Monthly Archives: February 2014

CBD and South East Light Rail: Tense meeting expected between Transport Minister and Randwick City Councillors this Friday: February 27 2014

The proposed High Cross Park light rail and bus interchange will be a point of major disagreement when Randwick City Councillors visit the NSW Transport Minister tomorrow.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson stated today that he did not accept that the Minister could not feasibly move the interchange westward into nearby High Street to save the park and provide a direct rail stop outside POW Hospital.

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He stated that if the Council and the Government worked together any technical difficulties with a shift to High Street could be overcome. He elaborated,

“The Council believes that there is no valid reason why the light rail interchange could not be moved down into High Street itself thus providing a direct stop for POW. I will be asking the Minister to clearly articulate any technical objections that she might have against a High Street site so that the Council can workshop ways to overcome them to provide a first class public transport system to the CBD.”

Further key inflammatory points are likely to be the loss of trees along Alison Road and a reversal of Council expectations that the Wansey Road section of the rail line would be moved down onto the race course land.

Councillor Matson said,

“I do not think that the Minister appreciates how frustrated Randwick Councillors are getting with what seems to be a blind refusal by the Government to take seriously the re-design proposals that we put forward in our EIS submission to make the proposed light rail line a popular success. We sincerely believe that our suggestions will enhance the public’s acceptance of the light rail line as the best solution for improving public transport between the Council and the CBD.”

At some point after Friday’s meeting the Government will have to approach the Council to gain support for a contract of agreement to use its land and infrastructure for the CSELR project.

In December 2013 Randwick Council made a submission to the Environmental Impact Statement being conducted to test the feasibility of the light rail project. A Council report summarized the problems it identified in the submission as follows.

Summarised in brief, the major design issues raised in the submission are:

  • Objections to the proposed locations of the Randwick and Kingsford interchanges, the alignment on Wansey Road and the location of the proposed Randwick light rail vehicle stabling facility at 66A Doncaster Avenue.
  • Objection to the loss of substantial on-street parking throughout the route and particularly on Anzac Parade, and objection to any reduction in footpath width or pedestrian safety/capacity as a result of the light rail alignment
  • Concern about traffic impacts both on the route and in surrounding streets, and the lack of certainty about future bus changes
  • Concern about the loss of a large number of trees, including significant trees

Council To Debate Whether Dependence on Randwick to Debate Whether the Riot Squads is an Effective Alcohol Management Strategy for Coogee Beach

At the next Randwick Council meeting Liberal Councillors will try to overturn a 24 hour alcohol ban that would bring Coogee Beach into line with a similar ban at nearby Bondi.

The situation was managed quite effectively” (Randwick Liberal Mayor Scott Nash on 2UE, 12 February)
The police had to call in the riot squad” (Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson, 11 February)

revellors Coogee Beach 17th January 2014 - 4 - web version

Revelers before being moved on by the riot squad at Coogee Beach 17th Jan. 2014

The two quotes above were made about ham strung police efforts to control an intoxicated crowd at Coogee Beach in January.

Councillor Matson says that the two differing statements can only be reconciled if use of a riot squad at a popular Sydney beach is accepted as an effective alcohol management strategy – and he does not. He said,

“There are no restrictions banning alcohol consumption on Goldstein Reserve during daylight hours. As a result groups of drinkers can start congregating there from about 11am on. They know they can’t do it at Bondi.

A few weeks ago the police realized on one day that the situation was getting out of hand but could not do anything until dusk. Things had deteriorated so badly by then that they had to call in the riot squad. That would have been unnecessary if they had been free to act hours before.

How can the Mayor of Randwick propose that Council should depend on the use of riot squads to control crowds of drunks as an effective alcohol management strategy?What happens the next time revelers are allowed to reach the riot level at Coogee Beach before 6pm?”

Fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey disputed claims made on 2UE by Liberal Councillors that there was no community call for the 24 hour ban. She was told at a local community meeting that residents were intimidated away from the beach reserve after a certain time of the day because of the presence of drunken revelers.

Beer brought from local outlets being carried onto Coogee Beach 17th January 2014

She said,

“I attended the February meeting of the Coogee Precinct meeting and it was made clear to me that they were sick of families being forced to abandon the beach reserve because of the obnoxious behavior of drunks. I have seen photographs showing the reserve being taken over by drunks. As a Councillor I promised the meeting that I would respond by raising the matter at Council.”

Randwick Green Councillor celebrates end of long wait for Coogee Community Garden – February 3rd 2014

Four years of planning are over and planting has started on the Coogee Community Garden site after volunteers constructed raised corrugated iron planter beds on Sunday

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson inspects the new planter beds at the Coogee Community Garden site.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson at the installation of the planter beds – Coogee Community Garden site.

Long term supporter Greens Councillor Murray Matson initiated Randwick City Council’s part funding of the project via a Councillor’s motion last year.

He attended the planting on the weekend and paid tribute to the core group of residents who had worked to bring it all about.

“The creation of this community project is a tribute to the residents who stuck with it for four years. Supporting local food sources through community involvement like this is something that I am personally proud of Randwick Council for doing.”

Greens motion to Randwick City Council. SUBJECT: Motion Pursuant To Notice – “Additional funding for Coogee Community Garden”

BACKGROUND:

A small committee (supported by over 100 community members) has been working for almost 4 years to establish the Coogee Community Garden on Dolphin Street.

They report that they recently signed a Licence Agreement that gives them in principle permission from Crown Lands to start building on the site. But they require further funding to make the community garden an actual reality.

The committee states that is has raised $25,000 via grants but needs around another $30,000 to build the garden in full. In addition, they are seeking funding to pay for the services of an experienced Landscape Designer / Project Manager to oversee the build, implementation and initial operating phase. They have recently applied for a council grant (Cultural and Community Grants) but were unfortunately ineligible.

They have emailed me stating that,

“The Coogee Community Garden aims to build a sense of community, offer a place where people can share knowledge and fresh garden produce. The CCG will be a community asset that will encourage the development of our community through gardening – a space fostering communication, community-connectedness and friendship. There are also multiple Health & Wellbeing and Environmental benefits from a community garden for the Randwick/Coogee community. The CCG will provide fresh produce and plants as well as satisfying work, neighbourhood improvement, a sense of community and connection to the environment. The garden will be a community space for healthy social interaction and physical exercise.”

They further claim anecdotal evidence that people who grow their own food are more likely to consume it and therefore reap the health benefits. They also suggest that environmentally, carbon emissions could be reduced as food travels less from where it is grown to where it is consumed and no harmful chemicals or insecticides will be used.

The committee expects to potentially reduce food waste by over 21 tonnes each year through composting and to save 7 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution each year.

TEXT OF MOTION:

That Council fund the Coogee Community Garden project $30,000 either through savings, or if savings are not possible, via consideration in the coming draft Council budget.

MOTION LODGED BY:GREENS COUNCILLOR MURRAY MATSON