Peter Tsokas
Chief Executive Officer
The City of Unley
PO Box 1


Dear Peter

FOCUS welcomes this Council initiative, and the opportunity to contribute to and enhance the future environment of our City.  We are particularly interested in tree strategy in the broader context of maintaining and promoting biodiversity.  To this end FOCUS has established a ‘Biodiversity Group’ with a view to assisting Council in it’s endeavours, particularly in the areas of community liaison and education, and possibly, in contributing to activities such as tree monitoring and second tier greening.

The Draft Tree Policy is an excellent document; well researched, thoughtfully constructed and attractively presented.

FOCUS supports the concept of an ‘Urban Forest’ and the seven Principles underpinning the Tree Strategy.  The strategies in the three pathways for street, park and private trees seem sensible and realistic. We have mixed views about the details of tree succession and second generation planning for street trees, but based on the data presented, we feel that the proposals are good starting points for discussion.

FOCUS has been a strong advocate of the need to protect significant and regulated trees on private property, whilst recognising the considerable difficulties in achieving this.  We support the proposals for mapping and auditing, education and advice, and improved planning and development application protocols.

FOCUS endorses the concerns and actions in the Strategy relating to water/soil moisture retention, climate change and urban infill.

Please see attached FOCUS recommendations and suggestions.

Yours Sincerely

Ros Islip

Cc John Devine, General Manager Assets and Infrastructure, Councillors.


FOCUS  wishes  to highlight the following list of constructive ways in which we can endorse, support and help implement the aims of the Council’s Tree Strategy:

  • FOCUS, along with other stakeholders, can play a helpful role in promoting community awareness of biodiversity issues.  This could involve targeted programs for community engagement, specific education programs (eg for schoolchildren), and the establishment of a Facebook Page or Web Site providing education, information, and a forum for community discussion.  We believe that Council might be able to provide funding to subsidise such activities.
  • We are concerned about the effects of subdivision leading to relatively larger homes and smaller gardens.  Council could address some of these issues in the planning process, and should also highlight ‘model’ gardens as an example to householders and the community in general.
  • Council should assume leadership in providing advice and support to householders concerning trees that are suitable for habitat and shade without the potential to cause structural damage.
  • The reference to existing canopy cover of 26.1% describes streets and parks.  FOCUS believes that the Tree Strategy should set a long term target for canopy cover for the whole of the Unley area.
  • We support, and would like to assist in, second tier greening projects, water conservation, biodiversity monitoring and protection, the establishment of ‘Pocket Parks’ in dead end streets, and the greening of public car parks.
  • FOCUS members have a particular wish to preserve remnant indigenous trees for their importance to the biodiversity and habitat of the area.  We endorse the Response you will have received from Margaret and Andrew Black,  dated 23 October 2015, and titled: ‘Our Heritage is in your Hands – Biodiversity Conservation in Unley’
  • We are particularly concerned about the fate of remnant River Red Gums, and would wish to be involved in their monitoring and protection. We believe that the issue of auditing and monitoring is urgent.
  • We would wish to be reassured that the restrained approach to implementing street tree succession for Jacarandas, outlined in Councillor Rabbit’s Q and A document, will be adopted.
  • We endorse any plans for footpath modifications to improve water permeability.
  • We are concerned about the inconsistency and unprofessionalism of some Arborist’s reports. We will support any efforts at Local or State Government levels to regulate and standardise reporting. We encourage Council to place a greater emphasis on its own Arborist’s impartial recommendations when reviewing development applications.
  • FOCUS recognises that the new State planning laws and regulations will put significant and regulated trees on private land at increased risk.  We will support Council in any efforts to mitigate this risk. We would be interested to hear of any efforts to explore the details and limits of legal processes for tree protection.
  • We support the proposal to prepare a Draft Development Plan Amendment for significant trees.
  • We are aware of the threats to trees and biodiversity, in general, of urban infill and climate change.  We urge Council to do everything in its powers to modify these effects.
  • We believe that the Tree Strategy provides an opportunity for Council to increase our, currently, very low open space ratio, particularly in relation to new developments.
  • We urge Council to keep the community up to date by dedicating an issue of ‘Unley Life’ to ‘greening’ information and initiatives, and by providing regular updates on the Tree Policy.
  • FOCUS advocates for a dedicated greening issue of Unley Life and for regular updates of the 4 year plan.
  • FOCUS supports the vegetating of public Car Parks
  • Finally, FOCUS applauds Council’s initiative in establishing a comprehensive Tree Strategy.   We wish to be part of this ongoing process.

