2022 candidate for Campbelltown City 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?
Absolutely. I am concerned with the loss of our natural habitats and our built heritage/form, which is inevitably at risk when planning regulations are designed and enforced at the state level, underpinned by a one-size fits all, development-friendly approach. But the negative outcomes of centralisation go beyond this - they contribute to a sense of powerlessness and disillusionment (the topic of my PhD thesis!). Feeling as though your democratic voice counts, feeling a sense of pride and connection to your local neighbourhood - these are essential elements of wellbeing, but they are eroded when powers are centralised. I understand that there are strategic imperatives that require metropolitan coordination, but this should not be done at the expense of democracy and community. I eschew the pejorative term 'NIMBY'; why shouldn't, in a democracy, community members have a meaningful say over how their community is to develop and evolve? Bringing powers back down to the local level will also spur policy innovation and built form creativity/differentiation. It will mean that our suburbs and localities will have a chance to evolve according to local tastes, improving neighborhood identification (which is important for providing a sense of civic ownership and pride), and a sense of difference, interest and intrigue in our built form.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Local government can use its democratic authorisation to advocate for its local heritage, and for individual heritage places. Councils should reinforce this through community engagement, to demonstrate the wide support for heritage protection. I am supporter of the identification of contributory heritage items, as this emphasises not just the individual building's qualities, but the value of streetscapes and built form patterns - which are key to what makes Adelaide (and South Australia) unique in the world.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Local government, through its community development role, has a particular interest in building a sense of community and a sense of place. Heritage - including historic buildings, natural spaces, and associated interpretation - should be seen as vital to this effort. I would encourage council to support and add value to the local historical societies, environmental groups, and cultural associations, and to work collaboratively with the National Trust and Conservation Council, to invest in our natural, built and cultural (including Indigenous) heritage. This interpretation should not be limited to key public sites; it should be seen throughout our suburbs, integrated in public art and infrastructure - through there is also the potential for investing in interactive and 'living' interpretation that engages and connects (the Loxton Historical Village is a great, larger scale, example). Local councils need to steadfastly advocate for local identity and for the right of local communities to have a real say in how their own communities develop and evolve. This is essential if people are to feel a sense of connection to, and stewardship over, their locality.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
Adding places to the local heritage listings serves several purposes. First, it provides some assurance to the wider community that the place will not be subject to redevelopment. It provides certainty to the owner that the building will not be able to be re-developed, which will encourage the owner to maintain and conserve the building. Listing provides technical, interpretive, and financial support to owners. And finally, heritage lists serve a symbolic purpose, by declaring that local heritage is valued by the council and community.
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?
I would need to review the legislative changes in more detail, and consult with stakeholders, before making any definitive statements here as to the specific impacts of the Planning and Design Code on the built form. In general, however, I support councils having greater discretion over their planning policies than is possible under the Code. As I noted earlier, this is not simply a matter of the final results (heritage, amenity and environment), but it is also about citizens having a voice and developing a sense of place. Moreover, the planning system should not shy away from its primary purpose (i.e., 'planning'). The planning authority should be directing (i.e., 'planning') how development occurs, rather than being directed by (as opposed to informed by) the development industry.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
During my campaign, a very common concern among residents has been the extent of infill development. Residents have expressed worry about visual amenity, as well as increased car parking, traffic, and bins. Many citizens have expressed incredulity that the enormous number of infill developments have seemingly brought their neighbourhoods no obvious benefits - neither rate reductions, nor streetscape enhancements. There has perhaps been a line of thought from planning policy designers that infill is low hanging fruit. That is, that infill can be achieved using existing infrastructure, as contrasted with green fields development, which requires much more extensive planning. This is an erroneous line of thought. Infill can be achieved, but it should be done so in a more strategic manner. Sites for infill should be chosen carefully, based on an assessment of the capacity of existing infrastructure, built form, and community sentiment. Provision should be made for infrastructure enhancements in the area of the infill development - with attention on car parking and streetscape adjustments, including footpath upgrades.
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?
I would support policies that see increased renovation over new builds. As to the options available to councils for achieving this - this would be a great topic for a research report!
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Increased community engagement at the strategy and policy development stage.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
Our council is endowed with such amazing greenery. More is always a good thing!
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
Increased monitoring and consistent enforcement.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Councils' planning committees should have the delegated authority to decide on such matters within the legislation.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
Increase tree canopy coverage. Net carbon neutral council facilities and operations.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
In addition to the parking concerns as a result of infill development, many of our local roads are used through-roads by commuters. There is a desperate need for traffic calming measures to be put in place to ensure safety for pedestrians and families.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
A tram to Magill! Vastly improved cycling networks.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Investing in heritage, ecological and cultural interpretation and public art.
Strategic approach to infill development.
Improved footpaths, cycle network, and implementation of traffic calming measures on local roads.