Surry Hills Social Housing Meeting

(10.30am, Wednesday 30 July 2014, Northcott Community Centre)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our meeting, the last for 2014 in Surry Hills.

EVENTS

There's be another round of the very successful Good Neighbourhood BBQs starting in late October and working with local Police to deal with crime and safety issues.

The Surry Hills Festival, which is run by the Neighbourhood Centre, will be held in Surry Hills on Saturday September 27 with a huge range of music, food and activities.

The annual Pet Day will be held again in Ward Park on Saturday September 20. It's got bigger and better over the last seven years, with free health checks for your animals, advice, microchipping, desexing and of course, entertainment and food.

There will be a number of events on Friday October 10 to mark International Mental Health Day. A lunch-time sports fest and barbecue will be co-ordinated by Buckingham House in Prince Alfred Park, followed by an afternoon-early evening event at Northcott with stalls, information, food and music.

NORTHCOTT COMMUNITY CENTRE

The Centre is open six days a week with a terrific range of groups, classes and meetings. These range from computer classes (in English, Russian and Chinese), art, gentle exercise, English conversation and of course the monthly barbecues. There is a weekly timetable available or you can talk to Kira Weiss, the Community Development Workers.

There are also community rooms at Riley Street and Poplar Street for tenants in those areas and tai-chi continues at Riley Street.

SURRY HILLS NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE

It also provides activities including monthly markets, films nights and bus excursions, as well as weekly classes in English, Spanish, cooking and computer skills, tai-chi and art. Assistance and information and referrals are available, as it help with tax forms.

SURRY HILLS LIBRARY

The Centre is located of course in the Surry Hills Library where there are free computers and internet access, as well as a weekly story-time for children and a fantastic range of books, CDs and DVDs.

SURRY HILLS SAFETY WORKING GROUP

This is made up of residents, Police, Housing NSW, the City and various NGOs and ran a Safety Audit of all social housing in this area earlier in the year. The document builds on previous audits over the past 10 years and will be finalised shortly, with a list of actions and recommendations to improve safety. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the Northcott Community Centre from 2pm, and everyone is welcome to attend.

The group has also been running a successful graffiti removal program - though it could do with more people volunteering just once a month. There was a blitz on Saturday July 19 and if there are areas you know of needing attention, report them in the community centre.

The group is also working on a garden project which the City allocated a grant for. Gardens are moving forward at Northcott, 100 Foveaux Street and one is about to be started at Devonshire Street.

The group is also working with others to establish a community shed in the ground at Northcott which will hopefully be operating for all by the end of this year.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

The City of Sydney, Housing NSW and the Housing Corporation will shortly sign an updated MOU to address specific issues and needs of residents and copies will be available on the City's website after it is signed.

SAFE CITY STRATEGY AND SOCIAL HOUSING WELL-BEING AND SAFETY ACTION PLAN

A new Safe City Strategy 2014-17 is almost finalised and ready to go to Council. It will then go on public exhibition for comment. This document provides the framework for the City's work about safety and well-being. The Social Housing Well-being and Safety Action Plan will sit under this broad strategy and has a focus on social housing residents. This will also go to Council and then on public exhibition for your comments and amendments.

SURRY HILLS PUBLIC TENANTS' ASSOCIATION

The Association continues to run the Northcott Community Centre and the events held there, as well as being a voice for residents. Bill is doing a great job at co-ordinating opening hours, activities and volunteers. There are concerns at the moment including an increase in drug activity and some waste issues which we hope will be resolved soon. The sharps bins continue to be well-used.

LIGHT RAIL UPDATE

Planning approval was given in June, subject to certain conditions. Among the conditions are those governing the set-up and operations of the Community and Business Reference Groups, the construction hours and the conditions for varying those, standards for noise and vibration and how these will be mitigated. They also require the Wimbo Park sub-station to be put underground. Many other standard conditions such as access during construction are also included.

A managing contractor has been appointed to undertake an early works package, focusing mostly on services relocations at key intersections in the CBD but they may also include the demolition of Olivia Gardens building.

Tenders for the main construction closed on July 11 and assessment will likely take two months.

The second Surry Hills and Moore Park Business Forum was held on June 23, and the first Surry Hills Moore Park Community Forum was held on June 30.

Ward Park will not be used as a compound this calendar year.

The City is working on principles for the design of the new open space along Devonshire Street is we're strongly urging the NSW Government and the contractor to consult with the community on the detailed design to get the best transport, parkland and streetscapes for Surry Hills from the light rail project.

In May this year, Council endorsed the Neighbourhood Parking Policy with a recommendation to hold further consultations around specific parking arrangements in Surry Hills.

The proposal is likely to include additional parking restrictions to prioritise residents over commuters, giving residents exemptions in nearby spaces where they are not currently exempt and investigating streets wshere angle parking can be provided to increase kerbside parking.

Plans for the temporary removal of Wimbo Paddock Mural and the Stonemason's Memorial in Wimbo Park are being developed by the City.