Meals on Wheels, the most recognised and the most constant of our volunteering groups. The Meals on Wheels volunteers are out every day – even during the wet weather we’ve experienced this year has not deterred them from turning up and delivering meals to our more vulnerable residents, always with a smile and an encouraging word 

The Knitting Network, the members of which donate their time to craft beautiful hand knitted items to support the residents of Sir Joseph Banks Nursing Home, Southern Cross Apartments and Frenchmen's Lodge, to name but a few. They have also raised funds to provide seating in one of our parks, again as a way of contributing to their community. 

The dinner was one of the few ways we, as a community, can thank the volunteers for their great contribution.

Pagewood Seniors turn 40!

I was honoured to join the members of the Pagewood Senior Citizens this week as they celebrated their 40th Birthday. A great milestone for any club particularly one that relies entirely on volunteers. I was looking through some old scrape books and came across an article done when the club celebrated it’s 30th birthday. It doesn’t seem that long ago. Their birthday celebrations were a fun day for all who came along and joined in the festivities, and I think a great day was had by all. Happy 40th Pagewood and I wish you and your members many, many more.

Six a Side Soccer at Hensley Field

The new season of Council’s six-a-side soccer (or football for the purists) is about to get underway – and if it’s as popular as it was last year then the places that are now on offer will be filled quickly. Spots are available in the boys and girl’s junior (6 to 12) and youth (13-18) divisions as well as men’s and women’s divisions. Competition kicks off on September 8 and runs to December 20 at the upgraded Hensley Athletic Field where it’s played on the cushioned synthetic field and the games are never rained out.

Nominations close on August 31 and you can fill in an interactive application form on Council’s website: www.botanybay.nsw.gov.au All the details are on the web and this year there are more divisions and more opportunities to play this exciting version of soccer. So grab your mates and get a team together and don’t miss out on the action.

L'Estrange Park playground now open

The fences are down and the L’Estrange Park playground in Mascot is now open for our young residents to enjoy! Driving by this afternoon it was a great sight to see that our local youngsters are exploring and running around the playground. That’s what it is all about.

Jul 17, 2012

Streetscape Upgrades in Mascot, Botany & Banksmeadow

If you were out and about last Sunday night between Rolfe Street, Tramway Street and Gardeners Road in North Mascot you’d have seen our gangs beginning the footpath upgrades along Botany Road. The old and stained pavers are being ripped up and replaced by tile edged asphalt and street furniture. The work will take a couple of weeks and then we’re off to Wilson Street and Botany Road down in Banksmeadow where again the footpath will be upgraded. 

At Wilson Street the work will also facilitate outdoor dining from an adjoining café and food outlet. From Wilson Street, which should be done in August, weather permitting, we’ll be back in the Botany shopping strip with more upgrades. All the work, right around the City, is making the place look better almost each week.

Jul 16, 2012

Computer Skills for Seniors

The transition from wireless to wifi is made easier for local seniors via the work of the Botany Bay Computer Club for Seniors, run by Bruce Bradford and his dedicated group.

In reality, we don’t have a life now without computers and via the club our seniors can not only catch up with grandchildren but, maybe, even get ahead. There are classes for beginners and intermediate as well as photography from this club, which was set up in 1998 with systems we’d now think of as Neanderthal. Whatever was a Windows 98 operating system? 

Anyhow, the club is getting ready for its next 10 week term and, if you’re interested, there is time still to sign up. The classes are held on Fridays at Matraville Primary School (on the corner of Beauchamp and Bunnerong roads) between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. The term begins on July 20 and finishes September 21 and there are some vacancies for the Beginners Class, Basic Windows 7 Class and photography.

The latter really interest me as it’s a great way to keep in touch with relatives and friends by exchanging photos when you’re not on Facebook (which a lot of seniors aren’t). You’ll need your own computer to be in the classes and if you want to sign up (or sing on) contact Pat on 9349 8074 or Norma on 9667 3491.

Jul 15, 2012

Alcohol-Free Zones proposed in Mascot

We are seeking public comment on the extension of two alcohol-free zones – one around Mascot Memorial Park and the other around Mascot Park. After discussions with local Police and residents, it is proposed to extend the alcohol-free areas around both parks.

