It’s like Uber with benefits - It’s local, it involves your own circle of friends, and best of all - it’s free!
Localift is an app built by Manly entrepreneurs Krystyna Weston and Stephen Coulter to help people arrange free lifts between people they know. Like car-pooling, but rejigged for people living their lives in the fast lane.
Ms Weston and Mr Coulter say our traffic is already so bad, we can’t wait for promised infrastructure such as tunnels, road widening or B-Line buses. Their statistics illustrate the point:
• We live in a car culture, with 75% of Northern Beaches workers driving to work
• Only 1 in 14 cars have a passenger
• 25% of morning peak hour traffic is related to schools
• Saturday sport creates terrible traffic and parking chaos
“Look at netball as an example,” Ms Weston said. “ With the season starting in April, every Saturday there are thousands of people at John Fisher Park at Curl Curl creating traffic and parking congestion for participants and residents. If an app like Localift is used there’s potential to reduce cars by 25% to 50%.”
She said Localift works by bringing together social networking, mapping, messaging and calendars in one app. Users “friend” each other in the app and can arrange lifts directly or through groups of friends.
“This is a brilliant idea by Krystyna and Stephen, and could be a real game-changer for our region,” Good For Manly President Candy Bingham said.
“I’ve used the app and it worked very well. I love the way this will not only take cars off the road, but has the potential to strengthen community ties.
“And we’re the first ‘cab’ off the rank, which is very cool. If the app is a success here, it will be rolled out in other regions and overseas."
You can download the Localift app from iTunes or Google Play, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have your sport, school or club more actively involved. More details at localift.net
Thanks to the hard work of a community committee comprising local residents and artists, the iconic Oceanides sculpture at Fairy Bower, known by locals as the 'sea nymphs, will be reinstated in long lasting bronze.
The committee, made up of Hugh Burns, Heather Potts, Wendy McCready, Julie Bakalor, Candy Bingham, Sherree Hooper, Sharon Curby and Janne Seletto, has successfully matched the $40,000 pledged by the Northern Beaches Council.
"We have been blown away by the passion felt by people in relation to this sculpture. The crowd-funding raised almost half the additional $40,000 needed, and the sale of limited edition miniature sculptures has ensured the funds needed have now been raised," explained Candy Bingham, Head of Fundraising for the project.
Feature stories in the Manly Daily and Sun-Herald spread the word, and more than 10,000 promotional flyers were distributed in local letterboxes promoting the crowd-funding website.
In addition, the Northern Beach Council supported the campaign by erecting a large "Save Our Sea Nymphs" donation sign at the entrance to the Fairy Bower pool.
The project was accepted by the Federal Government's Australian Cultural Fund, which enabled donations to be tax-deductible.
Artist Helen Leete worked tirelessly with the Committee, donating her time and talents to produce two miniature sculptures of the Sea Nymphs, which were available in 23cm and 50cm. Only twelve of each will be produced.
The launch of the fundraising event, took place at the Bronze Sculpture Gallery at North Head on Friday night (31/3/17) with students of Helen Leete providing the catering and the Manly Art Gallery providing its full support with the loan of glasses, a lecturn and donation box. By the end of the evening the final funds needed were quickly secured with the sale of the 50cm miniature sculptures selling out.
"The project has been a wonderful example of how the Council and its community can work together to get the outcomes they want, and really highlighted for me just how much art is appreciated in this area", Candy Bingham added.
Clive Calder of the Bronze Sculpture Gallery and Foundry at North Head will cast the replacement sculpture, which is hoped to be back in its proud position overlooking Fairy Bower Pool in time for next summer.
Well done Manly!
The Northern Beaches Council released last week a review of the Dog Parks in the Northern Beaches following representation by dog owner groups last year that there were inadequate off-leash areas.
It was revealed that there are a staggering 43,000 registered dogs in the Northern Beaches. It is unclear how many homes have dogs as many homes may have more than one dog.
Interestingly the report found that Council believed that the off leash dog areas within the Northern Beaches LGA was adequate as there is a higher supply in comparison to four similar sized local government areas in Sydney, and residents are able to access these areas with no more than 10 minutes driving time.
Dog owner representatives argued however that most of these areas are overcrowded, and do not provide adequate facilities.
Current Locations of Unleashed Dog Exercise Areas
Currently Council provides 26 Unleashed Dog Exercise Areas in the three regions including:
1. Hitchcock Park, Careel Bay
2. Dearin Reserve, Newport
3. South Mona Vale Headland (Robert Dunn Reserve)
4. Progress Park, Narrabeen
5. Rowland Reserve, Bayview
6. Mackerel Beach Reserve – from the public wharf north to the boundary with the National Park between
sunrise to 9.30am and 5:00pm to sunset
7. McCarrs Creek Reserve, McCarrs Creek – trial unleashed dog area allowing for unleashed dogs at the western
end of the reserve on weekdays (excluding public holidays) only
8. Deep Creek Reserve – Unleashed Dog Training Area
9. Forestville Memorial Playing Fields
10. Currie Road, Forestville (near Forestville Park)
11. Beverley Job Reserve, Narraweena
12. Flora and Ritchie Roberts Reserve, Griffin Road, Curl Curl (Curl Curl Lagoon)
13. John Fisher Park, Adams Street, Curl Curl
14. Hinkler Park, Pittwater Road, Queenscliff
15. Truman Reserve, Cromer
16. Griffith Park, Long Reef
17. Frenchs Forest Showground, Frenchs Forest
18. LM Graham Reserve, Fairlight
19. Lagoon Park, Queenscliff
20. Manly Cemetery, Fairlight
21. North Harbour Reserve, Condamine Street, Balgowlah
The Council committed $400,000.00, over four years, to be spent to improve facilities for dogs and their owners.
