The debate went on for 2 hours as part of the total 10 year Strategic Plan which included the controversial 2015 Plan. The Good For Manly campaign to stop the Oval car park & save Whistler Street car park was successful in slowing down the process and getting an independent due diligence review of the projects, more consultation & therefore more time to get the facts known. This resulted in a compromise resolution put forward by the Liberals which is why Good for Manly's Councillor, Candy Bingham, supported the motion. Without our campaign the construction of the Oval car park would now be a binding, financial commitment. The resolution at the June 3 Council meeting has bought us more time.
Street after street in Manly have examples of 'Ausgrid Vandalism'. The relentless butchering of our trees by Augrid sub-contractors continues to be serious issue resulting in major damage to a number of heritage trees. The systematic need to remove established trees which have become unstable or unhealthy due to inappropriate, and continual, cutting of significant branches has become unacceptable.
For example, Ausgrid are about to remove four smallish trees on Seaview Street between Upper Beach and New Streets. The reason I understand is that they do not want the continual expense of pruning them.
While aerial bundling is not the best solution, it would bring about a significant improvement. Under this method cables are bundled and insulated which means that contact with branches is much less of a problem and trees do not need to be as radically pruned. Currently the wires, apart from the Optus cables, are not insulated. Of course the best solution would be to underground the cables, but reality dictates that this is highly unlikely due to the enormous expense.
A good example of bundling can be seen on Bourke St in Surry Hills. Some bundling has also occurred on Addison Road, Manly.
Due to recent concerns raised by a number of Precinct Forum groups and local residents in the Manly area, a resolution was passed at the June 2013 Council meeting which included that steps be taken to halt the Ausgrid practices; that Manly Council develop a Tree Policy for the area, and that the possibility of aerial bundling be investigated. North Harbour & Little Manly Precinct groups in particular have been actively fighting this issue on behalf of local residents.
Forgive me for being skeptical but is Manly Council's latest discovery that the Whistler Street car park (which they want to demolish and sell off the land for apartments) is now a fire hazard seem a little convenient to you?
Previous claims that the structure had concrete cancer have now been withdrawn. Yes, the car park is old but it was built to the standards of the day. Many improvements have been made since, and others will need to be made. But our advice is that the structure is sound and still has a good 40 years of useful life left.
Depending upon which Council document you read, the cost of the proposed two-level car park under historic Manly Oval for 800 cars, has been quoted from $31.5m to $36m. Our advice is that the cost would be closer to $40 million. The validity of the 'revenue generating' forecast is also questionable according to our three independent experts.
As the General Manager of Manly Council has refused on numerous occasions to provide Councilors a copy of the full KPMG financial viability study, commissioned by Council for Council, Councillor Candy Bingham has had to rely on the opinions of other very credible industry experts. Which raises the question: What is in the KPMG report that the General Manager does not want Councillors to discover?
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.