Council Meeting 29.5.13

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)Last night’s council meeting may go down as one of the dullest to witness but that’s  ok because when they aren’t dull they are often rude, insulting divisive and aggressive. Much time was spent debating items that should have been sorted yonks ago but still linger and often for the political mileage it gives.

One issue very close to my heart is the parking initiative in Liverpool, I spent nearly 4 years on the CBD committee as community rep with a number of Councillors (past and present) creating what was a initiative to move Liverpool forward and to address what was our greatest downfall….Parking, no matter who you spoke with, local or otherwise, Parking was always the issue.

To refresh you and no being no longer covered by the premise of secrecy as I’m no longer a committee member,  all the Councillors at the time supported the parking initiative, including the meters. It has been necessary to tweak and restructure some of the decisions made at the time based on genuine community needs, for instance starting the meters at 9am not 8. This tweaking was expected and scheduled. The promise of all parking revenue to be  returned to parking which has been questioned recently is an important and yet unconfirmed item I’d like clarity on.

Removing the meters altogether is absurd and in my opinion and is merely a campaign point that can be taken to the next election. Especially considering I believe there would be uproar if the $1.+ Million spent installing them was simply removed. On the upside is there has been significant change in parking behaviour, mostly of workers who now park on the periphery of Liverpool thereby leaving more spaces available for shoppers. The new changes will bring some of those workers back into Liverpool proper, $10/day at the Warren and $7/day at Northumberland (particular levels only). Shop keepers have noticed the improvement in trade especially in the southern end of Liverpool and the inclusion of a 15 minute free parking will be embraced I’m sure by many, they should however be very careful as 15 minutes is often not enough time to pick, choose, pay for anything considering the slow access to EFT machines in some places. I consider the fines will flow for 16 mins etc and think that adding 20/40 cents to cover any delay a worthwhile thought. I’m not sure how this will actually work; will there be a 15 minute only docket? Will you simply be able to step outside and press again for another 15 minutes free and will this be rorted? Only time will tell I  guess but for those genuine people in the community the steps to improve the system are there albeit baby steps.

Many speakers in the public forum last night, a number of suits, from major companies/organisations attempting to protect their particular development, a number of residents spoke who live in Chipping Norton near one particularly favoured and noisy park. Why is this so hard seriously, we have a number of fabulous parks for the whole community, why doesn’t council just insist that with groups over 100 people that a permit has to be issued with strict and enforceable noise restrictions?  Council has been dancing around this very distressing issue for way to long, make it a blanket rule for all parks, under 100 people no worries show up enjoy, over 100 and you need a permit, for any amplifiers etc you also need a permit or they are prohibited. Parking restrictions similarly, Council spends so much time achieving absolutely nothing because they dither around the edges instead of making firm decisions and enforcing them.

Men’s sheds are a particular passion of mine and while I understand the LCC/Salvation army peoples shed at Heckenberg seemed like a good alternative, it really isn’t as a men’s shed. I was pleased that council last night voted to pursue options for a number of these amazing facilities across the LGA. About time really! David Rue spoke well and pleasingly Council listened.

Time fast ran out as the meeting progressed and as always a number of items were bundled together for expediency, this it seems may have actually worked out in my favour lol, but it really isn’t an ideal outcome. The other concern was a couple of issues were to go into confidential session and they simply got left undone, from experience this will be the last we hear of them, as they float off into the ether of time.

From time to time (inside and outside council meetings and around the community)  residents  speak with me about particular issues, thank you, and I will follow up, sometimes it takes me a while as I don’t have any access to information like Councillors do but I will get you the answers as best I can. In the meantime please watch what is happening in our community, don’t believe everything you hear and check it out for yourself.

As I mentioned yesterday, there is a lot happening here and across the state. Early this morning (4am)  the O’Farrell coalition of hate (Nile and Shooters) passed repressive and retrospective laws that will affect greatly the victims of crime, while we were sleeping another regime of hate slipped past almost everyone. Hats off to David Shoebridge, Greens MLC for his diligence and hard work in standing up for those voiceless in our community, he achieved a small concession but an even greater loss to the community was realised.

Locally the proposed changes to the code of meeting practice are scary and needs your attention. The Mayors (I’ve heard not only ours) are using the Mayoral minutes to introduce items to local councils that are unchecked, unquestioned, unchanged and unprepared that will have long term affect on our communities. I will prepare a submission and post it here in the coming days however  I cannot recommend highly enough the need for you to also write and tell the council NO. We pay our experienced staff for their expertise to make sure advice to Councillors is well researched and due diligence takes place,  these mayoral minutes will undermine that process completely and in my opinion is a very  slippery slope we should avoid at all costs. My voice alone is not enough, this is an issue you all need to voice an opinion on and if it helps feel free to copy some of mine and include it in yours if it makes it easier, however remember your view is important and it should show your concerns not just mine. I’ll work on this in the coming days and post it as I will my submission for the drafts for the coming  1, 4  and 10 year plans.

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