Council rates have been top of the agenda recently with the Northern Beaches Council's Draft Delivery & Operational Plans, Budget and Resourcing Strategy all going on public exhibition this week.
Concerns were raised about the proposed rate rise (with is capped at 2.3%) when many were expecting a rate freeze, or reduction in rates, as was promised as a result of the amalgamation.
In fact, the State Government did enforce a 'rate freeze' but it was on the basis that no ratepayer would have an increase in rates any more than would have been charged by their previous council. Council rates have been capped by the State Government for about 40 years with annual charges calculated based on a local government CPI formula.
Last week Council voted to keep up with inflation. There will be no rate-rise outside of the capped 2.3% suggested by the NSW Government (via IPART) for all Councils across NSW.
This equates to an average of $31 per household per year, which will be offset as a result in reductions to domestic waste charges by as much as $94 for former Manly Residents.
Manly Ratepayer Costs Less Due to Waste Collection Savings
For a standard 80 Litre service the proposed charge for the former Manly ratepayers will be reduced from $630 to $536 which is a 15% decrease or a $94 saving. (The charge for former Pittwater ratepayers would be reduced from $609 to $518 , also a 15% decrease or a $91 saving. The former Warringah ratepayers would be charged $389 which equates to no increase in charges.)
Some Important Facts
It is interesting to note that when the three Councils were amalgamated in May 2016, only Warringah was free of debt. Pittwater had debts of $24,035m and Manly had a whopping $66,350m (including $30m borrowed just days before the amalgamation against the yet to be approved Manly Oval Car Park). This overall debt of $90,385m has now been reduced to $37,821m.
What Have the Saving Been And Where Are They Being Spent?:
The Administrator took the decision to create a "Merger Savings Fund", with savings set aside and allocated to specific projects until 2021.
To date Council has proposed to reinvested amalgamation savings into the following projects:
You can view the Council's Draft Delivery & Operational Plans, Budget and Resourcing Strategy here.
Move. We all need to do it but here on the Northern Beaches, it’s one of our worst problems. Now the Northern Beaches Council is taking the problem on, but they need your support.
The council is developing a strategy that will set the plan for future transport within the whole beaches region.
There’s a lot on the table: roads and traffic; car parking; bus and ferry transport; potential for light rail; walking and cycling and community transport options such as the Hop, Skip and Jump bus.
Interconnecting our transport options and making them work better together is part of the picture too. So is engaging with other transport stakeholders, including neighbouring councils, transport providers and state and federal agencies. And working to generate more jobs in the Northern Beaches to do away with the city commute entirely.
Good For Manly asked our Facebook community their opinion on how to fix our traffic snarls. The options of light rail, dedicated bus transit lanes and separated cycle paths got a lot of support.
So did a suggestion to put up the “house full” sign, despite the fact that our population, housing and job targets are set by the State Government. Sydney’s overarching planning body, the Greater Sydney Commission, estimates the beaches’ population will grow by 18 per cent to just under 300,000 by 2036, so the council is obliged to create another extra 3400 dwellings to meet the target.
And while a rail line is an enticing thought, it is likely the beaches would need to accept sustantial extra development along the line to pay for that sort of infrastructure.
There is still a lot we can do and the council is keen for you to have your say. There are drop-in sessions at:
Manly, Mon 30 April, 6.30 – 8pm - Manly Library, ground floor meeting room.
Dee Why, Sat 5 May, 9am – 12noon - Civic Centre, Dee Why, 725 Pittwater Rd
Forestville, Thu 3 May, 6.30 – 8pm - Forestville Memorial Hall, corner Starkey St and Warringah Rd
And you can contribute your ideas online here.
Life was as good as a Happy Feet movie for five little penguins released at Shelly Beach recently after a stint in rehab.
Footsie, Margaret, Collin, Bondi and Nigel were returned to the ocean last month after being treated at Taronga Zoo wildlife hospital for a range of problems.
The seabirds spent two months recuperating from conditions including a fishing hook injury, a broken foot and dehydration.
Wildlife hospital manager Libby Hall said the penguins had been in intensive care, where they received procedures including radiographs, ultrasounds, surgery and physiotherapy. The birds also used rehab pools to get back to speed with their swimming, before being released into the ocean.
Of the five penguins, only one was rescued from the Northern Beaches. That was Collin, who was found here at Collin's Beach after swallowing a fish hook. The other penguins were rescued from Newcastle, Maroubra, Bondi and Chowder Bay.
Ms Hall said February and March were difficult months for little penguins as it's their moulting season. The birds come out of the water and don't feed, so they can become weak and dehydrated.
She said that now the penguins are back to full health, they are capable of travelling hundreds of kilometres up and down the coast, with Taronga Zoo graduates being found as far away as Victoria.
Little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, are the smallest of the penguin species. Colonies exist around the southern coastline of mainland Australia and Tasmania, mainly on offshore islands. And of course here in Manly, where we are the proud hosts of a colony including about 100 birds - the only remaining colony in mainland NSW.
We’re not there yet, but the Northern Beaches is edging closer to the promised Beaches Link Tunnel and second Harbour Crossing.
The $8 billion tunnel, which will bypass 19 sets of traffic lights at The Spit, Mosman and Neutral Bay, will connect with Warringah Freeway and the planned Western Harbour Tunnel.
Although recent mixed messages from State Government reports suggest the project is not necessarily a “near-term priority”, preparatory work is continuing, including high level consultation with the project team.
Consultation is set to continue with the release of the tunnel reference design in the middle of this year, after which work will start on the Environmental Impact Statement process.
