From an investigation into e-scooter speeds in the city to a revelation that five Adelaide city councillors have not provided proof of their vaccination status – this is everything important that occurred at the four-hour decision-making meeting this week.
Everything that happened at this week’s Adelaide City Council meeting
COUNCIL SHIFTS GEAR ON CITY CYCLING PLAN
Not far into Tuesday’s four-hour meeting, elected members discussed one of the key political themes colouring their terms as councillors – developing a functioning city bike network.
Administration recommended councillors approve a suggested engagement approach for the Cycling Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan – a plan conceived by councillor Franz Knoll and introduced into the chamber in May this year.
The aim was to identify a cycling network connecting city streets and park lands to city fringe suburbs, and followed months of failed attempts to approve the $5.6m east-west bikeway.
Last month at a workshop, CityMag reported the councillor who championed last year’s drivers’ month campaign, Jessy Khera, called for car commuters to help establish the cycling network, while Team Adelaide faction leader Alex Hyde also pushed for no “net loss” of car parks.
After this previous discussion, the administration revised their working group suggestions.
Now, they recommend that a group of stakeholders representing drivers and cyclists, plus business and property owners, be appointed by Adelaide City Council CEO Clare Mockler.
Hyde suggested tweaking the motion to stipulate that the working group’s two community representatives not reside in the City of Adelaide, with one being a cyclist and the other a driver as their primary mode of transport.
“People that aren’t spoken for are the people who live outside the city that come in, or try to come in, by bike or by car every day,” he said.
“They’re not represented here but they’re the people we’re trying to move.”
Councillor Keiran Snape said including a motorist in the working group was “almost laughable” with councillor Anne Moran agreeing it was “nonsense”.
Councillor and cycling advocate councillor Helen Donovan shocked the chamber by saying she supported the amendment despite its “intent”.
“Ultimately one of the key aims of this separated cycle network is mode-shift, so we are aiming to get people who are currently using cars – who would prefer and who would choose to [drive] – [to] otherwise get on their bike if they had the opportunity for safe, connected travel,” she said.
The amendment was passed, with councillors Moran, Martin, Snape and Greg Mackie voting against it.
CityMag sat down with cycling advocate and social planner Sarah Cleggett to find out why more women aren’t getting around the CBD on their bikes. Read that story here.
TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE OVER THE NEXT HALF-DECADE
The City of Adelaide’s five-year plan to fight rising temperatures and adverse weather event – the Climate Change Risk Adaption Action Plan 2021-202 – was approved without discussion.
The item revolved around how the council could transition into a “climate-ready organisation”, the report says.
The more recent assessment of the organisation’s climate change preparedness found that while the council had a “strong commitment” to respond to climate change challenges, “significant work is still required to address current and emerging risks”.
The new strategy includes a raft of measures on governance and ground-level changes to shopping precincts.
For Rundle Mall, this could include developing a marketing campaign, such as the ‘we’re still cool’ branding, to communicate to the public it was a cool refuge during an extreme heatwave event.
The plan also would investigate methods to decrease the heat load in the Adelaide Central Market carpark, such as exploring improved ventilation.
The plan also aims to revise working conditions for staff, including investigating flexible shifts for workers rostered on during extreme conditions. It also suggests developing an extreme heat and health monitoring system to assess employee health during heatwaves.
EMAIL A TREE
Council members voted unanimously to support councillor Phil Martin’s motion asking the administration to investigate the feasibility of setting up an online map of the city’s trees.
The map would be a partial or total replica of the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual Map, which is an online tool allowing members of the public to find out more information or report damage about a particular city tree, via email.
Councillor Mackie said this motion was commendable and consistent with the “spirit” of Adelaide this week titled a globally recognised National Park City.
His comments were followed by councillor Hyde proposing to scrap the option of “corresponding” with a tree, as per Martin’s original motion.
“My mother plays classical music to her plants and she swears by it: I’m not as convinced unfortunately,” he said.
“If some people wish to correspond with vegetation that is certainly up to them… [But] I would just hate to see our rate-payer funds used to encourage it.”
The change was supported. A report into the motion’s feasibility will be presented to elected members in April 2022.
SLOW DOWN: A REPORT INTO BICYCLE AND SCOOTER SPEEDS ON FOOTPATHS
Elected members unanimously supported an investigation into the legal powers available to the council to monitor and moderate the “speed and behaviours” of people riding scooters or bicycles on city footpaths.
The report will also explore “actions” council can implement to increase safety for pedestrians on footpaths and hospitality workers waiting outdoor tables at cafés or restaurants.
Councillor Martin spearheaded the motion, saying he had received a “steady stream” of complaints about bikes and e-scooters travelling on footpaths and endangering pedestrians.
“When these matters have been reported to me, I have always said ‘Look, this is a matter for the state government – the state government was the one who decided that, one, bikes could ride on footpaths and that, two, scooters could as well,’” he said.
“But undeterred by that explanation, I have a ratepayer who persuaded a member of the board of Bike SA to write to DIT (Department for Infrastructure). DIT responded with a letter… and it makes it clear council can place limitations on riding bikes and e-scooters and their speeds with signage.”
Mockler confirmed this, saying through by-laws the City of Adelaide had restricted bicycle usage on footpaths in the past.
City Services director Klinton Devenish agreed the City of Adelaide had the power to install signage.
A report on the issue will be presented to elected members in February 2022.
ALMOST HALF OF ALL ADELAIDE CITY COUNCILLORS HAVE NOT PROVED THEIR VACCINATION STATUS
The last item for discussion was councillor Martin’s attempt to determine the vaccine status of elected members and Adelaide City Council staff.
The motion, which was defeated by the majority Team Adelaide voting bloc, called for all elected members to advise the CEO of their COVID-19 vaccination status by Monday, 20 December 2021.
This would be to enable the administration to install “appropriate measures” to manage the risks associated with COVID-19.
The motion also asked for the number of double-dose vaccinated Adelaide City Council staff be made public by the end of January 2022.
In a response to the motion, written in the agenda, the administration said all council members were asked to share their vaccine status – or their vaccination intentions – plus their vaccination certificate for confidential records by 24 November this year.
Under questioning by councillor Hyde, Mockler she was “not aware” of any councillors that had not provided their vaccination status, but she was still waiting on five members to provide their vaccination certificates.
In a bizarre turn of events, councillor Moran stood up and said she had been double-dose vaccinated, with councillor Snape, Khera and Couros later saying they too had also been double-vaccinated.
“I have no doubts all the councillors [have been vaccinated also],” Khera said.
Later, Khera suggested “everyone vaccinated stand-up”, with Moran later repeating this by saying “anybody in this room that’s not vaccinated, put your hand up”.
The Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor repeated multiple times she did not require members to disclose their vaccination status.
The motion was defeated.