May 31, 2012

Come and see the birds - Saturday June 9

We get involved with it each year – and it’s a great spectacle – the annual South Sydney bird show at Coronation Hall on Botany Road at the corner of Coward Street on Saturday June 9. Budgies, parrots, canaries, finches – about 800 of them – make up the South Sydney Avicultural Society’s 54th Annual Show. There are rare and specialist budgerigars, lizard canaries, finches and much, much more. In previous years I’ve watched the great joy many of our local children (and the not-so-young’s) get as they wander through the hall looking at all the varied and colourful birds on display. The show is open to the public at 1.00pm after the judging and everyone is welcome. It’s free of charge and the South Sydney Avicultural Society puts on a magnificent display, which you don’t want to miss. A couple of birds you really should see – some new colours on parrots and lovebirds and the unusual plain headed canaries, which haven’t been seen for some time.

May 30, 2012

Competitions, prizes and Daceyville’s 100th

A few days ago I mentioned the cakes, biscuits, jams and lollies competitions that are part of the Daceyville centenary celebrations . The  entry forms  aree on Council’s website at and already interest is growing. Apart from the competitions revolving around culinary endeavours, there’s also the costume competition for the kids – split in two, under 8’s and over 8’s. All you need to do is dress up in costumes reflective of early Daceyville, face the judges, have some fun and maybe pick up a nice prize. Click on the Daceyville 100 on Council’s home page and there are a few photos to give you an idea of what the kids were wearing in the early years of Daceyville. We’ve also been working with the local schools to get into the swing of the costume competition, which will add to the period theme of the centenary celebrations

May 29, 2012

Where Does All This Local Traffic Come From?

Like many of our residents, I continue to feel the frustration that, of the volumes of traffic clogging many of our streets, most of it belongs to “rat runners” who are trying to find a way through our congested state road systems.

The failure of the state road systems to cope with the ever expanding traffic has been coming for many years and is something we have predicted for many years. Our concern about failure to provide proper transport plans has always fallen on deaf ears, not only by successive governments but also of our judicial system as well.

While there are many significant causes for the traffic congestion in our residential streets, the two major causes are Port Botany and Sydney Airport.

Proposals for expansion of both Sydney Airport and Port Botany were not only opposed by the Council but were also fought to the bitter end.

Sydney Airport was taken by this Council to the High Court of Australia where the Council lost. The expansion of Port Botany was taken to the Land Environment Court, where Council lost.

It was always our position that locating Australia’s major international airport and Australia’s major sea port in what is a geographically boxed in location, our area could not possibly cope with the expanded traffic generation that would eventuate. Not only were we ignored, no plan was put in place to cater, or cope with, the impending disaster that was going to occur on our roads.

Some may recall the Council was even criticised for fighting those proposals to the bitter end and spending residents’ money in so doing. It gives me no pleasure, and it gives the residents no comfort to say we were right, because we have to live every day with these failures of Government and the failures of the Courts to protect our people.

What point is the law if it does not protect our people in this democracy of ours? What point is the law when it allows the law makers and the executive government to preside over these types of disasters?

It is of little consolation when Paul Broad, now from Infrastructure Australia finally in 2012 points out that solving the Sydney Airport, Port Botany, M5, M4 chaos is the most important problem to be addressed. Where have you all been for the last twenty years asleep at the wheel?

Is there any wonder why the public has such a low opinion of politicians when those who have presided have left the legacy that we, in future generations, will have to try and remedy and, more importantly, have to life with.

What is happening as a result of the congested state roads system is that drivers of motor vehicles, to avoid the Eastern Distributer, the county link road, Botany Road, Mill Pond, Bunnerong Road and Foreshore Road are all worming their way through the residential streets of this City trying to find new ways to bypass congestion.

Even with speed humps and traffic management devices designed to deter through traffic, many motorists find it preferable to sitting on the Eastern Distributer for 40 minutes without moving.

Council has for many years embarked on strategic planning directions in replacing many of the industrial zone lands with residential lands.

Whilst I have heard, and continue to hear, some criticism on the basis that this strategy increases traffic generation, I should remind members of the community that many of the former industrial areas employed thousands of people and, as they came to and from work every day, traffic was generated. In addition, the industrial complexes were the destinations for thousands of trucks and semi trailers making deliveries.

One of the latest complaints I have heard from some residents who live in the Booralee Park area is that the increased residential development in that location will cause future potential traffic problems.