These reports will be made public with extensive community consultation, including several information sessions to be held during the course of this year. Members of the public will be able to make submissions on any aspect of the project.
Manly Ward Councillor Sarah Grattan said Roads and Maritime Services, which is responsible for the project, has already taken account of input from the community, local MP James Griffin and Northern Beaches Council. Issues under consideration include placement of the tunnel access portal on Wakehurst Parkway, extra transport services at Balgowlah and better use of green space near Burnt Bridge Creek.
Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said she was pleased with the consultation process so far.
“It is clear that RMS is listening to the concerns and alternative solutions raised by members of our community with senior RMS staff, and I would encourage everyone to go to the community meetings later this year,” she said. “But don’t forget that Beaches Link Tunnel is not a Council project - it’s a State project, and although the Council does have a seat at the table, it’s the State Government that has the final say.”
As for media reports that the tunnel has been put on the back burner, Cr Bingham said that was not the message from local MPs or the Premier.
“I know a lot of people are sceptical about the tunnel, but so far things are going as promised,” she said. “The council is listening to the politicians, rather than journalists or bureaucrats, and the politicians are saying the Beaches Link Tunnel is a priority and it’s going ahead.”
FINAL UPDATE: March 27
Locals and visitors will still be able to have a glass of wine while the sun goes down, after the Council adopted a motion from Crs Candy Bingham & Sarah Grattan for an 8pm curfew, and additional measures to control anti-social behaviour at East Esplanade Reserve.
The motion, which was passed last night, is that Council
The purpose of the Safety Management Plan is to ensure that there is a clear direction on how the park is to be managed in the future. This will include consistent signage, liaison with the Police, Council Ranger patrols and lighting for example. An immediate change is that Council landscaping work is set to start in April.
It was pleasing to see that new signs had already been erected in time for the Easter holiday weekend, and Ranger Patrols were scheduled.
UPDATE: Feb 28. At the Council meeting last night Crs Candy Bingham and Sarah Grattan put a four-point motion to Northern Beaches Council. As well as the call for council to monitor the area with night rangers or the deployment of off-duty police, the motion called for a review of the current Alcohol Prohibited Area times with alcohol banned at 8.00pm instead of 4pm, to give locals and visitors a reasonable picnicing window. . The reinstatement of the former Manly Safety Committee which brings together community representatives, councillors, police and other relevant agencies, will reconvene shorty as the Northern Beaches Safety Advisory Committee and will be asked to continue to monitor the situation.
Although Council staff indicated that the budget was available to immediately start the deployment of off-duty police (at a cost of $55,000 vs $14,000 for night rangers) the motion was lost with a deferral to the next meeting moved by Crs Pat Daley & Cr Stuart Sprott who are pushing for a 24 hour prohibited zone.
The matter is now on hold until the next meeting of Council on 27 March 2018.
BACKGROUND: Manly’s beautiful East Esplanade reserve is a crowd favourite for a few drinks as the sun is going down. But ‘the office’ is also popular for parties and drinking late into the night. And that leads to problems including aggressive behaviour, urination in public including in locals’ front yards, and piles of rubbish. The reserve is currently designated alcohol free after 4pm but clearly the ban is not working.
A Manly Community Forum residents’ meeting last week, attended by Northern Beaches Police Commander Superintendent Dave Darcy, and Manly Ward Councillors Candy Bingham, Sarah Grattan and Pat Daley, brought the issue to a head. Many locals said they hated the late-night parties and wanted to know why the alcohol bans were not been enforced by the Police or council rangers.
Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said while the situation was unacceptable, police resources were limited and they should not be criticised for putting the most serious incidents first. She said the Council should re-introduce night and weekend rangers to patrol the park and deal with low-level complaints.
“Manly Council used to have night rangers, but the service was lost with the amalgamation into Northern Beaches Council” she said. “We need to bring the council rangers back to take responsibility early in the evening, then the police would come in only if they were really required.”
Cr Pat Daley called for a complete 24-hour drinking ban, but an informal vote at the resident meeting clearly favoured limited restrictions only.
Supt Darcy said order maintenance in East Esplanade was “a team game”. He supported the return of night and weekend rangers, and the reinstatement of the Manly Safety Committee. He told the meeting that people should call triple 0 if they see someone acting aggressively, or urinating on private property. For other issues, including loud music or late parties, they should call Manly Police Station.
“Seventy percent of alcohol-fuelled violence in the whole Northern Beaches happens in The Corso,” Supt Darcy said. “We’ve had a huge improvement in that area over the years, but it needs tight policing, and that’s where my priority lies.
Good as Cabbage Tree Bay is, imagine it even better. Manly's favourite snorkel spot will be part of a project to restore Sydney's lost underwater forests. It involves physically attaching starter crayweed colonies to bare rocks in the bay. The crayweed - a form of seaweed which once flourished along the Sydney coastline - has the potential to re-invigorate the marine environment literally from the bottom up.
The project has been made possible thanks to the passion and generosity of local couple Dorset Sutton and Jenny Lim Sutton, and the creativity of scientists at Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).
The couple's philanthropy has a second focus too - transforming seawalls in Little Manly Cove into complex marine communities.
SIMS Director Professor Peter Steinberg said 50% of Sydney's shoreline is built - mostly in the form of seawalls and jetties - creating an unnatural and difficult environment for sea creatures.
The 'Lim-Sutton Initiative' means seawalls at Little Manly will be retrofitted with 'tiles' containing ribs and protrusions to mimic rocky shoreline habitats, and turning flat vertical surfaces into three-dimensional microhabitats for creatures as diverse as crabs, mussels, sea snails, sponges and algae.
