Christel Lorraine Mex
2022 candidate for City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you think that Councils and community members need to have a greater voice in planning and development decisions affecting their local area?
I strongly believe that councils and community members need to have a greater voice in planning and development decisions that affect their local area. Appeal rights were decimated when the planning and design code was implemented. Council development plans, which were consulted on widely, were also thrown out. Developers have more rights than the community.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils can apply to list more local heritage properties, but these have to be approved by the State Government. Councils can also apply for code amendments for more areas to come under heritage overlays. They can also write submissions during the review of the Planning and Design Code (PDC), lobby the state government to improve it and educate their communities about the effects of the PDC.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
I moved a successful motion at my last Council meeting to call for a report into a possible code amendment for The Parade, which would enable us to reduce future building heights and have greater setbacks. Again, up to the State Government to agree but our community will lobby hard. A few years ago I joined the Community Alliance SA committee as its President and helped create the Protect Our Heritage Alliance. In that role, and as a local councillor, I personally met with the Premier, planning ministers and shadow ministers which helped claw back protection for contributory items and strengthen demolition controls. I also wrote letters – lots of them, to newspapers, community groups and every state politician. I still serve Community Alliance as its Treasurer. Our council recently introduced a new Built Heritage Strategy, which I strongly support.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings because the State Government has very onerous process in place which is expensive and time-consuming for councils. In my opinion, developers lobby state government decision-makers to erode heritage protections, and are allowed to give donations to political parties which is wrong. The benefits of local heritage listings give communities a sense of place, remind us of our history, and add beauty to our streetscapes. A common good that benefits future generations.
How has the Planning and Design Code impacted on the heritage, amenity, and environment of your area? What changes would you seek to the Code?
The Planning and Design Code has heavily impacted The Parade by allowing a new apartment tower to be constructed in its centre, which is two storeys higher than the old development plan with a very small setback. It will look like a big black cruise ship and totally out of character in this historic high street. Sunlight will be blocked and it will probably create a wind tunnel. In residential streets, residents tell me that new buildings are being approved that tower over their homes right against the boundary. I have seen many examples. A public school was allowed to build a new building right up against a resident's home and has bright outdoor lights shining into their bedrooms at night. No amount of letter writing has helped, and the Council is powerless. The code needs to allow for appeal rights, more heritage protection, character statements brought back, stronger demolition controls in heritage zones, better design, etc, etc, etc.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
Urban infill in my area is seeing many more cars and fewer trees. Old blocks are being carved up for 2, 3 4 new dwellings. Many of these new homes have 3 - 4 cars each making the streets parked out most of the time. In old narrow streets, this is extremely unsafe and unworkable. Soil has been replaced with concrete and trees are being cut down at an unprecedented level. The Code needs to take into account the effects of infill and enforce better urban planning - eg bring people back into planning. South Australia has the worst tree protection legislation and this must be rectified.
Construction of new housing typically uses 30% labour and 70% materials. Renovation of existing housing stock typically uses 70% labour and 30% materials. What policy changes would you like to see made to encourage people to renovate, rather than demolish and build anew?
Stronger demolition controls and renovation grants made available to people who own heritage-listed properties.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Bring back the old system of appeal rights and allow councils to have their development plans back along with the community consultation requirements that existed before.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
We are losing tree canopy in all areas of urban Adelaide and we must bring in better tree protection laws.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
We need to look at best practice regulations that already exist interstate and overseas.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
We need to give Councils back powers to protect trees and look at best practice regulations that already exist interstate and overseas.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
I supported our council's emissions reduction program and budget allocations to plant trees on private land.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
In narrow streets experiencing urban infill, there is hardly any on-street parking available. Driver behaviour is poor in some areas, especially around schools.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
Cycling can be made more attractive by making our roads safer for all users, walking encouraged with safer footpaths, and free public transport would also help people become less reliant on cars.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Lobby hard to improve the Planning and Design Code
Introduce Code Amendments to protect heritage
Introduce Code Amendments to protect The Parade