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De-merger for Inner West Council should happen before next council election

Marrickville Greens – Media Release

2 February 2017

Former Marrickville Greens Councillors have called for a de-merger of the Inner West Council to happen before the next council election due in September 2017, after the State Government indicated that the policy of forced amalgamations will be abandoned and recently amalgamated council areas could hold plebiscites to opt to de-merge back to their original constituent councils.

Former Greens Councillor for Marrickville and current Local Representative Advisory Committee Member, Max Phillips said: “The extensive consultation conducted by Marrickville Council prior to the amalgamation made it clear that the majority of residents were opposed to the amalgamation.”

“Given the amalgamation was forced on the community by the state government, there is no real need for a plebiscite to de-merge the council, but if one is required, then it should be conducted well before the next council elections to ensure the de-merger happens as soon as possible and a democratically elected council is established.

“The Administrator should freeze all work towards the amalgamation until the future of the council or councils is sorted out,”he said.

Former Greens Councillor for Marrickville and current Local Representative Advisory Committee Member, Melissa Brooks said: “It is a great pity that Labor, Liberal and Independent Councillors did not agree to the Greens proposal to hold a plebiscite prior to the amalgamation or pursue legal options more vigorously.

“The state government has been dishonest about its amalgamation process from the start, if they seriously want to repair the damage they should enable a de-merger to happen quickly and not delay until 2019 for nor good reason.”

Sylvie Ellsmore – Greens candidate for Sydney

Marrickville Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore is the preselected Greens Candidate for Sydney in the 2016 federal election.

You can find Sylvie on Facebook here. Visit the Greens for Sydney campaign website here. Read more

MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE COUNCIL BOUNDARY REVIEW HERE!

You are encouraged to support your local council and make a submission on the proposed amalgamation of Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils.

Click on this link to sign our sample submission and add your thoughts about the proposed amalgamation:

https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/save-marrickville-council/councilboundaryreviewsubmission/

Local firefighter Jim Casey Grayndler candidate 2016

Local Firefighter Jim Casey wins Greens preselection for Granydler, flags a strong community campaign on saving the climate, housing affordability, and stopping Westconnex.

Career firefighter Jim Casey has been preselected to contest the electorate of Grayndler for the Greens at the federal election next year.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has thrown his support behind Casey. “Jim has served proudly as a firefighter since 2001, and has stood up for the rights of his co-workers in his role with the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union”, he said.

Casey, 45 has lived in inner Sydney for the last quarter century and is currently the State Secretary of the NSW FBEU. He lives with his partner and their two young children.

Commenting on the preselection outcome, Casey said he was honoured to be the Greens candidate and determined to put tremendous energy into winning the seat.

“As a firefighter I have seen with my own eyes increased extreme weather behaviour brought about by climate change.  We need action now.

“Sydney is a beautiful, diverse, and vibrant place. But it is at risk of becoming unliveable. We need to take on the challenge of housing affordability, of decent public infrastructure, and sustainable development if we want our city to remain a place for all.”

Di Natale adds, “Jim represents Greens values in action, and he would make a wonderful representative for the people of Grayndler.”

Further information: Jim Casey 0420 828 502 (Candidate), Django Merope Synge 0420 365 887 (Greens NSW)

1 December 2015

Marrickville to launch Asylum Seekers Community Passport

25 November 2015

Marrickville Council will develop a “community passport” for refugees and asylum seekers following a successful motion by the Greens at the November Council meeting. Greens Councillors Melissa Brooks and Sylvie Ellsmore jointly moved the motion for a partnership project with the Asylum Seekers Centre based in Newtown, which was passed unanimously by Council.

Greens Councillor Melissa Brooks said, “Marrickville Council has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2003. We proudly recognise the important contribution that people from refugee backgrounds make to our local culture, our economy and our society.

“The community passport will not only welcome asylum seekers and refugees entering our community, but will also provide a directory to local churches, mosques and parks, and provide free access to a range of Council services such as our pools and community programs. In time we hope the program expands to facilitate discounts and donations from local businesses and residents,” Clr Brooks said.

Councillor Ellsmore said, “By formalising Council’s support for refugees and asylum seekers in the form of a community guide or passport, Council will send a strong message to new arrivals to the community that they are welcome.

“For asylum seekers – many of whom have little or no access to financial support from the government and rely on charitable giving – it will provide much needed support,” Clr Ellsmore said.

