Lane Cove Council Says No to Transparency

If you’ve tried to follow up on the progress of a Lane Cove Council Resolution you will know that it’s a frustrating experience.  Lane Cove Council acknowledges that there is no central repository listing Council Resolutions and providing status updates.  There is also no mechanism for searching previous resolutions or recommendations made by Lane Cove Council.   Lane Cove Council also acknowledges that given the wide range of information located on Council’s website, navigation of Council’s website can be challenging.

Lane Cove residents therefore have a challenging website, no mechanism for researching items previously discussed by Lane Cove Council and no mechanism for tracking updates on Lane Cove Council resolutions.  Is this transparency? 

Cost Of Implementing Transparency Too High

Lane Cove Council recently asked for comments on its 2019-21 Draft Delivery Program and Draft 2019-20 Operational Plan, Draft Budget and Fees and Charges.  One of its objectives was:

ITC commented on this objective and suggested that a resolution register which showed a status update would assist with transparency.

According to Lane Cove Council there has been little demand for transparency.  Lane Cove Council believes the cost of implementing transparency measures is too high.

Resolution Status Example

Here is an example of how difficult it is to track down a status update of a Lane Cove Council  Resolution.

ITC regularly receives complaints about the bottleneck in traffic that occurs due to the pedestrian crossing on Longueville Road (Westpac Bank End).  Lane Cove Council was to do traffic monitoring to decide on a course of action.  ITC has been trying to establish the status of this traffic monitoring for months.

May 2018

At the May 2018 Lane Cove Council Meeting it was resolved:

“That the General Manager investigates and reports back to Council in a separate report at the same meeting that the Draft Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan is to be adopted, on the following:

  1. Traffic control measures at the pedestrian crossing on Longueville Road between the Westpac Bank and Lane Cove Plaza; and
  2. The intersection (corner) near the TAB and post office investigate inclusion of bus turning zone marked on the road approaching both sides of the pedestrian crossing or other options.”

July 2018

 In July 2018 a traffic survey was undertaken.  However the traffic survey was flawed.
Lane Cove Council undertook queue length surveys to evaluate the impact of pedestrian traffic on vehicular traffic at the Lane Cove Plaza crossing on Longueville Road. To ensure that the worst case scenario was captured, the surveys were undertaken when pedestrian and vehicular traffic was expected to be at a maximum.

The surveys were undertaken on the following days:

  • Wednesday, 4 July 2018 between 8.00 – 9.00am, 2.30-3.30pm and 5.00-6.00pm; and
  • Saturday, 30 June 2018 between 9.00 -10.00am and 12.00-2.00pm.

It was a shame that the Wednesday survey was taken on 4th July (this coincided with the three week July holiday period for private schools).

The initial surveys undertaken measured only the queue lengths but not the vehicular delays and did not address whether the pedestrian activity at the Plaza causes vehicular delays in Austin Street and Market Square car park.

September 2018

In September 2018 the Lane Cove Council made the following resolution:

That Council:-

1.   Undertake additional seven (7) day 12 hour surveys at the Longueville Road end of the Plaza for a period of two (2) weeks in the non-holiday period to determine the vehicular queue lengths and delays; or

2.   Investigate the feasibility of widening the road at the Rosenthal Avenue end of Plaza.

Since September 2018 this matter has not been before the Lane Cove Council.

February 2019

ITC began chasing a status update on this matter and was advised on 6th February 2019 by a Lane Cove Council Spokesperson

“Council undertook additional surveys to determine the queue length and vehicular delay at the Longueville Road pedestrian crossing in October 2018.

A continuation of this survey (to determine the impact of the vehicular queues on the Market Square Car Park) is planned to be undertaken within the next two weeks.

Once these surveys have been completed, the results of the surveys will be reported to Council.”

June 2019

This matter has not been back to Lane Cove Council and ITC has followed this up on 24 May, 30 May and 7th June 2019.

Resolution Register

How hard would it be to have a resolution register which showed the status of these matters?  Lane Cove Council has advised that Council has internal measures to manage and track the implementation of Council resolutions including the generation of action sheets and workflows through the electronic document management system, regular auditing and reporting to the Executive Team.  If the information is already in the system and there is electronic document management.  How difficult would it be to prepare a resolution register if there are workflow documents already in existence?

Lane Cove Residents Right to Know

Lane Cove Residents want to be able to know the following:

  1. Has a matter been discussed at Lane Cove Council?
  2. If it has, what was the outcome?
  3. If the outcome included actions what is the status of these actions?

That is called transparency.  Why is Lane Cove Council afraid to do this?  In fact other local councils also publish council briefing papers.  Lane Cove Council does not.

It does not seem too hard for other local council to provide resolution updates. Here are some examples of Local Government transparency.

Inner West Council Resolution Register
Mosman Park Resolution Register

Petition Register

In the Cove also suggested that there be a register of petitions presented to Lane Cove Council.  Lane Cove Council says this is not necessary as they have a document outlining petitions.  This document includes the following statement:

“Petitions received by Council will be tabled for consideration at the next available Ordinary Council Meeting. This means that the a report will be prepared addressing the issue(s) raised in the petition so that it may be discussed / debated at a meeting at which all Councillors can attend.”

ITC has lodged several petitions with the Lane Cove Council and this action has never been taken.  By the way try and find this document on the Lane Cove Council website. Below is an example of the search results when you try to find out how to petition your local council.

 

 

By the way you will find out how to petition the Lane Cove Council if you take the following steps:

Go to http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/CouncilServices/CouncilDocuments/Pages/PopularDocuments.aspx

Then look at the right hand side of the page and decide if it could be under Council Document Folder. Go to

http://www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au/CouncilServices/CouncilDocuments/Pages/CouncilDocumentFinder.aspx

Do a free form text search for petition and eventually you will find a guideline.

Have you ever tried to track down a Lane Cove Council resolution?



Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at info@inthecove.com.au

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