Samstag, 13. Dezember 2008


Not that I've been particularly prolific of late (preparing for overseas and all!) but this will be my final post until I return. I am leaving on the 16.12., and will not return until Feb '10.

My personal blog,, will remain active as the main communication tool between me and my family and friends.

~Pinky Flat II

I have come to the conclusion that Pinky Flat is too small to make anything more than a pretty wetlands- never a useful one in any sense of the word. And since there is plenty of water feature just there (the Torrens) and it's already very pretty, I'm against changing it.
On the other hand, I take this opportunity to push forward my plan (as yet entirely unscientific and uncosted) for an alternative site for the wetlands. Bonython Park is one option: it is very under-utilised at the moment, and a wetlands would improve the quality of the water which eventually flowed out of Breakout Creek. Another option would be the south parklands, where water already pools and causes flooding problems in the southern suburbs, it could be re-designed to drain better and be an attractive feature.

Mittwoch, 19. November 2008

~Pinky Flat

I have fond memories of Pinky Flat.
And I know it has a bit of a reputation at night, but it's still a nice place.
I'm not so sure I want it turned into a wetlands.

When I have thought about it a bit more, I'll get back to you.

Samstag, 15. November 2008

~Feast Festival

There are moves afoot to have a gay community centre in Adelaide. Cut by the loss of its only gay pub (not all gays like sleazy dancing till 5am, apparently, so Mars alone doesn't cut it) Adelaide's gay community is calling for a physical place to call their own. 
In the Advertiser Review yesterday, 15/11/2008, Margie Fischer, founder of Adelaide's popular Feast Festival, is quoted as saying, "If we do it really well, it can be an international model- we also want it to be a tourist attraction and a destination." While I'm obviously more than happy to support a gay community centre, the Feast Festival, Quench and dedicated gay pubs (or not, as the case may be), I'm disturbed by this tendency in Adelaide to describe any potential new development as a "tourist attraction". An international model, sure. But to describe a gay community centre as a tourist attraction is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? I mean, how many tourists are going to add Adelaide to their list on the basis of a gay community centre? Not in numbers that qualify it as a tourist attraction. 
I mean, on that basis, the fact that I am going to Iserlohn in northern Germany to visit my host family from student exchange makes them a tourist attraction. Do they deserve a marketing budget to entice me there more often?
By all means, improve community infrastructure in Adelaide but see it for what it is: community services for those who live here. Adelaide needs to get over its obsession with being seen as a world-class city. But that is a post for another day.

Mittwoch, 12. November 2008


As a side issue, Adelaide is to be congratulated on finally getting to where the rest of the councils have been for years: three bins. 


Montag, 10. November 2008


The Advertiser is making a big deal out of the start of construction of next year's Clipsal grandstands. 
Good on it. The people decided it didn't want a permanent fixture: as 85% support for the council's new master plan for the park- sans grandstand- makes clear. The first time is always a bit awkward, and they are setting up the (minimal) permanent infrastructure required to support the temporary erection of grandstands in the future. And how much worse would it be if there were no grandstand, or it wasn't finished in time? What an embarrassment!

Further to the parklands being dry- I support no further watering from the Murray. That really is robbing Peter to fund a gambling addiction. However, all methods of water collection, recycling and saving must be employed, because the parklands need water. As Melvin so rightly points out (it's not often we agree), the social and psychological benefits of these oases encircling our City and around our suburbs is incalculable. 

Dienstag, 4. November 2008

Start Up

Sunday was a good day. Lunch time I went to the Austral with Geoff Kwitko and his small business support group, Start Up. (Which is just starting up; I am effectively  the first non-founding member.) 
While it is obviously focussed on small business issues like tax implications of incorporation and so forth, there is clearly scope for a Councillor to address some issues. I'm just keen to have my ear to the ground and get some of this much sought-after "business experience" so often spoken of when talking about Councillors. (For example Bill Zaharis, the Central Ward councillor from the Market.)
I am looking forward to the next meeting, and looking to develop a clear policy platform from which to campaign.

Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2008

~Workers to Get Vote?

