Surry Hills Social Housing Tenant's Meeting

(10.30am, Northcott Community Centre, Surry Hills)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our meeting for Surry Hills tenants. We last met on March 11.

NEW PROJECT MANAGER, SOCIAL HOUSING

Edward Greenaway has replaced George Blacklaws as the City's project manager for social housing, starting just two days ago. Dominic Grenot is on extended leave from the position and so Edward is now his new replacement.

NEW HOUSING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKER

Martin Clarke has replaced Kira Weiss as the Housing Community Development Worker. He'll be accompanied by a social work student from the University of NSW from July until December.

COMMUNITY DRUG ACTION TEAM - HARM REDUCTION WEEK EVENT

The team hosted an Open Day on June 26 near the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre to coincide with Harm Reduction Week. The event attracted a large crowd including police, Housing and health services representatives as well as residents, students, tourists, homeless people and local workers. Given the success of the first event, the team is now considering running an Open Day each quarter.

SHARPS COLLECTION

In the 12 months to May this year, a total of 38,100 sharps were collected in Surry Hills, or a monthly average of over 3,000 being safely collected. They're high figures but they indicate the importance of the sharps bins and suggest that community education campaigns to encourage people to use the bins are working.

SURRY HILLS LIBRARY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE

The Centre continues to offer a range of resources and activities for local residents. These range from computer and internet access, to monthly markets and regular community meetings such as the local Community Drug Action team meetings, to the annual Surry Hills Festival.

The centre now hosts weekly bingo activities on Wednesdays and on Thursdays, a new project called Beauty Spot which teaches the application of make-up and personal grooming tips. Both activities have been running at capacity since they started.

Also each Monday morning from 10am until 11, the centre hosts a seniors' exercise program. Again, this program is running at full capacity, showing there's strong local support from the programs run by the centre.

SURRY HILLS MEN'S SHED

The Development Application for the Men's Shed has now been approved and we expect the operation to be up and running in Northcott by November. It involves converting a disused bin storage shed to a "men's shed" style community resource which will give the community a meeting space where they can learn skills ranging from handyman skills to computer literacy, as well as hosting informal gathering or organised sessions on topics like mental health and well-being. It will be managed by residents.

NORTHCOTT COMMUNITY CENTRE

Centrelink has established an outreach service at Northcott Community Centre. The first session was held on February 27, and it continues on a bi-monthly basis. The centre also holds a community barbecue on the first Friday of each month and also offers a range of classes for residents in English, Chinese and Russian, as well as computer classes. The Northcott Community Garden was officially opened at the end of October last year.

SURRY HILLS SAFETY WORKING GROUP

The Surry Hills Safety Audit has been finalised and copies of the report are available from Northcott Community Centre. Land & Housing Corporation have a copy of the report and are considering the recommendations that come under their responsibility. The working group continues to negotiate with other key partners over implementation of the report's recommendations.

NORTHCOTT PARKING AGREEMENT

The City of Sydney and Land & Housing are discussing the terms of a parking agreement that will give City Rangers authority of some targeted parking spaces that are being misused by commuters, visitors and tenants. The agreement will establish a fair allocation of parking, and prioritise use of the spaces by residents.

PET DAY

The Surry Hills Pet Day will be held on September 19. Because of the light rail construction, it's proving difficult to secure Ward Park as the venue but we are still negotiating for that. Alternative venues are also being considered. Pet Day has been a huge success over the past few years, and the RSPCA, the City and other key partners are excited to continue it in 2015.

LIGHT RAIL UPDATE

Light rail construction in Devonshire Street will commence in August 2016 at the Chalmers Street end and continue eastwards until October 2017.

During that time, the eastern half of Ward Park will be used as a construction compound but the western half of the park will be kept open for normal use. Detailed plans for the park are currently being developed.

City staff are working with Transport for NSW on managing traffic and service access during construction and after completion, and a consultant is currently investigating options for minimising the loss of street parking.

We will also be doing an upgrade of the public domain, introducing pocket parks in side-streets to Devonshire Street that need to be closed (e.g. Holt Street) and a new park on the Olivia Gardens site. We will hold a community consultation session later in the year to get input from local residents and businesses on what they would like to see in the parks. We will prepare concept options based on this consultation and take them back to the community. We won't be designing anything until we have canvassed all opinions.

Charmaine Jones continues as the community representative on the light-rail project and will provide a brief update as the elected Community Representative for Surry Hills.