Manly Lagoon Issues
A site specific issue has been identified following complaints concerning dog usage of Manly Lagoon at Queenscliff Bridge. The boundary between the two former Councils at this location was the centre of the Lagoon. The southern bank of the Lagoon formed ‘Manly Lagoon Park’ which is a designated unleashed dog area. However, dogs enter the water at this location and often encroach onto the northern bank and into private properties opposite. One resident informed Council at the meeting that it was not uncommon for dogs to enter his property, even his home, from the other side of the Lagoon.
There is also a playground, barbecue facilities and a cycleway at Manly Lagoon Park which can cause conflicting issues with dogs off-leash. The Council has undertaken to investigate these areas further.
A cluttered field of 12 candidates, many of whom don't even live in our area, has made it even more difficult for the genuine contenders.
Thats' the line-up for the State By-Election on Saturday 8th April.
Here's A Quick Guide:
1. The Candidates Although 12 people have registered to stand, there are really only three serious contenders: They are Clara Williams-Roldan (Greens), James Griffin (Liberal) and Kathryn Ridge (Independent).
Please take a moment to check out their websites and policies by clicking on their names, which will give you a direct link.
It is interesting to note that there has been an anti-LIberal vibe in the area, particularly since the pre-selection of James Griffin as the Liberal candidate. The Save Manly Oval Alliance has produced a fact sheet on James's performance as a Councillor on Manly Council (see below), which speaks volumes.
2. Who to Support? Many people are asking me who I am personally supporting. I know all three candidates well and think Clara has a great future, but needs more experience behind her. James's performance as a Councillor with me on Manly Council was lack-lustre. He supported the Manly Oval Car Park and contributed very little to community projects. Kathryn is an experienced lawyer with a long record of backing community projects and getting results. I'm supporting Kathryn as I believe she will be an outstanding independent Local Member.
3. Pre Polling Details
Pre-Polling operates from Monday 27th March - Friday 07 Apr 2017 at Manly Oval Pavillion, Sydney Road Manly and at Unit 2, 192 Harbord Rd, Brookvale.
Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Thu (06 Apr): 8:00am - 8:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 5:00pm Closed on Sun
Polling Day Saturday 8th April.
4. Volunteer If you would like to support Kathryn Ridge by helping out on pre-polling or polling day, contact Anne Lanham, email@example.com or phone: 0427 787833. If you wish to support other candidates, contact them via their websites.
5. Meet the Candidates The Greater Manly Resident Forum is staging a Meet The Candidates evening on Monday 3rd April at 7pm at Manly West Public School. It will be well worth attending. More details here.
Will a strong independent gain the support of locals again, or will the Liberals win the day? What do you think?
Manly Wharf is set to have a $9 million facelift with the owner, Seagrass Capital, looking to add a second storey as well as upgrading the existing facilities
Although many locals are concerned by the increased concentration of a large numbers of people at the wharf precinct, nonetheless the upgrade of existing facilities is considered overdue.
It is believed that the group, run by property industry investor Robert Magid, now has a shortlist of construction firms. A hand-selected list of restaurateurs will be invited to submit expressions of interest to join the current tenants including Hugo's, Papi Chulo and the Bavarian restaurant.
Two new restaurants, 563 square metres and 548 sqm in size, with floor to ceiling views and outdoor dining will be built above the existing Wharf Hotel and Papi Chulo establishments.
The Manly Independent Assessment Panel approved the development plans for the second-storey restaurants, in October 2015 in accordance with the original conditions of consent as approved by the Land & Environment Court of NSW in July 2013.
Additional modifications to the existing property include new passenger and operational lifts, joint lobby, extra storage and an additional private staircase.
Background on Manly Wharf
Built in 1855 as a passenger terminal, Manly Wharf has undergone many changes.
The latest plan is the second transformation of the wharf by Mr Magid.
In 2001, he got the green light to start a $12 million redevelopment of the wharf into an eating and shopping precinct. That plan, which also included a proposal for a 200-room, six-storey hotel, was knocked back by Manly Council.
That revised plan led him to transform the site into an "emporium" of restaurants, cafes, shops and the current crop of bars.
Designs for a new toilet block to replace the one washed away in the June '16 storms that all but destroyed Marine Parade walkway, are on public exhibition by the Northern Beaches Council.
,When we asked the community for comments on the Good For Manly Facebook page one of the main concerns seemed to be the proposed unisex toilets, rather than separate male and female facilities.
