Read the Mayor’s message for updates on new recreational facilities and libraries, development of the ambitious coastal walkway from Manly to Palm Beach and big picture issues that affect the Northern Beaches.
We’ve been hearing so many great stories about how our community is keeping connected and supporting each other during these strange times. And at Council, we wanted to ensure we were assisting those helping others in our community.
Soon you will receive a copy of our Hello Neighbour card in your letterbox or you can download a copy from our website. Just fill in your details, nominate what you can help with and pop it in a neighbour’s letterbox or under their door. Love the Viral Kindness movement for that initiative.
You can lend a hand by picking up groceries or urgent supplies like medicine, helping out in their garden, walking a dog or even just having a chat on the phone. Remember to keep your distance, wash your hands and leave any items at your neighbour’s door. It’s important we continue to look out for each other, especially those who are elderly, isolated or just having a tough time.
With school holidays upon us, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained. I know I am!
Check out Council’s Facebook and or website to find some fun educational videos from our Coastal Environment Centre – you can learn how to build a cosy drey for local possums or set up an experiment with bread to find out just how clean our hands actually are!
And even though you can’t visit Manly Art Gallery and Museum, our fun creative learning workshops for kids aged 6-11 continue online.
I would like to extend a big thank you to all of those in our community who enjoyed their Easter weekend at home. A thank you also goes to our Rangers, Lifeguards and other staff who monitored our beaches, walks, parks and reserves to make sure social distancing and gathering rules were adhered to.
Please don’t be complacent, we still need your help to stop the spread on the Northern Beaches. Remember to stay home and only go out for essential reasons. I know it can be hard when the sun is shining but keep up the great work protecting yourself and others.
This is certainly an Easter like none we’ve ever seen before.
No packing up the car, no family camping, no picnics with friends, no visits to church. Regional areas are asking us not to holiday there. And we’ve sent out a message that Australia’s number 1 most popular beach is closed to stop hordes of people coming. What the!?
It’s a difficult time and I’d rather not use this column to focus on all the dos and don’ts again. If you are in any doubt, apply common sense and assess everything you do against the messages from the government and police - STAY HOME!
And for goodness sake, give our lifeguards and rangers a break. They are out there doing their best to keep our community safe and healthy and prevent you copping a fine for doing the wrong thing.
What I’d like to focus on this week is some of the great things I am hearing going on in the community to keep us all connected.
Some neighbourhoods are participating in a teddy bear hunt. Bears are placed in a window visible from the street so when kids go out for their daily exercise they can spot them.
There are chalk drawings of rainbows, hearts and unicorns popping up on suburban footpaths encouraging people to stay home and stay safe.
Similarly, posters with warm and positive messages are being seen on front lawns and in windows as people use their time at home to get creative. I’ve even heard of an instance where a pre-schooler was disappointed to miss out on his birthday party so the street organised a happy birthday sing-a-long from their doorsteps as he walked by.
We’ve seen great generosity like Harris Farm giving away 100 boxes of fruit and veg a day to those in need, and the viral kindness community looking out for the most vulnerable.
This week Computer Pals and I taught each other how to use Zoom as they were missing their regular sessions at the Tramshed. I think they can now continue classes via Zoom - grandparents home schooling like their grandkids!
Add to all this the amazing work being done by our community organisations to support those in need and again we see the incredible Northern Beaches spirit shining through.
Finally, a shout out to our library staff this week. The new Library2U service has been enthusiastically embraced, with more than 11,000 items borrowed since 1 April. The team is full steam ahead filling and delivering orders. Get your order in online.
Happy Easter all. Stay safe.
JFK said “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” Whoever would have thought that having ‘dozens’ of people on Manly Beach at one time would ever have made the headlines. Well, over the last few weeks there has been a huge focus on this very issue.
Nonetheless that’s the world we now live in and the message from the Premier and the police this week has been very clear: you need a very good reason to leave your house unless for work, education, groceries, food, medical appointments or exercise.
That means if you are at the beach this weekend, it is for exercise only. You can walk, run, surf or swim at our beaches this weekend but you will be moved on if you are sunbaking, picnicking or otherwise lingering unnecessarily. And you still need to adhere to the social distancing and gathering rules we are now all so familiar with. Thank you for understanding and doing your bit.