The 'living seawalls' can form the basis of an ecological community that supports marine plants, sponges, algae, molluscs, crustaceans and eventually healthy fish communities.
"Jenny and I are thrilled to be able to help with these two great projects,” Mr Sutton said. “Restoring crayweed and naturalising the seawalls will boost the whole marine community and be a step towards getting these areas back to how they once were."
Professor Steinberg said both projects were part of larger endeavours. He said crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) once formed 70km of underwater forests off Sydney's coast. The thick forests were killed off by water pollution during the 1980s, in an ecological tragedy that went unnoticed for almost 30 years. Now that our water is clean again, it's possible to bring them back. For more information and to help go to www.operationcrayweed.com
Manly Lagoon Park may be lit up all night under a Masterplan currently on display by Northern Beaches Council. The plan is intended to address safety issues for cyclists, runners & walkers who use the park after work. But locals say the proposed 21 6m-high poles, will completely change the parks nature. The poles, which will be similar to 2/3 size street lights, are planned to every 20m along the existing foot path/cycle way.
Local residents worry the bright lighting will encourage late-night drinking parties and scare off native animals. They say that's exactly what happened during the council's lighting trial a few years ago.
The trial, which focussed mainly on low intensity solar lights, found that the low-key lighting was too dim to meet Australian standards.
The light pole proposal has been funded to go ahead this financial year. However community concerns may prompt a rethink. One suggestion is to turn the lights off after 10pm, but that may also fail to meet Australian standards..
More information and your chance to have a say on the Council's website here.
A Manly Hospital Community Workshop was held in early December by Northern Sydney Local Health District and Health Infrastructure to engage with key community representatives and stakeholders, and build on the work previously undertaken by the Manly Hospital Community Advisory Group (MHCAG).
There is broad community support for the Manly Hospital Site to continue to provide health and wellbeing services and the aim of the session was to enable a mapping of the current and projected health services across the District, and identify potential gaps and service opportunities that may be pursued through feasibility and due diligence studies.
Who Is On the Committee?
A number of key community stakeholders including representatives from the Greater Manly Residents Forum and Manly Community Forum, Community Northern Beaches, Bear Cottage, National Parks and Wildlife, Royal Far West, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, One Door (formerly Schizophrenia Fellowship), Northern Beaches Council and Sydney North Health Network attended the meeting and provided valuable input into the workshop. The Local Member for Manly, James Griffin also attended for part of the workshop and was represented throughout.
The workshop commenced with an outline of project governance by Health Infrastructure and an overview of the extended timeline in terms of moving the project forward, commencing with due diligence studies of the Manly Hospital site to occur in 2018.
NSLHD provided an overview of the health services on the Northern Beaches including reference to the Northern Beaches Redevelopment program relating to the new Northern Beaches Hospital, the transformation of Mona Vale Hospital and the comprehensive approach to community health services, with a $100M investment for the establishment of major community health centres at Mona Vale Hospital, Brookvale and Dalwood.
The workshop examined the ‘health and wellbeing’ theme and a range of service opportunities were raised including homelessness; affordable housing generally, including affordable housing for essential service personnel; Big Bear Cottage (young adult respite and palliative care); residential care for younger adults (35 – 50) with complex conditions (i.e. MS); services for the disabled; aged care services and mental health services.
Stakeholders were asked to give thought to a range of considerations such as whether there was duplication of existing services; whether services were sustainable; community access; cost effectiveness; evidence of service need; consistency with service plans of the clinical networks and current & future funding arrangements and sustainability.
What is Happening Now?
Health Infrastructure has commenced procurement for site due diligence and zonal master planning which will start in early 2018 and discussions are underway with National Parks and Wildlife regarding the re-zoned environmental portion of the site (approximately 2 hectares).
Separately, an opportunities matrix will be developed outlining the identified service opportunities, which will then be subject to intensive review and examination of data, analysis, best practice, demand for services etc. This work will then inform a Future Use Options Paper initially, followed by a Project Brief, setting out the service need, development options, costs and processes to deal with the site post November 2018. It’s anticipated this Options Paper will be presented to the Northern Beaches Health Service Redevelopment Project Delivery Board (PDB) by mid-2018.
The Project Steering Advisory Committee will meet monthly to support this process and provide regular updates to the workshop participants, and broader community on the progress of the Study.
After 55 years as an aquatic wonderland, Manly Sea Life Sanctuary has closed its doors for the last time.
The much-loved aquarium has changed its name and focus over the decades, but has always been committed to sea creatures and the marine environment.
When the aquarium first opened as Marineland in 1963, it was the largest in the southern hemisphere and third largest in the world. It contained hundreds of fish, giant turtles and Port Jackson and Wobbegong sharks.
It survived the massive 1974 storm that demolished the harbour pool next door. But in 1987 it was largely rebuilt, and re-opened as Manly Underwater World. It became Manly Oceanworld in 2000 and finally Manly Sea Life Sanctuary in 2012.
While the aquarium has always been popular, the ageing building has been increasingly difficult to maintain. So in March of last year, Merlin Entertainments Group, which runs the Sanctuary, announced it would have to close.
The closure is upsetting for aquarium staff and visitors alike, but it's also a huge logistical exercise.
None of the sea creatures can be released into the wild, so new homes are needed for; 2000 fish, 500 invertebrates such as octopus and sea urchins, 19 little penguins, 11 reptiles and over a hundred sharks and rays.
