Last 2016 Council meeting and more

December 18, 2016

Christmas treeJust when you thought things were going to quieten down for the summer break I decided to read the minutes from last Wednesday’s council meeting. lol

9 Items were discussed in confidence, that is 9 this month 14 last month that council considers so secretive we need to be left out of any of their discussions or detail. While I accept there are things that need to be protected, like a residents name and  personal details etc, how many times can we be left in the dark and told its okay?

Mayor Waller however does plough through the agenda quickly and so far none of the meetings have ventured into the 11pm finish zone as they did in the past.

A couple of things that I paid particular attention to, of course one being the selection of the New CEO… we are yet to be told who will be managing our hefty business and all I can say is that while most of us were not privy to who were in the final three, it seemed very clear that some members of the LCIT political party were well aware. In fairness I had guessed that the present acting CEO was likely to be amongst them and her being called to speak was confirmation, however even the other candidates arrival was through a different set of doors to ensure we, the paying public, had no clue.  All I can say is appears that secrecy was not necessarily kept for all of us and when I dug a little deeper with the LCIT members they quickly realised I was perplexed that it appeared they had confidential information not available to the rest of the ratepayers.  They did say along with the ACEO, the former CEO of a named local council  and a woman were the other two… Until the formal announcement is made I guess we’re left wondering.  I do hope that if not successful the present A CEO remains in council, she is a valued member of staff from what I can see and appears to have a genuine community engagement focus, something I most certainly value as a resident. I am also very hopeful of a truly competent and capable addition to our staff.

The other thing that concerns me a little is that as your representative on the Environmental Advisory Committee a position I have proudly maintained for a number of years now, the committee is being amalgamated with the floodplain committee, something not all members necessarily favoured. That said we held our last meeting of the EAC last week and the chairperson, Cllr Harle declared he was a member of the Liverpool Action Group,  two other members  failed to declare their membership of the same group, no big deal I guess as the councillor has always been supportive of the environment,  however on reading the minutes of the last council meeting for 2016 it was announced that a former councillor  was now on the new floodplain committee, he too is a member of LAG and a long time vocal opponent of the EAC and the use of funds. For your information we  have been having a number of discussions regarding the use of the Levy. I believe as one of the longest standing members of the committee that the funds are ‘bound’ to be used specifically for environmental use, including the establishment of a community nursery and environmental centre, as you have heard me mention on numerous occasions. Our former CEO Mr Wulff appeared hell bent on absorbing those funds into a general revenue fund for use somewhere else in council, clearly stated during one council meeting. Getting the original business papers and original funding documents are proving quite a chore and have been on the request list for almost a year.I am sure there are good reasons, I’m just not sure what they are. I cannot tell you why there is so many delays however we would have had the nursery up and running a year or more ago if it had not been for the constant roadblocks put in front of the committee and now we see the former councillor may again be in a position to renew his efforts to stymie the entire environmental program if he so chose. (this is well documented here as I’ve written extensively on this before)  If, as is the norm, all members will have the ability to vote on issues before the committee LAG will now have 4 members who could potentially vote in a block and undermine the rest if the elected members. I would like to hope I am wrong however two of those members have already indicated they would like to see the funds used elsewhere rather than on the Enviro/Nursery. Just so you are aware, the nursery was to allow council to save money (our rates) by propagating and growing local species of plants and trees for use in the LGA rather than buying them commercially and the enviro centre was to be set up so members of the community could see/experience different types of home lighting, wall treatments, water saving devices etc etc  could work in their own homes with the added bonus of some of the rooms could be hired out by members of the community as a n offset for any costs. It’s disturbing to see the focus being redirected against such things, that could benefit the entire community. While I agree that one argument for more staff is valid, it is not impossible for that to be achieved as well as the Enviro/Nursery where the community could benefit from in situ examples that only a purpose built facility could provide. I have heard that a number of staff positions have lay empty for some time shows that either council is unwilling to fill them or worse no one wants to work in Liverpool.  Clearly I am not privy to the details however I would like to reassure you, as your representative I will fight for the levy money you pay goes exactly where you are paying for it to go, restoration and maintenance of the environment and to fulfil the established goals under which it was granted. No doubt if I have misunderstood the intent of some of the members or staff, they may certainly post their view here for all to see. For the record I have worked with some of these individuals  in the past and bear no malice towards any of them, I just don’t understand how one local group can potentially garner so much power in any one committee.