The addition of an outside shower was popular being close the the change rooms themselves, although we also want o keep the shower by the pool too!
We also received feedback from a diver who reported that parts of the old toilet block are still clearly visible on the ocean floor.
It is expected work will commence on the new facilities mid year.
Good for Manly has made a submission to Council incorporating comments received. What do you think?
It would have to be one of Manly's most popular gathering spots and yet years of neglect by the former Manly Council has turned East Esplanade into a sorry excuse for a park.
Years of requests by the Little Manly Precinct and former Councillor Candy Bingham for a Masterplan for this harbourside jewel were all but ignored, with the former Council regularly topsoiling this area in an effort to keep it looking reasonable, only to have the soil washed away the first time it rained. Which created another issue - dirt being washed consistently onto the sand and into the harbour.
It now appears that a former resolution moved by Clr Bingham to have the toilet facilities replaced and increased, and for a Masterplan to be developed for the area, has been taken up by the new Northern Beaches Council administration, who are seriously looking into the issue.
"The Council has also recognised that this area is in need of urgent maintenance, with major erosion causing the space to look more like an old war zone than a park" Good For Manly President Candy Bingham said.
"East Esplanade has become the spot for locals and visitors alike to gather to enjoy a swim, picnic and watch the sunset. It has been literally loved to death", she added.
The area has so many issues that need to be addressed including the storm water catchment, sewage odours, cigarette butts and bottle tops which are difficult to remove, and of course the lack of toilet facilities.
What would you like to see improved at East Esplanade Reserve?
Following months of negotiations, the Northern Beaches Council will terminate the Development Deed for the construction of the Oval Car Park, although negotiations still continue on the cancellation of the development deed for the redevelopment of the Whistler Street site, which was dependant on the Oval car park being built.
Cartoon by Buddy Ross in Manly Daily sums the issue up well.
This follows an extensive investigation into the process undertaken by the former Manly Council which was headed by General Manager Henry Wong. Mayor Jean Hay and her Liberal bloc of councillors should also be held accountable for allowing the project to proceed. They continued to ram it through despite continued warnings by independent experts that it was fatally flawed.
The cost of cancelling the car park project contract with Abergeldie was $580,000 plus an initial contractual payment of $200,000. Add to this more than $500,000 spent developing the project including consultants reports, traffic studies and environmental assessments, interest payments together with the recent independent reports that led to the scrapping of the car park at $94,000 and the total known cost is $1.5m. However the money lost abandoning the project was nothing compared to what it would have cost if this flawed project had gone ahead.
The Northern Beaches Council has undertaken to release the two independent reports by Ernst & Young and Value Networks, which were commissioned to investigate the matter. However, this is not likely now until August as negotiations continue with Built & Athas. It is expected that these reports will vindicate independent Councillors Candy Bingham (Good For Manly); Barbara Aird & Hugh Burns; (Manly Independents) and Cathy Griffin (Greens) who fought long and hard against these developments, in addition to the Good For Manly Association and Save Manly Oval Alliance.
Whistler Street Redevelopment Still On the Table
The termination of the former Manly Council Development Deed for the redevelopment of the Whistler street site, including the Library, is still unresolved. The Northern Beaches Council will enter into a six month Negotiations Deed with Built & Athas, who won the tender to redevelop the site.
The purpose of this ongoing negotiation period is to find a "mutually satisfactory outcome" in the hope of avoiding a lengthy and complicated dispute with the developer.
During this time Council proposes to review "identified issues including parking, design, value for money, traffic flows, library, approvals required, community participation and procurement considerations".
So the focus now is on the future of the Whistler Street site. What would you like to see happen?
The campaign to Save our Sea Nymphs sculpture is moving into top gear.
The iconic Manly sculpture was damaged beyond repair in a storm last June.
Late last year a group of artists and local residents teamed up to recreate the iconic piece, but this time in beautiful, long-lasting bronze. The group is working closely with Helen Leete, the sculpture's creator, and Clive Calder from Australian Bronze gallery and foundry at North Head, who will be responsible for casting the new figures.
Good for Manly President Candy Bingham, as the group's director of fundraising, has been working hard to gain the support of the Northern Beaches Council and the Federal Government's Australia Cultural Fund.
"The council has really come on board with our campaign, Mrs Bingham said. "They have pledged to match our fundraising dollar for dollar up to $40,000, which is half of the amount that we need to raise. This is a huge endorsement of our community fundraising campaign.
"And I'm delighted to say that just this week the Australian Cultural Fund approved our application. That means that donations to Save Our Sea Nymphs are now tax deductible via our website www.saveourseanymphs.info."
As well sculptor Helen Leete is creating miniatures of her artwork for sale to assist the fundraisng. They will also be cast in bronze and will be available in limited numbers in two sizes – a 50 cm version for $,6000 and a 23 cm one for $4,000.
The campaign will be kicked off with an invitation-only launch at Australian Bronze. It will be held in early March, with a guest speaker, a spectacular bronze pour, and the miniature sculptures on display for purchase.
