Mayoral Minute Overland Study

I fully supported Mr Mayors mayoral minute regarding the very important issue affecting our community right now with the recent notifications of notations being applied to many houses across the shire. 

I am thankful that all Councillors supported this Mayoral minute.   

Pedestrian Safety Measures on Menai Road

I had to firstly Speak to the Urgency on this one

For far too long, residents and visitors to Woronora and Burnum Burnum Sanctuary have been playing a perilous game of “dodge death” while navigating the sections of Menai Road, specifically between Prices Circuit and Woronora Bridge, as well as the intersection with Washington Drive. These areas have been identified as hotspots for pedestrian vulnerability, and the time for action is now.

The undeniable truth is that our community is in danger. Numerous near-miss incidents have occurred, and the collective voice of our residents has grown increasingly concerned about the glaring absence of adequate pedestrian safety infrastructure. We cannot continue to ignore the risks and the potential tragedies that may unfold if we do not act swiftly.

Our most vulnerable people—our school children, our elderly residents, and those with mobility issues are the ones most at risk. As we approach the summer months, it is anticipated that there will be a significant increase in the volume of people crossing Menai Road. The cultural event scheduled for the 25th of January at Burnum Burnum sanctuary is expected to draw over 2000 people to the area, making it imperative that we address this issue urgently. Given this is our last meeting before February. I urge you all to recognise the urgency of the situation and support the urgency of my motion to take immediate action to enhance pedestrian safety in our community.

Councillor Cowell requested Business Without Notice concerning pedestrian safety measures on Menai Road as a matter of urgency. Minute No: 281 RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: (Councillor Johns/ Councillor Nikolovski) That permission be granted to consider Business Without Notice concerning pedestrian safety measures on Menai Road as a matter of urgency. 

What I had planned to Speak to the motion (we ran out of time)

Thank you for supporting the urgency of my motion. Before you is a motion that, in essence, is a resounding call to action in ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors. Council staff have diligently followed the correct process, and the state government rejected their submission.

TFNSW has cited the following in their rejection, “Transport for NSW (TfNSW) understands your concerns. However, when investigating treatment options, consideration must be given to items such as the road geometry, road alignment, traffic volumes, pedestrian movements and crash history. The installation of such treatments is carried out at locations assessed on a state-wide objective priority. Accordingly, a new pedestrian crossing, or refuge cannot be installed on Menai Road at this time. Nevertheless, TfNSW are progressively preparing road network plans to cover key corridors such as Menai Road, as a response to the challenge of how to best manage road transport infrastructure to maximise benefits for our customers in line with Government Strategies and will continue to monitor and look out for opportunities to improve pedestrian safety along this corridor.” Huh! Blah Blah Blah! All I hear is Bureaucratic hurdles, Blah Blah Blah Roadblocks to community safety! Blah Blah Blah We are talking about painting white lines on a road and putting up some signs that could potentially save a human life. 

Let me reiterate the importance of this motion. The safety of our residents is, and should always be, a top priority of this Council. It is incumbent upon us to take prompt and decisive action to gain approval in installing adequate pedestrian safety measures at the specified locations on Menai Road. Given that the implementation of safety measures at these areas is not Sutherland Shire Councils Jurisdiction I call upon our State Member, Maryanne Stuart do prioritise the safety of our residents. There has been consistent feedback from our community, who have been vocal in their concerns and their requests for enhancements to pedestrian safety in these locations.  Our community deserves action on promises made. 

This area has High Pedestrian Activity witnessing substantial pedestrian movement. This includes children commuting to and from school, as well as our residents engaging in their daily activities. The numbers alone demand immediate attention and action.

The volume and speed of traffic on Menai Road pose a significant risk of accidents, particularly at the intersections mentioned. We cannot turn a blind eye to the real dangers that exist here.  

Proactive measures are essential to prevent potential accidents and ensure the safety of our residents. Waiting for accidents to happen before taking action would be a grave injustice to our community.  In the face of this rejection from the state government, we are presented with an opportunity—a moral obligation, even. We can choose to stand up for our community, advocate for their safety, and take the necessary steps to protect them. 

I don’t want to wait for tragedy to strike; I want to be proactive and demonstrate that we are committed to ensuring the safety of our people. By voting in favour of this motion, we will send a clear message to our community that we prioritise their safety and well-being above all else.  I ask each of my fellow councillors that you vote in favour of this motion. Thank you!

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: (Councillor Cowell/Councillor Nikolovski) 

That Council: 1. Write to Maryanne Stuart, State Member for Heathcote, urging her to respond to community concerns for pedestrian safety measures at the following locations in our community, Menai Road, between Prices Circuit and Woronora Bridge and Menai Road at the intersection with Washington Drive, by seeking Transport for NSW expedite action on these concerns. 2. Write to Jo Haylen, Minister for Transport her urging her to respond to community concerns for pedestrian safety measures at the following locations in our community, Menai Road, between Prices Circuit and Woronora Bridge and Menai Road at the intersection with Washington Drive, by directing Transport for NSW to expedite action to address these concerns. Council Meeting 11 December 2023 Page 29 3. Contact Transport for NSW, requesting a risk assessment of these locations with a view to implementing appropriate safety measures, such as pedestrian crossings, plus speed reduction signs and traffic calming devices at the earliest opportunity. 4. Request feedback from all parties by 15 January 2024, on the proposed timeline and plans for implementation. 

Councillor Requests Submitted Since Jan 2022

This is a motion that I believe is crucial in ensuring transparency, accountability, and efficiency in our governance. The motion calls for a detailed report on councillor requests submitted since January 2022.