Council is a complex place, we have numerous matters on public exhibition presently or just closed, we need to ensure that the community is well represented and heard and I applaud the fact we can comment and am disappointed that so few actually do.

Another issue discussed was the repurchase of part of the former council chambers site. AKA No: 1 Hoxton Park Rd.   This was approved by councillors and would mean from what I could gather mean some of the staff may return to the old site if we can purchase it for the maximum cost of what we sold the entire block.

As I tweeted during the meeting council approved the renewal of the netball courts for the competitions they have secured for the coming two years. Questions were being asked as to why the courts were in such disrepair and to be frank there are a number of us who wouldn ‘t mind the answer to that question as well. All those supposed repairs done under the watch of the previous council I’m afraid, and hopefully not impinged on by the #formerpowermadmayors (I still love saying that)  stadium agenda. I guess we will never know but it is nice that the thousands of Liverpool women (mainly young women) netball players will participate in and attract a good number of visitors to our local businesses.

This is just the tip of the council minutes and I will leave it to you to have a closer look if you are interested.  http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2016/12/CO_20161214_MIN_309.PDF

What I would like to do however is thank all our fabulous staff for their diligence and commitment throughout the year, thank them for their efforts and wish you and all of them a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year. A few have left over the year and a couple will not be returning next year, some for babies others for different reasons and I wish them well.

I may not  have written as often as I should this year, be it  busy with elections etc, or saddened we’ve lost friends and I have been a little remiss in recognising efforts and achievements however we have the most amazing city, the people are second to none and we live harmoniously in good cheer and respect. I look forward to spending time with you all in the New Year and wish you safe and happy holidays. (Reserving the right to pop back in if there is something I need to share, ie a submission due on the 21st)

As always these are my personal opinions, based only on what I’ve heard and seen myself, if you have a different perspective or view, please share it and I will post it here. The more people sharing information the better imo and I would be the first to post it here if more detailed or accurate information were made available.

Merry Christmas from all of mine to all of yours.

 

Sign off


Submission Liverpool CBD DCP

December 6, 2016

Signe 2016 outdoorsHi all, I know I am posting this after the close of submission, however I do believe if you are quick you will still have your views considered.

 

I will post my submission here, sadly there are so many things one could comment on but time and reality have to show in my lack of brevity on even only a few: click here or on the submissions page.

 

Sign off


Submission re Georges River Precinct

December 2, 2016

Hi all,

 

I have finally finished one of the submissions to council due on Monday. I will add the link here and the whole document on the submissions page. I accept there are parts of it that are aspirational, hopeful even but in my opinion if we don’t ask we won’t get. I truly believe that while development and providing housing is essential as our city grows however it has to be more than how many humans we can push into every square metre of residential space. Of course as always you might have different views and that’s fabulous, even better if you share them here others can see your thoughts as well and maybe consider putting in a submission of their own     click.Here

Just for the record although I’ve suggested 30 story building limit, I’d personally prefer lower, however the precedent has been set  in LIverpool already so creating an issue where the Land and Environment Council ends up making all our decisions isn’t desireable either…. so I’ve compromised. 😦

there is another due on Monday and with a little luck and timing I’ll get that done and posted as well.