The Advertiser made the ACC front-page news again today (Crisis? What Crisis?) with the announcement that City workers- ie, people employed in the CBD, would be given the vote. This would apply only to those of voting age (duh) and only the the ACC, not any of the suburban councils. 
On the face of it, it seems a brilliant idea. All these people who daily use the City, but have no say in how it is governed. However, there are a few problems, none of which I think are insurmountable, but, which, taken together, could make a good case against the proposal.
Firstly, there are 108,000 of them. While they may have a legitimate right to have their voices heard, this completely swamps the 22,000 residential and business voters whose views are, arguably, far more important. One solution is to discount workers' votes, perhaps to 50%, or rely on low voter turnout to absorb the difference. People complain that the City is held hostage to small-minded residents, but wouldn't residents being held hostage to big business be just as bad?
Secondly, since they do not pay rates, it is questionable that they really do have the right to have their voices heard. "No taxation without representation" might work equally well in the opposite direction: "No representation without taxation". 
Thirdly, this opens a whole other can of worms: does a .4 teacher at a City school deserve as much say as the full-time waiter in a wine bar on O'Connell St? And a personal hobby horse of mine: should students be allowed the vote? They are in the City as much and more than some workers, shouldn't their views also be heard? 
Taken together, these present a compelling case against allowing City workers the vote. And I may appear in the Advertiser tomorrow with a contradictory view, and this is a lesson we should all learn: learn as much about the subject as you can before you form an opinion. 
For example, upon reflection I have come to see that compulsory voting in local elections would introduce party politics, whereas I believe local politics, more than any other, is a good breeding ground for personalities and single-issue campaigners. 
It's all part of my learning curve. Bare with me as I head towards Oct 2010!

Freitag, 10. Oktober 2008

~A New Footbridge, and Other Matters

I read in last week's CityMessenger, dated 02/10/2008, that the Council is spending $1mil to improve the Victoria Bridge (Morphett St's railway overpass) including three viewing platforms to enhance the view of Adelaide, looking east. 
It occurs to me that while this is a brilliant idea, and has my full support, it also cancels out any benefit from an extra footbridge between Adelaide Oval and Elder Park: that would completely disrupt the view. I have been against any such bridge from the start, and the arsenal of reasons against it continues to grow. 
I am also greatly encouraged by a letter from the Lord Mayor to the editor, published in the same edition. "...Bill Zaharis reflects a welcome trend in the current council, which represents a healthy diversity of age, experience and occupations. This diversity is to be encouraged." I interpret that as a first step towards accepting me, a then 22-y-o student onto the Council. 

I read with interest HinesProperty's double page spread in today's Advertiser. It publicises the new 20 Hindmarsh Square development, and the attached Crowne Plaza Hotel. I am pleased with this development, and while it is sad that Adelaide no longer has any mainstream inner-city cinemas, I fully support this development. An earlier post (LINK) explains my feeling that the Terraces and Squares could be so much more than they are: Adelaide has more park frontage than New York thanks to our Squares and Parklands. Yet we waste it by disecting the Squares and paving the Parklands. This development is a good example of how I think all the Squares should be used for premium office, residential and tourism purposes. 

Dienstag, 30. September 2008


So, we have a British couch surfer at our house at the moment. And obviously, like good hosts, we're showing her around the city. We drove to Hahndorf for a picnic on Monday, and after finding out that the BierHaus in Lobethal is only open on the weekend, we went to a pub across the road, played some pool, and afterwards raced the sun to Mt. Lofty to watch the sunset. It was gorgeous. We could see Glenelg, the City, the Port, and all the suburbs. Katie was impressed by how straight Adelaide is laid out- not just the centre, but the suburbs too.
We are also going to the Bay tonight, and today is an action-packed day in the CBD. 
The point of this is to emphasise that Adelaide has plenty to do, but a lot of it requires a car, and not much is in the CBD. On the City Council Events website, there is nothing listed for the month of September. 
As a councillor, I would try to address this by encouraging new festivals in the spring months, and passing developments which will provide things for tourists to do.

Mittwoch, 10. September 2008

~Fire regulations in Rundle Mall

Yesterday I was walking down Rundle Mall and I noticed this (British?) busker doing tricks with unlit fire sticks. He was very skilled, though not as funny as he tried to be, and in the course of events, it turned out that he was not allowed to light the fire sticks. Without checking, I feel pretty certain that it was an ACC regulation preventing him from doing so, and that is one thing I would change if I were elected. 
It's not even summer (though I don't support a fireban in summer, either: the risk is no way big enough to justify the neutering of a very clever trick.)

Montag, 8. September 2008

~Victoria Square

So, it's been a long time, but I blame it largely on not having the internet at home as I adjust to my new lodgings in Ascot Park. 

I've still been reading news papers, however, and I am now back to blogging about City issues. The Victoria Square proposal has captured a bit of attention, but less than Treasurer Foley's antics surrounding the Commonwealth Games (about which I will blog at a later date).

