Minutes of the general meeting Sunday 18th of February 2018

PRESENT:  Councillor Mithra Cox, Judy Bourke, John Mebberson, Paul Tuckerman, Murray Jones,  Christine Hill, Ray Smith,  Kay Smith,  Martin Gorrick, Gail Chapman, John Stubbs, John Dalla Pozza, Barbara Mebberson, Linda Cortie, Lynnes Parker, Ken Clunas (17 attendees)

APOLOGIES: Annette Jones, Catherine Philps, Philip Laird, Susannah Cavill, Yvonne Whitesmith, Ross Dearden, Ron Hutchison, Anne Price, Peter Spencer

The General Meeting commenced at 4.03 pm. 

The minutes of the previous meeting on the 26th of November were accepted as read.

Secretaries Report
Interim Executive meeting. The Secretary reported on the results of a Meeting of the Executive held on December 7, 2017 to discuss the agenda for 2018 and other pressing issues. It appears that part of the reason for the huge turnout at the recent November meeting was that 6 days before at Monday night's Wollongong City Council Meeting, Councillor Grimmer proposed that the re-opening of the Phillip Street/Hill Street link be investigated by Council Staff.  This was reported in the Mercury and led to a large turnout of people who opposed such a move.  
The invitation to particiate in the 2018 Seaside and Arts Festival on April 7 was accepted.  
The process of inviting Councillors to the TVC meetings was discussed.  It was decided for the next meeting to proceed with a slightly lower level of promotion.

The geological report included with the contentious DA at the end of Woodland Avenue claimed that the Tennis Courts on the site were built on top of coal wash fill.  Failure of the coal wash then supposedly a factor that contributed to the lands subsidence. It was agreed that the building would be ugly  when viewed from the beach and would be the first building in the Wollongong area built out on pole supports over the cliff line.  The Land and Environment are conducting an on-site hearing tomorrow at 10am.
Members were invited to attend a presentation by Associate Professor Philip Laird on "Speeding up South Coast trains" held at 11 am Monday 19th February at U3A - Salvation Army Hall, Burelli Street Wollongong.
Correspondence on the new intercity train fleet was tabled.  There was concern about the fixed rear facing seating and a 20% reduction in carrying capacity from the introduction of rows of 2x2 seating

Treasurers report
The Treasurer reported no changes with holdings of $95.30 in cash and $3765.00 in the bank.

Business on notice

Christmas Lights for Thirroul.  Several members expressed dissapointment in the fact that the Thirroul CBD were not adorned by christmas lights during the 2017 festive season.  Kay and Ray reported that they found some lights were still in location but not turned on.  Kay reported hearing that the overall cost over several years was around $10,000. Kay found the Electrician who was responsible for the operations each year who advised that he could re-establish the lights, but some arrangement would be need to source the power.  It was suggested that modern solar powered low drain lighting that recharges during daylight hours could replace the current 240V system.
Ray and Kay offered to investigate further and come up with a budget estimate.  It was suggested that funding could be sourced from the Seaside and Arts Festival or be used as a foundation issue to establish a Thirroul Business Chamber of Commerce.

Traffic issues at St Michael's school pick up time. Parents picking up their children from St Micheal's School between 3 and 4pm are adding to an increasing traffic problem on Lawrence Hargrave Drive (LHD).
Often the traffic turning right as shown in Blue will back up. Cars parking in the red area then effectively block LHD.  It was agreed that the TVC should:
2) Write to the School and seek the possibility of using Raymond Road for after School pickups or seek their agreement on the following
1) Write to WCC and suggest estabishing no parking in the red area between 3 and 4 pm or as determined by school zoning requirements.

Beach Precinct upgrade similar to Austinmer.  The generally poor condition of the Thirroul Beach Precinct when compared to Austinmer was discussed.  The following issues were raised.
There is a lack of seating.  
Lighting is poor.  
The pavement is uneven, leading to trip hazzards.  
The Pump House and its pumping facility is past its useby date.  
The Memorial for Dean Mercer, was placed in Austinmer and not on Thirroul Beach
No progress on the 'Don Gray' footbridge over Flanigans Creek

Presentation By Councillor Mithra Cox. Mithra opened her presentation by speaking of a recent trip to Europe where
Trains are far more comfortable, making our services appear 'B' grade and have features like phone booths, charging points and childrens play areas
In Copenhagen around 45% of all commuter traffic is via bicycle, even in their very cold winters.

Mithra put forward the proposition that similar improvements can be acheived here.  It is only a matter of will and planning and we could change the way we live in our cities.  Some examples of planned improvement are;
School children walk to school
New roads have bike lanes
Electric bikes  encouraged
Trucks kept out of city centres during weekends
City Centres are for people
All vehicular traffic  go around and not through the city centre
Apartments are designed with inclusive garden spaces.

We need to remove the school crush where schools become dangerous places surrounded by busy and often agitated parents around school pickup and drop off times.

We need to get people out of their dependence on cars by providing better footpaths and cycleways in ways that fit within budget and more frequent public transport, eg trains every 15 minutes.

Mithra state that she was only one Councillor out of thirteen but all it took was seven Councillors to agree on what is needed and progress could be made.  Building  good working relationships is the key.

Mithra was asked how can we advance some of our local priority issues, eg
Residents unable to use LHD on weekends due to traffic volumes causing lockups
Need for the Don Grays Cycling/Pedestrian Bridge over Flanigan Creek

Mithra suggested three avenues
Create a situation - eg broadcasting evidence of the downside on Facebook.
Petition a Councillor to put a submission to Council - though the answer is often no.
Politely and quietly approach Council Staff

As an example, Mithra complemented the people behind action on the Austinmer Pool Change  Shed (AKA Bathing Pavilion) where a 1000 person petition gained results. Creating a campaign that generates a ground swell is the best way.
The meeting thanked Mithra with a round of applause.

Discussion on last Tuesday's Traffic Workshop.
Generally the outcome was dissapointing, with Council staff only interested in collecting opinions from the public on what should be done.  This process effectively ignores all TVC's submission to Council over the last few years.

Pedestrian Island Crossing on LHD.
It was agreed that the first location of a Pedestrian Island, not Crossing, should be directly north from the Hendley Road/LHD intersection.  The location of a second crossing closer to Jose Jones should be determined by traffic engineers.

The meeting closed at 5.20pm

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