 

have a good weekend

 

Sign off


Council meeting

November 24, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)Where to begin, First I guess is the behaviour of our councillors has improved markedly, seems removing the chief procrastinators worked. Thanks to those who didn’t endorse them I guess!
Councillor Balloot thankfully removed his ridiculous proposal to drug test all Liverpool Council staff and councillors. Some of the newer councillors will need to do some research when it comes to issues that are brought back for discussion, sadly none of the new members of council attended prior to their ascension into council and last night showed how out of touch some of them were in relation to issues that have been addressed on several occasions. This is not new of course, many of those seeking your votes never bother to actually attend council meetings prior to wanting to be councillors and the trend for them to forget council exists once they lose their seats is also the norm, Former Cllrs, Mannoun, Ristevski, Gillani, Napolitano, Lucas, etc etc no longer attend on a regular basis if at all. A couple have shown up once or twice, but the majority walk away like they never cared anyway.  In most cases this is actually good news in my opinion and clearly life does go on.

There was a couple of issues that are worthy of note: The passing of David Pack, a long time contributor to all things Liverpool, 14 –yep 14 matters of confidence. The voluntary Planning Approval allowing retrospective adjustment of DA’s by buying out council. A contribution of $230,000 from Lateral estate (Skyhaus) to go towards Collingwood House renovations.  While I am supportive of contributions to things of such import as Collingwood House, I am as I have mentioned numerous times not happy that for a few dollars changes can be made to a DA that significantly change to height/character/impact of a development after such changes have actually been made. This building was approved at 28 Stories, ridiculous as is, and basically for $230,000 they can add 23 more apartments and 3 more stories. Cheap if you consider 23 apartments at let’s guess $650,000 a piece… cheap cheap don’t’ you think? Please note I’m guessing the cost of the apartments, lets face it, the views would be something to pay for I can imagine and I could be well off the mark, but the point remains. Then to have Cllr Rhodes suggest we should use that lousy VPA to fix the issues the building itself creates is a stretch too far. Seriously, we should pay for their mistakes????? come on let’s get real and those impacts on surrounding homes, streets etc etc $230,000 is a drop in the bucket.  If we as a council have not considered all those issues in the planning stages we have some serious issues on council imo and I’ll be damned if I think we residents through any contribution should be left to pick up the tab.

Mayor Waller went to considerable length to advise why she feels it inappropriate for the chair to comment on issues before council, while I think the formerpowermadmayor had waaay to much to say, she got elected as a representative of the people and the occasional comment when warranted is in my view appropriate. That said Wendy did only stand for the chair position so perhaps she didn’t want to be in a position to comment… either way she does zoom through the agenda, sometimes a bit too fast. Many in the gallery struggle to keep up and worse some of the councillors do to. It would be nice if she slowed down the actual yays/no’s a little so the gallery could see who actually voted which way before on to a new topic.

The link to the business papers is below, a couple of things that are really important I’d like to highlight. There are three major planning proposals/master plans on exhibition at the moment, two about the River developments and the other the CBD. As it is your rates that will eventually be used to support/maintain/fix issues relating to these major projects I can only stress the importance of your comments and submissions. I will be working on my submissions in the coming week or so and will post them here. Please consider having a close look at what is on exhibition at the moment and make comment. You can do this simply by emailing your views, doing the surveys’ through Liverpool Listens or write your views and post them to council. This doesn’t have to be a huge or lengthy detailed submission, dot points will do, just have your views heard. Keep in mind the proposal to have 40 story buildings on the old Cablemakers site is just one to consider and there are so many more, please take the time to have a look, comment and be heard.

 

Minutes of last nights meeting should be online sometime tomorrow…

As always if your views differ I’m happy to put them up here for all to see.  Your opinions are as valid as mine so I encourage you to use this opportunity to get yours across.