For more details or to make a contribution go to: www.saveourseanymphs.info
(Our thanks to local photographer, Chris Abbott, for his inspired photos of the sculpture in its former glory)
While locals were busy preparing for Christmas, the controversial development application for the Manly Vale Primary School was approved 3 to 2, by the Sydney North Planning Panel.
From a community school of 460 students to a 'super' school of 1,000 students. Is this the right location?
A further 3.65ha of bush at Manly Dam Reserve is to be lost to make way for a mega school, despite the fact that planners believe the new school could be built on the existing footprint, using two and three storey classrooms (as has been done successfully at Harbord Primary).
The former Warringah Council was strongly opposed to the plans in its current form, and Northern Beaches Council Administrator, Dick Perrsons, campaigned strongly against the loss of bushland.
The three year battle has seen the school community divided. Supporters of the $22.7 million development, which would make room for 1000 students on the site, have praised the decision as a win for education.
Parent Stephen Hancock in a previous statement on this blog (13/3/16) said that since getting unprecedented funding in the 2014 state budget, this project has been through an extensive two year design process ensuring the dilapidated 60 year old facilities are updated to a genuine 21st century learning environment.
Those against, including the Save Manly Dam group and the former Principal of the school, David Tribe, believe the loss of precious bushland is unnecessary. Furthermore they claim the site is not suitable for such a large school population due to inadequate local streets, and concerns regarding the evacuation of students should a bush fire occur.
At the core of the issue is the fact no one can argue with. The existing 60 year old school is dilapidated and badly in need of an upgrade. Students are currently housed in demountables, with 65% in temporary accommodation. All the other facilities such as library, canteen, hall and toilets are inadequate and not acceptable in their current condition.
It is understood that the Department of Education is about to call tenders for the new development. But with the appointment this week of Rob Stokes (Member for Pittwater) as the new Minister for Education, there is a slim chance that the Northern Beaches Council could have the matter reviewed, due to ongoing planning concerns.
Mike Baird - our local MP and the State Premier - resigned on January 19 in a move that surprised everybody.
The state's top job is now in the capable hands of Gladys Berejiklian, Australia's first female Liberal Premier.
And Manly will face a by-election to choose our new representative.
Good For Manly President and former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham said Mike's open, friendly approach would be greatly missed.
“Mike Baird was totally committed to our community, and worked tirelessly. In more recent times it was clear that his arduous duties as Premier made it more and more difficult for him to service his electorate”, Mrs Bingham said. "We have him to thank in particular for the long overdue Northern Beaches Hospital and the B-Link bus service which will go some way in helping to ease traffic congestion on the Northern Beaches", she said
History of State Seat In Manly
Manly is often considered a safe Liberal seat, but it was held by two independents - Peter Macdonald and David Barr - for sixteen years until Mr Baird won the seat in 2007.
It even changed hands completely between 1978 to 1984, when Labor's Alan Stewart was the Manly MP.
However at the last election, in 2015, Mr Baird won 75% of the vote after preferences, with Greens candidate Clara Williams Roldan a distant second with 25% of the vote.
At the time of writing potential candidates had not been announced, however there is a lot of speculation as to who will stand!
“I think what locals will be looking for is a representative who is connected to the community,” Mrs Bingham said. “What party they come from is less important than their ability to work hard for their electorate, listen to the community and understand local issues”, she added.
Based on community research, it would seem that council amalgamations is one issue that would not be a game changer here in Manly.
This is despite anti-council amalgamation activists threatening to “turn Manly into Orange” and rally against the Liberal Party unless the forced council mergers are unwound.
“I really think people have moved on from that,” Mrs Bingham said. “At the time of amalgamation there was some concern that Manly’s voice would be lost in one big Northern Beaches Council. However I believe that the lack of resistance to amalgamation in Manly was not due to apathy, but rather that people were wanting a change from the Wong/Hay stronghold on the Council". (Henry Wong was the General Manager and Jean Hay led the Liberal bloc which approved many unpopular projects - a number of which have subsequently been terminated by the new Council's Administrator).
The by-election will take place in the next few months.
What would you like to see in Manly's new Local Member?
Two major projects were announced by the Northern Beaches Council this week utilising $14m allocated for major projects that improve community infrastructure and services, provided by the State Government as a result of the amalgamation of the three former Councils.
Connecting the Northern Beaches
An iconic coastal walkway from Palm Beach to Manly will be created over the next two years connecting existing walkways with an additional 8km of new pathways and 14km of shared pathways. The 36km walkway will include an extensive council-wide cycle way and shared path network connecting with the B-Line (bus service). Total: $22.3m.
Connecting all through Play
This comprises firstly, the creation of a regional network of inclusive accessible playgrounds including two major new all abilities playgrounds at Manly Dam and Lionel Watts Reserve Frenchs Forest, and upgrades to play areas across the northern beaches to make them more inclusive. Total: 6.3m.
And secondly, further funding for the upgrade of sporting facilities and Surf Life Saving Clubs for priority upgrades to improve accessibility, inclusiveness and the critical role of surf lifesavers. Total: $4m.