Clearly these residents did not live at the time of the old Half Case outlet or at the time when hundreds of trucks were lined up in William Street and Jasmine Street and Banksia Street and Bay Street to deliver goods. On top of that, as I’ve said, there were the thousands and thousands of workers who came to and from those locations every day.

The mess and failure of the road system, as members of this Council predicted, is inconveniencing us. However, though things within our authority and control, such as trying to make land available for living and residing for future generations, the current situation is a vast improvement to the container terminals, and stinking tanneries, and hazardous industries that so permeated and threatened our area for generations.

May 27, 2012

Public Exhibition of draft Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 2012

Council has recently prepared new planning controls for the City of Botany Bay, known as the draft Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 2012. These new controls are in response to the State Government’s requirement of all Councils to prepare a standard format LEP. The draft Botany Bay Local Environment Plan is a statutory planning document that sets the direction for growth in the City of Botany Bay.

The draft Botany Bay Local Environmental Plan 2012 will replace the Botany Local Environmental Plan 1995. The new Local Environment Plan is consistent with the Standard Instrument, which was introduced by the State Government in March 2006.

The Local Environmental Plan applies to all land within the City of Botany Bay, except for the industrial lands covered by the Major Development State Environmental Planning Policy.

It is on exhibition till Friday 22 June 2012 and comprises two parts – the written instrument and the maps. It is unlikely that council will finalise the Local Environmental Plan until much later in the year, if not towards the end of the year, so there is plenty of time for residents to make their submissions if you can't by the due date.

All related documents can be downloaded from Council's Website The plain speaking document is available for download at

Draft Community Strategic Plan on Exhibition

Council's Draft Community Strategic Plan is currently on exhibition until 20 June. I would welcome any residents comments. It can be downloaded at

M5 and Port Botany

Last week, the Deputy Mayor, Cr George Glinatsis represented this Council at the meeting of the M5 Taskforce, a grouping of local government authorities stretching along the M5 corridor from Camden to our City. At the Taskforce meeting, a representative of Infrastructure NSW gave a briefing on the overall Sydney freight task, the expansion of Port Botany, the M5 East and M5 West upgrades and the overall impacts on the economies of both the State and the nation. 

It was, as the Deputy Mayor advises, a comprehensive briefing. But it had a few holes, papered over with the catchcry from Infrastructure NSW to wait for a report the organisation is making to the State Government in September.

We will wait until September to see if and when the M5 corridor is to be expanded to meet the growing demands of both container traffic from Port Botany and private motorists.

The Taskforce has been consistent with both the State and Federal governments – this corridor must be upgraded and expanded and as soon as possible.

While bureaucrats sit and ponder, the new terminal at Port Botany is fast nearing completion and the extra number of containers will be a reality. And, we don’t have the transport and logistics infrastructure to handle the increased numbers. I have said this repeatedly and will continue to say it. 

However, there was one aspect of the Infrastructure NSW briefing that does cause me concern.

It is almost a given within the maritime and transport bureaucracies in this State that the 3.2 million container cap at Port Botany is non-existent. Transport for NSW, Sydney Ports Corporation and Infrastructure NSW seem to take the view that the legally imposed cap is a hindrance and something that will be dispatched whenever required.

There is an even more pressing reason for the State Government to have the cap removed. The Government has placed Port Botany on the block – a 99 year lease of the port is to be offered for sale. And, the value of a lease is quite different between a 3.2 million container cap and a port that will move over seven million containers. Why would private capital buy an asset that cannot be grown? That is not what capitalism is about. You buy an asset to grow that asset and its return on the initial investment.

The State Government will seek to maximise its return for the sale of the lease and hence my concern about the status of the legally binding cap. When quizzed about the cap and any move to lift it, the representative of Infrastructure NSW implied that there would be movement soon on this issue.

The only movement that can occur is an application to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning for an amendment to the approval granted to Sydney Ports Corporation for Terminal 3 and that the 3.2 million cap be removed. If such an application is made – and there is no way I know of where the State Government can get around it – then that application must be accompanied by a realistic transport and logistics strategy that will address the movement of containers to and from the port. 

We don’t want talk and reports and ideas – smoke and mirrors – we want actual work. We will wait to see when an application is made and then we will review it to ensure the right outcomes for our residents. If that is not the case, then we may all end up in the courts.