The first component of this motion requests a comprehensive report that outlines essential information about councillor requests submitted over the past two years. This includes the total number of requests, those that have been successfully actioned, those that remain outstanding, and the average response time categorised by department. Transparency is the cornerstone of any democratic institution. By requesting this report, we demonstrate our commitment to open and transparent governance. It allows the community to have a clear view of our actions, our responsiveness to their needs, and the areas where improvement is needed. It’s a fundamental step toward accountability and trust-building. 

The second component of this motion seeks to consider notable trends or patterns in the types of requests submitted and response times. This data-driven approach is invaluable. By analysing these trends, we can identify areas where we excel and those that need improvement. We, as elected representatives, have a responsibility to engage with our community actively. A more efficient process for handling requests benefits not only our community but also the council itself. It allows us to allocate our resources more effectively, streamline workflows, and ensure that our constituents receive timely responses and solutions to their concerns.

The third component of this motion emphasises the importance of timely reporting. It mandates that the requested report be presented at the next suitable council meeting, allowing sufficient time for compilation and review. This timeline ensures that we are not only collecting data but also acting upon it promptly. It ensures that we remain responsive to our community’s needs and concerns. 

I ask each of you to support this motion demonstrating to our community that their concerns matter and that we are committed to optimising our processes to better serve those who have entrusted us.

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: (Councillor Cowell/Councillor Steinwall) 

THAT: 1. The Council requests a detailed report from the relevant department(s) outlining the following information regarding councillor requests submitted since January 2022 by Ward: • The total number of councillor requests submitted; • The number of requests that have been successfully actioned; • The number of requests that are currently outstanding; and • The average response time for these requests, categorised by department. • The assessment of urgent councillor requests. 2. As part of the development of the Customer Experience Strategy, Council consider notable trends or patterns in the types of requests submitted and response times and provides recommendations for improving the processing and response times for community and councillor requests. 3. The requested report should be presented at the next suitable Council Meeting, allowing sufficient time for compilation and review. 4. Council explore options to keep residents informed of the progress of their CR requests after 28 days. 

Enhancing Accessibility to Drinking Water Outlets in Public Spaces

My motion before you today is one that addresses a fundamental necessity of life—access to clean drinking water in our public spaces. Access to clean, safe, and accessible drinking water in public spaces is a fundamental public health and accessibility issue. Ensuring that these facilities meet the diverse needs of all community members, including people with disabilities, seniors, and children, is vital for a healthy and inclusive community. The motion before us calls for a comprehensive report to assess the availability and accessibility of drinking water outlets across the Sutherland Shire.

The Sutherland Shire is home to a diverse community, including people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Our residents and visitors should have access to clean and safe drinking water in our public spaces. When I have been out and about visiting various locations, I have seen disparities in the availability and accessibility of drinking water outlets. Some areas may be well-served, while others lack adequate facilities, especially when considering the needs of people with disabilities, the elderly, and children. It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone can access drinking water without barriers.

When I was researching this, I found many successful examples in other Councils within Australia that I could refer to including some successful examples of locations in the shire. It’s amazing to see the creativity and innovation in this space. I do want to provide an international example, In Paris, the local authorities have not only provided fresh drinking water but they have embraced the challenge and designed the fountains not only to be functional but to also to add to the charm of the city, Paris really has demonstrated their commitment to public amenities, going so far as to not only providing free still water but also sparkling water and a detailed interactive map that shows each of the fountains locations. 

Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of staying hydrated for overall health and well-being. Accessible water outlets would make it easier for people to stay hydrated, which can improve cognitive function, physical performance, and overall health.

The production and disposal of plastic bottles contribute to environmental pollution and waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the recycling rate for plastic bottles is relatively low, meaning that a significant portion ends up in landfills or as litter. Accessible water outlets promote the use of reusable water bottles, reducing the reliance on single-use plastic bottles.

I’m asking each of you to vote in favour of this motion 

 RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: (Councillor Cowell/Councillor Armstrong) THAT: 1. The Council requests a report to assess the current availability and accessibility of drinking water outlets in public spaces across the Sutherland Shire. 2. The report should: a. Evaluate the current status of drinking water outlets in terms of accessibility, especially considering the needs of people with disabilities, the elderly, and children; b. Identify areas within the Shire that are underserved or lacking in accessible drinking water facilities; c. Explore potential options and strategies to improve access to drinking water in public spaces, including but not limited to, the installation of new outlets, upgrading existing facilities, and ensuring compliance with accessibility standards; d. Provide a cost analysis for the implementation of these options and strategies; and e. Include community feedback, especially from groups directly impacted by a lack of accessible drinking facilities. 

Code of Conduct Statistics: 2022-2023 Further Report – Amendment

At 3hrs 26minutes and 33 seconds where I state my reasons for my amendment.

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: (Councillor Cowell/Councillor Nikolovski) 

THAT: 1. The report ‘Code of Conduct Statistics: 2022-2023 Further Report’ be received and noted. 2. The revised Procedures for the Administration of the Codes of Conduct, attached at Appendix A to this report, be publicly exhibited for a period of 28 days and reported back to a subsequent Meeting of Council for adoption. 3. Council writes to the NSW Minister for Local Government, The Hon. Ron Hoenig and the Deputy Secretary Local Government, Brett Whitworth, requesting that an update be provided on the status of the Kellar Report, including whether the State Government intends to form an opinion on the report and its recommendations. 

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