As far as Mascot Memorial Park is concerned, the park alcohol-free zone will be extended to the public roads of Aloha Street, Coward Street between Aloha Street and Botany Road and Botany Road between Foster Street and Coward Street.

For Mascot Park the zone will extend out of the park to include Coward Street between O’Riordan Street and Oliver Street and Foster Street between Oliver Street and McIntosh Street. 

The extension of the alcohol-free zones is subject to community responses and is meant to improve our local way of life and not as some wowser idea. If you have any comments or suggestions, please get them to me at Council. Once we’ve got local reactions, we’ll take the next step with the Police Local Area Commander.

Jul 14, 2012

Speech to NSW Labor State Conference

Today at the NSW Labor Party conference  I had the privelege of moving the vote of thanks to our State Parliamentary Leader The Hon. John Robertson and expressing how humble I felt before my peers in accepting the honour of being the ALP candidate for the State Parliamentary seat of Heffron. The transcript of that speech is available for download at:
 http://www.ziddu.com/download/19916879/TranscriptofALPConferenceSpeech.pdf.html

Jul 13, 2012

L’Estrange Park Playground

I have had a lot of calls for local mums and dads keen to know when the new playground in L’Estrange Park will be ready. Everyone has been very positive with the feedback as the playground has sprung up taking real shape over the last few weeks. It looks very exciting and enticing for our young city residents. Even my son commented the other day as we drove passed that there was nothing like this in Mascot when he was young! He is after all an old man of 20. Back to the important issue we are on the count down to it being opened which hopefully will be by July 20.

Jul 12, 2012

New Dog Off-Leash Areas

We’re about to begin the community consultation for a new dog off-leash area on the edge of the Botany Aquatic Centre, just beyond the Big Splash. We’ve talked about this area in the past and now we’ve formalised the plans, which would see a new off-leash area as well as retaining the existing function area at the pool.

The Aquatic Centre and adjacent Booralee Park is a major recreation area in the City and as the population grows so too do the numbers of canine companion animals. We’ve put in off-leash areas for dogs in other parts of the City (and a couple more are about to get underway, which I’ll outline at the end of this item) and it was logical to utilise this area in Botany. The function area at the pool was not being used as much as it could and, after careful examination, Council decided to examine splitting the area into two – for functions and for dogs. There are some exiting fences and we’ll need some more to keep the dogs away from the function area but we feel it can all work out for everyone. 

We’ll circulate our plans to nearby residents in the next couple of weeks and then get local feedback, which will be part of the final decision. 

We have approvede two new off-leash areas for dogs – at Firmstone Reserve down in Pagewood and High Street Reserve, which runs between High Street and King Street, Mascot. Work on the Firmstone Reserve area will begin in the near future while High Street Reserve may take a little longer to get underway as we have a few things to finalise with Sydney Water.

Night work in North Mascot

Work will begin next week (July 16) in Tramway Street and along Botany Road to Gardeners Road as we begin to refurbish the footpath and streetscape in this area. Where possible the work will be done at night to reduce any inconvenience to pedestrian traffic. This worked well for us when we redid the Mascot Shopping Strip.

Jul 9, 2012

Six-a-side Soccer

It’s back again in September (in fact it kicks off the same day as the Council elections) and I’m sure it will be as popular as it was last year. What I’m talking about is our six-a-side soccer down at Hensley Athletic Field.

By the end of the last season, the demand was such that we had to do it again. There are divisions for men, women, mixed, girls and boys and as the comp uses the amazing cushioned synthetic surface the comp is never rained out. What we found last year were groups of friends, work-mates, extended families or social groups got together a team to join the comp. Per player it works out at around $10 a match, which includes insurance, registration, referees and an end of season BBQ. 

We’ve got a special $200 early bird discount for team registrations if you register on-line before July 31. Everything can be done on-line at www.botanybay.nsw.gov.au You’ll see the six-a-side soccer log and you can go from there.

Jul 8, 2012

Good News for Mascot Station Precinct

After several years of talking Sydney Water has finally agreed to grant Council a licence over the land known as “Linear Park” for open space purposes in the Mascot Precinct. 

This is great news as it will provide much needed green space in the Mascot Precinct. Linear Park runs from the corner of Gardeners Road and O’Riordan Street through Church Avenue and John Street to Coward Street. Once the paper work is completed Council will prepare a design for the new park to create an attractive passive open space area for the new community in Mascot Precinct and the surrounding area.

