2022 candidate for Town of Gawler.
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. The new planning laws and the new code have stripped community voices from our communities. Lack of third party appeal rights, the assessment authorities have often no connection to the community they are assessing. Heritage has been watered down. In Gawler we tried to strengthen our protections but it was a rushed exercise and we missed over 100 properties. Even so, our community embraced the process and were very keen to participate. That says people value heritage and character. There was little engagement at the policy level with again, multiple policies being released at the same time. I would argue little or no attention was paid to that feedback. It’s very disappointing indeed. It’s far more litigious and adversarial than before. We are very vulnerable currently to adhoc development with no connection to people.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
The role they had before the new planning laws were implemented. Local communities through their local councils have an important role rather than being a defacto state government department. Key advocacy and leadership is needed more than ever.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Yes. The recent announcement that legislation was being introduced to remove state heritage places is quite concerning. We have been strong in our advocacy at both local and state level urging others to join and have a collective voice to protect our heritage. We continue to advocate for improvements to our heritage areas for example, advocacy around standards for our Churchill state heritage area. This has not been easy however.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
We are now seeing non listed places that missed out when we last did a review in the late 90’s early 2000’s being swamped by developments and infill which is really ugly. We did a heritage transition DPA more recently with 150 properties being upgraded to local heritage places. It cost a few hundred thousand dollars however. As a heritage town it’s most important that we continue this work to ensure we maintain our distinct character. It’s not just local government that should be doing this work however. We have limited funds and state and federal governments need to understand the economic value of heritage and provide financial incentives to preserve and renew.
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?
We recently, in our state heritage area church hill, saw a tennis court sold with a fear of what will be built on that land. The state planning system failed this area with many concerned for the heritage listing ie state heritage precinct listing if new units are built in its place. The advice received also failed this area.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
No hammerhead developments for a start. Infill is a disaster with no concern given for character, good design, or traffic management. Yield is the driving factor and needs a major review.
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?
Building new is cheaper for young couples. Renovation is expensive however a solid family home is often superior to a new house. Providing subsidies for established homes would be a start rather than just new homes.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Public notification needs to improve. Bring back third party appeal rights
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
In some areas yes and others no. Again, expecting local government to carry the heavy financial load is completely unfair. State and Federal governments need to invest in local communities and not just marginal seats.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
Greater penalties for illegal removals. Stronger powers for local councils to prosecute.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Again, allowing our council staff to do their job and enforce protection so people get the message that trees are important and cannot just be summarily removed.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
Climate emergency action plans that provide good direction for our community to engage in climate action locally
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
We are a growth area and many households have 2 cars. Many of us work outside the town. State and federal governments need to invest more in cycling and separate walkways rather than leaving it to the local council to do. We need around 20 million dollars to get our walking and cycling up to speed and improve amenity with tree canopy. Transport departments need to focus on public transport options and ease of access rather than just cars.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
Integration of cycling and walking with transport including private and public transport options.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Improve community participation with reinstatement of third party appeal rights.
Reinstate council ownership of planning
Integration of cycling and walking with transport options including separate bikeways along major roads, tree canopy with native species