What’s new at Inner West Council? (plus a bit of history)

– apologies, some of the links will be dead, the new website for Inner West Council takes over from Leichhardt Council website.

  • A Bike Strategy is being planned for completion in 2022, with apparently a focus on a small number of achievable projects. IWBC has been invited to provide input into the Strategy. The Bicycle Working Group is scheduled to meet again on 10 March, 2022, 6pm (but check website) at Ashfield Council Offices. Open to the public. If interested in attending, ring Brigid Kelly, Senior Transport Planner, on 93925204. 
  • Elections December 9, 2021. The postponed election was won by Labor, with 8 candidates elected. They can rule in their own right, without support from other parties. The Liberals or Liberal supporters have no councillors now, after Passas and Raciti failed to win a seat. Independents Lockie and Stamolis retained seats. The Greens won 5. New Labor Councillors included three regular cyclists (Scott, Howard and Stephenson).  Check the Labor Policy on Active Transport (item 14)
  • Elections due in 2020 were delayed a year due to Covid-19. The period from 2016 started with some promise for advances in cycling but despite a good budget not much new infrastructure was completed. There was no progress on Lilyfield Rd despite a design being finished. Part of Regional Route 7 was completed and work on Livingstone Rd started. Balmain Rd near Parramatta Rd had some work completed as part of PRUAIP, with a shared path on Parramatta Rd between Balmain Rd and Norton St instituted as an alternative to lack of progress on Dot Lane. Moore St West was resheeted, but substandard bike lanes marked. A unified Bike Plan for the new Council area never eventuated. A Bicycle Working Group was set up and regular meetings held, but results were less than what might have been hoped. The Council did complete its Integrated Transport Plan, which has some solid policies on Active Transport.
  • 2018-2021. Amalgamation seemed to take up too much of the new Council’s energy. A new CEO, Michael Deegan, came and went, after falling out with staff and Mayor apparently. The Mayor was embroiled in charges of improper behaviour over comments made by some Councillors. He had his salary docked in a ruling by the State Govt in 2021. 
  • 2017. Labor formed a majority with the help of the Liberals and conservative Macri. Darcy Byrne is the Mayor. Greens on the outer, but have support from two independents so may be able to get some motions up. Bike budget seems to be safe, so far, but going on past efforts the Liberals could cause problems if Council can’t get its bicycle projects completed.
  • Elections September 9, 2017. Results of the first election for the new council are still pending, as it has come down to preferences, but it looks like Labor may have the best chance of controlling the council, with 5 or 6 ALP councillors being elected. The sixth spot was a close count between Linda Kelly (ALP) and John Stamolis (Independent). Stamolis won. see Tallyroom for latest results, or the ABC election site for Inner West.
  • The budget for 2017-18 was approved in July, by the Administrator, and has more than $10 m for bicycle works over the next 3 years, a big increase on previous budgets. This is in addition to State Govt funding for the Greenway of $7 m. 
  • What does the amalgamation with Ashfield and Marrickville Councils to form a new Innerwest Council mean for bike riders? Better connections across boundaries, or a more consistent design of bike lanes etc? Bigger bike budget? The amalgamation is taking time but a bigger budget and more dedicated bicycle and “active transport” planning staff could pay off for better cycling conditions. Bike Leichhardt has joined with Bike Marrickville and Ashfield BUG to form a new Inner West bike Coalition(IWBC) to coordinate our efforts.
  • Draft Leichhardt Bike Plan – finalised late 2015. 
  • The last meeting of the Leichhardt Bicycle Advisory Committee Was on 12 October 2015. Bike Leichhardt was a regular attendee, but the new Council so far has no Bicycle Committee, although there is a Transport Reference Group, with cycling representatives on it, including Bike Leichhardt and IWBC.
  • Free Bike Riding Courses 2017. “Rusty Riders” courses, and Skills and Confidence Courses, free for local riders. A great idea if wanting to brush up on skills and get into riding with Bike Leichhardt.
  • Bike Budget for 2015/16 announced. Council has budgeted for $400K of its own money for implementation of the new bike plan, and has attracted grants of around $600K from RMS and State Govt to upgrade the Hawthorne Canal path, Victoria Rd shared path and do a study on a possible bike path along Lilyfield Rd. Council Media Release
  • Draft Bicycle Plan released at Bicycle Advisory Cttee meeting on Wed 12 Nov 2014.Agenda
  • New Bike Plan 2014-19. Successful tenderer is GTA. (28 March 2014)
  • Good news, Council approved funding of $400K for the Bike Plan for 2014-15, after having cut it completely last year.
  • The Leichhardt Community Plan has been updated for next five years. Did you have your say on cycling and active transport? See the result, particularly the transport plan, Strategic-Plans 2025
  • Cr Kogoy proposed a Ciclovia for Sydney, a car free network of roads open to walkers, cyclists, exercisers, all sorts of activities, on Sundays. Also called Open Streets or Sunday Streets in USA, where they are popular. See www.openstreetsproject.org and https://www.facebook.com/SundayStreetsSydney.