2022 candidate for City of Unley.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you think that Councils and community members need to have a greater voice in planning and development decisions affecting their local area?
Yes. I might add that this needs to be at the beginning of the process rather than the end of the process, when it is inevitable too late. In other words, when the policy is being determined. And the parameters of what is being considered at this early stage need to be better explained to the average member of the community.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils should have not just a greater say, but a leading say. They are the best equipped to understand the amenity of the area. Private Certifiers, notwithstanding their qualifications, can't have the empathy for a street or a neighbourhood that Council employed officers have. Indeed, in selecting suitable members of the City of Unley Assessment Panel, I have always been conscious of placing weight on where the panel member lives rather than just their qualification and/or experience.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
The City of Unley has been quite successful in negotiating with the two previous state governments in protecting 2/3rds of its area. The remaining area coincidentally covers 1/2 the Clarence Park Ward. That said we (Council) did succeed thankfully in avoiding what may have been potentially devasting with 3 for 1, 4 for 1 and more redevelopment. Clarence Park Ward misses out, given it is not part of the established zone, on demolition controls. Dwellings in Clarence Park can therefore be demolished without notification.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
Listing new places has always been a long arduous process; one which alerts those who might fight listing to take action to subvert the attempt. Local heritage, as a layer of protection, also provides the least level of protection. Approval for the demolition of local heritage places has traditionally not been difficult to obtain. Given this, any effort to increase listings must address the ease of the listing not to be complied with.
How has the Planning and Design Code impacted on the heritage, amenity, and environment of your area? What changes would you seek to the Code?
Refer previous observations
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
As I noted above Clarence Park Ward avoided being cast inappropriately in the General Neighbourhood Zone being located in a Suburban neighbourhood zone instead. This means we avoided the potential overdevelopment opportunities for 3 for 1, 4 for 1 and larger redevelopment. And the standardization of the built stock. However, numerous areas remain a concern, such as overlooking. The criteria for addressing overlooking have been relaxed sufficient to render it useless. Cill height of upper-level windows has been reduced from 1.7m high to 1.5m high. While 1.7m did not prevent overlooking it did require effort to do so. 1.5m is the chin height of the average Australian male, meaning there is no protection from overlooking. It may be time to reconsider 2 for 1s where we are talking 350m2 per dwelling or less. Perhaps there's room for multi-level accommodation surrounded by public open space. I say this because what is possible now impacts severely on public open space in Unley.
Construction of new housing typically uses 30% labour and 70% materials. Renovation of existing housing stock typically uses 70% labour and 30% materials. What policy changes would you like to see made to encourage people to renovate, rather than demolish and build anew?
Unley has shown how existing building stock can be renovated to provide the extra functionality sought today without compromising the amenity of the neighbourhood.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
A4 size signs on the front fence are a hopeless approach. If a sign is to be used it needs to be of sufficient size to attract attention, but under that required its own DA.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
No. Unley's tree cover is only 24% 'ish. We have a policy (In keeping with the state's 30-year plan, to raise it to 31%
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
Regulated & significant trees need to be redefined, to include canopy size as one of the criteria. Trees should also be valued more in keeping with what they contribute to the environment and amenity of the area.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Councils should be the sole arbiter in my opinion. Private Certifiers (in my opinion) do not regard the benefit or the loss of amenity that removal brings of these trees. Councils are best placed to recognise this and supervise it.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
A primary strategy being examined by the City of Unley is to increase its tree canopy. We have also recognised the need to provide more solar panels on our public buildings and to convert our vehicle fleet to EVs
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
The City of Unley is halfway through developing a new city-wide parking strategy. I am fully supportive of completing this project. A project run by a group of people randomly selected from our community and involving the whole community at regular intervals.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
The City of Unley is leading the way in implementing a walking and cycling strategy. A strategy I have supported during my 12 years on Council.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Improving tree canopy coverage
Improving controls over removal of trees
reintroducing zones lost during the development of the new code.