This is a massive shift for us as a beach-loving community but I ask for your cooperation for the health of our whole community. And unfortunately, we have had to close a few beaches in the past two weekends.
On a lighter note, Council is launching some great new initiatives. From Monday our Click and Collect library service will become a home delivery service! That means you can still order your favourite reads online, or ask for librarians choice, and we’ll deliver your order so you don’t need to leave the house.
It’s one of many services we are doing differently to support people staying at home. Over the next month you’ll see a range of new online offerings which could help you learn a new skill, entertain your kids or enjoy an exhibition.
We are also expanding on a great initiative started by a handful of locals, #viralkindness, who identified the need to connect people who might need a hand to those willing to lend a hand.
It’s a great time to get to know your neighbours. We’ll be delivering a ‘hello neighbour’ postcard to all residents which you can use to drop off to someone in your neighbourhood to offer to do a shop, or drive them to a medical appointment or even just have a chat over the phone.
And a big shout out to local businesses who are helping each other change the way they deliver their products. Council is playing a role there too to connect them. We’ll get through this if we all support each other.
A lot can happen in the space of a few weeks. The way we live is changing every day as the state and federal governments put measures in place to stop the spread of the virus.
We are a social and active community. It’s hard to be told we can’t go swimming in our favourite rock pool, play a game of touch footy in the park or enjoy a Sunday afternoon picnic with family or friends. However, this is our new reality. And we need to do as we are asked, not just for our health but for the health of all those we love.
Please take it seriously. Stay home as much as you can. And know that we’ll get through this together.
This week we took additional steps and closed our community centres, playgrounds, ocean pools and skate parks. Signs are progressively being put up across these areas to ensure people are aware of the closures. While we also closed all our library branches, we launched our Click and Collect library service where you can order online and pick up your books and dvds outside your local library branch.
At the time of printing we are still operating our childcare and customer service centres. You’ll see our staff still out fixing roads, footpaths and stormwater drains, maintaining parks and gardens, working on capital projects and collecting rubbish. Our planners are still assessing DAs and our cleaning teams are working around the clock.
In this brave new world we are still trying to service the community, just in different ways.
We are committed to helping our community anyway we can. We’ve moved some of our youth and adolescent counselling services online so we can still provide this support. As we move forward we’ll continue to review what we can do to help our community connect through these challenging times.
For our businesses, we passed a $1.2 million package at our Council meeting this week which includes fee relief and flexibility to help them do things differently too. We’re working with our chambers of commerce to make sure everything we do will have the most impact and fill any gaps in state and federal government packages.
This is a tough time and it’s not going to end quickly. Please continue to follow the advice of health and government officials and stay safe.
The Northern Beaches community is pretty special. Thanks to those who have sent messages of support to me and our staff during this time. We thrive on positives as a community.
In an otherwise challenging week, it was great to welcome more than 100 locals as new citizens after they discovered the world’s best kept secret – the Northern Beaches.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) is here with us and in the news every day. Council’s senior staff and I continue to meet every day including across the weekend as things evolve and change, following the advice of our lead state and federal government agencies.
The safety and wellbeing of our staff and community are at the centre of our response.
We understand that these decisions have a huge impact on our community and I want to tell you they have not been made lightly. We need to comply with the 1.5m social distancing required by the Federal Government and that has huge ramifications for the way we operate.
Be assured that our decisions are being reviewed daily and we will reopen all our facilities - aquatic centres, galleries, theatre and our three closed libraries - as soon as we can.
Our focus is on maintaining essential services like waste collection, childcare, road maintenance and Meals on Wheels. And we are putting in place a range of measures that will support the most vulnerable and help our local businesses.
Manly, Warringah Mall and Mona Vale libraries remain open. Monday to Friday, 9-11am has been set aside for customers with a disability, older and vulnerable people and their carers; after 11am others are welcome. We’re also expanding our home library service and will offer a Click and Collect book service.
To assist the business community who are already feeling the pressure, we have developed a $1.2million Business Support Plan to compliment those of state and federal governments. It includes fee waivers, flexible delivery and parking arrangements and business marketing support.
Council is doing what we can to support local business during these tough times ahead and I hope you all will too. It’s as simple as two words: ‘shop local’.
We are a very resilient community and while we are in unprecedented territory, we are all in this together. Please check in on your neighbours, support each other and follow advice from health authorities.
