NPSP Council to hold public meeting and forum on River Torrens building height changes

Daniela Abbracciavento covered the council meeting where Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council decided to hold public meeting and forum on River Torrens building height changes. The article has been published in the Eastern Courier.

SPRA is pleased with this outcome, when the alternative motion proposed by Mayor Bria was to close the workshops to the public. The expectation of SPRA is that the public meeting will be about concerns raised by residents in submissions to the rezoning proposals in the Development Plan Amendments now under consideration by Council. On the issue of degradation of the natural environment by dense blocks of multi-storey flats next to the Linear Park, residents are encouraged to read the Billabong Achievement at Risk and Influence of Linear Park on Coastal Water Quality articles for an understanding of the potential impacts.

Report on Uplift DPA

The public hearing for The Parade and Kent Town Strategic Growth Development Amendment Plan (the "uplift" DPA) was attended by about 50 people on 27th March. Developers and their representatives argued for higher multi-storey flats and residents generally pressed for lower multi-storey flats. One resident said that the only place the government had had the "ticker" to show what these multi-storey flats would look like was on Port Road.

We supported the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources recommendation that Council strengthen its policies on landscaping and urban biodiversity by embedding "Green Infrastructure' principles in this DPA. Landscaping ie "green infrastructure" is, said the Department, "especially important for higher density development".

We strongly opposed the Property Council's push to have any development application over $5 million or over 2-storeys referred to the Development Assessment Commission for assessment on the grounds that this would remove more power from local communities. It is worrying that Planning Minister John Rau has spoken of referring this suggestion to the current review of the Development Act.

Mayor Bria: DPA not about liveability

Mayor Robert Bria has written a letter to the editor titled Public Hearings in which he outlines his plan to close the planning workshops to attendance by the public. SPRA is disappointed by Mayor Bria's attempt to further reduce the information available to residents and their involvement in the DPA process. The proposed motion is available in the Council Meeting Agendas 2013 on page 2.

It is of major concern that Mayor Bria states in his "Reasons for Support of Motion":

With regard to part (c) of my Motion, a number of submissions have referred to issues related to and associated with the draft DPA, that are not of a planning policy nature, but rather related to the liveability of our City and in particular, the area adjacent to the River Torrens Linear Park.

It is great to see that Mayor Bria understands people are concerned about impacts on the Linear Park, however SPRA will be asking Mayor Bria if liveability of the city is not considered part of planning policy, then what is the purpose of planning policy?

Billabong achievement at risk

As Coordinator of Friends of the Billabong (FOB), St Peters Park, this is the area that I know in particular. I am also familiar with the Linear Park that runs through St Peters Park towards the city and Walkerville, Marden, Vale Park, Felixstowe.

First, I must say that the Billabong is a magnificent accomplishment of Council, and of the State and even Federal Governments. It provides an amenity for the whole of Adelaide, not just for our City of NPSP, not just for the surrounding residents. However, under current planning laws, three story medium-density developments in a strip 50 metres or less wide will shade the biodiverse areas, prevent their access to seasonal water, and greatly diminish the natural assets that Council has worked hard to achieve.

Let us avoid setting this DPA in concrete, literally, until there are planning laws in place that are more sensitive to the environment.

A Rebuttal to Terry Walsh

Terry Walsh repeats the tired old mantra that there is a “gaping chasm” between the Development Act and Regulations and local councils Development Plans (“The relaxation of building heights is modest – the Gold Coast is definitely not coming to Adelaide” The Advertiser 12 March 2013). Will developers ever be satisfied that local councils and communities are not impeding the developers’ dream of untrammelled development?

If this quality is to be sacrificed in the name of economic growth, then clearly there is something very wrong with the notion of growth. A bigger pie does not mean a better pie.
In the interests of citizens, it is the responsibility of governments to rein in the excesses of property developers not to kow-tow to them. Rather than bland, centralised cookie cutter planning, local councils should be discussing with residents to identify the unique characteristics of neighbourhoods within their boundaries and tailoring zoning to foster the growth of those characteristic.

Influence of Linear Park on Coastal Water Quality

TThe densification of housing along the edges of the Linear Park negates decades of scientific advancement towards the improvement of coastal water quality and marine life. By infilling backyards with housing and concrete driveways, we reduce the area of land available for uptake of rainwater. Instead, rain falls onto roofing and concrete that is delivered into the storm water system, including the River Torrens. The River Torrens is part of an urban catchment that receives and carries pollutants from our urban activities to our coast. This delivery system has driven loss of marine life, with the larger population-sizes causing larger losses (Gorman et al. 2009).

It is worth knowing that our state scientists and managers have pursued environmental improvements needed to underpin the recreational and commercial values of coastal Adelaide. These improvements represent millions of dollars of investment in science and infrastructure for the long-term benefits of South Australia. By recognizing this pursuit and investment, a better considered 30 –Year Plan is needed for the long-term benefit of South Australians.

Residents Tell Council What They Want

"Over 200 residents packed into a Hoyts Cinema theatre in Norwood last night to tell the Norwood Payneham and St. Peters Council what they thought of Council plans to rezone residential land to allow more dense multi-storey flats to be built. There was a 99.9 per cent total rejection of these proposals," said Evonne Moore, spokeswoman for the St. Peters Residents Association.

"So great was the back-lash against the Council's proposals that it has been forced to hold two hearings to hear the public's views. The first hearing was last night and the next one will be on the 21st of March. Residents are being urged to attend both meetings to show Council their concerns.

Information Sessions & Scaremongering

On Wednesday 20th February Council held two briefings for residents in the Banquet Hall in the St. Peters Town Hall complex. Both sessions were well attended. Council's chief planner Carlos Buzzetti told residents that there were a range of constraints on properties being redeveloped. Development applications had to satisfy Council on a number of criteria before approval would be given to build any multi-storey apartments.

"The St. Peters Residents Association is proud to have letterboxed residents in areas affected by the proposed rezoning. We strongly reject any suggestion that we have been "scaremongering". Four-storey flats will take over some streets in the proposed rezoned areas. There is no doubt about that. We have done Council's work for it by informing residents", Evonne Moore stated.

Public Meeting - Thu 21 Mar 2013

The council are now holding two public meetings to discuss the Development Plan Amendments. The first is Tuesday 5th March at 7pm in Cinema 4 at Hoyts Cinema, Norwood and second is Thursday 21st March in Don Pyatt Hall (behind Norwood Town Hall).

"We urge residents to turn up to both meetings. It is vitally important that we have big turnouts of people to these hearings.
A large crowd of residents will send a strong message to Council and the State government that residents have serious concerns and that their voices must be heard in the planning system, not ignored."

If you have been allocated to speak on 21st March but are unavailable, please contact the council as they will arrange for you to speak on 5th March.

If you previously indicated that you were unavailable to speak at meeting on 5th March, but are available on 21st March, please contact the council directly.