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Release Date: 17 February 2013
More than 80 residents attended a street meeting in St Peters on Friday night to defend a small pocket of 68 homes on quiet backstreets earmarked for three to four storey unit blocks.
Local councillors John Frogley and Isaac Pasalidis attended the meeting along with Leader of the Opposition Steven Marshall, Opposition Shadow Minister for Planning Vickie Chapman, Federal Liberal candidate Carmen Garcia and a representative from Federal MP Kate Ellis’ office.
“The turnout is nothing short of amazing when you consider this is just one tiny pocket of the council area that is impacted and we only letterboxed just over 100 homes,” resident Mathew Pole says. “Multiply that by all the areas facing these drastic changes and you have literally thousands of people disgusted at the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters’ plans.”
Mathew said that while the council cited State Government pressure to squeeze extra people into the city, it was time the council “stood up, represented their ratepayers and stopped trying to put high density houses in streets where there is no public transport and where traffic is already a nightmare”.
At the meeting, one resident said that the State Government’s 30-year Plan for Greater Adelaide focussed on major transport corridors: “How did our areas become a part of this? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Cr Frogley admitted transport was an issue: “We recognise that this is not a transport-orientated development. There is no public transport that goes down River Street and Player Avenue and of course the nearest transport is over on Sixth Avenue. This is one area where this does not fit the theory of where a more intense development should occur.”
He said he believed there were “flaws” in the Government’s plan “because of the things that people have mentioned such as transport, other facilities, shopping etc”.
Residents also questioned the State Government's population growth forecasts for Adelaide, which were estimated at the height of the resources boom. Their concerns were echoed by Liberal MPs at the meeting.
Traffic was a major concern expressed by residents with Richmond St and some of the avenues already struggling during peak demand times.
“Stephen Terrace and Hackney Road are more like car parks than roads during peak hour with traffic hardly moving, yet the council wants to pack even more people into the area,” one resident said.
Another man described the council’s plan as an attack on property prices and the character of the area, picking out small pockets of residents in an effort to “divide and conquer”.
One woman pointed out that roads on the western side of the St Peters River Park had been excluded from the plan – although the area’s character was similar - while another man said they he and many other residents had bought into an R1 area, in which up to less than 10 years ago, two-storey developments were prohibited. “Now they’re talking four storey,” he said.
His comment was echoed by another resident: “We have been earmarked as the lower end of St Peters. They’ve already picked the area they want to preserve. In our area it was single storey, then two-storey, and now four-storey, and this is going to spread like a cancer until in 20 years’ time we will have five to eight storeys right against the historical zone.”
Many residents described the area as one of the most beautiful parts of Adelaide that would be destroyed by this plan. “If this goes through it will be a dramatic change to the way we live,” one man stated.
One resident said: “We bought into an R1 area. If I had wanted to live in a four-storey apartment I would have bought in The Parade or moved to the city. We live here because it is a quiet, suburban street where I can let my kids play with their friends on the street and not worry about being run over by a car”.
Other residents shared their stories about the homes they had renovated and the fact they had chosen the area as a great place to bring up children.
Extra issues raised centred on car parking, the environment, erosion, stormwater, and infrastructure.
Residents living in streets bounded by Stephen Terrace, the St Peters River Park, the River Torrens and Eighth Avenue were invited to the meeting.
Opposition Members of Parliament and local councillors urged all council ratepayers to express their concerns at the public meeting on 5 March.
For more information contact Matthew Pole on 0481 311 309.