Youth Week Art Comp Winners

Young local aspiring artists were asked to be part of the Youth Week Art Competition – with all work to be based on music. After considering the entries, the judges decided on the winners:

1st – Alex McGlegor from JJ Cahill Memorial High School;
2nd – Eda Baysol from Eastlakes. 

Congratulations to them – and all the other entrants.

Meals on Wheels retains its “A” Rating

The NSW Food Authority recently conducted an audit of our Meals on Wheels and Centre Based Meals food operations as part of the on-going quality and food handling checks. Our services were assessed as meeting the highest standards and we have retained our “A” Rating for the third consecutive year. To Pauline and her staff our congratulations on making sure our local recipients of Meals on Wheels get only the best. I would also like to thank our loyal group of volunteers, for without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide such a well run and successful service.

Farewell Fred Royal

The forthcoming Daceyville 100th birthday celebrations will be touched with a lot of sadness for me and many others due to the passing of a very very special man.

Fred Royal was his name and he left a legacy that will be part of this City for decades – indeed generations to come. 

I first met Fred, and he was definitely Mr Royal to me, when I went to school at Daceyville. He was a teacher there in the early sixties and in 1965 the school Principal Jim Russell created the Daceyville School Military Band, as it was then called. On Mr Russell’s retirement, the band was taken over by Fred Royal and within a few years it became the best school band in the country.

In 1971, the Daceyville Public School Military Band under the leadership of Fred Royal achieved something that was beyond imagination. The school having won the state title for Primary School Bands was invited to compete in the State Championship for the New South Wales high schools. With an average age of only 9 or 10 years old, Daceyville School Band entered – and they won. The piece they played was “The Westerners Overture” and is actually found on You Tube as well as a 1974 performance of “A Walk In The Black Forest”. Bearing in mind the then members of the Daceyville Public School Military Band were in effect only really babies, and bearing in mind the recording ability of those years, the sound even today of those babies is just remarkable.

Fred Royal just had this ability to teach very young children to play and create the sound from the school band that was just unbelievable. Because Fred was a legend and no successor had Fred’s ability, no school band could ever perform to the level it could for all those decades when Fred was at Daceyville Public School. Nevertheless, the Daceyville School Band is a band that the Council supports financially and from now on, it does so in memory of Fred Royal.

Fred Royal was a very special man and his passing means our City has lost someone who gave so much. The music Fred Royal created will live on and be a permanent reminder of this man. 

As a bandmaster it was fitting that on his final journey he was dressed he was dressed in his old band masters blazer. Fred gave us a lot and he will be missed – Fred’s memory I hope in the future will continue to inspire the Daceyville School Band to move in the directions of the heights that it once had under Fred’s leadership.

Personally I will miss him and on behalf of everyone in our City I extend our sympathies to his family.

Daceyville’s 100th Birthday

Our centenary celebrations for Daceyville will be held Monday June 11 at Dacey Gardens (the entrance to our City) beginning at 10.00am.

There is a whole range of events organised to depict Daceyville of yesterday and today, including an historical walk, bands, dance groups and special shows for the kids. There are some competitions which locals should get ready for. We’ll have competitions (which you’ll need to register in a week or so via Council’s web site) for the best cake, biscuits, jams and lollies plus two for period costumes – one for under 8’s and one for over 8’s. So get your cakes, biscuits, jams and lollies ready for judging as well as planning the costumes. There are some good prizes on offer so be in it to win it! I’ll keep everyone up to date on what will be a great day of celebrations.

May 20, 2012

Jerome Dowling Reserve, Eastlakes

Last month I let residents know we’re about to upgrade Jerome Dowling Reserve, which a unique park, between the cul-de-sacs of Mascot Drive in Eastlakes. Here is the concept design and if you have any comments or want to have any input please do not hesitate in contact me at

May 12, 2012

Mascot Museum and Library’s Games Night

It’s games night at Mascot Library and Museum on Wednesday 23rd May where there will be chess, Boggle, Scrabble, Yahtzee and much more! We’re asking have you got what it takes to compete. If you love playing board games, come to Mascot Library and Museum for the Games night and get into it. The fun starts at 5pm and there will be plenty of games to choose from. So bring your friends, or come along and make new ones. If you don’t know how to play, someone will be glad to teach you. It’s open to all ages and light refreshments will be served throughout the evening. Bookings are essential and you should call 9366 3888 to make sure you’re part of

May 11, 2012

School Canteens

While we support walking to school as a means of improving fitness, Council also works with our local schools to ensure the canteens meet the best possible standards. Not that we’ve ever had to take any drastic steps due to the commitment to health and cleanliness of the schools and the parents and carers who help in the canteens.
However, Council undertakes inspections of the school canteens in the same way as we inspect every food handling operation in the City. But given the age of the school canteen customers we take special care. We’ve inspected all schools in the City and all nine passed with flying colours. That’s a great tick for the schools and those who operate the canteens.