The first round of Commuity Grants, totalling $537,690, were also announced with 25 community organisations receiving funds to support various projects ranging from bushcare to social impact programs. It was noted that about 1/3 of the grant funds were allocated to programs for those with disabiliies.
You can download more details on each of these projects from the documents below:
At the Council meeting tonight, Administrator Dick Perrson stated that the amateur swim clubs would not be required to pay new lane hire fees for the rest of this financial year, following a stalemate in negotiations between the Council and the Clubs.
It was stressed however that the matter would need to be re-addressed for the 2017-2018 financial year.
With a number of the Clubs under threat of folding, this is a welcomed, although temporary reprieve for the Clubs. Let's hope a satisfactory outcome can be reached in the new year.
Is it fair that local not-for-profit swimming clubs, which have been operating in Manly for 80 and 100 years, should be expected to pay excessive lane hire fees in addition to entry fees?
That's the debate that has caused a total stalemate between the new Northern Beaches Council and the three amateur swim clubs which use the Manly Swim Centre.
The 22 week swimming season was scheduled to start early in October, but Manly Swim Club, Manly Women's Swimming Club and the Manly Diggers Club have not been able to use their traditional home at the Manly Swim Centre Boy Charlton Pool.
The deadlock is over just how much is a fair fee for non-profit clubs to pay. The Council wants $53.00 per lane per hour, in addition to entry fees which have been estimated to tally around $80,000 annually.
The Clubs say they just can't afford it and they will probably close. They are concerned that they are been hit with huge fees because the $27.3 million indoor facility, which they don't even use, was so over budget.
In contrast, a survey of other amateur clubs using council pools elsewhere in Sydney, pay no lane hire or a nominal fee plus entry.
"This is a clear case of where the amalgamation of the three councils has not served Manly. While the former Manly Council strongly supported the amateur swimming clubs, it seems the new council is focused purely on service fees. It's Council's role to provide facilities for the community - not to price local groups out of existence", said former Councillor Candy Bingham.
It is understood that local member Mike Baird has met with the Clubs and the Council but that no solution has been found.
Meanwhile, the swimming season is well underway and the Clubs have no where to swim.
It's a disgrace.
Manly's Royal Far West will start work on a new $35 million centre to replace the Elsie Hill building in Wentworth St in February next year.
The move into the 21st-century is thanks to a $10 million Federal Government grant which added to an existing $10 million grant from the State Government, means the children’s health care organisation can expand its reach way beyond the 3000 children it currently supports each year.
Key to the expansion will be a new Centre for Child Health and Learning that will function as a purpose-built technology hub.
The new $35 million centre will be built on the site of the existing Elsie Hill building in Wentworth St, which will be pulled down. Work on the six-storey building will start in February next year, and is expected to take about 18 months.
What sets Royal Far West apart is the community it serves - country kids who live in regional and remote Australia and don’t have access to health services that we take for granted. That includes treatments for problems such as speech and reading difficulties and behavioural and psychological concerns, as well as more traditional medical care. And while some consultations do need to be hands-on, many can take place remotely.
Royal Far West has been providing ’Telecare for Kids’ for some time, but the new centre will increase its online reach five times - to 15,000 children, and their families, each year.
No announcement has been made yet regarding future plans for the existing site on the corner of Wentworth Street and South Steyne where the charity will continue to operate until the new facility is opened.
It's pleasing to see that initial teething problems experienced with the new indoor facility at the Manly Boy Charlton Swim Centre seem to be now sorted out, with Council been responsive to feedback and suggestions for improvements to the facility.
Former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham met with the Executive Manager of Aquatic Services, Peter Livanes of the Northern Beaches Council this week when a number of resident suggestions where discussed.
Initial concerns regarding disability access have been resolved by providing an entry in Balgowlah Road with disabled parking allocated nearby. According to Mr Livanes the wheelchair and hoist have also been well used.
Bright blue benches around the pools have been added with more to come. A lifeguard is stationed strategically so that the full kid's fun pool can be observed at all times, overcoming concerns that the blue wave wall feature obstructs full view of the pool from one side to the other.
While it was agreed that yes, the change rooms are too small (nothing can be done about that) and the configuration of the benches in the women's change room are awkward and take up too much room, the Council undertook to examine the following improvement suggestions:
Add some play toys in the kids pool; provide more benches/hooks so bags are not left on the wet floor; examine
concerns about kids safety around the spa area.
Put safety non-slip onto the concrete steps leading into the lap pool. Cover the sharp edges & corners of glass barrier with safety tops.
Provide more shade around grassy areas and have a temperature gauge for each of the pools.
Thank you everyone for your constructive suggestions on our Facebook page and to the Council for its timely response.
Amateur Swim Clubs
It is understood that negotiations continue between the Council and the Amateur Swim Clubs in relation to lane hire charges.
Nearby residents were alarmed when an updated Development Application was lodged for the redevelopment of the old Civic Club site on the corner of Gilbert Street and West Promenade. However their concerns that the new proposal proposes an outdoor beer garden on the corner where the historic Auckland Garage is located, opposite Gilbert Park, has been quashed by the Civic Club.