Marrickville Council has an increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers living, working or visiting the LGA. A number of important community organisations who offer support to refugees and asylum seekers are located in or near the Marrickville LGA. In 2013 the Asylum Seekers Centre re-located to the Marrickville LGA. The Asylum Seekers Centre cares for approximately 1,500 asylum seeker clients per year, 70% of whom receive no government support whatsoever. For more information see the letter of support from the Asylum Seekers Centre.

The idea of Refugee and Asylum Seekers passport is modelled on a successful pilot program by the Melbourne City of Darebin Council.

More information:    Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Read a copy of the Greens Notice of Motion here: C1115 Item 24 – Notice of Motion Marrickville Community Passport for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Greens Councillors Sylvie Ellsmore (L) and Melissa Brooks (R) with Refugee Welcome signs which the Greens moved to install in Council buildings, 2014

Greens Councillors Sylvie Ellsmore (L) and Melissa Brooks (R) with Refugee Welcome signs which the Greens moved to install in Council buildings, 2014

Contract deal a community win for marrickville library

Media Release 13 October 2015

Following a campaign stretching over many years, the Greens on Marrickville Council have welcomed the signing of a historic contract to re-develop the old Marrickville hospital site, the key final step in committing Council to build the long promised new library, park and affordable housing on the site.

Greens Councillor Max Phillips said, “We fought the last election on a platform of investing in our community. We promised to build a new library, to invest in affordable housing and in quality open space. Today we are so proud to see that vision turning into a reality.

“Marrickville Council has signed a detailed contract which ensures this project will be built in line with the concept designs picked by the community last Council term. The new library site will have a park opening onto Marrickville Rd, a library and multi-purpose community hub, and a mix of community and retail uses. I am confident it will become a thriving new heart for our community,” Clr Phillips said.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Co-Chair of Council’s Affordable Housing Committee, said, “This decision is a huge win for our community. We will have over $60 million of benefits delivered for the community. It is the largest single investment ever undertaken by Marrickville Council.

“The development of site will come at no cost to Council and will protect the significant heritage buildings – the Old Marrickville Hospital site and Nurses Quarters – which will be retrofitted as the new library and community hub. And importantly, those community facilities, the park and the affordable housing will stay in public ownership,” she said.

The project has a long and tumultuous history. Marrickville Council has owned the site, earmarked to build a new library, for 20 years. Council had invested more than $1 million undertaking a design competition and preparatory works for the new library and park last Council term.

However following the 2012 Local Government elections a number of different options were canvased for the site by the newly elected Council, including building residential development at the front of the site (Marrickville Rd) where the library and park was planned, and residential rather than public uses for the heritage buildings. A numbers of unsolicited bids to sell the whole site to a private developer were received, but were rejected following a community outcry.

Clr Phillips said, “This final decision, which received unanimous support from all Councillors, returns Council to the original vision for the site. This is what we have been fighting for and we have now, finally, engaged a developer to get on and build the project. It is a huge win for our local residents and the future of our community,” said Clr Phillips.

More information:   Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213 and Clr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

What the final decision means:

At its Council meeting on Tuesday 6th October Marrickville Council approved the terms of a contract with developer Mirvac to develop the entire site, including the public aspects and private residential and commercial development at the back of the site. The contracts were formally signed by Council and Mirvac today.

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

As a result of the arrangement Council will retain over $64m in value from the redevelopment of the site made up of:

  1. the construction of a new library, community hub, open space and associated car-parking opening onto Marrickville Road;
  2. the provision of 4% affordable housing (currently estimated at 9 apartments (3x1bedroom, 5×2 bedroom and 1×3 bedroom);
  3. a cash payment;
  4. land retained by Council as part of the redevelopment; and
  5. residential development at the back of the site.

The historic main hospital building and the old nurse’s quarters will be fully conserved and reused as part of the redevelopment and the old hospital lane will be retained as a central access spine through the development site. Entry and exit of vehicles is expected to be from Livingstone Road.

The developer was selected following a competitive tender process which assessed applicants against their ability to deliver key aspects of the project which included the concept for the new library selected by the community (known as the ‘BVN design’), new open space and affordable housing.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid's Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid’s Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

Following the competitive process Council resolved to work with the most suitable applicant – Mirvac – on a non-complying tender which will see the project delivered quickly and at no cost to the community.

For details of the Greens campaign for the project see https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/library-and-community-hub/.