The proposal has two central tenets: excavating the entire area to a depth of about 7m (two storeys) and build a tower in the centre. There are several problems with this. The first is the obvious removal of dirt. Where is it going? How much would that cost? Why? The second, is the dust/sound bowl effect. The Square, with little ventilation and at a depression to the rest of the city, would concentrate sound and dust. Far from convenient and quiet for pedestrians, it would be awful. 
Thirdly, I have grown quite attacted to the Square's namesake, and to remove her would make me sad. And finally, to replace her with Australia's most same tower seems to defeat the purpose of attracting tourists. 

While some of the other ideas are attractive: proper toilets, a sound shell, open-air amphitheatre and so on, I don't want it excivated, and I don't want a tower. If elected, I would vote in accordance with these guiding principles. While I do want a taller skyline, I don't want a tower for its own sake. 

Dienstag, 19. August 2008

~Clr. David Plumridge

This morning I met with David Plumridge to chat about the council. Expecting only a brief encounter, I was gratified to be given five quarters of an hour, and he also kindly paid for my hot chocolate.
We discussed a lot of things, from our reasons for going into local politics to specific issues which had been raised in their most recent meeting and on the news.

While I don't want to pre-empt myself too much, I hope to serve with him on the next council in 2010. While we certainly did not agree on everything (such as the council's charges for commercial use of its lands), there was enough there that I think we would have no problem working together.

Montag, 11. August 2008

~Moving House

So, I'm now living in the Marion City Council area, and I will be reading the Southern Times and my civic participation will be largely limited to that area. On the other hand, I will keep reading the City Messenger after work each night, and I will continue to post fairly regularly on how I feel the ACC is doing, and what I would do to improve things. 
You are half way to earning your right to bitch just by reading this blog- remember to vote in your next local election and you'll be all the way there!

Montag, 4. August 2008

~Holiday Interstate

I have just returned from an interstate holiday. When I have had a chance to catch up on the week's news, I will recommence the blogging. 
Apologies to my regular readers. 

Donnerstag, 17. Juli 2008

~Adelaide Connector

As I stood at the intersection of Kintore Ave and the Pathway of Honour, waiting in the freezing cold for the Adelaide Connector bus, I was not thinking about the ACC, I was listening to my iPod. However, when, 5 minutes after it was due, it drove straight past us, full, I was annoyed. I walked to King William Road and paid for a ticket on the ordinary metro system. 
I understand that they have just spent a lot of money on a solar bus, and I know that at some times of day, the bus is virtually empty, but perhaps the service is popular enough to justify extra buses at peak times, bigger buses, or buses on which it is legal to carry standing passengers. (The four people waiting at Scott Theatre stop would have fit in, if we were allowed to stand.)

I know only four people were affected at my stop, but how many people at stops before and after? How often does this occur? Does it happen at other times of day- lunch rush, in the opposite direction in the morning, on weekends with special events? As part of my not-just-being-reactionary campaign, I suggest positive movements towards improving the Adelaide Connector service.

Montag, 14. Juli 2008


The State Government has declared war. 

According to a news bulletin on channel nine not 30 seconds ago, it has stripped the ACC of planning powers for developments worth more than $10 mil. 

RIP Community Consultation, Heritage, Urban Planning and Local Governance.

In their place we welcome Vested Interests, Marginal Constituencies, Power Politics and Thoughtless Development for the Gain of the Few. 

Samstag, 5. Juli 2008

~The First of Many

For reasons of marketing and privacy etc., etc., I have moved all blogs relating to the ACC from my own personal blog to this site. It will now be the public focus of my campaign to become a city councillor in 2010. I welcome you to my blog and urge you all to earn your right to bitch by voting in the local council elections. If you do not live in the ACC area, fear not, for over time I will have a list of candidates I endorse from the other councils in the Adelaide Metro Area.

Dienstag, 1. Juli 2008

~Pokies and the 2am Lock-Out

Who knew they were not going to apply the lock-out to discrete [sic] pokies areas?
Good on them! The rule as it applied to drinkers is to prevent unruly behaviour on the streets.
(It won't, though. There will be a spike at 01:30am, and then again at the closing time of the various pubs as drinkers who've just had one for the road head to the taxi ranks.)
On the other hand, locking a pokie player to a certain machine is surely more harmful than letting them get up, leave a venue, walk to another, go in, sit down, and start again? At every point on this chain they are more likely to reconsider their next $1 bet than if locked into a single venue for the rest of the night.
On another note, is always amuses me when they quote that, "of the city's 88 venues, 11 had not agreed to the voluntary lock-out." (pg. 11, City Messenger, 26/06/2008) As is their democratic right, since it's voluntary. If you expect everyone to do something voluntary, you're naive or dumb.
I support neither a compulsory pub lock out, nor a similar imposition on pokie players.