The site has remained vacant for years, with original plans to construct offices as well as the Civic Club now abandoned. Instead the construction will be a new six storey mixed-use development, with alterations to the existing Auckland Garage building. It will comprise the Civic Club at ground level, and residential accommodation above (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).
Car parking will be provide on two levels in the basement.
Of main concern to nearby residents is the turning of this corner of historic significance into an outdoor beer garden which they say will result in unacceptable noise and is an inappropriate use of this area opposite Gilbert Park.
Their submissions are calling for the restoration of the heritage garage building as an enclosed bistro area, with landscaping highlighting the significance of this corner.
However, a response from the Civic Club has made it clear that these outside areas are to be for dining only and are planned to be inside the old Auckland garage. They will be used for small tables of al fresco diners in a no smoking environment.
"There is not a great deal of room to accommodate a lot of people, anyway. The concept is to create a small, well-run club, offering an oasis for those who like a calm atmosphere, good food and pleasant company. We are very aware of all surrounding residents and those who will live in the proposed units above the Club, and have designed the Club accordingly" A Spokesperson from the Civic Club explained.
There are believed to be only two Auckland Garages left in Australia, so the significance of the one in Manly is important to the new development.
The DA process closed last week and the development will be assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel in the coming months.
Northern Beaches Council is hosting an information session this Saturday 19 November (10am to 12 noon) to present its proposal to make Balgowlah Plaza on Sydney Road a more friendly public space and a more dynamic shopping and dining precinct.
The project budget forms part of the Balgowlah Business Levy which has been earmarked for the Balgowlah Plaza upgrade project for some years.
Community members and local businesses are encouraged to attend and contribute ideas and feedback on the proposal, which is aimed at revitalising the retail strip by improving amenity, accessibility, ‘image and identity’, and attractiveness as a shopping, dining and community place.
The proposal includes new paving, street furniture and improved lighting to enhance appeal and safety, among other initiatives.
Northern Beaches Council’s landscape architect and other senior staff will attend the information session to outline the concept proposals, answer questions and take suggestions.
For more information and to make a submission visit yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au
Thousands of Clontarf and Balgowlah Heights residents will be forced to go the long way round, if a plan to close off access to Manly Rd and Spit Bridge goes ahead.
The State Government wants to build a recessed bus stop and permanently block Heaton Ave Clontarf, in an effort to free up traffic flow in the kerbside bus lane on the run down to the Spit Bridge. It’s in preparation for the new express B-Line buses, which will run between Mona Vale and the CBD every five minutes during the morning and evening peak, and every ten minutes at other times.
White the closure would give buses a quicker downhill run, it would be a disaster for local residents. They would have to backtrack through suburban streets to join the morning logjam on Sydney Rd, a daunting prospect as access roads through both Seaforth and Balgowlah are already unable to cope in the morning rush.
Local schools, including Balgowlah Heights Public School, St Cecilia's Catholic School and Balgowlah Boys, would all be affected by greater traffic volumes, as would Balgowlah Heights shops and many residential streets.
To add insult to injury, Clontarf, Seaforth and Balgowlah Heights residents can’t even use the new B-Line service, as their ‘local’ bus stop is actually in Manly Vale.
Residents' groups, including Clontarf Community Forum and North Harbour Residents Group are fighting the closure. A change.org petition to local MP and premier Mike Baird, Transport Minister Andrew Constance, B-Line Project manager Neil Dix, and Northern Beaches Council administrator Dick Persson and GM Mark Ferguson, has gained almost 1000 signatures in just a few days; and an online survey of residents’ travel needs has begun.
North Harbour Residents Group secretary Terry Le Roux says blocking off Heaton Ave won’t just affect local commuters - everyone in Manly will feel the pain as tailbacks along the entire length of Sydney Rd get worse, along with ‘rat runs’ along alternative routes.
Former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham called on the government to listen to the local point of view.
“The problem here is that cars from Heaton Ave are slowing down traffic because they have to get out of the kerbside lane quickly and merge right,” she said. “So a short term solution would be to give drivers a longer stretch of road from which to merge.”
“Blocking off roads will just lead to even more congestion and longer tailbacks at choke points, and worse gridlock on Sydney Rd. I know that Transport NSW says it will improve traffic flow at the Sydney Rd/Manly Rd / Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation intersection. But that completely fails to address the major impact this will have on traffic in local streets of Manly, where the only B-Line stop will be Manly Vale".
Mrs Bingham said that while the B-Line bus will help some commuters, it’s not a long term solution.
You can sign the petition here
Or click here for the travel survey
Manly ran the risk of losing its last butcher shop last week when Council issued a last-minute order for the popular sausage sizzle to shut down.
Darley Road Butchers has run the weekend sizzle for around 20 years which not only provided a great snag, but also much needed income to make the business viable.
Taking over the struggling business 3 months ago, Steve Stratford worked hard to recreate a community butcher in Manly's Village. The unexpected order from the Council was a huge blow putting the viability of the businesses at risk, with no immediate solution in sight.
Good For Manly quickly took up the case contacting the Council's General Manager and putting an alert out on Facebook asking locals to sign the butcher's petition and buy some meat.
