This year's rate rise will be 6.9%. Above inflation increases put a disproportionate burden on people on low incomes and is not something council should do lightly. I voted against this because there are some areas of the the city's expenditure that I think should have been looked at before committing to such an increase.
The council has qualified for federal black spot funding to put in traffic lights at the Paget-South-Victor St intersection. The exact form the new intersection will take has not yet been decided. While most people would agree that it's a pretty crazy and dangerous intersection, some residents are concerned that traffic lights here will push even more traffic through residential streets.
I've talked to the City's technical services staff and they've agreed to do a comprehensive survey of traffic patterns in the area. If you know of particularly busy or dangerous streets in Hilton that you think need some form of traffic calming then please let me know.
Residents at the Hilton, Samson, and O'Connor precinct groups, and all others that I've spoken to; agree that the speed limit on South St needs to be reduced from 70 to 60 km/h east of Hines Rd. This has already proven to be a dangerous stretch of road with a pedestrian fatality only a few years ago. Many motorists heading east are already doing 70km/h after they cross Carrington St and pass through the Hilton shops.
Council has voted to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Housing aimed at preventing the department from demolishing its traditional Hilton houses.
The agreement would allow the department to build a small rear dwelling (as per the new small dwelling policy: see below) except that the new dwelling would be put on a green title. However both the new and original dwelling would have to be served by the same driveway so that it not have the appearance of a battle-axe sub-division.
Mary Barton has decided to take a break from the role of Hilton Precinct Secretary. Mary has done a great job for over the last year or so, setting the bar with her dedication to creating a caring community spirit in Hilton.
Hilton has often been one of the city’s more dynamic precinct groups, not least because Mary has gone to the trouble of preparing the meetings and inviting guest speakers to guarantee healthy discussion (and sometimes vigorous debate).
In particular Mary should be thanked for putting in hours of her own time into the survey of Hilton residents which was really important in the formation of the new Hilton Planning Policy. Thanks Mary!
The February meeting of council passed a resolution that would enable home owners to build and rent out small “granny flat” style dwellings.
Currently these can only be leased to family members (that’s the theory anyway), which is a bit absurd. These sorts of smaller dwellings would fill a need for large number of students, single people and those on low incomes who don’t want or can’t afford to rent a whole house; and who don’t need or want off-street parking.
The change would also enable home owners to realise some income from their property without having to do a whole rear strata type subdivision if they don’t want to (even if their property is big enough for a battle-axe block).
The council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee of which I’m a member has got funding to install bike rails at busy bus stops. A number of bus stops along South St could be candidates. If there are spots where you’d like these to be installed then let me know.
The January meeting of council adopted a new planning policy for Hilton. In my view the policy strikes a reasonable balance between preserving what people like about Hilton and allowing them to build homes with modern materials and to contemporary standards.
The policy preserves the things in the old policy that protect the look and feel of Hilton (height, size and general form of buildings; generous setbacks) while accepting the use of contemporary materials.
I'm pleased to report that the November council meeting passed the "Employment Values" policy resolution that was deferred from the October meeting (nine for, three against). In particular I'd like to thank Councillor Josh Wilson for his active and vocal support of this policy.
The Maritime Union of Australia West Australian branch supports the adoption of a policy by Fremantle Council which would give to all its workers the rights and conditions they rightly deserve. These include an equal pay structure, the right to be represented by their union and a career path to a permanent position.
Our members enjoy these things and we are proud to say we have secured some of the best employment conditions in the country. But decent working conditions should not just be for workers in a strong bargaining position. It's the responsibility of government, including local government, to look out for the conditions of workers who are in a weak bargaining position but who do important work on behalf of our community.