Councillor profiles – Anne Monceaux M.Ed., B.A., B.Ed., A.U.A Mayor City of Burnside, South Australia
City of Burnside is one of Adelaide’s oldest councils. Developed on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people, it was settled in 1838 by Scots. Burnside has an area of 27.5sq km (2750 hectares) rising from the Adelaide plain to the foothills. Of this, 1.9sq km (190 hectares) are dedicated to parks and reserves. There are about 45,000 residents, with young families, retirees, many new migrants from Asia and people whose families have lived here for generations. Burnside is primarily residential with little to no industrial activity and apart from Burnside Village, it has only small local shopping precincts. Our community is very important to us, as is our environment with special places both built and natural. These three are important components of our newly created Strategic Plan: Community, Environment and Place.
We are very proud of our heritage but as a council we have to continually weigh up the demands for close-to-the-city urban infill development against the protection of our character homes, our parks and gardens and hills face zone. Loss of tree canopy is always a threat. Development includes many ‘2 for 1s’ and large homes fill the blocks with little or no backyards. This increases the demand for pocket parks, but land value prevents proactive purchase by Council for this purpose.
We care for our environment and trees and for two years in a row we have been named by UNESCO as a ‘Tree City of the World’. We are very proud of the vision of councils in the past who developed local parks and gardens, as well as the on-going work of those of the present through our Urban Forest team. Our tree management team is a leader in South Australia.
Burnside Council declared a Climate Emergency in October, 2019 and this declaration we have seen as the backbone that supports all of our actions, with environmental sustainability stamped on all that we do. Burnside is well on our way to implementing measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This translates to developing energy efficient infrastructure, increased use of solar power, carbon offset initiatives that involve major tree planting, the use of water sensitive design, stormwater management, permeable paving, purchase of hybrid and electric vehicles with charging stations and improved waste management. We have already converted all of our street lights to LED and we continue to grow indigenous plants in our own biodiversity nursery. This has included providing 500 trees for the Adelaide Hills Council that was devastated in last year’s bushfires.
Change is challenging
I have been on Council for nearly 11 years, firstly as a Ward Councillor and as Mayor since November, 2018. I am the fifth female mayor to lead this council. I stood originally to save our 95 year old Regal Theatre from sale and possible demolition. During COVID last year we restored her to her former glory and she continues to operate as a cinema and a live concert venue. I am a lover of the arts and a regular user of our George Bolton Swimming Centre. Our library is our best loved facility and she turned 60 years old in April this year.
I stood for Mayor because I was motivated by a need for improvement because Burnside was changing. Change is challenging. We also have a new CEO, Chris Cowley who brings vision and experience and working with him for the good of our community is rewarding and inspiring. Together we are making a difference and we have a good mix of new and longer term councillors who are responsive to our community’s needs. We work with a ‘one team’ approach with both experienced and emerging leaders on our staff to implement our newly created vision that is the basis of our Strategic Plan.
I am an educator, although retired from teaching in schools, I still do some casual academic teaching at Flinders University. My knowledge about community, place and environment comes largely from this lifetime experience in education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, through my specific interest in public health and through my understanding and passion for the place that I have
always called home.