Glebe Society President, Ted McKeown, addressed our AGM on Sunday 30 August. The text of his speech is provided below:
When I wrote my ‘getting to know you’ piece for the Bulletin in October last year, I must have had a pretty good crystal ball. What I wrote then was:
Back in 1969, the issues that gave rise to the Society were the proliferation of hideous three-storey walk-ups in place of Victorian terraces, and the lunatic radial freeway proposals that would have cut Glebe into three without alleviating the traffic congestion they were meant to solve. In 2014 and 2015 I think the major issues we will have to confront are:
- the Bays Precinct ‘urban renewal’ spearheaded on behalf of the government by a consortium of developers going by the name of UrbanGrowth NSW; and
- the apparent aim of the government to balance its books by selling off every public asset it can, without any regard to the social upheaval it is leaving in its wake.
The government has to be made to realise that it cannot simply pay lip service to community consultation, which should be the starting point of any rational urban planning exercise – not, as the government appears to think, a box to be ticked after the planning is done.
During the year, we have been treated to an extraordinary amount of ‘consultation’, particular by UrbanGrowth NSW in relation to the Bays Precinct. But the substance has been entirely lacking. It is easy enough to come up with ‘Great Ideas’ about an iconic building like the White Bay power station, but how do you come up with a ‘Great Idea’ about 80 hectares of publicly owned land without any context whatsoever?
To do them some credit, I believe UrbanGrowth is itself stymied by vested interests within and outside the government. You could clearly hear the frustration in the recent interview between the Chief Executive Officer, David Pitchford, and
The government seems to think that ‘infrastructure’ begins and ends with roads. What about light rail? What about heavy rail? What about schools? What about hospitals? What about sporting fields and facilities? And what about facilities to care for an ageing population?
the NSW Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, where Mr Pitchford said the Bays Precinct would be a ‘disaster’ unless the government spent an ‘unpalatable’ amount on infrastructure. Hardly the message the government wants to hear, and in any event, the government seems to think that ‘infrastructure’ begins and ends with roads. What about light rail? What about heavy rail? What about schools? What about hospitals? What about sporting fields and facilities? And what about facilities to care for an ageing population?
That’s all I want to say about the ‘big picture’. These matters are dealt with by our subcommittees, and you have seen their reports and heard what their convenors have had to say. I would just like to say how vital the work of the subcommittees is to the effectiveness and relevance of the Society, and how much they have contributed to its longevity – 46 years and counting! I would like, on your behalf, to thank those convenors and the members of their subcommittees for the tremendous amount of effort they have put in during the year – in no particular order except alphabetical:
- Bays and Foreshores: Lesley Lynch
- Blue Wrens: Andrew Wood
- Communications: Bill Simpson-Young, and now Scott Calvert
- Community Development: Janice Challinor
- Environment: Jan Macindoe
- Heritage: Liz Simpson-Booker
- Planning: Neil Macindoe
- Transport and Traffic: Murray Jewell
I would like to thank those members of the Management Committee who are retiring at the end of this AGM.
- Murray Jewell is retiring as Vice-President, but is staying on as an ordinary member of the Committee and as convenor of the Transport and Traffic Subcommittee.
- Carole Herriman is retiring as Secretary, but is staying on as an ordinary member of the Committee.
- Rozzie Hecker is retiring as Minutes Secretary.
- Jeannie Foyle is retiring as Treasurer.
- Lorel Adams, Chris Blair and Jock Keene are retiring as ordinary members of the Committee.
I thank them all for all their support during the year, and for their immense contributions to the Society. And not to forget Meg Wallace, who is staying on the committee so I don’t feel too lonely!
And I also acknowledge the tremendous contribution of our ‘unsung heroes’, our archivist Lyn Milton, our historians Lyn Collingwood and Max Solling, our webmaster Phil Young, our chief tweeter Scott Calvert, and especially our events coordinator Lorel Adams and our Bulletin editor, Virginia Simpson-Young. Lorel has done a great job looking after events, not as a one-person ‘ladies’ auxiliary’ (which it was in danger of becoming), but as a genuine coordinator and reference point for others. Lorel is retiring from the role, and we are busily looking for her replacement.
And what can we say about the Bulletin? Under the editorship of Edwina Doe, and now of Virginia, I think our Bulletin must be one of the best journals of its kind in Australia.
During the year we adopted a new logo to replace ‘the Door’ which we have used for the past 25 years. This process was initiated under John Gray’s presidency, and was finally put to bed early this year. The graphic designer was Tarny Burton, who described the new design as ‘a further exploration of the Glebe Society’s existing ‘Door’ logo.’ Tarny went on to say:
The colours embrace the door, forming a diverse and colourful structure that radiates from the door, but also welcomes the observer to the door. The coloured shapes are contemporary and animated, but their forms are influenced by the shape of the solid door, influenced by the solidity of Glebe’s past.
The colours selected represent earth, water, sky and sandstone.
I am delighted to say that the designer of the ‘Door’, Chris Stewart, approves of the change.
So that wraps up my first year as president (what I thought was going to be my only year as president, but the best laid plans o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley!). I take this opportunity of wishing everyone well for the coming year. May it not be so busy.