Options include other aquariums owned by the company, including ones in Queensland, Victoria and Darling Harbour. Some of the little penguins may even be rehomed in the UK.
What comes next depends partly on the RMS, which owns the site.
What memories do you have of visiting the Manly aquarium?
Campervans parked in public and rented out despite having no toilet facilities, may disappear from our streets after rental company Airbnb promised to ban them from its website.
The campervans are hated by local residents, who say renters end up using their front yards as toilets when public facilities are closed over night.
In a recent Channel 9 investigation of the problem Airbnb said it would only accept the vans if they were parked on private property.
Northern Beaches Council is taking action too. They will put up No Camping signs in streets in problem areas, including around Manly Cove. And while the signs are sometimes ignored, as happens near Manly Lagoon, they are better than nothing.
Good For Manly President and Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said it was a win for common sense.
“We need a variety of accomodation in Manly, and that includes cheaper, self-contained options,” Cr Bingham said. “But it’s just not right for renters to have no toilet facilities - especially at night when even the public facilities are closed. It’s not right for people renting and it can be pretty terrible for people living nearby.”
“I’d like to congratulate the local residents’ group Manly Community Forum for their persistence with this problem.”
While signs have not yet been put up, at least one of the vans previously parked on East Esplanade has now been moved to private land.
What’s the best way for the council to collect bulky, household rubbish?
Is it the twice-a-year general clean up that we used to have? Or the system Manly Ward has now where households book their own collections, with up to two free pick-ups a year.
Northern Beaches Council is currently considering tenders for both these collection systems and will make a choice in the next few months.
The general suburb-wide clean up is a great chance to re-use other peoples’ throw outs. But it generates mounds of junk, which is expensive for the council to collect. And the council says research shows that not many items are actually re-cycled.
The booked clean-ups generate much less trash, but the system has been over-loaded, with residents forced to wait weeks before their rubbish could be collected. The Council says that will change. Any tender they accept will guarantee that residents wait no longer than 7 to 10 days when they book a collection.
And if booked collections is the way the Council goes, here’s something to keep re-cyclers happy: Good For Manly President and Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham says she’s pushing for Second Hand Saturday to make a come back.
“I would love to see this brought back,” Cr Bingham said. “It would be a suburb-wide event that we advertise well in advance. People can put out anything they hope to recycle, but if it’s not taken away, they’re responsible for it and they have to take it back inside again. That way, the footpath doesn’t end up covered with junk, but there's still plenty of things to recycle.”
Once the Council has decided on general or booked clean ups, the system will be applied to the whole Northern Beaches area.
What is your preferred system and why?
It’s time to reclaim Manly village.
Manly Library, Whistler St car park and the surrounding plazas areas are the true heart of Manly for many locals. Referred to as the Whistler Street triangle, the area is alive with cool cafes and on-trend eating options. But it’s been let down by poor maintenance, multiplying garbage bins, and a lack of viable forward planning.
Good For Manly is pushing for a reset; with a call for a longterm plan, as well as an immediate clean-up and re-furbishment.
“We need to rethink this area,” Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“The Whistler St triangle is right at the heart of Manly Village. Some parts, such as Whistler St car park have just been allowed to run down, and the whole area looks shoddy and un-loved.
“I’m asking Northern Beaches Council to take immediate action to repaint, or at least clean, the outside of the library and refurbish the toilets there and in the car park. Also to get rid of all the garbage bins in Market Lane and around the plaza and provide an area for the businesses to store their bins somewhere else. And to take action on Whistler St car park to improve signage, lighting, line marking and painting."
Cr Bingham said the Manly 2015 plan put forward by the former Manly Council would have revamped the central area, but involved virtually selling it off via a 99-year-lease to developers. The village would have ended up grossly over-developed and with a high-rise apartment block at its heart. That plan also relied upon the development of the Manly Oval car park which has now been discredited and cancelled.
“Thanks goodness that’s not going ahead now,” Cr Bingham said. “With the huge support of the local community we saved Manly Oval and now have the opportunity to revamp the Whistler Stret triangle into something special".
Cr Bingham has put a motion to Northern Beaches Council for a short-term fix, and a longer term plan for the whole Market Place precinct.
The Beaches Link tunnel is set to become a State Significant infrastructure (SSI) project, meaning all decisions will be made at a State level.
The RMS notified stakeholders last week that it had applied to the Department of Planning for SSI listing for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project.
This step takes decision making out of the hands of councils and local communities, although Northern Beaches Council will still make a submission to the Planning Minister.
“I believe local council is always in a better place to understand local communities and get the best outcome for our whole region,”
Good For Manly President and Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“But due to the size and impact the Beaches Link tunnel will have on a wide area, it was always going to be called in as State Significant Infrastructure.”
Final decisions about SSI applications are made by the Department of Planning and Environment.
The department website says submissions from relevant councils and public submissions will be considered in the assessment process.
“While there’s no doubt we need a solution to the terrible traffic around Spit Bridge, there are problems with the existing design for the Beaches Link,” Cr Bingham said.
“The worst is the proposed location of one of the exhaust stacks, which is right near Seaforth Public School and in a spot where the fumes will be trapped by the prevailing winds and local topography.”
“We should also have public transport in the tunnel. That’s a no brainer.”
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group has put together a detailed assessment of the proposed stack locations, along with suggestions to solve the trapped-fumes problem. Details here.
The uptake of different modes of transport - Uber, driverless cars and in particular, electric cars - will also have an impact on emissions in the future.
The new Walk Manly - Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan - has been put together to identify and fix existing trouble spots; improve access to public transport including the Hop Skip Jump Bus; and anticipate and manage future demand. It was adopted by Council in October, and is currently costed at $2,125,000.
