Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Your opinion wanted

PUBLIC comments on two Derwent Valley Council policy documents close in a week's time. At the council meeting held in Maydena last month, a revised strategic plan and a new tree policy were approved to be released for public comments.

The Strategic Plan is available for downloading from the council website using the following link:
Strategic Plan 2011-15

The draft tree management policy is now available on the council website by clicking here:
Tree Management Policy

Comments and submissions on either policy should be addressed to the General Manager, PO Box 595, New Norfolk 7140 and will be received up to 5pm on next Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

There is also an opportunity for residents and ratepayers to make suggestions for the next council budget. For several years now, the council has invited written submissions for the Operational and Capital works budgets. Written submissions will be received by the general manager until the close of business on Friday week (April 8, 2011) and these will be considered during the budget deliberation process.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Child and Family Centre

THESE are my speech notes from last week's council meeting, on the topic of locating the proposed Child and Family Centre on Ellis Dean Reserve at New Norfolk. 

"Mr Mayor, we are indeed fortunate that the State Government wishes to establish a Child and Family Centre in the Derwent Valley. Sadly, I cannot support the general manager's recommendation to approve part of Ellis Dean Reserve as the location of this centre.

"I acknowledge the efforts of the Local Enabling Group and the comprehensive work it has undertaken in consulting with stakeholders in the 0-5 years target group, but by its own admission the group has not consulted the community at large.

"It was entirely correct for the group to address its specific audience while considering potential sites for the centre, but more extensive consultation was required once a park was chosen as the preferred location.

"This has not happened, and a suggestion that the council canvas public opinion was rejected by the leaders of group. Instead, it is proposed that the public have its say once the development application has been lodged - an adversarial process which could create another 'them and us' conflict.

"After the recent controversy over the proposed McDonald's, it is unfortunate that we may be setting ourselves up for a dispute over what has been called empty land at Ellis Dean Reserve. It is not vacant land - it is a park. It belongs to the whole community and the whole community should be given its say in this proposal to remove 2000 square metres of this park from public use.

"Ellis Dean Reserve is an important playground both for people who live in the area and others who travel from other parts of the town and beyond. In the midst of a so-called obesity epidemic, we need more places for young people to run and play, not less.

"Of course, it may be that the whole community agrees this is the perfect location for a Child and Family Centre, but at present this has not been tested and in the absence of full consultation I cannot support this recommendation."

Despite voting against the location, I support the proposed centre and wish its committee well as it progresses its plans.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking outside the burger box

The proposed New Norfolk McDonald's

A similar Australian McDonald's

MANY McDonald's restaurants around Australia look fairly similar, built to a standard design, but it doesn't have to be that way.

At certain locations in Australia and around the world, developers come up with a design that suits local needs, circumstances and surroundings. In some places, McDonald's restaurants are fitted into existing buildings - there are even examples in medieval buildings in Europe.

In other places, McDonald's builds brand new restaurants that have been designed with their local surroundings in mind, and this was my hope for New Norfolk.

The developer behind the New Norfolk McDonald's proposal has exercised his right to appeal the Derwent Valley Council's requirement that he "work with the council and community to design a building that is appropriate to the site, taking into account the neighbouring heritage areas." I'm told by the council's general manager that the developer is prepared to discuss colours and materials, but not the design of the building.

Below are some examples of McDonald's restaurants around the world that have been built to unique designs that suit their surroundings. This remains my hope for New Norfolk's McDonald's.

I don't suggest that any of these would suit the New Norfolk site - they are merely an indication of what developers have been prepared to do in other locations.

North Carolina, USA

Yellowstone, USA

New York

Arizona, US (with Green Arches)


Napier, New Zealand (art deco city)