A bit of this and a bit of that and of course a council meeting.

Signe Westerberg Headshots (60 of 102)As I’ve always said Liverpool is an outstanding city, the people for the most part are decent and caring, however residents are so busy getting on with the matters of day to day life they rely on the people they elect to do as they promise and watch out for the big things that affect their community. Regrettably this is not always the case and not all those promises are fulfilled. For instance this month is the 2nd anniversary of the election of a Liberal majority in council. These 5 men and one woman came into council on the back of numerous promises. Let’s celebrate by looking back at not only the promises but the results. (In no particular order) Of course if you have a different view I’m more than happy to post it.

Promise: We’re going to put Liverpool on the map!  One thing we did get on the map was the #powermadmayor… he has managed in the last two years to get his face just about everywhere, stationary, the lot….actually he is known for the ability to get his face everywhere but sadly for the most part  it appears only to further his own career, people I speak with  outside Liverpool don’t always know where he’s from but have heard his name or seen him, good for him but not necessarily good for Liverpool?

Promised No 2: we will stop the Intermodal…. #thepowermadmayor brought out the big guns for this one, engaging state and federal pollies to further his cause, all of whom are in opposition to their own party yet they still sang from the same  NO song book….We’re all going to stop the intermodal. Guess what, so far all they have managed to do is spend a couple of hundred thousand of your hard earned rates dollars with no actual result…. a good chunk of that cash was directed at supporting the election of their federal colleague all in the name of fighting the intermodal.

Promise No 3. We’re open for business. This is an interesting one because in some cases some new business has come to Liverpool. Sadly the cynic in me says that the proposed Badgerys Creek Airport and the reality of the South West growth centre might have more to do with that than anything councillors could do. Indicative of politicians and the nature of politics I guess, Paul  Lynch has on numerous occasions taken credit for the rail link… each time he has, one has to ask if no one noticed the first, second and consecutive times he announced the same project.

If you look closely at Liverpool council and ignore the two years of upset and anxiety caused by numerous reshuffles and executive power plays… realistically it is the staff who create the programs that encourage people to come to Liverpool, the planning staff have been working hard on shortening DA approval times. It’s the staff who establish events to encourage businesses to engage with council but if you’ve ever attended a council meeting or a committee meeting, including the Economics ones you’ll soon realise that while the Mayor and his councillors take the credit, it’s those very same majority councillors who attend less than 50% of the meetings they signed up for, at the exclusion of the Labor councillors.

Promise No 4: We’re going to improve the gateways, make Liverpool the destination of choice…. ok it’s taken two years but the Hume Hwy Gate way at Warwick farm has had a face lift…. there are about 6 others that need sincere attention, most especially the Liverpool railway station that initially didn’t even get included on the list….

Promise No: 5 We will get a university….. magnificent sounding but the reality not so exciting, while the #powermadmayor and his cohorts will take credit,  Universities are big business and spend a good deal of time and research on establishing themselves across the community. While again the Libs will take credit, the most Liverpool can expect at this stage is a similar establishment to the one presently in Parramatta…a shop front. While it suits the needs of the university and no doubt its students, it won’t  I believe be because of any one party or  election promise.

Promise No: 6 We’re going to clean up this city….nice thought however the last time I walked around the streets of Liverpool it really isn’t much different than that,  that was achieved by the team Phil Tolhurst put together under the then Labor council majority. That is not necessarily something you can blame on council, there are a number of teams working on maintaining the city but it’s the public who leave waste everywhere and there are still a number of retail premises with Large (actually larger than permitted) for Lease signs, helping create a shabby, unloved look.

Promise No: 7 We will have a stadium….this particular pie in the sky hope is one that actually worries me, while I don’t see its funding anywhere in the near future, stadiums are like boats and horses -loveable money pits. The worry comes from the fact that this council spends money like nothing else and we really can’t afford them committing more of our funds than we the rate payers can actually afford.. to me its like saying I want a Porsche, but reality shows I couldn’t afford a service let alone the ongoing upkeep…

Promise No 8, The Eat street…. well we don’t exactly have a thriving night culture of dining but there are a couple of new businesses in the south end of town. The fact that many of these businesses tailor for only a small portion of our community I am still hopeful that this will grow over time, not unlike Parramatta who boasts a great diversity in dining experience. While parking in this location was the key reason the previous CBD Committee chose a different location that doesn’t seem to have been a big consideration.

Now we’re onto money, this council has no hesitation is spending your rates: amounts in the six figures have been committed to the night markets…they run at a loss presently and the fact the council just had to redirect another $100,000 from savings for sacking people the real question is will they ever be cost neutral or perhaps even turn a dollar or two? Again I am hopeful, and while I’ve heard numbers have remained the same are these new people coming to the markets, or simply the same people coming time and time again?  The winter weather was not really conducive to large attendances so I am interested in knowing if the warmer weather will impact on attendances.