Items, which are listed below, are grouped in geographical zones in the study area as shown.
Or go to the full Walk Manly plan here. Attachment booklet for NBC meeting 24/10/17. From p21
Manly Town Centre
East Esplanade and Belgrave St junction, opposite the Wharf - this major intersection is notorious for people crossing against the traffic lights. Options include installing countdown timers to let people know how long they have to wait. This is likely to discourage people from crossing on the red but, because it requires that all pedestrians cross at the same time, it may mean longer wait times for pedestrians and cars.
Town Hall pedestrian crossing at The Corso and Whistler St. The existing zebra crossing is too wide and is non-compliant with traffic standards, and markings are confusing. The crossing should be redesigned and fencing or plantar boxes installed to restrict people to the marked area.
Rialto Lane - a conflict area with combined loading zone and pedestrian area. Options include installing wayfinding signage to direct pedestrians away from problem areas, linemarking of loading areas and restricting loading times. The cleanest option, restricting loading to the two privately owned loading zones at either end of the lane, depends on negotiation with the zones owners - Coles and Ribs and Rumps.
Darley Rd and Wentworth St intersection, opposite Manly Village Public School - unsafe signalised crossing. Motorists try to drive round the corner while pedestrians are crossing on the green light. Traffic lights can be reconfigured for ‘pedestrian protection’, meaning pedestrians get a green light before the traffic does. Already done.
Darley Rd and The Corso intersection - pedestrian crossing with traffic lights. Audit showed nothing wrong with the signage or timing of traffic lights. Risky behaviour by pedestrians should be targeted in education campaign.
Raglan St, near St Mary’s school - unsafe zebra crossing. Options include improve signage and line markings, or installing a raised ‘wombat’ crossing.
East Esplanade, near Victoria Parade - unsafe zebra crossing. Install better lighting and remove vegetation so pedestrians can be seen.
Pittwater and Balgowlah roads intersection, near Harris Farm Markets - lack of a pedestrian crossing. Options include installing either a pedestrian refuge or a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights on Pittwater Rd near Harris Farm carpark. Or to convert the existing roundabout into an intersection with traffic lights, with protected pedestrian crossings (pedestrian Walk signal before cars have green light) on all approaches.
North Steyne, opposite Queenscliff Surf Club - unsafe raised ‘womat’ crossing. This crossing is at a complicated intersection between North Steyne, Collingwood St and Cameron Ave, on a curving road with short sight lines. It also adds to traffic congestion in the area. Options include moving the crossing 50m south on North Steyne, or redirecting pedestrians through the existing underpass - but in both cases people will probably still try and cross opposite the surf club. The third option is to put traffic lights at the existing intersection, including at Cameron Ave and Collingwood St.
Manly ocean beach shared bike path - conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and people getting out of cars. Suggestion is to paint very obvious ‘shared pathway’ line marking, although there are concerns this may not be enough.
Manly Lagoon shared pathway - too narrow and poorly lit. Options include widening the pathway or creating a second pathway, depending on the outcome of community consultation. Improve lighting, while minimising light pollution into nearby homes.
Pittwater Rd bridge over far end Queenscliff Lagoon - narrow footpath with shared pedestrian/cycle way. Options include pedestrian fencing or widening the footpath or building a separate bike path bridge.
Pittwater Rd, near Carlton St junction - no existing crossing. A fully signalised (traffic lights) intersection. Pittwater Rd is a State Road so approval is needed from the RMS. This is a big ticket item, costing about $800,000. It's expected the RMS will pay up to 50% of the costs.
North Steyne, near Carlton St junction - no existing crossing. Pedestrian refuge, with design to minimise conflict with cyclists on ocean front shared path. Along with new traffic lights on Pittwater Rd at the other end of Carlton St, this would create a clear walking pathway down Carlton St to the ocean front.
North Steyne, near Denison St - unsafe zebra crossing. Install better lighting.
North Steyne, near Pacific St - zebra crossing. Clear vegetation from signage.
Southern Zone/Eastern Hill
Bower Lane providing local access to Fairy Bower - a ‘high conflict’ area with pedestrians, cars and a loading zone. Convert area to ‘shared zone’ including removing footpath to widen roadway and installing smooth paving across entire road surface. Restrict loading times and the size of commercial vehicles.
East Esplanade, near Ashburner St junction - unsafe crossing. A zebra crossing had been suggested here but is not suitable as it would be too near a corner and on a downhill run. Plan is to direct pedestrians away from the corner by extending crash barrier on the north side of E Esplanade and adding pedestrian fencing. Then creating a safe place to cross on the far side of the junction to cross by adding a pedestrian refuge just north of Ashburner St.
Reddall and Cliff streets intersection - unsafe high pedestrian area. Install pedestrian refugees.
Darley Rd pavement above Marshall St - unsafe shared bike/pedestrian path. Better signage, including on driveways crossing path, and footpath markings.
Sydney Road Zone
Commonwealth Pde near Fairlight St junction - unsafe pedestrian refuge. Refuge is on a sweeping curve and hard to see for drivers coming from the east. Increase signage and install traffic calming road cushions.
Manly Swim Centre
Kenneth and Balgowlah roads near Manly Swim Centre. Investigate lowering the speed limit on Kenneth Rd, but agreement must be reached with the RMS. Reconfigure the existing zebra crossing on Balgowlah Rd and install road cushions on either side of it, or relocate the crossing 20m south along Balgowlah Rd away from the Kenneth Rd intersection.
