2022 candidate for Adelaide Hills 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! Councils are at the closest level of government to the local community and reflect their interests best. I believe that local councils and community members reflect most closely the true wants and desires of the community and understand the true significance of the impact of developments on the community. There has been a worrying trend in recent years in the name of "streamlining" development and cutting red tape for developers to sideline the views of councils and the local community. For example, Council Assessment Panels (formerly Development Assessment Panels) have had the number of elected members representing the interests of the local community cut back from the total panel to a majority, to only having a single elected member who is easily out voted by independent members who are planning professionals in the industry who often have vested interests because the work as consultants to the very developers over whose developments they are meant to be impartial judges. While there are conflict of interest provisions they don't take into account the potential for an independent member who is a planning professional to feel pressure to approve a development where they perceive it may affect their future job prospects. I believe this is one of the biggest weaknesses in the current planning system.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils should be able to nominate and approve local heritage places and continue to be able to reject applications for demolition and inappropriate development that diminishes the heritage value of a property.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Firstly, I think you need to support owners in recognising the heritage values of the property that they own. This could include educating them on the history of their property, the features that make it unique and providing them with advice on how to preserve them. There is a lot of misinformation around about the cost and effort required to preserve and maintain a heritage property and this also needs to be counteracted by general community education that contains case studies of preserving local heritage. Secondly, I think there needs to be an appreciation by the local community that local heritage is of value to the entire community and that the individual owner should be left alone to bear the burden of preservation. Adelaide Hills Council has during my term introduced local heritage grants by council which provide support to individual owners to preserve their properties. I would like to see this expanded and made easier to apply. Finally, I would like to see local heritage not just be considered as another factor in the approval of a development application but able to be used as the sole basis of the rejection of an application.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
Protecting of local heritage benefits the whole community through the intrinsic value and aesthetic values of a heritage listed property. It also allows us to better understand our history as a community not just through reading books but through living monuments to what came before. Through understanding where we come from we can better understand where we want to go and what we truly value. In my council area there are plenty of properties that should be included in local heritage listings but there has been a lot of bureaucratic inertia that has prevented this. I would like to see the listing process streamlined in some way to help this.
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?
Adelaide Hills Council is continually fighting a battle against attempts by developers to carve up the relatively large allotment sizes in the periurban areas of the council into smaller allotments. This in turn allows development of dwellings which allows destruction of native vegetation, significant and regulated trees and puts further pressure on infrastructure and threatens Adelaide's drinking water in watershed areas. Council planning staff have identified the changes to the Code that need to occur to prevent this. The State Government needs to the experts employed by council who understand our area and act on their suggestions.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
We are fortunate in Adelaide Hills Council that infill development hasn't been a big thing due to the fairly strict development limits applied to protect primary production land and Adelaide's water supply. I am not particularly familiar with the issues surrounding this particular form of development.
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?
Maybe concessions and grants to renovate rather than demolish and rebuild.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
There should be extensive consultation and then decisions that truly take into account the valid concerns of the community.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
Yes, however this is continually under threat from development which through a number of loopholes such as the 20 metre bushfire clearance perimeter around dwellings has allowed this to be eroded.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
Perhaps somehow legislate to make sure that it is an absolute last resort or even grounds for rejection of a development if significant and regulated trees are proposed to be removed.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
See my answer to 14 above.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
Better consideration of passive design principles in building approval and water sensitive urban design along with greater consideration of the disaster risks of particular developments e.g. along flood plains and in high bushfire areas where climate modelling indicates that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will increase.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
Narrow streets in some of the more urban areas of our council make on-street parking difficult. Traffic congestion, noise and pollution on the South Eastern Freeway have significant impact on the health and amenity of nearby residents and businesses and cause delays for those who commute to the city. This is compounded by poor public transport and lack of park 'n ride facilities with sufficient capacity that cause all day parking in surrounding streets. This last issue is particularly bad around the Crafer bus interchange.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
Definitely some serious investment in the return of a passenger train to the Adelaide Hills along the existing ARTC rail corridor. Implement of an on-demand bus service like that provided in Mt Barker to other areas of the Hills would improve the utility and uptake of public transport.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
More limits on subdivision in areas of productive primary production and watershed
Return of a passenger train to the Hills along the existing rail corridor
Closure of the loophole that allows clearance of native vegetation within 20 metres of a dwelling in a way that gets around native vegetation clearance rules