Change anything to do with parking in Manly and you are likely to have a problem on your hands. The introduction of ticketless parking meters didn't disappoint this long held theory.
While still struggling with the new digital meters, which replaced parking permit stickers for locals, the requirement to punch in your rego number and display a ticket caused many frustrations. Now you were faced with long queues, glare making the screen impossible to read, and some letters not registering on some meters.
Just when you thought you had mastered the requirements to park on the oceanfront - the next latest technology hit. Ticketless parking meters! Now not only do you have to face longer queues, deal with the glare making the screen impossible to read but also wonder if the bl***dy thing actually worked as you don't get a ticket of proof that you have paid, or for how long.
And that's just the problem - no ticket of proof as a number of locals have discovered recently when they disputed fines.
At the March Council meeting the General Manager admitted there had been a few teething problems with the new system resulting in some people being incorrectly fined. If you are one of them, be sure to lodge your complaint with Manly Council and insist on a refund.
Good For Manly Cr Candy Bingham’s motion to discuss the need for a business plan was illegally ruled “out of order” and left off the agenda at Monday’s Manly Council Meeting. And Cr Bingham’s attempt to have it discussed as a matter of urgency, was also knocked back.
A packed gallery, comprising many representatives of Manly's Resident Precinct groups, expressed their outrage as the Mayor Jean Hay refused to allow the matter to be discussed.
The motion, which was to examine the financial viability of the 99 year lease of the Whistler Street site and construction of a 470 space car park under Manly Oval, was prepared by residents of North Harbour Precinct. It had the support of the majority of the resident precincts and is a requirement of the Office of Local Government.
"The council’s existing documentation is so out of date it was made when the car park was to hold 760 cars, not 470, as is the case now. The KPMG report also contained significant omissions, such as not taking into account the loss of the $1M a year operating profit currently made by the Whistler St Car Park," Cr Bingham explained.
The need is urgent. The contracts to build the oval car park and redevelop Whistler St are expected to be awarded next month. At that point, Manly Council and its ratepayers will be locked in, with a penalty fee incurred if the newly merged Council decides to call the projects off.
“It’s easy to see why people are upset,” Cr Bingham said.
“While the planned 99-year lease and development of the Whistler St site will partly fund the new oval car park, the down side of that deal is that we lose convenient parking in Manly CBD and the potential for a new CBD plaza. We also lose a key site in Manly at a time when the Council is to be expanded."
“The remaining cost, including any price overruns, or operating losses, will come out of the pocket of Manly businesses and rate payers.”
At the end of the day, Manly CBD will lose up to 100 on-street parking spaces and gain a pitiful 40 extra spots further away.
“It’s the ‘why bother’ Car Park,” Cr Bingham said. "Why are the Liberal Councillors hell-bent on pushing this through before the Council is amalgamated? It's irresponsible".
The wooden footbridge at the harbour end of Clarence St is a 90-year-old reminder of a gentler time. It’s a historic structure that links North Harbour St and Wellings Reserve and it’s part of the Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway, which attracts almost 200,000 people a year.
But it's future is hanging by a thread.
Manly Council closed the footbridge in December after it was found to be structurally unsound. Scaffolding has been put up, but no repair work has been done.
Locals are furious, saying the bridge has had no maintenance work done on it for years, despite them repeatedly asking the council to act.
Now the bridge is closed "indefinitely" while the Council looks at funding options to repair, or entirely replace it.
While Council GM Henry Wong has proposed replacing the bridge with a steel structure, residents say that's not the right fit for the pretty bushland spot.
Manly Councillors overwhelmingly agree. When the bridge was discussed at this week's Council meeting, councillors asked Mr Wong to investigate using timber for the replacement work. We'll keep you posted.
With Manly Council poised to lock in the controversial oval car park project, a group of prominent local citizens and experts has formed an alliance in a last-ditch effort to “Save Manly Oval”.
The group, Save Manly Oval Alliance, is concerned that the car park project fails on financial, heritage, traffic management and environmental grounds and will deliver an overall gain of only 40 extra car spaces - at the massive cost of an estimated $1M for every new space.
“Our aim is to conserve and protect for the public interest, the heritage and environmental values of Manly Oval and its surrounds in the historical context,” Alliance president Jack Steggall said. “We will fight this all the way to the Land and Environment Court if we have to”.
While Manly Council describes the car park as being constructed “under” the oval, the Alliance says this is not the case.
“The project would involve digging up and removing the oval along with almost 50,000 cubic metres of its natural soil and sand base. The oval would be replaced with a two-story reinforced concrete car park, with access ramps and ventilation stacks, and a raised playing field on its roof. It would be a complete environmental disaster,” Mr Steggall said.
“It is impossible to believe that this proposed redevelopment will in any way retain or even approximate, the iconic status of Manly Oval, in terms of its history, heritage value, natural beauty and usability as a sports oval and recreational area,” he said.