Over 27,000 views on the Good For Manly Facebook page, comments of support and hundreds of signatures on the petition got the community right behind the cause. It was reported that one local, a vegetarian, even bought some meat.
It worked! Within 48 hours Council reviewed the order and permission was given for the sizzle to be reinstated.
But the issue still remains ... stroke by stroke we are losing the essence of our Manly Village. Recently our last two florists closed. We almost lost our last butcher. It is important that locals support local businesses - otherwise our only options will be the giant franchise businesses which are taking over the area as we are now seeing with KFC and Starbucks recently taking leases.
Hundreds turned up to share stories when Good For Manly & Save Manly Oval Alliance hosted a celebration to mark the end of a four year fight to stop a car park being built under Manly Oval.
It took the new Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council to finally pull the plug on the Manly2015 Plan.
Watch the short slide show below and share some of the highlights of the campaign which demonstrated community power at its best.
Dee Why Civic Centre was packed last night (23/8/16) as the fate of the former Manly Council's divisive Oval Car Park and Whistler Street redevelopment plans were shelved by the Administrator, Dick Perssons, after an extensive investigation into the flawed Manly2015 Plan. Below is the recommendation that was adopted:
The total project has been shelved, and the DA for the Oval Car Park has been withdrawn. This has resulted in the termination of the Development Deeds with Abergeldie Construction (Oval Car Park), and Athas/Built (Whistler Street site 99 year lease).
After four years of campaigning a decision is finally made.......and the residents were right!
Campaign Based of The Facts
From the very beginning Good For Manly focused on the facts. This was in total contrast to former Mayor Jean Hay and her Liberal Councillors who refused to support any investigation into the process, or even to question former General Manager Henry Wong, who essentially did what he liked. Instead the Liberal block shouted down any opposition, and talked about "scare campaigns" and people pushing their own political barrows.
A four year campaign spearheaded by former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham was supported by huge community opposition to the scheme. Campaign efforts included three public meetings, two protest rallies, letterbox drops, objections by the resident precinct groups, a survey of businesses, hundreds of submissions, four-years worth of letters to the Manly Daily and relevant government ministers, regular press coverage, meetings with local MP Mike Baird, and the formation of the Save Manly Oval Alliance.
Save Manly Oval Alliance
The Alliance commissioned legal advice from the Environmental Defenders Office and engaged independent experts to prepare reports and submissions, covering financial, heritage, traffic management, structural and environmental issues, water & flood management etc in response to the oval car park development application which was lodged 2 days before Manly Council was dismissed and amalgamated into one Northern Beaches Council.
But in the end the depth of community opposition and the stark facts provided by the experts co-ordinated by the Save Manly Oval Alliance could not be ignored. The total project has been shelved, and the DA for the Oval Car Park has been withdrawn. This has resulted in the termination of the Development Deeds with Abergeldie Construction (Oval Car Park), and Athas/Built (Whistler Street site 99 year lease).
At present, the independent reports remain confidential until contractual arrangements have been sorted however the Council has undertaken to make the reports by Ernst & Young and Value Network public once this have been done.
It's time for the Manly Community to celebrate!
And to thank and acknowledge all those who worked so tirelessly to stop this Plan. The non-Liberal councillors who were successful in delaying the project for a number of years. Clrs Candy Bingham, Cathy Griffin Hugh Burns and later Barbara Aird. As well as the huge number of Manly residents, local experts, precinct groups and business leaders who have stood up to be counted. And of course the the executive and members of the Save Manly Oval Alliance and Good For Manly Association.
We can now go back to the drawing board and come up with a Masterplan for Manly that will gain the support of locals and tourists alike. Watch this space!
It's been a long time coming, but under the Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council, the actual costs of the new Andrew Boy Charlton Swim Centre have finally been revealed.
The new indoor Swim Centre opened on 13th August, 2016
For years the non-Liberal Councillors on Manly Council put up motions (that were refused to be put on the agenda by the General Manager); made requests at the Audit & Risk Committee (that were ignored) and contacted the Office of Local Government (to no avail) in an attempt to find out the actual costings and progress reports of the new indoor centre. Requests for a business plan for the operation of the Centre were also ignored by the then General Manager, Henry Wong.
Clr Barbara Aird also worked tirelessly for local residents over the issues of major traffic and parking concerns in relation to Kenneth Road which was re-configured three times, and yet still remains unsatisfactory, dangerous and inadequate.
What Is the Cost?
The original budget was $15m and this was the result of a government subsidised loan at 1.56%.
The final cost was $27,356,250 and was funded as follows:
The new complex is big. The upstairs gym is big. And the building is imposing, not relating in any way to the RM Graham Reserve next door. But there is no doubt it will be popular with kids and families offering a large range of pools and activities.
The task now is to ensure that the new Centre is popular and profitable.
It’s been a long time coming but Manly residents finally have a special picnic area and new dingy and kayak storage space on the public land near Little Manly Beach at the corner of Craig Avenue, thanks to a long fought battle by the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group.
