(6pm 23 February 2012, St Scholastica's Avenue Road)
Hello, everyone. Welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities that make up our City.
When I was first elected Lord Mayor in 2004, our local government area had been recently expanded, with the amalgamation of the former City, South Sydney and parts of Leichhardt councilâ€”reflecting a four-fold expansion of the area.
I wanted to ensure that our enlarged Council would engage with you and keep you informed of our work. And - importantly - I wanted to ensure that we would hear your ideas for your neighbourhood, involve you closely in planning for your area, and celebrate the distinctive local villages that make up our city.
We established the 'City of Villages' policy to benefit our residential areas and add vitality to the CBDâ€”reflecting the approach of cities such as New York and London, which have long been celebrated for their distinctive village areas.
Sydney is regularly at or near the top of global liveability measures. Just last month, a city reputation survey of 35,000 people in 15 countries ranked Sydney as the "best city to live in", and the second most beautiful city after Rome.
While our natural beauty, world-class cultural events, a strong economy, and a diverse and tolerant community are central to Sydney's reputation, so too are the attractiveness and liveability of our local villages and neighbourhoods.
In 2005 and 2006, we developed Local Action Plans in consultation with you to honour our City of Villages commitment.
We asked you what you liked about your area, about its special characteristics, and what you thought it needed. We responded by developing plans that respected the unique character of our neighbourhoods, while addressing its problems.
In areas with strong residents or business groupsâ€”such as in Glebeâ€”we sought to build on existing local planning, embedding into our Local Action Plans many community-developed projects that Council could implement with you.
Most of those Local Action Plan projects are now complete or underway, including new facilities, parks and street improvements.
Here, in Glebe, major improvements include our $15 million upgrade of Glebe Point Road - with widened footpaths, new street furniture, more trees and landscaping, and public art. Glebe's historic main street has been revitalised at the heart of community life - and augmented by the ongoing improvements to Foley Park.
Duncan Mitchell will give you an update on all the Local Action Plan projects in Glebe and Forest Lodge, as well as parts of Ultimo, Annandale and Camperdown.
Our plans do not sit on the shelf gathering dust, they are real action plans for our urban villages. I am proud that we have achieved that first round of commitments.
We again consulted in 2007 to develop Sustainable Sydney 2030 Plan.
It was the most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken in our city, and it was complemented by in-depth research and expert advice. Our aim was to develop a thoroughly-researched action plan that had the broadest-possible community backing, which would build on Sydney's many strengths while addressing deficiencies.
We consulted, we researched, we committed and we have delivered.
We have also, after years of studies and lobbying government, succeeded in winning a commitment to light-rail to ease Sydney's congestion - congestion that costs metropolitan Sydney $4.6 billion a year while making the city centre unpleasant, and contributes to greenhouse emissions.
We are creating a cycleway network which (despite the shock jocks!) is being well-used by commuters. We've seen a 69% increase in bike riders during the peak periods over the past 18 months of monitoring progress.
We've revived main streets across the local government area - here in Glebe, in Redfern, Pyrmont and Surry Hills - and created wonderful parks, undertaken extensive improvements to existing parks, installed rain gardens to capture and treat run-off, and provided important new community facilities.
Our City's villages and neighbourhoods are at the heart of Sustainable Sydney 2030.
We want them to be places where you can walk or ride a bike for most of the shops and services you need, take time out in a leafy park or enjoy a community event.
We want our villages to be places where the environment matters, the economy thrives, arts and culture are encouraged, and people feel welcome.
As we implement the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan for sustainable local villages and communities, we again invite you to work with us to develop new local projects.
The City of Sydney has identified ten village groups across our local government area, each of which shares a local main street or town centre. The purpose of the grouping helps us manage how we consult and provide services to you and fairly allocate funding.
Over coming weeks, we will hold workshops for each village group. Tonight's focus is the neighbourhoods around Glebe Point Roadâ€”Glebe and Forest Lodge, and parts of Ultimo, Annandale and Camperdown.
How do you envisage your neighbourhood and village in 2030? What sort of 'main street' shopping precinct do we need on Glebe Point Road? Should the light rail connect to the university? How do we connect the Harbour foreshore walk from Glebe around to Woolloomooloo? What community support and community building projects are needed? How do we promote the natural, social and built heritage of Glebe and its neighbourhoods?
How would you like to improve environmental outcomes in Forest Lodge? What sort of programs and services would you like to see in Annandale in the future?
What can we do to make Camperdown an even better place to live?
And, most importantly, how can we work together to achieve a shared vision?
These are some of the issues we will explore in the workshop following Duncan's presentation.
Since we've started the 2030 in Your Village consultations, the Glebe community has told us it wants us to improve bike riding and pedestrian infrastructure, improve safety and reduce crime, and continue open space and community facilities upgrades.
The City will use your comments from this workshop to draft a plan for your village group, for Council's consideration and funding in future budgets.
Thank you for your interest in coming to this meeting, and I look forward to your input.