Active Kids and Walk to School Friday

Friday is Walk Safely to School Day and I’m sure our local schools are taking part. The idea is to walk the children to school as part of an active and healthy life. Weather permitting, we want to see as many students as possible walking along the City’s footpaths on their way to school. The exercise is not just for the children – parents and carers can also benefit from the walk.

Mascot Playground Unveiled

At the end of last week signs depicting the upgrade of the playground and parkland surrounding Mascot Oval were put up as part of our community consultation. The parkland and playground will stretch between Coward Street and Forster Street to the east of Mascot Oval. 

A circle on the Coward Street side is proposed to become the village green (with a bus shelter entrance way to Coward Street) bounded by a walkway with special lounge-type seating. The pathway leads to the playground with a split between equipment for younger and older children. 

It’s proposed to have timber boardwalks, mulched play areas, sand and water areas and BBQ and picnic facilities. 

What we’re looking for now are reactions and comments from local residents to see if what we’re proposing can be refined by local views. 

This will be an exciting open space in our City and will provide both recreation and quiet places for the growing number of Mascot residents. The sign is located on the construction fence inside the park, which can be accessed from both Coward Street and Forster Street and there’s also a copy of the masterplan in the foyer of our Administration Centre in Coward Street. 

We’d like comments and reactions to my office at Eastgardens or via email by the middle of June. After that we get started on this new community asset.

Senior's Garden Party

Just about everyone already knows (but I thought a reminder would be fine) that our annual Garden Party for local seniors will be held at Sir Joseph Banks Park on Sunday May 27 starting at 11.00am. This is a great day and all local seniors are invited. You’ll need to register (as usual), which you can do by contacting my office at Eastgardens on 9366 3600.

Mother’s Day & Trees for Mum

Sunday is Mother’s Day and, I’d like to wish all the mothers of Our City all the happiness for a great day.

If it’s Mother’s Day then it’s also Trees for Mum day – and it’s on the same day, May 13. Trees for Mum encourages sons and daughters of all ages to give a special remembrance for their mums by planting a tree on Mother’s Day. This year we’re doing it at Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens at the children’s playground off Fremlin Street between 10:00am and 12noon. Council staff will be on hand to help and we’ll supply all the trees and whatever else you might need. Trees for Mum is really a great thing as it gives an opportunity for families to have a growing tree as a statement for the life mothers give to their children. If you’d like to take part, come along down to Sir Joseph Banks Park on Mother’s Day to plant a tree for your mum – and why not stay longer and enjoy a family BBQ or a picnic lunch in a great family location.

Extending the kitchen garden

I had a great email recently from a resident down in Botany who wanted to extend her own kitchen garden of herbs to the street. She’d seen the idea on the ABC’s Gardening Australia (a program I must confess I watch with great admiration of the participants) where the kitchen garden was on the nature strip. The woman who emailed me wanted to know if she could do the same thing with a three or four square metre nature strip in Botany. I’ve asked Council’s landscape architect to work with her on bringing this idea to fruition. We’ve got lawn nature strips and native plant nature strips so herb nature strips is a nice addition.

Garden Competition

Although it’s more than a month before we circulate the brochures for this year’s Garden Competition, I thought I’d remind all our keen local gardeners to begin planning how they will present their gardens to our judges. This year will be the 25th Garden Competition and although we won’t have a silver theme the trophies that we’ll present in October or November will definitely be silver. All good gardeners (and this is one area where I can’t claim any particular expertise) will have planned how their gardens will look in Spring and through Summer. There will be the ten categories covering everything from edible to native and through to commercial and residential complex gardens. All the details will be in the Garden Competition brochure that we’ll circulate to everyone in June for the closing of entries on August 31st. So it’s time now for the planning, getting rid of the weeds (which have grown all too much with the rain and humidity), fertilising and getting the planting ready. I will give a few more reminders of the Garden Competition in the week’s ahead so we get as many entries as possible – and there are some great prizes.