Now, thanks to a government grant pursued by former councillor Cathy Griffin, the creation of a new public space is almost a reality.
The project is set to be finished by the end of this month, just in time for Spring.
Here is how it unfolded
For more than 40 years there has been a vision to increase the open space at Little Manly foreshore. Initially harbour front blocks at 34 and 36 Stuart Street were purchased by Manly Council. Recently No. 40 Stuart Street was purchased with the view to extend the parkland in the future.
But in 2013 the former Manly Council led by Mayor Jean Hay, tried to sell off the parcels of land of Nos 34 & 36, claiming the money was needed to pay for the recent purchase of 40 Stuart Street.
Public fury and a community-driven court action by the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group in the Land and Environment Court put a stop to the sale.
There have many plans to improve the area, which had been used for kayak and dingy storage but was never fully accessible to the public.
Now, thanks to a grant pursued by former councillor Cathy Griffin, the creation of a new public space is almost a reality.
The kayaks and dingeys have been moved to the street-end of the site, and arranged in a better-organised, tidy system freeing up the space overlooking the harbour.
The work is almost complete in converting this once cluttered space into a grassed picnic area, with landscaping and seats.
Thank you to the Save Little Manly Foreshore Group, their supporters, and Clrs Barbara Aird, Hugh Burns, David Murphy, Cathy Griffin and Candy Bingham who never gave-up on this vision.
A new community group has been formed with the single purpose of eliminating single use plastic bags in Manly by 2017. What a great goal!
It takes a village - to go plastic bag free.
That's the strategy powering community group Plastic Free Manly towards their ambitious environmental goals. The grassroots organisation has set 2017 - next year - as their target to rid Manly of single use plastic bags.
Because social change only happens if everyone is on side, the environmentalists are talking to as many groups as possible, ranging from school children and their families to local businesses and large corporate entities.
For the children there are family activity sheets and the story of Gertie the Turtle who swallowed a plastic bag and almost died. For businesses there is support for a transition away from plastic, and publicity to nudge shoppers into doing the right thing. Plastic Free Manly already has the support of more than 40 local retailers, Northern Beaches Council and Manly Chamber of Commerce. They are also working with grocery giant Coles on a local plastic reduction campaign.
The need is pressing. Every day ten million new plastic bags are used by Australian shoppers. And the plastic in every one of them takes hundreds of years to break down.
"Manly is special," former Manly councillor and Good For Manly president Candy Bingham said. "It's a village community, and it's full of people who care passionately about our oceans, wildlife and bush. We already have campaigns like Plastic Free July, which Good For Manly helped to introduce to Manly last year, and now this terrific group of women are taking it to a whole new level."
Plastic Free Manly is run entirely by volunteers. To join their team and receive training as a Business Engagement Warrior or digital marketer, or just to find out more, please click the link below.
At the nextNorthern Beaches Council meeting (9/8/16) the Community Engagement process will be announced with 11 Strategic Reference Groups to be appointed for the next 12 months, until the new Council is elected in September 2017.
These groups will replace former council committees. They are:
Economic Strategic Reference Groups
1. Affordable Housing
2. Economic Development & Tourism
3. Place Making
Environment Strategic Reference Groups
4. Natural Enviroment
5. Waste & Recovery Management
6. Sustainable Transport
Social Strategic Reference Groups
7. Art, Culture & Heritage
8. Community Safety
9. Inclusive Communities
10. Open Space & Recreation
11. Northern Beaches Youth
The Groups will be formed through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to be advertised shortly.
Each group will comprise representatives from the community, local experts and former Councillors and Mayors.
Members of the community are encouraged to apply to be part of the working committees, which will be in place for the next twelve months until the the Council elections in September 2017. Details will be on the Northern Beaches Council's website shortly. It is expected that each committee will have 12 community members and up to three former Councillors.
Fate of Manly's Resident Precinct Forums
Unfortunately the previous Resident Forum groups supported by Manly Council will no longer be recognised, or supported by Council, in their current form.
In response a number of the existing Precinct Forums have reformed as Community Forum Groups. This includes Clontarf, North Harbour Reserve, Ivanhoe and Little Manly which has merged with Fairy Bower and The Corso to represent the Eastern Hill.
The list of existing resident groups already operating in the old Warringah and Pittwater Council areas is extensive. It therefore has been decided by the new Council to invite all community groups and associations to register with the Council which will enable them to continue to play a role in council decision making.
Council Engagement Process
Raising issues with council will be via Customer Request either via email or over the counter, and will be dealt with directly by the relevant business unit. Regular email updates will also be provided.
It's a disappointing outcome for the Manly's Resident Precinct system which has provided direct access and input to council over the past 25 years as as proven and effective way for interested residents to have a say. However, it is pleasing to see that the majority of the Precincts have reformed into Community Groups and are expected to continue to be as effective as ever in dealing with the issues and needs of their areas.
One advantage will be that these groups will remain independent. When controversial issues are before Council this will mean the Council will no longer be able to dictate, threaten or attempt to control the decisions of the group. This was clearly the case with the Oval Car park plan under the former Manly Council.
What do you think of this new approach?
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.