2022 candidate for The Barossa Council.
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?
Without question. The implimentation of the State-wide planning system PlanSA may have introduced operational efficiencies and streamlined the administrative process, but it is essential that communities have a strong voice in the planning decisions that have an impact on their lives and landscapes. The new Planning and Design code severely restricts third party appeal rights. It is essential for these to be reinstated to ensure that community members have a strong voice in this process.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Local councils have, by their nature and constitution, the opportunity to be highly consultative and responsive, in ways that other tiers of government cannot. This paves the way for councils to play an integral role in the preservation, protection and promotion of local heritage areas, and to guard against inappropriate development. Of course, these issues have the potential to be emotive and challenging, and council have to balance a variety of competing obligations and outcomes. As a resident of the Barossa who is particularly interested in matters of cultural heritage, heritage architecture, preservation of our unique reigonal history and the sustainability of the physical aspects of our cultural heritage, I have a strong position on the need to protect and preserve local heritage places. This position is bolstered by my extensive work in the Tourism sector. I understand the critical role that heritage, both physical and cultural, has to play as a driver of visitation to our regions, bringing economic and social benefit. There is a broader movement within the Tourism sector to move from a philosophy of destination management to one of destinatation stewardship, and I believe that this evolution also represents an opportunity for local councils, who can take up the mantle of custodians or stewards of the irreplacable heritage under their jurisdiction.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Currently the State-wide planning system limits the impact that Local Councils can have. This means that it's more important than ever that Elected Members have a robust voice in their respective chambers, and the capacity to engender genuine progress in this sphere. Informed, professional advocacy into State Government around the need to have local protections for heritage places has the potential to be impactful, while engaged, committed and well organised local community associations can likewise generate real change. Local Council can be supportive and deeply engaged with these community groups through their Elected Members. Elected members can advocate for more heritage places to be added to local heritage listings, generate a critical mass of regional protections, while also working to improve the pathway towards having heritage places listed and protected. As mentioned in my answer below, I also believe that increased awareness and education is an important aspect of improving protections for heritage places in our area. Finally, increased penalties for breaches of guidelines around heritage protections acts against the commonly held belief that failure to abide by the guidelines will result in nothing more than a 'slap on the wrist.'
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
I believe the general public isn't well informed about the role that Local Heritage Listings can play in protecting valuable aspects of our lived heritage. Too often local heritage listing is seen as an impediment to renovations or developments, rather than a valuable addition to a community's understanding of its culture, and past history. Having gone through the process of substantially restoring a local heritage listed property and eventually opening it up to the public as a successful wine tourism business, I understand first hand the significant interest from lesuire tourists in engaging with local heritage in a meaningful way. As with many things, education and understanding is the critical first step. Having responsive, empathetic and practical planning decisions made at a local level is also essential, as it enables ratepayers, the public, guests to a region and business owners to see the results of protecting local heritage places through the listing process. It's also important that we expand our understanding of cultural heritage beyond 'old buildings' to include less tangible aspects of our cultural heritage and - of critical importance - the Indigenous history of our regions.
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 new Planning and Design code has had a significant and detrimental impact on the heritage, amenity and environment of my Council area. As mentioned above, it is critically important that third party appeal rights be re-instated. Secondly, the re-instatement of the specific townships policy areas, that articulate, define and protect the unique character and heritage aspects of individual Barossa towns and villages. For example, specific township policy areas such as Krondorf, and Bethany have been swept aside with the changes to the Code. These policies took years to develop and enshrine, and were deeply informed by the local community. Thirdly, it's essential that the Barossa Character Preservation legislation and have a clear and unambiguous embedding of the *intent* of this legislation in the Planning and Design Code. Finally, it's also essential that there be a clear articulation in the code addressing the height, scale and intensity of developments on rural land.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
For example, if the Barossa Character Preservation legislation is weakened or set aside, current town boundaries are at risk. While there is an argument that increasing subdivisions within our current towns increases our ratepayer base, once intensive residential developments or subdivisions are allowed, there is a genuine risk to the rural character of our regional town. While infill impacts are different in region vs metro areas, the continued population growth in the Barossa Council means that this issue needs to be handled sensitively and with foresight.
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?
Regretfully at this point in time my subject knowledge in this area is limited. I look forward to learning more about this in the future in order to have an informed position.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
In all ways that meet the community where they are. We need improved notification of new developments and support for residents to make submissions. We also need to review the current Council assessment Panels to ensure they are more inclusive of community sentiment.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
The Barossa is an agricultural landscape that has been significantly impacted over generations. Large scale viticulture means that additional tree canopy is always welcome.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
I am in favour of any regulation that protectes significant trees and protects ecologically threatened communities.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
As much as is practical, and reflects community sentiment.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
The development of a pragmatic, Sustainability Action Plan, including the employment of a dedicated environment officer.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
Limited issues resulting from increased population growth.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
We do need more accessible public transport in the Barossa. I would love to see our Council supporting environmentally sensitive and forward thinking options such as electrical vehicles.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Strengthening of the Character Preservation Overlay in the Planning and Design Code
Re-instatement of Third Party Appeal Rights
Clear policy guidelines for height, intensity and scale in developments on rural land.