Ordinary Council Meeting – 25 February 2020

At tonight’s meeting, I had a ‘win-win’ for artists and event at ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ funding, which I’ve set out in my note on the related Special Council Meeting two days later. I was also able to ensure tonight’s “SxS” item was taken out of ‘confidential discussion’, given its importance to the community, who had come out strongly in support of “Sculpture” and its home in Cottesloe, and as there did not seem to be any confidential information in the Agenda item. Wherever possible, I believe transparency is best.

North Cott Primary ‘Kiss N Drop’ Carpark

A key item tonight was the result of public consultation on the North Cott Primary ‘Kiss N Drop’ Carpark project. That consultation showed clearly that a majority of residents are NOT supportive of the project, for reasons including use of ratepayers’ funds, the relocated kiss ‘n’ drop not solving the wider (and very bad, at many times of day!) traffic congestion at Eric St-Railway St roundabout, and the possibility that the relocation will simply make matters worse, by shifting traffic onto Railway St north, and further clogging the roundabout. I was very pleased (not the least as it reflects the overwhelming majority of residents’ views in the affected parts of my ‘East Ward’ area) that Council is now discussing the wider Eric St Bridge and roundabout issues with Main Roads WA, with a view to a holistic solution being identified as part of the Bridge’s replacement. Whilst Congdon St Bridge in Swanbourne must be completed first, I am very hopeful that this ‘wider view’ will lead to a superior and more appropriately resourced solution to the daily Eric-Railway grid-lock that affects surrounding residents and those that attempt to travel through each day.

Annual Beach Events

In other Agenda items tonight, Council accepted its recent call for tenders on an annual beach concert had not worked, reverting instead to assessing event requests on an ‘as submitted’ basis. I would have liked to see some enhancement of arts and performance events in Cottesloe, however it did seem problematic to call for an ongoing tender, given the inherent uncertainties of the live performance and music promotion industries, and that we’d had an incumbent event promoter for several years who had delivered well and consistently, who risked being undermined by the tender. Hopefully, a renewed focus on the types of arts and performance events residents would like to see in Cottesloe now occurs – I for one would like to see more “youth focussed” events (upper primary to late teens), who are often overlooked.

Cottesloe Longboard Annual Competitions

Cottesloe Longboard Club’s annual monthly competitions were approved, again with exclusivity over the ‘Isolated‘ longboard break. This exclusivity is not without its problems in pushing out other surfers, but based on my discussions with other surfers last year, I again proposed that if exclusivity was granted, it be on the basis of signage at each dune entrance to the break notifying of all the year’s competition dates in advance (and Club website details for any changes), to allow other surfers to ‘plan ahead’ and choose another break ahead of time, rather than find out on the day and be forced to go elsewhere. This isn’t a perfect solution, but hopefully over time allows surfers to be aware of CLC’s use of the break – and recognises the many contributions the Club and its annual competitions (and Whalebone Classic) make.

Eric St Shops Parking Trial

A proposal to reduce ‘Loading Bay’ parking outside Eric St Shopping Centre and add in more “30 minute bays” was approved for trial. I supported this, however I noted that 3 motorcycle bays would be removed as a result. Our ‘two-wheeled’ should be encouraged as a means of transport (in my view), and “M/C” bays are not always easy to find. I am hopeful that support for at least 1 motorcycle bay will emerge from the trial – there is room for the proposed bays as well as at least 1 motorcycle bay.

The Depot…. (sigh)

The Town’s new Depot continues to present issues to Council – most recently, completion of the works have been delayed, meaning the Town must again extend the lease of its current temporary Depot in South Fremantle. This is hardly desirable and I believe there are many “lessons to be learned” from the whole new Depot approach, in terms of the tender & procurement (which I’ve written on previously), management of the tender and works (which are in a different local government area, presenting its own set of issues, and costs that in my view could have been avoided), and now with the transition plan. I live in hope that the new Depot will be moved into by 30 April 2020 (and the old temporary Depot fully moved out of, so ceasing “double up” lease payments). Time will tell. But, our CEO won’t be here.

Next Ordinary Council Meeting is 24 March 2020 (Agenda Forum a week prior, as usual, on 18 March).

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