 

til next time

 

Sign off

 

http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2016/11/CO_20161123_AGN_308_AT.PDF


Time to take stock

November 9, 2016
Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102)I’ve decided that it’s time to turn on some classy music, sit back, thank the gods/goddesses I’m not in the US and look at what we all witnessed today. It’s probably more than what we witnessed tonight but what we’ve been watching for many months now.
Like many I dismissed Donald Trump as the lunatic I think he really is, without taking time to consider that the system is simply failing the people, the workers and the children. Sadly the same is happening here. Those in most need are the ones the middle to right of politics ignores the loudest, they are yelled at, called leaners, reduced to beggars if they cannot support their children satisfactorily. Made feel less. All the while we are the ones who sit back throwing verbal stones of disgust at what our own government is doing to refugees in Nauru and on Manus. I wanted to throw things at the television today when Pauline Hanson began singing the praise of the hate and disunity that has engulfed the US, you know the land of the free, home of the brave etc etc and today it moved closer imo to Nazi Germany than the supposed land of hope and freedom. Not unlike Germany of the day, to be in politics in the US it takes money, lots of it, Hitler was a wealthy man, who like many wanted more and more and those who are left to pay the price and while I’m not suggesting the US is about to install gas chambers, no one who voted for Hitler in the beginning would have dreamt he would eventually do this in order to fulfil his personal desires, not only for wealth but for sovereignty, ideology and hate.
 
So the question is what can I learn from this travesty? What are the lessons we need to learn and what can we do to ensure that our people aren’t left one day facing the same uncertainty and fear that must be touching many of the people of the US tonight. I know this sounds melodramatic and perhaps a little over the top but we have politicians who could more easily than you think, walk the same line, tread the same path and in doing so lead us to the same sorts of  distress and uncertainty.
I read lots today, one thing that resonated with me was a discussion on FaceBook regarding the types of politicians and the direction our own politics is heading. this of course for me is standard reading to a point, I’m what one couldn’t deny politically active perhaps even obsessed. I have stood a number of times to represent my community and I have to admit in the back of my mind I’ve been concerned that perhaps I didn’t’ come from the right situation, not educated enough, certainly not rich enough and it occurs to me, maybe the ordinary, working class person like me is exactly what we need in politics… we’re losing the politicians that were the beginning of the Labor party, the workers, those who knew and understood the needs of their fellow workers, what it was like to struggle at times to make ends meet and let’s face it neither Clinton nor Trump would have a clue, not Turnbull, Abbott and the list goes on and on. Privilege begets privilege and we need more people representing us that actually live the same lives as we do, they know what unemployment feels like, what it’s like to have a sick kid and know that taking the time off work won’t bode well for our employments situation. The fear that removing Medicare and free health is not an inconvenience but a tragedy, a genuine worry. I think we can to a point dismiss those who might fit the bill but sit on the back benches of parliament doing as the party machine says, not willing to stir the pot, expect and demand more.  I’m proud to say my local group is truly representative of today’s community, we have people from all walks of life, people just like you and me who live day to day trying to ensure the future for their families is better than theirs. Many of us are genuinely concerned for the future we are leaving our kids and grandkids and we are working towards making that better. ( all the while being labelled the loony )  The good news is we’re going keep going, we are going to continue to raise the bar in politics, we unlike the old parties have a structure that is guided by the membership not those in ‘power’ so we’re always being held to account. I’m sure we will have many conversations over the coming days, weeks, months as we watch the US become whatever it is destined to become with such a huge change in leadership. It is however the lessons we learn that will separate us.
To digress before I go, today I attended a council advisory meeting at the Library that encourages us as a community to engage in the changes, proposed in the DCP (Development control plan) for the CBD and I encourage everyone to have a look at that and the proposed plan for the Georges River … it’s important, and we really need to speak up, after all the costs of the proposed developments have to be paid for and while Liverpool Council’s  architect attempted to assure me we have pegged rates, the reality is that if our rates are redirected to remedy situations or developments we do so by taking them from somewhere else like services and upkeep.
Back to my music, reading and preparing the submissions to council I need done. If of course your opinion about today’s post or any differs from mine, let me know, better still comment, share your views, your feelings on today’s outcome etc.
Sign off

Killing them softly without a song

October 31, 2016

broken-heartI spend a good deal of time disgusted by this present government, seriously when it comes to refugees neither of the old parties have anything to be proud of but Turnbull/Dutton/Hanson hate club has reached new depths. Not only are they (I”d usually say we being a country, however none of this is done in my name and I dare say yours) leaving people to rot in prisons in island detention hell holes but now even if these poor souls do manage to find safe haven in some other country they will never be able to even visit here – socially or professionally.