I asked the question a month or so ago….what changes good or bad can /have you seen in Liverpool. I was inundated with silence….either no one can see a difference or no one thought any of the changes good enough to mention.

Listening to the Mayor and deputy mayor count cranes as a way of checking improvement is somewhat a concern… there seems to be great excitement when a new crane raises itself around the CBD. I heard prominent businessman say at a meeting not so long ago, “are we really just creating Ghettos’ of the future”, this too will be an only time will tell but dear old Livo deserves better.

This weeks meeting has scheduled the election of councillors to committees and the Deputy Mayor. Cllr Hadid has held the position of Deputy Mayor for the last two years, as he is a very regular fixture in the council building it will be interesting to see if he gains the support of the Liberals again or they choose to give another among their ranks a go. I am eternally hopeful the “dogs breakfast” election  event at last years September meeting is not repeated, it was so dreadful they had to completely ‘redo’ the elections. It still surprises me that at the previous September  meeting Cllr Hadid made quite a speech about how he had served “his time” on committees and wouldn’t be doing so again, AND THEN managed to score the deputy Mayors role for an (I think) unprecedented second consecutive term… either councillors didn’t care or they simply followed instructions, either way such a declaration doesn’t leave one hopeful that his dedication to task ranks terribly high unless attached to the deputy mayor title.

There is also a proposed new committee, the Financial Contributions Panel… this one I hope will STOP expenditure from the floor of council without reasonable due diligence, a problem I’ve been commenting on now for  6+ years. Spending money from the floor of council often has very large amounts of our rates money being directed at ‘pet’ projects or sadly imo vote buying community specific  projects. I do live in hope that this committee will render the past spending sprees mute, that said the wording of the draft charter merely takes over the present method of funding community events or people, as always I am hopeful. I guess the necessity to include the clause about 3 meetings attendance or apologies is not necessary as there are no community members permitted, that said it’s a waste of ink on some committees anyway as the community representative is either so wanted in name  that their failure to show up, neither gains a mention nor does the clause seem to be enacted upon due to their desirability.

I am also a little confused regarding the Building our city committee… Prof: Ed Blakely has been an honorary member of the committee, now it seems we are allocating $65,000 for his ongoing cost of services…. nice work if you can get it I guess. A couple of meetings a month tops from what I can see. While I’m sure his advice is valuable, that seems a lot, but as there is an allocation of over $1M to the endeavour’s investigations maybe  not. Perhaps my asking this question may encourage a councillor to advise us more of his involvement… other than outstanding tour guide when in the US and his involvement since. Also interesting was that this committee is recommending LEP changes to allow a large development on Elizabeth St (George to Bigge, aka as the Peter Warren site) I know it’s normal for committees to make recommendations but this seems to carry more ‘weight’ than that of other committees… again the issue of community engagement is a concern.

A note to all concerned… the blatant sale of community land is appalling, while I understand the costs involved in upkeep and  the NSW government’s direction to make and allow more properties for multi tenancy developments and the subsequent huge growth in both height and occupancy, why the hell are we selling any of our parks and open spaces, block sizes are getting smaller and smaller, roads more crowded and with community space a premium we should not be divesting our open spaces. Once they are sold and developed they are gone for ever and one of the things Liverpool has always had going for it was our large and lush green spaces. SO PLEASE STOP IT!

Finally, I read in the minutes of one of the committees that Tanya O’Brien is leaving Liverpool council (Friday 19th), damn there goes another dedicated and passionate member of our staff. Tanya if you read this I am so sorry to hear you’ve left, even sadder  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and thankyou. I (& I’m sure many others) wish you well and much success in whatever you turn your hand to. The irony is that I heard through another council that many of our staff are leaving and one must wonder why so many and wish them well as they no doubt enhance the councils (etc) they move to.

Thats it for now, Council meets on the 24th, I’ll be there so please come up and say hello. The Police Person of the year dinner is Tuesday the 30th I will be there cheering on our men and women in blue (I hope my vote helps one nominee 🙂 )

Don’t forget I welcome your responses and comments, those who read this won’t always agree with me or my opinions, so the more views the better.


Sign off



One Response to A bit of this and a bit of that and of course a council meeting.

  1. Tobi says:

    Re the financial contributions committee, is this just a way of allocating the Section94 developer contributions? These contributions made by developers are for the improvement of the public areas and need to be spent in areas which are being actively developed. We have all seen the huge residential towers going up in the north end of the city, but what works have been done to improve these areas, there are no street trees, no footpaths, grubby parks and not even decent garbage collection. The last thing that we need is for these contributions to be siphoned off toward some crazy project which will do little to improve the lives or streetscape.

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