Additional concerns the Save Manly Oval Alliance have include:
The Alliance will engage professional experts to assess financial, heritage, environmental, hydrological and traffic issues arising from the oval car park proposal.
Alliance members include:
President: Jack Steggall - retired solicitor and longstanding Manly resident
Vice President: Former Lord Mayor of Sydney and local government expert Jeremy Bingham.
Secretary: Roger Freney - economist, formerly with the Commonwealth Treasury
Former Manly State MP and Manly Councillor David Barr
Prominent Manly businessman John Humphrey of Humphreys Newsagency and Book Centre.
Former Manly Councillor and environmental advisor Dr Judy Lambert.
Local Manly rugby identity and former Wallaby Bob McLean.
Civil engineers David Wunder and Ian Sharp.
For more information go to savemanlyoval.com.au
or StopManlyOvalCarPark on Facebook.
A proposal to super-size Manly Vale Public School has been knocked back by Warringah Council and provoked widespread opposition from the local community.
The Education Department plans to build a “super school” on the bushland site, not far from Manly Dam.
The new school would cost $23 million and cater for 1000 pupils - a huge jump from the 460 currently enrolled.
To accommodate the increase, new classrooms, offices, a library, and a canteen and hall will be built on the site.
More than 300 trees will be removed, and parts of Manly War Memorial Park will have to be cleared for bushfire protection. The current school is known for its bushland environment which will be decimated if this plan goes ahead.
Locals say these areas are too precious to lose and fear the development will increase pressure on endangered species that have been found in the area, including the powerful owl, eastern bent-wing bat, grey headed flying fox, and eastern pygmy possum.
Ironically the school has been a leader in environment education since the 1970s when a large nature area was put aside to help pupils learn the value of the environment and nature conservation.
While local residents recognise the need for some development at the school, where some children are housed in demountable classrooms, they say that the proposed development is far more than is needed for the local area.
But the Education Department , which says there is no room to significantly enlarge other primary schools in the area, is struggling to accommodate an ever-increasing primary school population.
The Department also claims that fauna in the area will not be significantly affected as trees and shrubs will be left to provide wildlife corridors.
The plan. which has so far attracted 100 submission and an opposing 1500-signature petition, will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel later this year.
It's crunch time for drink cans and plastic bottles.
Public submissions into the State Government’s container deposit scheme have recently closed. The debate has been feisty, with environment and industry groups backing totally different schemes.
The “Cash for Containers” scheme, supported by environment and many community groups, is modelled on schemes used successfully in South Australia and many European countries.
It involves installing 500-800 reverse vending machines across the state, which would provide a 10 cent “reward” for every empty container deposited. In South Australia, where the scheme has been in place since 1977, 80% of drink containers are recycled, and a huge number of community groups have benefited from funds raised through container collection campaigns.
The alternative “Thirst for Good” model is supported by Coca-Cola Amatil and other major players in the industry. It does away with the immediate cash reward, and substitutes “an annual investment by the beverage industry in a suite of programs aimed at reducing little”. Coca Cola says the industry will contribute $15 million each year in "both financial and non-financial incentives”, but environment groups say it will be more like $1 - 2 million.
Green groups, including Boomerang Alliance, Greenpeace and Clean-up, have rubbished the plan, saying it’s "a PR exercise” not a container deposit scheme. Good for Manly agrees.
“The crucial part of a successful scheme is to give cash directly to the person who has brought the drink container back, as an immediate financial incentive,” Good For Manly Cllr Candy Bingham said.
“That makes all the difference.”
The proposals will be considered by Permier and local member Mike Baird and Environment Minister Mark Speakman, with input from an advisory committee, with the government committed to have a container deposit scheme in place by next July.
The two schemes as seen by environment group Boomerang Alliance
Robin Wheatley doesn’t drive and has difficulty walking. But she volunteers every week at the Manly Environment Centre and uses Manly’s Hop, Skip & Jump free bus service to get there.
This month she became the three millionth passenger for the community bus service.
The council-run service also celebrated its tenth birthday, with the buses travelling 2 million kms - or 50 times around the Earth - in that time.
Hop, Skip and Jump routes cover Manly to Fairlight, Seaforth to Balgowlah and Balgowlah Heights to Clontarf, as well as many stops in Manly CBD and the Eastern Hill. The service uses STA bus stops as well as stopping on a “hail and ride” basis where safety permits.
The service makes a huge contribution to getting car traffic off the streets and decreasing pollution. As a bonus, the buses run on biodiesel fuel, which means lower emissions of carbon monoxide and dioxide, compared to standard vehicles.
But for many people their main role is helping the elderly, and people without cars, to live life to the full.
“My bus stop is just opposite the Environment Centre,” Ms Wheatley said.
“The service is terrific. It’s been incredibly helpful for me.”
Ms Wheatley received a bouquet of flowers from Mayor Jean Hay to celebrate reaching the three million passenger mark.
Routes and timetables are available from Manly Council at 1 Belgrave St, Manly and are online at www.manly.nsw.gov.au
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.