A presentation by Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 4.02.52 PM.png

Charles Mountain Senior Manager of Road Safety

Royal Automobile Association of SA

The State Government initiative – Renewing Our Inner Metro Growth Project – promotes a mix of new homes, shops and offices in higher density development along our main roads apparently without addressing the traffic issues.

  • So what are the challenges in managing the competing demands for the use of the arterial roads through our City?
  • What are the more likely options and their pros and cons?
  • Can we achieve a more pedestrian friendly City?

Here is an opportunity to hear some expert independent views on a matter affecting all who live and pass through the City of Unley every day!

All welcome.

Following the presentation and discussion a light supper will be provided concluding with a General Meeting for FOCUS.

FOCUS Membership Subscriptions for the 2016/2017 year may be paid at the meeting.

When: Tuesday 17 May 2016

Where: Unley Community Centre, 18 Arthur St Unley

Time: 7:30pm

Thank you to everyone who attended the FOCUS Christmas Drinks and made it such a successful evening. Thank you also to Warren and Liz for hosting everyone and the Committee and others who provided the delicious nibbles.

The year 2016 commenced with a bang, we have the Planning Reform Bill still going through the Upper House our Committee members and those from other Inner Suburbs Resident Groups have been lobbying the politicians with their concerns.

Unley Council prior to Christmas released the DRAFT UNLEY CENTRAL PRECINCT STUDY for Consultation. The Consultation Process was poorly promoted and timed just before Christmas with only 160 responses being received! There is an article in the summer edition of Unley Life about the Draft Plan which describes the vision that sounds wonderful, but the FOCUS Committee has serious concerns with the details and intent of the Plan. I encourage you all to read the study which is on the Council website, especially page 29 which describes the area to be zoned from 7 to 11 stories. There is a huge threat to the heritage of the core of the City of Unley.

Did you receive the summer edition of Unley Life? Only one person on the FOCUS Committee did. Peter Tsokas, Unley CEO is very concerned that it appears they not being delivered to each ratepayer as Council expects. To help would you please reply to FOCUS – yes or no and your street.

Mary, Warren, Deane and I met with Peter Tsokas and David Litchfield, the Director responsible for planning on Monday to discuss our concerns. We had a fruitful discussion and now have a clear picture of what will happen next and how FOCUS needs to respond. This is the short term FOCUS plan:

  • Cancel the FOCUS February meeting.
  • Urge all members and supporters to attend the Unley Development Strategy and Policy Committee on Monday 15th February at 7pm in the Unley Civic Centre where this proposed plan will be discussed prior to being presented to full Council meeting.
  • The agenda for this meeting will come out on Friday 12th February. PLEASE COME.
  • Following the Council discussions and at a full meeting the Draft Plan will come out for consultation.
  • This is when we will have to be really active and engage the community to have their say. FOCUS has strongly recommended to Council that they MUST inform everyone in Unley what is being proposed and hold public consultation sessions with their staff similar to previous Development Plan Amendments were being considered. When you read the Draft Plan you will realise how far this has already progressed.

This is probably the biggest threat to the character and heritage of the village of Unley that FOCUS has faced. We also need to form a united view of what progress is acceptable and where it should be. Please contact me if you would like more information or want to discuss this.

Ros Islip


The January 2016 Development Register is now available, by table and as a map.

Please note that five development applications involve removal of regulated, significant or street trees.

Applicant Address
10 Ferguson Avenue, Myrtle Bank SA 5064
Remove regulated tree – Eucalyptus
J J Tunis
10 Ferguson Avenue, MYRTLE BANK SA 5064
Antonietta Gatto
4 Riverdale Road, Myrtle Bank SA 5064
Remove regulated tree – Eucalyptus obliqua (Stringybark)
F Marrasso
4 Riverdale Road, MYRTLE BANK SA 5064
Chelsea Spangler
58-60 Glen Osmond Road, Parkside 5063
Demolish two (2) existing buildings and removal of one (1) street tree and construct two (2) new double storey buildings containing offices and one (1) upper level apartment, Variation to 090/299/2015/C2 – alter ground floor layout and increase upper level component including wall to southern boundary
Angelo Ali Developments Pty Ltd
60 Glen Osmond Road, PARKSIDE SA 5063
Grant Croft
Unley Park
Walford Anglican School For Girls, 338 Unley Road, Hyde Park 5061
Remove significant tree – Corymbia Citriodora (Lemon Scented Gum)
B Dearman
316 Unley Road, HYDE PARK SA 5061
Donny Michel
Unley Park
1A Victoria Avenue, Unley Park SA 5061
Remove significant tree – Eucalytpus Camaldulensis (River Red Gum)
T Rullo
24 Grove Street, UNLEY PARK SA 5061
Antonietta Gatto