~Pub Lock-Out

Tony Tropeano is a good man with a good heart, but misguided. A city lawyer, he wants to raise the age at which one may buy a bottle of alcohol at the bottle shop to 21.
On the surface, this seems a good idea. It would discriminate against young binge-drinkers by allowing them to buy it in pubs, but preventing them from pre-drinking.
But scratch deeper, and we find it is a silly, unenforceable and ultimately useless law. Just as underage-drinkers today get their hands on alcohol, so will the 19-year-olds of the future have their big sister buy them a bottle so they can pre-drink. Besides which, I know plenty of people older than 21 who enjoy getting sloshed now and again. On the other hand, at the age of 20, I own several bottles of hard liquor (Southern Comfort, Jaegermeister, Gin etc.) which take me months to get through, one nip at a time. Am I to be prevented from making the occasional martini or black Russian because I'm not allowed to buy a bottle of Vermouth or Kaluah?

~Amalgamation off the Agenda

In a heartening move, West Torrens Councillors have supported (10-2) that council's office position of being against a merger.
Mayor Trainer said that, while personally against any amalgamation, if forced by the State Government (as in Queensland) his first preference would be the ACC. Well, duh. His and every body else's.
It is by now well understood that my position is that as long as State Governments exist, local government must be as grass-roots (this means small area and population) as is possible. I do not believe the economic efficiencies are worth the inevitable trade-offs in terms of having a personal stake in democracy and how your neighbourhood is run.

~Don't Rain on My Parade

Ray Light (pg. 2, City Messenger, 26/06/2008) argues against a ban on protest marches along King William St, allegedly for safety reasons because of the new tram line.
Well, there were trams there in the '50's. And I bet that didn't stop protestors then. Why should it now? Mark Parnell has a valid point when he says that protests are designed to disrupt traffic. And in a worrying trend, Clr. Moran and I agree once more. She was intending to move a motion to allow it at last night's council meeting. I assume she did.

Sonntag, 29. Juni 2008

~Amalgamation of Councils

Another thing I thought of why West Torrens and Adelaide City Councils should not merge is that the eastern suburbs aren't going to let the western suburbs have more say in the City than them. They'll demand to be allowed in too. Then you will end up with a Brisbane-style mega council anyway. The only way to prevent that is to keep Adelaide they way it is.
Or shave a little off all the surrounding suburbs and include ones like Thorngate, Mile End, Rose Park and Wayville. But I would still be against that. You couldn't include Prospect without including the whole council area of Prospect, and I don't think that's rational.
So the only answer is- keep the council boundaries as they are.

Samstag, 21. Juni 2008

~The Squares, less Victoria

The squares, as they stand, are largely wasted. Wellington is put to good use, and at least Whitmore is not (yet) divided. But Hindmarsh, Light and Hurtle are poorly utilised for what they could become.
Firstly, I would advocate they all be made into giant round-abouts. Wellington and Whitmore Squs are nearly there, but are sort of a series of modified T-junctions where I would have them operate the way a round-about works. The others would be blocked off and turned into round-abouts.
The city should be discouraging through-flow, not increasing it, and you cannot really argue that to make people drive around a round-about will stop people from coming to the city. It will just make them think twice about going through it.
Secondly, they should become "dress circle" addresses. Premium office space with views on the park. High-rise apartments similar to that on Brougham Place would attract more people to the city, and land values would be suitably high to encourage development. At the same time, I would stipulate a certain amount of so-called "affordable" housing should be built- but with supply so high, I doubt prices will ever reach the heady heights that New York apartments on Park Avenue can command. (We have more street facing the parklands and the squares than they'll ever have!)
At least for the foreseeable future, Hindmarsh Square would be 'zoned' commercial. It is attracting some apartments at the moment, but I would now encourage more office space. Wellington Square is the original dress circle, and should remain largely one- and two-storey luxury homes. Whitmore has a lot of potential to be redeveloped with denser housing- with some shops at ground level. Light Square should be reserved for the back packers. It was named after the city's designer because it was the first one immigrants (then coming from Glenelg) would see. It has a long history of welcoming strangers. Finally, Hurtle Square, like Whitmore, is well placed to recieve more high-density dwellings. But, like Hindmarsh, this should be mixed with more offices and a commercial ground floor.
Thirdly, to facilitate this massive influx of people, the squares should be made more attractive. Wellington Squ could be planted as an English Garden. I appreciate this would require a lot of water, but with storm water recovery from Glenelg, it may be possible.
Whitmore could be like suburban park with a BBQ, a water fountain and a playground.
Hurtle would be covered with randomly placed native trees, supported by beds of native ground cover. Grassed and brick paths would provide access to benches, picnic tables and a tea-house nestled in the centre. This attractive building would serve as a lunch/afternoon tea meeting place for workers and stay-at-home parents from the nearby offices and apartments.
Hindmarsh Square would build on the fountain and thong already present and could become one huge adventure with an unoffical oval in the middle, where ball games could be played, safe from traffic.
Finally, Light Square would be, in essence, a monument to our surveyor. Statues, fountains, plaques and benches would proliferate, commemorating the man who enabled this modern, attractive and friendly city to be what it became. The perfect platform from which to welcome domestic and international visitors to our undeniably wonderful city.