Next week applications open for our 2020/21 grants program with over $310,000 worth of grants for projects and initiatives for the environment, community development and arts and creativity.
To support potential applicants we’ll be running a series of information sessions and grant writing workshops over the next month to give individuals and community groups the best chance of success. If you have a project that is creative,
innovative, will improve the environment or benefit our local community make sure you find out more and get your application in by 30 April.
Last chance to head to Manly for the Sydney Surf Pro today as finalists battle it out for the crown. Plus catch all the colour of the Kombi Rally featuring more than 40 kombis in a convoy from Tania Park to Manly, finishing with a display on the beachfront.
Harmony Week starts tomorrow and is a celebration of our vibrant and multicultural community – from the oldest continuous culture of our First Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world.
Explore the Bahá’í House of Worship, learn about bush tucker, see the amazing frescos of St Sava Church at Ingleside or go in a traditional Austrian hammer and nail competition. And more! Events run until 28 March, book online now.
There are some interesting projects out for public comment at the moment including the draft Bike Plan. Compared to the Sydney average, we have high numbers of bike riders on the Northern Beaches and this plan is about continuing to support and encourage people to get out of their cars and choose other transport options. You can have your say now.
Finally, the Sea Eagles take on traditional rivals Melbourne Storm in their first game of the season tomorrow arvo. Go Manly!
Have a great weekend!
A huge congratulations to the incredible young visual artists recognised as part of the Express Yourself 2020 exhibition of HSC major works from students of 20 local high schools.
The Theo Batten Youth Art Award, named in honour of former local artist Theo Batten who bequeathed funds for the award, was shared between two fantastic emerging artists from Northern Beaches Christian School, Jasmin Pike and George Cox.
The Manly Art Gallery & Museum Society Award was shared between three talented students, Kaya Vulevic, Annika Rose Curotta and Charlie Belic.
Make sure you get down to see the work of these and other young artists at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum before the exhibition closes at the end of the month. You won’t be disappointed!
The Sydney Surf Pro kicks off tomorrow featuring over 200 of the world's best surfers competing in Manly. Check out Aloha Alley in the back streets and laneways in the evening next Wednesday to Friday and all the colour of the Kombi Rally next Saturday.
Just in time for this event, Council has revamped Manly’s visitor website with plenty of info, events and suggestions for people from out of town. As the tourism gateway to the Northern Beaches hellomanly.com.au is one of the many ways we support local business and encourage people to explore all that our unique area has to offer.
And if you’d like to be part of a local world record breaking attempt to form the world’s largest human pineapple, plus raise funds for the Kid’s Cancer Project, visit bluebottle.org.au now, registrations close tomorrow.
As a final note, like all responsible organisations, Council is taking proactive and measured steps to manage the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to staff and the community, following advice provided by state and federal health authorities. For the latest information visit health.gov.au.
Have a great weekend.
This week the Northern Beaches police community farewelled Superintendent David Darcy APM, who has served this community over the last 12 years as Commander of the Northern Beaches Police Area.
His commitment to quality policing on the beaches, his integrity and dedication to working closely with community groups and his extraordinary commitment to tackling suicide prevention has been world class. He recognises that community safety does not happen in isolation. Police cannot be responsible for crime prevention alone and we have to work together to be effective. Our Northern Beaches Safety Committee of which Dave Darcy played an integral role epitomises the cooperation and collaboration that ensures that our community remains one of the safest in the country.
I’m sure you will join me in wishing him and his family well as he commences his new life. His vision and his friendship I will personally miss but he has left a strong foundation for policing on the Northern Beaches into the future.
McCarrs Creek Road has long been a haven for antisocial ‘hoon’ behaviour and quite rightly the residents have had enough. This week after a meeting with the Local Member for Pittwater, the Hon. Rob Stokes, MP, Superintendent Darcy APM, and members of the Bayview Church Point Resident Association we will be proposing a pilot project of establishing point to point speed cameras along this road to address the antisocial behaviour that is affecting the nearby residents along with some other safety measures.
This week Council endorsed Towards 2040, our Local Strategic Planning Statement, which will now make its way to the Greater Sydney Commission for approval. This is a substantial piece of work that has taken a couple of years to prepare and I thank the Council staff, community members and others involved for their enormous effort in preparing the 20-year vision for our local government area – which is our response to the State Government's plan for Greater Sydney.
