Monthly Archives: April 2016

Randwick Mayor needs to step in and restore Council’s soiled credibility over Special Rate provisions – 28th April 2016

Letter to the Editor
The Southern Courier
28th April 2016

Dear Editor

Randwick’s Building For Our Community program set the NSW bench mark for how Council’s should conduct community consultation to win Government approval for out of the normal rate increases for badly needed infrastructure projects.

But in Coogee the community was given a promise that alcohol use would not be allowed into a refurbished East Ward Senior Citizens Centre. Council minutes show that then Labor Councillor Anthony Andrews seconded his party’s motion to specifically bar alcohol related activities at the Centre.

But times have changed, or so argues Councillor Andrews, who is now an independent. In 2016 he overturned the same prohibition he put through in 2010 to reassure Coogee residents that their requested support for a special rate increase would not be used to fund yet another local drinking hole.

And East Ward Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts voted with him.  But there is a bigger issue than just that of a Ward Councillor backing the liquor industry against his own Coogee constituents.

These two Councillors have undermined community confidence that we can be trusted not to abuse the special rate levy provisions available for funding supposedly worthy out-of-the-ordinary projects.

The next time there is an identified civil need requiring extra Council funding the State Government will be reminded by Coogee residents that Randwick Councillors do not keep promises about what special rate increases will be used for.

I beseech Labor Mayor Noel D’Souza to step in and restore Randwick Council’s soiled credibility in the eyes of the community and the State Government.

Randwick Council East Ward
Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Maintain the Alcohol Prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre – A Promise is a Promise – 26th April 2016

A Statement by East Ward Greens Councillor Murray Matson of Randwick City Council on why Randwick Councillors should support tonight’s rescission motion about the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre

Randwick City Council maybe about to undermine the credibility of the Community Consultation process it conducted in 2010 that saw a rejection of alcohol at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre.

In 2010 Randwick Council conducted a survey to gauge support for a special rate levy to fund repairs and additions to Council’s community assets under the proposed “Building for our Community Program”. One listed project was the building of a new Community Centre at Neptune Street, Coogee.

General Manager’s report GM7/10 reported that there was little support for Neptune Street but that there was for a refurbishment and extension of the existing East Ward Senior Citizens Centre in Brook Street.

But the community also wanted an alcohol prohibition. Page 17 of the GM’s report quoted the Coogee Precinct Committee as requesting that the Centre be upgraded to cater to “non -alcohol related activities”.

The Coogee Precinct does not support the building of a new Community Centre in Neptune Street and requests that funds be provided to do some basic renovations in order to facilitate shared use of the centrally located Senior Citizens Hall by Council staff and/or the police alongside the regular seniors activities, Precinct activities, preschool, play groups and similar community non -alcohol related activities.” (bold added, 13 April 2010, General Manager’s Report GM7/10 Page 17)

Council minutes from the 13th April meeting show that the then Councillors had read the report and were clearly aware of the Precinct’s non-alcohol response to the consultation around the survey. On the night Councillors White and Andrews moved for both the removal of the Neptune Street proposal and for non-alcohol related community activities at an expanded East Ward Senior Citizens i.e.

“That Council:

 Modify the Buildings for our Communityprogram by:

  1. a)  Removal of the new community centre at Neptune Street Coogee from the program
  1. b)   Inclusion of a rebuild of the Eastward Senior Citizen’s centre in year 4 that will provide a single level building with an expansion of 2 metres to the northern side to accommodate Council’s operational needs with shared usage by police when required and facilities to meet the requirements of existing and new users such as precinct committee, seniors, preschool, play groups and similar non alcohol related community activities. … (bold added, part extract)

Despite this clear resolution, it is now being ingenuously claimed that Council made no explicit promise to the Coogee community that there would be an alcohol prohibition at the Senior Citizens during the exhibition of the Building for Our Community proposal.

This is only true because Randwick City Council never included a Senior Citizens proposal in the original exhibition. The idea only came about as a result of the community feedback from the exhibition – and came with a caveat from the Coogee Community that there was to be no alcohol. But a promise was made to the community by the then Randwick City Councillors who responded to the feedback to the survey by voting for motion seconded by Councillor Andrews that there be a prohibition.

On behalf of East Ward I ask all Randwick Councillors to support tonight’s rescission motion in order to block Councillor Andrews’ attempt to allow alcohol into the East Ward Senior Citizen Centre by back flipping on his own 2010 motion for a prohibition.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Greens Councillor Murray Matson says “My fate is now in the Minister’s hands” as he faces selection process for new merged Council – 15th April 2016

Randwick Councillor Murray Matson claims a personal obligation to serve as a counter balance to what will be an overwhelmingly Liberal dominated new eastern suburbs council following the anticipated merger of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson decides to ask to be in the tent with Council mergers looming.

Matson has lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) to continue on as a Councillor after the merger following gaining clearance to do so from his local Greens group on Wednesday night.

His submitted EOI reiterates Randwick City Council’s resolved position by a majority of Labor, Liberal, Green and independent Councillors that it prefers to stand alone.

But he says it also “…reflects the reality that the new merged Councils are a coming reality and that the Minister expects serving Councillors to indicate whether they will commit to making these new structures work for the community. I am giving him that commitment on behalf of both my present constituents and those who maybe my coming constituents.”

Councillor Matson further explained his decision by saying today,

“You can choose not to seek to continue as your communities’ Councillor on the principle that the EOI process will selectively curtail that mandate for many other good Councillors across NSW. Or you can take a different perspective and seek to remain a voice for community interests on whatever new Council entity emerges. My fate is now in the Minister’s hands.”

Councillor Matson has appealed to the Minister for Local Government to extend today’s deadline for submission of EOI’s from NSW Councillors. He said,

“The Minister has the pragmatic choice of going for a pool of Liberal leaning Councillors who will only have a mandate to represent one slice of the elector demographic. Or he can bring in some checks and balances by appointing Councillors with other political viewpoints. Extending the deadline or positively re-interpreting negative responses to the criteria questions in the already lodged EOI applications would make the new Councils more representative.”

Councillor Matson listed many local issues now confronting the current Councillors that the new Councillors will inherit. He said,

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

Murray Matson has used his Randwick Councillor position to support community projects such as the Coogee Community Garden in Dolphin Street.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get constituents contacting me with concerns about the impact of construction works for the CSELR light rail project. There are a host of localized issues that residents expect Councillors to speak up on such as preserving the Maroubra Sports Club (i.e Malabar Bowling Club site) for the community, opposition to relaxing the liquor prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Center and keeping building height restrictions to 12 metres around Coogee Beach. And there are many others, such as usage issues at the Bondi Pavilion and the Laperouse Chinese Markets.

Then there are specific planning projects that I have initiated such as the international prize for new planning visions for the Kingsford and Kensington Town centre and approaching the Minister for Planning to spot rezone the Newmarket site to lock in height limits while still providing affordable housing for vital service workers such as nurses, police, firemen and university workers.”