Residents will soon be sent the design of the new park for their input.

Jul 6, 2012

Local Elections

Residents will see in the Southern Courier an advertisement from Council concerning the Rolls of Electors for the forthcoming local government elections on September 8. The ad reminds people of voter eligibility for the election of both the Mayor and Councillors. There is the residential roll, which covers anyone registered to vote in Commonwealth and State elections. If you live within our City and have not voted in previous State or federal elections you’ll need to get on the roll. You can get an enrolment form at any Post Office or you can get one (and check your enrolment) online at www.votensw.info The cut-off for enrolment is 6.00pm Monday July 30. 

If you are on the roll or if you complete your enrolment you must remember that voting on September 8 is compulsory and if you don’t vote you can be fined. There is also a non-residential roll, which is for people who own, are a rate-paying lessee or an occupier of rateable land, which is not a person’s primary address. If you fit these criteria, you are eligible to vote in the September 8 election but you have to enrol before 6.00pm Monday July 30. If you have been on the non-residential roll at a previous Council election you must re-apply for the forthcoming election. Council will keep everyone informed of the actions Council and the Returning Officer take in preparation of the September 8 election for Mayor and Councillors.

Critters and other bugs invade the Library

It’s appropriate that on Friday the 13th (of July that is), our Central Library at Eastgardens has some special guests to entertain and delight all our local children aged between 8 and 12. It’s the Mobile Mini Beasts and there will be “live” critters and bugs – spiders, scorpions, centipedes, a giant burrowing cockroach, stick insects, grass hoppers and perhaps the most effective assassin of them all, the praying mantis. 

You will need to book as seats are limited. It’s on between 10.30am and 11.30am and because of the limited space in the Library’s conference room we’re asking parents and carers to stay outside – but there will be some “photo opportunities” during the hands-on session, which will no doubt be a delight (and a bit noisy) for all the participants. There is a cost of $5 per child and you can book by calling Candy at the Central Library on 9366 3888. This should be real fun.

Jul 5, 2012

National Diabetes Week

During National Diabetes Week, which runs 8th -14th July, the Central Library at Eastgardens will hold an Information Workshop featuring Danny Kirk. Danny will be discussing how to prevent and manage diabetes through lifestyle and physical activity. Danny Kirk is a diabetic type 1, a diabetic lifestyle coach and an accredited Beat It trainer. The workshop will be on Thursday July 12 between 6:00pm and 7:30pm and light refreshments will be served and there will be lucky door prizes. Bookings are required so either call Linda or Wanda on 9366 3888 or email library@botanybay.nsw.gov.au

Jul 4, 2012

Road Works continue in Sutherland Street, Mascot

A reminder to all residents and motorists that Sydney Water is still working in Sutherland Street, Mascot, and the road is closed between King Street and Hollingshed Street. The works will be in progress for another couple of weeks. If you can bypass this area by using Wentworth Avenue and Botany Road it will be appreciated

Botany Family Day Care Recognition

Parents of children at Botany Family Day Care and the Centre’s staff are a bit pumped at the moment with the recognition of Shahnaz Rahman.

The Botany Family Day Care Educator has been named regional winner in the Family Day Care Australia Educator of the Year Awards. Shahnaz was selected from hundreds of family day care educators in the area and she is now in the running for the national title to be announced in July. According to Shahnaz her first priority is ensuring the children are happy, comfortable and settled as well as watching them grow and share their special stories. Congratulations go to Shahnaz.

Botany Road Speed Limit now 50KM

Drivers beware. The speed limit along Botany Road, from Hayes Street, Rosebery to General Holmes Drive, Mascot has been reduced from 60km to 50km. There is a fixed speed camera on Botany Road, north of Gardeners Road, that will enforce the 50km speed limit.

JJ Cahill Creative Arts Exhibition

Make sure you pop down to Mascot Library and Museum before July 13 to see works by the talented students of JJ Cahill. The exhibition features art by Visual Arts, Photographic and Digital Media students. I was there the other night when there was a small function for the artists and their families, and I was most impressed with the quality of the works and the talent on display. The Museum is open until 8pm on a Wednesday night.