Manly is set to become a more pedestrian-friendly zone.
The Northern Beaches Council has committed over $2M to making Manly more accessible and safer for pedestrians, including people with prams or in wheelchairs.
The Walk Manly - Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan - has been put together to identify and fix existing trouble spots; improve access to public transport including the Hop Skip Jump Bus; and anticipate and manage future demand. Go to our zone-by-zone list of items in Walk Manly plan.
The scope of the Walk Manly plan includes Manly beachfront, town centre and wharf, and streets within a 400m catchment of those areas, as well as outlying areas such as the Andrew Boy Charlton Swim centre.
“It’s fantastic that Manly is finally getting the attention it deserves,” Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“This is a very thorough assessment of pavements, intersections, pedestrian crossings and overall pedestrian and cyclist needs in the Manly area.”
Cr Bingham said planned improvements included putting in a new set of traffic lights at the Pittwater Rd and Carlton St intersection; improvements to crossings at North and South Steyne and improving appearance and pedestrian safety in Bower and Rialto lanes.
The survey also looked at pedestrian safety on Raglan St near St Mary’s School; at the intersection of Darley and Wentworth roads near Manly Public School; and and on Pittwater Rd near Harris Farm Markets.
The notorious pedestrian crossing between The Corso and the Wharf was another focus.
“Everybody has seen people taking stupid risks at this intersection,” Cr Bingham said. “People are always running across the road against the lights to get their ferry. It’s amazing no one has been killed there.”
“While the Walk Manly plan has suggested count-down timers to let pedestrians know how long they have to wait before crossing, it looks like this would lengthen overall waiting times for everyone, so I’m not sure it’s the right solution.”
Cr Bingham said the shared cycle/walk path along the oceanfront also needed more study. The suggestion is to simply improve line markings on the cycle way, but Cr Bingham said a better solution would be to make it bike only, with pedestrians using the main beachfront promenade.
The total cost of the plan stands at $2,125,000, of which $1.3M is for high-priority work - to be completed within five years. The biggest item is currently $800,000 for a new crossing with traffic lights at the Pittwater Rd/Carlton St intersection, but as Pittwater is a State Road this work will hopefully receive at least 50% in costs from the RMS. Another $250,000 of the high priority work is maintenance related.
Pittwater and Belgrave roads were revealed as pedestrian black-spots, with an average of two people injured each year in each location. North Steyne was next with four people injured over six years. Over the area studied there were, on average, six pedestrian injuries a year.
“Part of what makes Manly such a great community is that people can walk to where they want to go and interact with other people along the way, which doesn’t happen if everyone is in cars,” Cr Bingham said.
“I’m delighted that the Council is committed to making Manly even better for walking and cycling.”
Walking and cycling routes used in the study are shown below.
A proposal to upgrade The Manly Corso, a new boardwalk at Little Manly, a draft Masterplan for East Esplanade Reserve and approval of the concept Masterplan for Ivanhoe Park (behind Manly Oval) ... it been a busy few months for the new Council!
Little Manly Beach & Boardwalk
Dec 2017. This project has been put on hold following community consultation, until a compete Masterplan for the area can be completed mid 2018.
Under the Administrator, long awaited plans for Little Manly Beach got underway with the first cab off the rank being a proposed new boardwalk linking one side of the area to the other. Starting at Craig Ave, the proposed boardwalk will run along the beachside to the existing park on the other side. In addition, a full concept masterplan for Little Manly Beach is expected to be released mid next year for community comment. You can see the full plans and make a submission regarding the boardwalk here,
East Esplanade Reserve
A concept Masterplan for one of Manly's most popular reserves, East Esplande, is also currently on public exhibition.
Dec 2018: Masterplan approved by Council and work will commence in February 2018.
One of the key issues addressed is the ongoing problem of uncontrolled runoff from East Esplanade across the Park, which then washes large amounts of sediment onto the beach and into the harbour.
Other issues addressed include the need to provide better protection for the trees, and better control over the vegetated areas interfacing with the promenade.
Although it's about 12 years since the $10m upgrade of Manly Corso, some believe the area is looking tired, and question whether the plan to make it a thoroughfare was the right one. Would outdoor dining bring back more life to the area? What about planter boxes and trees that provide more shade?
A report on initial ideas will be prepared by Council staff over the next three months for consideration.
The Corso as it looks today. Some question whether the Cabbage Tree palms were a good idea.
What changes, if any, would you like to see to The Corso?
The new Northern Beaches Council is up and running, with independent councillors in the driving seat.
Of the 15 councillors elected, six are from Michael Regan’s Your Northern Beaches independent team. There are five Liberals - one from each of the five wards - and one Greens councillor. The rest are independents, including Good For Manly President Candy Bingham.
The first meeting elected Cr Regan as Mayor and Cr Bingham as Deputy, strengthening the council’s independent credentials.
“I’m thrilled to be elected deputy,” Cr Bingham said. “What an honour! It will be a lot of work, but I believe this council will really be able to make a difference for the whole Northern Beaches area. And Manly will have a strong voice at the table.”
She said the impressive showing by independents in “Liberal heartland” showed that voters did not want major political parties in local government, preferring representatives whose allegiance to the community was not complicated by their political affiliation.
“But despite having different political backgrounds I’m very hopeful that this council will work well together,” Cr Bingham said.
“The Manly Ward Councillors - myself, Sarah Grattan from Your Northern Beaches, and Liberal councillor Pat Daley - are already working as a team to have a look at the off-leash “dog park” situation for dog owners and other residents, and to improve the look of The Corso.