For details of the history of the project, including the stages and key milestones to get to this point, and images of the plans see the Marrickville Council website at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/development/major-projects/new-library-and-community-hub/

The full concept model of the project by Mirvac which indicates the scale of residential development on the back of the site and how it interacts with the community design for the library has been on public display and will be available again at the Marrickville Library later in the week.

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Council’s bike budget hits $1.2 million

Marrickville Council’s bike budget will be more than $1 million this financial year (2015-6), following a strong boost in Council’s internal budget and several successful grant applications. Campaigning by the Greens and bike groups last year led to a doubling of Marrickville Council’s  internal bike budget. The further increases this year meets the broader campaign target set by the Greens, and indicates the growing recognition within Council that building bike paths are “core business” for Council.

Questions on Notice by the Greens (linked and extracted below) reveal the details of the proposed spending, which was debated and passed with the support of the Greens Councillors, Labor Councillors and the Mayor as part of the 2015-6 Marrickville Council Budget at Council’s June meeting. Liberal Councillor Tyler and Independent Councillor Macri voted against the budget in its entirety.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, who is the Chair of the Marrickville Transport Committee and a regular cyclist, said: “The bike spending of $1.2 million in a single year is a very significant increase. It comes off the back of years of campaigning by local residents, bike groups and the Greens.

“Local residents put a high value on building new, safe bike paths, as the inner west has one of the largest and fastest growing group of cyclists. Importantly, the Marrickville Local Government Area also now has the largest percentage of women cyclists of any Local Council area in NSW, at 26%[i],” Clr Ellsmore said.

Clr Ellsmore said, “Over the last few years Council has made significant new investment in its roads and footpaths. The Greens have been arguing for a long time that bike paths, just like footpaths, are key infrastructure and deserve proper investment.

“The Greens ran a campaign in the lead-up to last year’s budget vote calling for a significant increase for bike path. At the time, research released by the Greens showed that only 9% of the priority bike paths in Council’s Marrickville Bike Strategy 2007-2016 had been completed.

“As a result of the flood of submissions we received from commuters, families and recreational cyclists calling for greater investment in bike paths, Council voted to increase the amount of money it was committing from own coffers to last year’s bike budget by $200,000. Council also agreed to better integrate bike path planning with Council’s general road and footpath upgrade programs.

“The proposed 2015-6 bike path budget doubles the bike budget again, and makes good on Council’s promise to make building better bike paths part of our core business. Building better bike paths is an important part of making our local areas safer, healthier and more liveable,” said Clr Ellsmore.

The proposed new spending includes planning for several regional bike routes paths, as well as completion of a number of existing bike projects, as detailed in the Answers to the Questions on Notice tabled at the 19 May 2015 Council meeting (attached). A further late $200,000 grant was received, on top of the spending outlined in the 19 May 2015 Questions on Notice.

The draft Marrickville Council Budget 2015-6 also includes other significant increases to other Council infrastructure including roads, footpaths, stormwater drains and parks. Details of the 2015-6 Council budget can be found at Item 4 of the 19 June 2015 Marrickville Council meeting papers at

http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/council/elected-council/business-papers/

More information: Details of the Greens 2014 bike funding campaign can be found at

https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/budget-win-for-cyclists/

End Notes

[i] See details in the Super Tuesday Bike Commuter Count 2015, available to download from https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/vanilla_content/files/Bike%20Futures/Counts/SuperTuesday/2015/ST2015%20Report_NSW_Summary.pdf . Marrickville Council participated in the count for the first time in 2015, following a Greens Notice of Motion. The count includes a sample of a number of sites. Sites will be expanded in future years.

Details of spending

A full copy of the answers to the Questions on Notice can be downloaded here – 150519 Mville Council QoN Bike Path Funding.

Extracts:

2015-05 Answer 205-6 Proposed Budget

*Note – These figures combine internal and external grant funding. 2013/4 included some significant grants from the State Govt.

For 2015/6 a further grant was received after May 2015. The 2015/6 figure includes $500,000 allocation by Council directly – the largest ever provided – with the additional income from government grants following a significant increase in the number of grant applications made by Council for bike projects.

2015-05 Answer to Q15 Bike Plan total cost

2015-05 Answer to Q14 Bike Plan

      

The State Govt grants for 2015/6 are a mix of planning and implementation – noting an additional grant was received post May 2015.

   2015-05 Answer to Q16 Bike Plan Grants

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