Finally, next Friday we will be celebrating International Women’s Day. 2020 is about #EachforEqual, and encourages us to work together to drive action for gender parity, whilst also acknowledging and celebrating the many achievements of women. Our International Women’s Day Breakfast at the Manly Pavilion with guest speaker Jessica Rowe AM, is already sold out but head to council’s website for details of other Council and community events.
As we farewell summer I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.
Tuesday night sees Council meeting for the first time in 2020.
There is plenty for my fellow Councillors and I to review and discuss. I am especially looking forward to discussing how Council can appropriately acknowledge and recognise our local emergency service volunteers and the communities that were devastatingly impacted by the recent bushfires.
Another important item on the agenda is the latest draft of Towards 2040, Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement. This is our response to the Greater Sydney Commission’s broader plan for our ever growing City. I would like to commend our staff, fellow Councillors and the community for the extraordinary work that has been done to prepare this 20-year vision for our area.
As many residents are aware, Council is committed to reducing the number of car trips on the Northern Beaches. To do this, we are building better infrastructure to support alternative forms of transport, such as bike riding. This week we installed double-decker bike racks at Manly Wharf as part of a trial allowing up to 102 bicycles to be securely stored at any one time.
On a normal weekday, over 300 bikes are parked at the wharf, and these new racks provide 60 percent more parking than the older style ones they replaced. We are monitoring their use closely and if they prove to be a good solution, we may install more at Manly and other cycling hot spots across the Beaches.
For those looking for a cultural break, be sure to check out two new exciting exhibitions at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Express Yourself and Bill Leak - Life Drawing, which kick off next Friday 28 February. You will be amazed to discover the depth of artistic talent among our young people on display at Express Yourself. Former cartoonist for The Australian Bill Leak is lesser known for his life drawings but they certainly make for a fascinating exhibition.
Finally, tomorrow afternoon I will be donning my cricket whites at my favourite place Manly Oval for a great cause - a T20 Celebrity Cricket game to fundraise for the Brain Cancer Group. The fun begins at 2pm in what promises to be a family-friendly terrific day. The line-up is very impressive with a mix of Sydney Swans, Sea Eagles and a reality TV star or two.
Have a great weekend
2020. We are not even two months in yet and already it’s a year of extremes. First, we were on high alert facing catastrophic fire conditions and then straight into sandbagging for flood prevention and supporting our emergency services in yet another widespread storm event. This is off the back of huge storms weathered in November 2019, damaging houses and roads and leaving residents without power for extended periods.
It has certainly kept Council crews busy! Last Thursday we readied excavators into our lagoons to prepare for the heavy rainfall predicted across the weekend. Both Manly and Narrabeen Lagoon entrances were opened by late Friday but the large swell and tides leading into Sunday coupled with more than 400mm of rainfall and wind gusts of over 100km per hour still required evacuations for many in the Narrabeen community.
Teams have been at the coal face assisting the emergency services, setting up evacuation centres, attending to more than 850 fallen trees on public land, hundreds of road and drainage repairs and other issues. Since Sunday we have had more than 2,870 calls mostly related to storm damage.
We all heaved a collective sigh of relief when conditions eased on Monday but sadly we had to make the call to cancel our bushfire fundraiser Rock Relief, which should have played today. Brookvale had seen over a third of its annual rainfall in just a few days and with a complex set up and more rain predicted, we couldn’t access the grounds to set up safely or in time, and we couldn’t guarantee the weather would hold out.
It certainly wasn’t a decision we took lightly. We’d raised over $110,000 and expected much more with tickets sales always peaking the week of such an event. A massive thanks to all the artists, supporters and sponsors, staff and our community, who got behind this event.
Our commitment to helping those in bushfire affected communities continues unabated. Next week we have staff heading to Bega Valley Shire Council to back up their exhausted staff and to help in recovery efforts.
In the meantime our focus this week has been on clean up, helping those without power access hot showers and charging facilities and putting arrangements in place to manage excess green waste – please check the website for all the details.
It seems like we are not totally out of the woods yet. We are closely monitoring predictions of high seas and the threat of coastal erosion this weekend and ready to act if needed.
Stay dry and safe!