"And as a council our priorities include dealing with our parking problems, and improving the state of public amenities, such as toilets."
Want to know who the new Councillors are and what Ward they represent?
Go to the link here.
Dogs are back in Manly Lagoon after Northern Beaches councillors voted in favour of dogs off-leash on the weekend at the popular park.
The unanimous decision was the first act of the newly elected council.
It overturned a decision by interim council administrator Dick Persson to ban off-leash dogs from the park during the weekend.
His decision, which went against council officers’ recommendation, was prompted by complaints by residents of barking and uncontrolled behaviour by dogs.
But Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said the decision has provoked outrage in the community.
“There is a critical shortage of areas for people to exercise their dogs off-leash. It’s been made worse by the changes to LM Graham reserve as a result of the expansion of the Manly swim centre,” Cr Bingham said.
“In this case the administrator made the wrong decision.”
Instead the council voted to adopt the original recommendation, that dogs must be on a lead at night and early morning during weekends and public holidays, but could run free at all other times.
Cr Bingham said the decision was the best compromise between the needs of nearby residents and dog owners.
“The challenge is there are a couple of residents who say they are being severely affected by the dogs,” she said.
“The good news is the community group Manly Dogs have taken that on board and they will personally run a roster of their members who will be on site. They are serious about it - they have a lot to lose if the arrangement doesn’t work out.”
She said group members would ask dog owners not to let their animals roam in a pack and to identify “trouble dogs” which would be banned from the area.
She said the council would also undertake a larger review of the Northern Beaches area to identify more potential off-leash areas.
Toxic fumes will be trapped over Balgowlah and neighbouring suburbs if the State Government goes ahead with its existing plans for the Northern Beaches tunnel.
That’s the view of a community group which has carried out a detailed assessment of the Beaches Link tunnel plans, focusing on the location of vehicle access points and exhaust stacks.
The plans, which were leaked from the RMS and published in the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year, show two access points for the Northern Beaches - one near Serpentine Parade and Burnt Bridge Deviation, Balgowlah and the other on Wakehurst Parkway, near Kirkwood St, North Seaforth.
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group says both locations are problematic.
Group spokesperson Marco Corrent says the group wasn’t trying to stop the Beaches Link project, but simply to get community input into the design process.
“We just need some open thinking from the government," he said. "And the integration of some of our ideas into their designs, because that is what the community wants."
“We’ve put together a document, with advice from a commercial architect, civil engineers with state infrastructure experience, ventilation engineers and other experts. It points out the problems with the existing plan and suggests cost-neutral alternatives.”
The document, which has been sent to the RMS and to State Roads Minister Melinda Pavey, identifies the Balgowlah ventilation stack as particularly worrying.
Not only is this stack less than 150m from Seaforth Primary School, but it’s located in a topographical low point that is notorious among locals for trapping smoke and other emissions.
This occurs as the prevailing easterlies from the ocean stop smoke or fumes from dissipating out to sea, but are not strong enough to blow them over Seaforth Ridge, immediately to the west. Emissions from an exhaust stack would therefore build up over Balgowlah, gradually spreading out over the "valley" that extends from Manly to Brookvale and North Curl Curl - a densely populated area with at least 12 schools and many kindergartens and day care centres.
While the Balgowlah location is too low, the group believes the Seaforth location is too high for an access point so close to the deep tunnel section under Middle Harbour.
Their assessment reveals that the grade from the tunnel low point to the proposed exit at Seaforth is 4.5%, which exceeds the RMS own guidelines and is likely to cause excessive pollution as vehicles drop into low gear to tackle the climb.
As well both locations are close to existing houses and near precious bushland.
But solutions are possible.
One idea is to shorten the Balgowlah tunnel spur - the section between the main tunnel and the Balgowlah exit - to 500m, a length at which it would not need its own exhaust stack. All the exhaust emissions would then be safely vented at the Seaforth Exhaust Stack, located on a high, windy ridge.
And the Seaforth access portal should be moved 600m further north along the Wakehurst Parkway resulting in a longer distance for the climb from the tunnel low point and therefore a gentler, safer grade.
The document says these relocations would also mean fewer homes would be affected in both locations, meaning the government would save money on house acquisitions and on expensive noise mitigation work, as well as causing less disruption to the community.
Mr Corrent said the group has been told the project is only in the concept stage and that their ideas will be considered for the final design, which will be made public next year.
"I'm hopeful they will take our ideas on board," he said. "This is what the community wants. People are being polite now - but they won't put up with having an exhaust stack right next to a primary school.
"We have a lot of support, including from Manly Ward councillors (Deputy Mayor) Candy Bingham and Sarah Grattan, and from (Northern Beaches Council Mayor) Michael Regan."
The Beaches Link assessment document is available here:
The first election for the new Northern Beaches Council saw 81 candidates contesting 15 councillor positions, over five wards. Good For Manly gained the most votes in the new Manly Ward, with Candy Bingham declared elected on polling night, together with Liberal candidate Pat Daley. Overall it is expected there will be 9 Independents, 1 Green and 5 Liberal Councillors on the new Council.
The third spot for Councillor in Manly will be decided by preferences, with Your Northern Beaches candidate Sarah Grattan expected to win after a close contest with Kyeema Doyle, Good For Manly's No.2.
With the support of hundreds of volunteers, Good for Manly ran a first-rate, community-based campaign resulting in a doubling of votes from the previous council election in 2012, and a swing against the Liberals of 18%.
See the analysis below.
