One Year of Inner West Council
On Friday 12 May, Inner West Council marks its first anniversary as a new local government entity.
Inner West Council is larger, stronger, more populous – and more effective as an advocate for the community.
On issues like WestConnex, public transport, affordable housing (and even tree pruning) Council has notched up some remarkable wins where smaller councils had struggled to get results:
- Successfully campaigning against a WestConnex dive site next to Sydney Secondary College.
- Successfully pushing for the WestConnex Rozelle interchange to be underground.
- Forming the WestConnex Community Forum, to focus and bring together community activists.
- Successfully lobbied the State Government to return residual WestConnex lands to the community.
- Proposing a Guided Electric Transit System – or Trackless Tram – that would transform Parramatta Road, and committing $80,000 to a feasibility study.
- Adopting a pioneering Affordable Housing Policy which sets a city-leading 15 per cent target on large developments, and 30 per cent on government owned land in urban renewal areas.
- Successfully – and finally – tackling the problem of Ausgrid’s street tree over-pruning. The CEO has committed to reigning in their pruning regime.
One key benefit of the Inner West Council are the savings we are able to generate for the community. $2.5 million has already been saved during the 16-17 financial year.
Over the next 10 years we will have saved nearly $26 million.
The State Government has provided an additional $10 million to cover the costs of the amalgamation.
$15 million has also been provided through the Stronger Communities fund, which is going towards major projects in the inner west council area and community grants for local organisations.
In total, over the next ten years, our local area will benefit to the tune of more than $50 million.
These are all funds which will go towards improved services and capital works for your local area.
This financial year, Council has spent more on Capital Works than ever before.
The 2017/18 draft budget and operational plan features a record $66million capital works spend – $20m larger than the three former councils combined:
- $23.6m on roads and footpaths,
- $12.9m on trees, parks and sporting grounds.
Council has secured $7m in funding from the State Government to carry out works to the Greenway.
Sydney’s inner west has one of the highest populations of artists, creatives, and arts workers in Australia. Council’s planning proposal for a Sydenham Station Creative Hub will protect traditional industries, expand creative industries, and add food, drink and live music venues to the mix.
As well, Council has embraced and expanded innovative arts programs that nurture and encourage the arts community:
The former Marrickville Open Studio Trail (MOST) and Leichhardt Open Studio Trail (LOST) have combined and extended into the Ashfield area to become the Inner West Open Studio Trail.
The first Open Inner West in June, Council’s ten day festival, will celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the inner west through storytelling, music, dance, art, theatre, food and simply gathering together.
Perfect Match, Council’s pioneering public art program, is now bigger and better than ever, expanding throughout the inner west of Sydney.
Each of the former councils had successful services which have been expanded into the entire Inner West Council local government area. These include combined arts, culture and events programs as well as various business, community, environment, and local history awards.
Council has also created an additional 45 out-of-school-hours care places at Camdenville and Marrickville West, with an additional 30 places at Jimmy Little Centre in Rozelle to be added later this year.
And there are now more and better local pool options - as well as the planned refurbishment of Ashfield Aquatic Centre, Council is trialling an extended swim season at the seasonal Fanny Durack pool in Petersham. Council also has the year-round Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre in Lilyfield and the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre in Marrickville.
Plus, the Speak Out, Love Bites and other anti-domestic violence programs have been allocated more than $300,000 over the next four years.
Council’s 2016 Stronger Communities grants allocated $300,000 funding to projects such as upgrades of club facilities, and purchase of sporting equipment, or tools and equipment to improve delivery of community services:
- The Bower Re-use and Repair Centre spent $13,500 fixing up their truck which has been in use for 17 years.
- ANTaR used its $25,000 grant to bring the Sea of Hands installation to Camperdown Memorial Rest Park in Newtown in March.
- Newtown Neighbourhood Centre received $15,100 to upgrade their public access areas. The foyer and three meeting rooms are now freshly painted and decorated, with work set to commence shortly on other areas including the stairwell and main hall.
- Pratten Park Community Sports and Bowling Club received the maximum grant of $50,000 for a kitchen renovation, which will be used by Metro Assist to establish a social enterprise that will train and employ new migrants and refugees in basic food service.
- Ashfield Boys High School’s new amphitheatre and green outdoor classroom is post-survey and design stage, with final approval from the Department of Education expected in the next two weeks.
- Marrickville Youth Resource Centre received multi-year funding of $20,000 in 2016 and $27,000 in 2017 to make their centre more sustainable and energy efficient.
Styles Street Children’s Community Long Day Care Centre in Leichhardt received $19,000 to redevelop their existing playground into a sustainable, purpose-built learning environment.
- Sydney Latin American Film Festival will develop a new independent cinema at Addison Rd Community Centre.
Articulate Project Space will install a wheelchair platform stair lifter.
Ashfield Baptist Church will improve their community hall with better acoustics and lighting, and the installation of a projector.
The inner west community told Council that the Stronger Communities Major Projects $14 million 3-year program should primarily focus on recreation and sustainability:
- The Greenway scored $2m for the missing links in the green corridor;
- Ashfield Park is receiving a $590,000 lighting upgrade.
- Birchgrove Sports Pavilion is getting a $490,000 upgrade;
- $650,000 repair program for Leichhardt Town Hall, $990,000 for Petersham Town Hall and $400,000 for the S.H.A.R.E. Building in Summer Hill;
- $700,000 for upgraded basketball courts, skate park and community garden at Sydenham Green; and
- new pathways and lighting at Steel Park costing $450,000.
Council is committed to improved engagement and transparency:
- Introducing live streaming of Council meetings.
- Your Say community engagement hub now available to all people in the inner west area.
- Establishment of eight Strategic Reference Groups, to guide Council’s policy making.
- Co-development with the community of Council’s Vision and Priorities, Disability Inclusion Action Plan, Community Strategic Plan, and website.
- Establishment of the Inner West Planning Panel, featuring independent planning experts and a community representative.
Council is rolling out economic development initiatives:
- $30,000 marketing package for Haberfield Village
- Adoption of a 12-month embargo on outdoor dining fees across the local government area.
- Darling Street Mainstreet Revitalisation Implementation Plan, including a Shop Local campaign, infrastructure grants, special promotions and events, and the roll-out of main streets Wi-Fi.
- Successful revitalisation of Norton Street Leichhardt, which has seen retail vacancies fall to a four-year low.