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SSC Newspaper : August 2012
www.ourstrathfield.com.au Local councils are under threat of losing planning powers to assess individual applications under the state government’s new Planning System Green Paper. At last month’s Council meeting, councillors voted to oppose the Green Paper. Deputy Mayor Cr Helen McLucas said residents will be unable to object: “Residents will lose their right to object to a development if it is deemed that it complies with the agreed conditions,” she told the meeting. “The report is questionable – it’s about regionalism and not localism.” In the middle of last year, the newly elected O’Farrell government established the NSW Planning System Review in hope of streamlining the state’s planning processes. The paper legally requires councils to be consulted when long-term regional plans are being developed, handing them more power when it comes to the overall direction of their area. But once the regional plan is established, residents and council will no longer have the power to debate factors already covered in these plans, such as their building’s height and scale. If development applications meet the agreed conditions in the regional plan, councils will only be able to assess issues that are not specifically addressed, such as design. This new system was designed to cut back on doubling up on debate and re-assessment to free up council resources. The Green Paper also recommends removing elected councillors from the decision-making process at a local level, instead recommending independent experts or council staff acting under delegation to make decisions. The proposed new system hopes to promote more cohesive development, proposing to introduce Regional Planning Boards who will have a greater strategic focus rather than dealing with applications on a site-by-site basis. Green Paper threatens local planning powers Strathfield Scene 7 council news “The Strathfield local government area is the envy of many areas due to our numerous strengths.” – Mayor Cr Paul Barron In brief no politics at festival Ban on campaigning at festival Political candidates in the upcoming Strathfield Council elections have been banned from having campaign stalls at the Strathfield Spring Festival. The event, which will be held on Sunday, September 2 at Strathfield Park, attracted around 30,000 festival-goers last year. Councillors voted against the motion at an extraordinary meeting on July 31. Councillor Bill Carney said past candidates have never had campaign stalls and advised they should never have the option. “Past candidates have never had stalls at any of our festivals or events so I don’t see why it should be any different,” he said. “ We usually discourage political groups from having stalls and I recommend we do without these stalls.” bronze for strathfield Council awarded for gender equality Strathfield Council has received a Bronze Award in the Australian Local Government Women’s Association 50:50 Vision for Gender Equity Program. Earlier this year, council held a Becoming a Councillor seminar for women, demonstrating Council’s dedication to encouraging more women to get involved in local government. Strathfield’s two female councillors, Deputy Mayor Cr Helen McLucas and Cr Hope Brett-Bowen hosted the seminar. funding our future Funding to encourage youth approved Funding has been awarded to Homebush Boy ’s High School to hold a trivia night and auction to raise money to buy musical instruments and music lessons. The school will hold the function at the Concord Bowling Club and Council will provide $100 to assist with paying for the venue. Council has also awarded funding to the Zonta Club, which has organised an award program for young women. Ten young women studying in Strathfield were chosen as awardees for their qualities in citizenship and student leadership. The club was provided with $200 to go towards the awards. Strathfield to vote on city status By Bernadette Chua Residents will get the chance to be part of an historic decision that will change the way the state looks at Strathfield at the council elections on September 8. They will be asked to decide if the council should seek city status – ditching the term “municipality ”, which many residents feel fails to reflect a well-managed, forward- thinking local government area. On election day, residents will be given a separate voting paper which will ask “Do you support Strathfield Municipal Council changing its name to Strathfield City Council?” The first motion for the change was raised at the May Council meeting and councillors were enthusiastic about the reclassification. Councillor Keith Kwon said at the meeting: “My advice is that we have community support. We should poll Strathfield becoming a city in the September elections.” The Mayor Cr Paul Barron said the change would better suit Strathfield’s growing population. “ The Strathfield local government area is the envy of many areas due to our numerous strengths, such as our location, accessibility to transport, diverse range of schools, thriving commercial areas and wide selection of parks and open space.” Other arguments for city status include the sheer growth in the size of the municipality – having incorporated with Homebush and Enfield municipalities in the late 1940s – its location between Sydney and Parramatta CBDs, its role as a major transport hub in NSW and its financial vigour – with the highest Gross Regional Product in the Inner West. Some fear disadvantages will come with a name change. It would cost money to replace signs, even though these costs may be absorbed by Council’s ordinary replacement process. Council unanimously voted to seek city status on July 3. City status is granted by the Minister for Local Government and generally requires a poll of residents to be conducted to determine the level of community support. The results of the poll will be submitted to the Minister for Local Government, who through the Governor, will determine whether Council is successful in its bid for city status. Other nearby councils with city status include Canada Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah and Rockdale. Burwood Council is also seeking city status during their September local elections. For more on the “ Yes” and “No” case for city status, visit strathfield.nsw.gov.au/citypoll. Vintage buses to tour strathfield By Joanne Tran A FLEET of vintage buses w ill be transporting festival- goers from Strathfield Station and suburbs to the Strathfield Spring Festival on Sunday, September 2. Andy Chechlacz, a volunteer w ith the Sydney Bus Museum, is the festival’s tour conductor. He and his team of enthusiasts will be driving the vehicles, w hich are over 50 years old. For a gold coin donation, riders can hop on the station bus. Another w ill snake its way around Strathfield, Homebush and Homebush West to get people to Strathfield Park . Chechlacz is the Traffic Manager for the museum, which runs events to raise money for their charity. So far, they ’ve collected almost 70 transport-related items for the museum. As a kid, Chechlacz knew he wanted to be in the transport industry. “I’ve always had a fascination with vehicles with big wheels,” he says. “W hether it was buses or railways, it was something I wanted to be involved in.” Chechlacz has been involved with rostering , scheduling and occasionally operating public and private buses for most his life. “It’s just something, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I’ve grown passionate about,” he says. The Sydney Bus Museum is a charity run by volunteers, w ho dedicate their time to the upkeep and preser vation of Australian transport history. Chechlacz describes their dedication as “the same as people who restore old cars, only we have 61 seats in ours.” The museum was born out of a small group of bus enthusiasts f rom the Old Historic Vehicle Association. In 1986, they prov ided restored buses to an event at Waverly depot when then Transport Minister, Barrie Unsworth, saw their collection and encouraged them to start an organisation. Chechlacz says: “Unsworth was shocked when he found out it was al l privately owned and he made efforts to help set us up.” Unsworth set them up with former tram sheds in Tempe, which provided a permanent facility to store, restore and display pieces of Australian transport history. It is now in the process of being relocated to Leichhardt where the organisation hopes to offer vintage joy rides to the city and back . For more information on the Spring Festival, visit strathfieldspring festival.com.au .