Our first priorities will be to re-instate the off-leash dog area at Manly Lagoon, call for an audit of parking in Manly with the view to putting locals first, and ensuring that the Manly Town Hall building remains in public hands as a community centre.
A HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who letterbox dropped 22,000 flyers, handed out how-to-votes at pre-polling, made donations to our campaign, and worked tirelessly on polling day.
The first council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 26th September, 2017, 6.30pm at Dee Why Council Chambers when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected by the Councillors.
They're back! The Sea Nymphs, or Oceanides, were returned to Fairy Bower pool last week, and this time they're here to stay, with the sculptures made of beautiful, unbreakable bronze.
The artwork, created 20 years ago by sculptor Helen Leete, was destroyed beyond repair in a huge storm last year.
But the Northern Beaches community was not prepared to let the iconic creation die, and the Save Our Sea Nymphs committee was formed.
"I was delighted to be part of this enthusiastic group of artists and local residents," Good for Manly President and newly elected Northern Beaches Councillor Candy Bingham said. "We worked very closely with the original artist Helen Leete, and Clive Calder, from Australia Bronze Art Gallery and Foundry up at North Head, where the new bronze statues were eventually poured.
"Early on I was able to get the support of the Northern Beaches Council administrator to underwrite half of the reconstruction costs. That was a huge help, as we needed $80,000 all up to recreate the sculptures in a way that would last - in bronze."
In the end, the community was easily up to the task. A whopping $57,000 was raised from art lovers and locals who wanted to see the 'sisters' returned to their rock platform.
A limited edition of mini nymph sculptures, individually created by Ms Leete, were a big part of the success. The miniatures sold out on the night they were released, contributing $27,000 to the cause.
Now the nymphs are back, and they have immediately become part of the action.
Their reinstatement was featured on ABC news, and this week they were on almost every TV channel and newspaper, when Fairy Bower pool was used to resuscitate an injured great white shark.
"After the shark was gone, I went down to have another look at them, and they just looked great," Cr Bingham said. "The bronze, with its sea-green patina is fabulous, and it will look even better as it starts to age.
"And absolutely everybody that was going past was stopping to have a look and usually take a photo. Everyone seemed so happy they were back."
In a shock move, the Council Administrator decreed at his last Council meeting, that Manly Lagoon would be on-leash on weekends & holidays. This has caused a major back-lash by dog owners because the area had been off-lease for more than sixty years.
Hundreds of dog owners are looking to the new Council to reinstate the off-leash area, with the ManlyDogs group being proactive in seeking the reversal.
Prior to the Council election executive members of ManlyDogs convened a meeting of candidates for the Northern Beaches Council and sought their support in having the ban reversed.
Candy Bingham of Good For Manly, who has been working alongside ManlyDogs for some years, supported the reversal, as did Pat Daley & David Walton of the Liberals, Sarah Grattan and Michael Regan of Your Northern Beaches and Madeleine Charles of The Greens.
It is expected the matter will be discussed at the first appropriate meeting of the new Council.
The same week the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced that there would be no further forced council amalgamations, the Northern Beaches Council launched its new logo and corporate look.
The clever new logo will be rolled out over the next fews months, marking the true beginning of the new Council, with the election of Councillors set for Saturday 9th September.
The timing of the Premier's announcement has proven unsettling for many however, who are now questioning why Manly Council didn't stand-alone and take legal action against the forced merger, as Mosman did.
It is important to remember that at the time of the proposed merger process there was huge community support for one Northern Beaches Council, driven mostly by the concerns of how dysfunctional Manly Council had become under the leadership of Liberal Mayor, Jean Hay.
I attended the public hearings where most people spoke in support of the merger. We were told by the authorities that more than 18,000 submissions had been received from the Northern Beaches, the majority in support of a merger. (It was interesting to note that of a total of 36,000 submissions received for the whole of NSW, half came from the Northern Beaches.)
Personally I believe that the new Northern Beaches Council will serve Manly ratepayers well. I am impressed by the level of professionalism of the new staff and the can-do culture. Good for Manly has already been very successful in getting things done for Manly and we can already see the major advantages of having just one big council.
It is a concern however that as our level of 'local' government, Manly will now have only three out of 15 councillors representing our area. Therefore we need to focus on ways and means of making the bigger council work to our advantage, and I would welcome a productive discussion on how this can be achieve. Any suggestions?
Although he said previously that he would leave the decision to an elected Council, Administrator Dick Perrson passed the Sportsground Strategy at the Council meeting this week, leaving the future of a 18 hole Golf Course at Warringah in doubt.
Although the development deed for the construction of the Manly Oval Car Park was cancelled promptly by the new administrator of the Northern Beaches Council, the matter of the outcome of the Whistler Street site has hung in the balance for many months while the Council undertook to negotiate with the successful tenderers, Built Athas.
It has recently been confirmed that the negotiations have stopped, and the Council has cancelled the development deed for the project, which was inexplicitly linked to the flawed Manly Oval Car Park Plan.
While it may be reasonable for Built Athas to claim their expenses in relation to the terminated contract (which was hastily pushed through by the Liberal bloc on the Manly Council prior to amalgamation), the organisation was also claiming for loss of profits, believed to be a figure of around $45m, which was considered unreasonable.
Built Athas cancelled the negotiation process, and no further action will be taken by Council at this stage.
This effectively terminates the debacle that was known as the Manly2015 Plan and a five year battle by Good For Manly to stop the highly-flawed projects.
In the meantime Save Manly Oval Alliance is preparing a submission to have Ivanhoe Park, including Manly Oval, listed on the State Heritage Register with the view to protect this area from any future development.
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.