Let’s look at this a little closer, in Nauru and Manus detention centres are people fleeing horrid and dangerous situations in countries we helped invade or at the very least stick our unwanted nose in. Let’s leave the war crimes of the likes of Howard and Bush aside for a moment and look at is what is happening now. There are literally thousands of people  being held in detention because in their desperate need to find safe haven they have found themselves prey to unscrupulous money hungry smugglers who promise much and deliver danger and potential death. So the idea that simply not allowing them to land on our shores is all this miserable government can do to “keep the illegals out” seriously there is so much more that could be said and again this is probably not the time. Especially when you know that there are safe alternatives available today that would not only help refugees find safe haven before they took dangerous risks but would cost us less than the barbaric manner in which they are being held now.

What of the brilliant people who have made their homes here, some have gone on to be writers, some doctors and professionals and even a Governor General and this potential is lost to us now and in the future. Consider that potentially when these poor souls eventually find a forever home, grow their futures and progress as history shows they will, not one of them can come to this country even in the possibility they could train our own to greater achievements is now off the board.
We had the unfortunate situation last year of needing medical and ongoing assistance at one of our public hospitals, where I might tell you we saw so many absolutely brilliant non white caucasian doctors and nursing staff who did some of the most amazing and necessary work imaginable. I am horrified by this narrow, cruel and despicable approach by Turnbull and CO and am gobsmacked that they are doing this in our name.

As Australians there are less than 3% who can rightly call Australia their ancestral home, we are all from somewhere else, some came by plane, some by boat, actually many came by boat initially and this disgusts and appalls me on so many levels. We could go on and discuss how many overstay their plane trips. This is reminiscent of a German fellow some years ago who singled out specific nationalities and did despicable things in the name of purity etc.

Watching the panel on QandA debate this or worse try and justify this is driving me to despair, especially knowing I live in one of the most diverse and culturally rich communities in this country.

 

Am going now to kick a wall as feeling this helpless is difficult and not nearly as difficult as what we are doing to refugees here and now.

 

Sign off


First world problems – really

October 25, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)I have, as do many of you received my weekly dose of South west voice, the online publication of Eric Kontos former editor of the Champion. I read as always the stories he writes about issues local and those of interest. Today in my feed I was keen to read the piece posted titled http://www.southwestvoice.com.au/mp-hits-internet-inertia-werriwa/

Being the political junkie I am they are often the pieces that get my interest first… Anne Stanley is the new federal member for Werriwa however she is a long time resident, so my hope was that she would hit the ground running and begin tackling the big issues facing my fellow residents. Anne is a former Councillor, she saw first hand the issues that are impacting our community hard and really the internet is the thing she wants to take Malcolm Turnbull to task on..?  Maybe I’m old fashioned, maybe I’m pinning my hopes on the un-achievable but we have some issues I think rate a little higher on the pecking order that need to be taken to task. Homelessness, underemployment, unemployment, tenant rights, aged care, single parenting support, medical access, hospital waiting lists, TAFE, University fees, marriage equality, refugee support, local transport, banks overcharging, Taxes, a proposed 24-hr airport, the imposition of the intermodal on residents across the border and that’s just off the top of my head. Internet speeds will have very little impact on a number of groups on my list and while NICE to have and no doubt part of the growing list of inequity facing my community I was truly hoping she might start by stirring the pot on some really big issues in our community, not just tinkering around the edges of the popular. I guess that is what happens when we elect one of the two old parties, they have to conform to the issue of the day, the ones that resonate with the better off, the ones that have that tick of approval of the powers that run their parties. Alas there is hope I guess but as for a running start this one falls pretty short in my opinion.

Clearly if your opinion differs let me know, I for one rely on the internet to get my message across however the speed at which you receive it doesn’t’ rate as high on my list of things I’d like addressed today.

 

Sign off