The eastern Courier Messenger, 16 December,2015. Of 12 

threat to gum tree article

threat to gum tree article


Please find attached an email from the National Trust regarding the proposed changes to planning laws

Keep the People in the planning system!

This week, the State Government is rushing to push its new planning legislation through the Parliament, despite extensive public and industry concerns about the proposed changes. While planning laws aren’t the most exciting of reads, this 200 page document will shape the future of our cities, towns and suburbs for decades to come.

The changes include the exclusion of local council representatives from all decision making, while imposing significant costs on Councils and concentrating too many powers in the hands of a single Minister. Future protection for local heritage places and significant trees is also at risk.

The Local Government of South Australia has roundly condemned the legislation, arguing that it will leave communities with no voice and no choice about issues which directly affect them. Even the Property Council and other industry groups have criticised the Bill and sought major amendments.

The Community Alliance, a group of community organisations concerned about the impacts of open slather development, says the Bill is aimed at winding back community rights to comment on and challenge development assessment decisions.

In the rush to get these laws through the upper house, a range of important issues and principles are being brushed aside. If the laws are passed, individuals and local communities will have even less say in the types of developments that are permitted in their streets and neighbourhoods. The right to review of decisions will be significantly curtailed.

In both houses of Parliament, the Opposition has spoken out against the haste with which this legislation has been pushed through. Sam Duluk MP and David Ridgway MLC have explained the deficiencies of the Bill and the dangers of passing this flawed legislation.

In the Upper House, Greens MLC Mark Parnell and Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent, have argued for the need for a more considered approach. Upper House MPs need your support and encouragement to resist the Government’s bid to push these laws through without proper consultation and negotiation.

Please email the following MPs and encourage them to keep making a stand for better planning laws and to resist the Government’s push to force this legislation through in haste:

Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House David Ridgway
Greens MLC Mark Parnell
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent

Alternatively, contact the Deputy Premier and Planning Minister John Rau and ask him to listen to the people and to address their concerns. What’s the rush Mr Rau? Surely nothing will be lost by giving the Parliament more time to consider and discuss these important reforms.

Act now before it’s too late!

Please find below some feedback from Michael Rabbit, Councillor for Unley Park Ward, regarding the community consultation on the Unley Central Precinct.

The following is a more structured outline of the revised consultation. Please circulate to your members.

Further to the advice on Monday, and in response to concerns about the status of this initial consultation, a number of actions have been undertaken: 

  • A feature article will appear in the Unley Life Magazine to be released from the 8 December 2015
  • The project has been brought onto the landing page of the Council web-site
  • Direct web page links and new text on the project have been provided
  • Facebook and Twitter updates are being posted
  • The timeframe for feedback has been extended to 24 December 2015
  • A large display notice will be published in the next Eastern Courier Messenger on 2 December 2015
  • A reminder will be included in the ECM Unley Life column on 9 December 2015
  • A Message will be placed on the LED sign in Oxford Terrace
  • Another updated letter (and survey sheet) will be sent out to the stakeholder catchment area on 2 December 2015
  • Additional drop-in sessions with consultants and staff will be held in the library on
    • Saturday 12 December between 11:00am and 1:00pm
    • Thursday 17 December 2015 between 6:00pm and 8:00pm
  • A stand and appropriate documents will be available in the Civic Centre offices
  • Staff will attend the stand as required and be available to answer phone calls about any queries

The consultation and feedback at this stage is focussed on the broader concepts, issues and impacts for the future Unley Central.  Respondents are encouraged to provide their own views, not just critique the ideas of others.

 This feedback will help guide the determination of directions in early 2016 by Council that will then be the subject of another round of comprehensive consultation.  A DPA will subsequently be developed and subject to its own statutory and comprehensive consultation later in 2016.


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