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?
Council is the closest level of government to the community and we have a deeper understanding of how planning and development decisions impact on our local area. The Adelaide Hills has a unique character which must be protected. One of the key reasons we have this unique character is due to the previous Development Plan which was drafted by the Council based on our understanding of this unique character of the Hills. The new PDI Act which guides development decisions has reduced the voice of community members which is of concern. I'm committed to doing what I can to ensure our community has a voice in planning decisions and that those decisions are complementary to our area.
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
The Adelaide Hills Council has taken a proactive role in recent years to increase the number of local heritage places along with providing a grant scheme which provided funding for owners of local heritage places to restore their property. Council needs to play a key role in ensuring local heritage places are protected.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Ultimately protections are only improved through legislative change. I'm committed to ensuring the value of heritage places is considered with all relevant legislation where Council has an opportunity to provide input (e.g. through submissions)
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
This is an interesting point and highlights the achievement of our Adelaide Hills Council since I was elected in 2014 where we have added additional properties as local heritage listings. This can be uncommon due to concerns of owners about additional costs or legislative burdens associated with local heritage status. There are numerous benefits as any place worthy of being heritage listed has a story to tell about the history of the local area - this is something which should be celebrated.
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?
This is a big question. It has resulted in the removal of some important elements which helped protect the character and amenity of the Adelaide hills such as the 'Country Living Zone' and the character statements. It has also resulted in less community input for some types of developments. There are always developmental pressures and here in the Adelaide Hills we have always managed to balance this quite well with the surrounding environment, this is somewhat harder now with the new Planning and Design Code.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
If infill became a significant issue in the Adelaide Hills then it would fundamentally alter the character of our beautiful hills in a negative way. Key changes would include the reintroduction of character statements, strict rules around minimum allotment sizes which align better with the previous Adelaide Hills Development Plan and a greater focus on ensuring developments complement the existing hills character.
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 do not know the detail of the current policies about renovation vs. demolition so cannot comment. I'll look into this in more detail.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
Through meaningful community consultation processes which ensures people who are impacted by the proposal have a say in the process.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
Overall yes, however, during my time on Council I note there has been an increased pressure on this with many local residents coming to me about concerns of trees being cut down. This must be balanced with mitigating bushfire risk. Overall, I feel we must ensure we continue to have a leafy, rural feel throughout our Council area.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
The removal of significant and regulated trees must be a last resort. We are one of 15 biodiversity hotspots in Australia and home to many threatened and endangered species. Significant and regulated trees play a key role in supporting the existence of these species and to the value of biodiversity in our region.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Decisions should be they are only removed as a last resort and Councils should provide input into any relevant legislative changes which advocates for it to be a last resort.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
We were the second Council in SA to declare a climate emergency when I moved this motion in the chamber. We were the first to do so unanimously. We must play our part in both limiting the impacts of climate change (e.g. we are implementing a carbon management plan, transitioning to LED lighting, including sustainability in procurement processes) and mitigating those impacts (e.g. helping our primary producers prepare for climate change). We are a leading council in this space but there is more to do with one area of focus being to help support our community (including community groups) to play their part in limiting the impacts (e.g. renewable energy).
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
Some of the village centres do have parking issues which need to be addressed through better use of space. We also need to have a greater focus on active and public transport options.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
As mentioned above two key areas would be to have better infrastructure and facilities associated with both active and public transport.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
Greater community input to help complement the character of the Hills
Protection of allotment sizes
Focus on valuing and protecting the environment