Dienstag, 17. Juni 2008

~Central Market Trading Hours

So I have been speaking to a school friend whose parents own a stall at the Central Markets, and I have been convinced there is no need for extended trading hours at all.
On the issue of Sunday trading, there are too many suburban (and Rundle St!) markets competing for people's limited resources on a Sunday. The poor stall owners also deserve the day of rest, and a proper weekend. If they traded Sundays, they'd have Mondays and Wednesdays free. But that's not a consecutive weekend, that's just two days in a week.
The council (=Anne Moran, the most controversial councillor by far, I discover) also wanted to extend trading hours on Tuesday, to 7 or 8 or so. This was obviously intended to counter Adelaide's well-known problem of not enough night life, a city that closes at 5:30. However, an extension of trading hours does not seem to be the answer. The market generates a fixed revenue each week, and to extend trading hours does not generate more revenue, rather it spreads the revenue over a longer period of time, generating more costs without a balancing increase in revenue.
Ergo, my position on the Central Market is to leave its trading hours alone.
The formula for working out rates for stalls at the markets, and also the council's practice of charging for sandwich boards (charging for balconies, anyone?) will be the subjects of a later post, as they are concerns also raised in my conversation.

Montag, 2. Juni 2008

~Balconies Rated?

So I was reading in the Messenger that the ACC is starting to charge buildings for having a balcony. Allegedly there are safety issues, and the rates reflect the liability incurred by the council for allowing them to exist.
I think that's crap, and I would never have supported such a policy. Balconies do not impress upon publich space, except for their supports, which is fine because the footpath is littered with obstructions anyway.
I do not know what the policy is on street dining, but I assume the council earns tidily from that.
Insofar as they ought to be accounted for, a good balcony would raise the value of a property, so the ratepayer is already paying for the privelige of having it: don't slug them twice!
As for safety issues: let's be sensible and say the onus is on the building's owner to make sure it's safe, and if there is criminal neglect, and someone died from a falling railing or something, it's the land lord's fault, not the council's.

Freitag, 16. Mai 2008

~Victoria Park- My Vision

This is my plan for Victoria Park:
A great urban forest. Forget Lord Mayor Harbison's great urban park; we have one of those at Rundle Road, or at LeFevre Tce, or pretty much everywhere. What we need is a great urban forest similar to Paris's Bois de Bologne or Hannover's densely forested ring.
It would be simply Adelaide as it was before settlement. Dense-growing gums, she-oaks and other native species would supply an authentic pre-European view of the Adelaide plains. An artificial billabong could be built, perhaps from a diversion of one of the many creeks that run through the eastern parklands.
For human use, to appease those who must have every m^2 'used', and because I would want to enjoy such a forest, I propose paths would be made, not paved, but marked out with stones and sticks. A boardwalk would offer a romantic over-water walk, with numerous spots for sitting and listening. Signs could be errected to show certain species of plant or animal, to inform and entertain those using the forest. A little hut could offer weary hikers with eco-friendly (and perhaps with an emphasis on bush tucker) foodstuffs and hot drinks for those cold winter afternoons.
The key to this urban forest would be non-intervention. The government would weed it occasionally, and ensure that the paths were clear, but otherwise everything would proceed as it would have 200 years ago, before Adelaide was founded. It would be, in 300 years, virgin forest again. Or at least as close as we can get as long as there are feral cats, dogs pooing, and all the other plagues the white man brought with him from Europe.