Clover's eNews - No 588

Over the past few weeks there has been some heavy-handed debate about the future of our city, and the role you and I will be allowed to play in it. Issues such as the redevelopment of Barangaroo and the need to protect public open space, the need for better transport options or your ability to elect me as your Mayor or Member of Parliament have been hotly contested.

There has been a concerted attempt to distort the truth. I tried to put some facts back into this debate, and you can read my statement in full via this link, Putting the facts back in the debate .

This week I attended the first Urban Policy Forum in Canberra, along with the former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe, former South Australian Premier Mike Rann, Mayor of Perth Lisa Scaffidi, the CEOs of the Property Council of Australia, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Planning Institute of Australia and other experts on urban planning and infrastructure.

This kind of national agenda-setting forum is an opportunity to push for greater action on active transport networks which can boost productivity and reduce congestion; address housing affordability and urban density; and find ways to reform our energy supply which can help us take action on climate change and reduce energy costs.

On Monday night Council adopted our new City Plan, which will bring more than 60 planning controls together into one instrument. Extensive work has been carried out across the City to ensure we value and protect our unique, historic villages while accommodating growth in sites suitable for urban renewal.

We need to provide flexibility for people to make reasonable changes to their homes, so in historic villages like Erskineville the new planning controls will allow modest works to be carried out, provided they comply with local height, heritage and amenity controls. For example a typical two storey terrace may be able to build an extra bedroom with an ensuite and extend the living area.

On the Ashmore site, the City's new planning controls will limit buildings to nine storeys or less, and deliver new streets, bike lanes, a small supermarket and 7000 square metres of green open space. I have sought commitments from the NSW Minister for Transport and Minister for Planning to improve public transport for the area.

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, announced on Wednesday that the State Government would reject the former Labour Government's plans for development of up to 19 storeys in Ashmore. I welcomed the Minister's announcement.

On Tuesday I was proud to launch Garage Sale Trail 2012 a the Royal Botanic Gardens. This is a great initiative, begun here in Sydney, which encourages people to buy, sell and swap their no longer wanted household items.

Tonight I will be speaking at 'Rise & Shine: the future of strata in the city' at Customs House, which brings together lawyers, academics and experts from the building industry to explain changes to the Home Building Act, introduced by the State Government last year.

If you own or intend to purchase an apartment, then you need to know how to manage issues arising from building defects. The statutory warranty period for building structure defects has been reduced from seven years to six years, or even two years, for different types of defects.

Earlier this week Councillor Marcelle Hoff resigned from the Council due to health reasons. I have worked with Marcelle since we were elected to Council in 2004. During that time she has worked tirelessly on issues of social inclusion, equality and affordable housing for our community. Marcelle served as Deputy Lord Mayor between September 2010 and September 2011.

I'd like to join with many others and offer my thanks for Marcelle's service and wish her well for the future.

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