2022 candidate for Adelaide 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?
What role should Councils play in protecting local heritage places from demolition or inappropriate development?
Councils should oppose by all means possible demolition of all heritage listed properties. In the past term of the City of Adelaide, I’ve successfully moved that the Council opposed developments that have sought to demolish heritage places … most recently in Brougham Place North Adelaide where I also proposed, again successfully, that Council allocate funds to legally challenge a planning application to the State Planning Authority on the basis that the proposed development included an separately unapproved demolition of a locally heritage listed site and compromised the integrity of nearby state and locally listed sites. The matter is still before the Supreme Court. Similarly, all development should be scrutinised to ensure it doesn’t compromise neighbouring heritage listed properties, street scapes or heritage zones.
How would you seek to improve protections for heritage places in your area?
Having established the principle that heritage is to be actively protected, the most practical action any Council can take is to ensure the members appointed to its Development Assessment Panel understand and respect the Council’s position on heritage protection. Too often Panels make decisions that defer to the State planning regimen instead of seeking negotiated outcomes that enhance and protect heritage. Additionally, Councils … and particularly the capital city council … can should assume a position of advocacy with State and Federal Governments to protect the heritage that is so vital to the City’s future.
We rarely see new places added to local heritage listings. Why do you think this is?
More than twenty years ago the City of Adelaide gave owners of eligible properties the right to list, not to list or to actually delist their locally heritage listed property. This retrograde step has never been reversed by a campaign to encourage listing. Councils should be seeking out properties and encouraging owners to apply to list them or the Council should be initiating listing in cases where there is a risk of demolition of properties or street scapes that have heritage values. Heritage is too important to future generations to be left unprotected.
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 Planning and Design Code has been abused by some developers who have sought to avoid local decision making by valuing their proposals at values greater than the Council project monetary limit. There view is they will get the outcome they want from the State Planning Authority than from local government. By and large, the Code has led to poor outcomes for communities. In my own Council’s case, there have been cases where heritage values have been lost or compromised by the nature, scale and height of development … and in historic conservation zone overlay areas. I am especially concerned that the current provisions for consultation are too limited and exclude wider community consultation. The current review by the Minister should have been conducted by an independent agency or agent. The Code is so poor I’d rather throw it out. My personal view is that planning decision making should be transferred back to local government which is, by and large, far more responsive to community attitudes.
What are the impacts of infill development in your area? What changes would you seek in the rules around infill development?
Quite apart from inappropriate development that compromises heritage values (in the City of Adelaide) mainly through height and scale, infill development has generally resulted in pressure on local community services and facilities. For example, too little car parking is allocated in most medium density developments pushing vehicles onto already congested streets, little or no provision is made for bicycle users, plot ratio is too high resulting in no usable open space and there has been inadequate attention to lighting, ventilation and greening. Contributions to the public open space fund administered by the State Government provide an easy alternative to developers seeking maximise the potential return ion sites whereas greater emphasis on recreational space and greening should be part of the Code, together with mandatory standards for both off street parking and storage for bicycles and scooters.
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?
Local government areas can and should provide incentives to renovate or to repurpose. I am a particular enthusiast for adaptive refuse of buildings with both financial incentives and building regulation changes to accommodate projects.
How should the community be informed and involved in decisions about new developments?
The community should be informed through public invitations to comment, underpinned by a the capacity for all to comment rather than the narrow base of people living within a stone’s throw of development as is currently permitted.
Do you think there is adequate tree canopy across your local government area?
No . After tree loss, the entire City of Adelaide has been planting 120 to 150 new trees a year. Worthwhile canopy will only be obtained with areas needing greater canopy prioritised and meaningful target plantings set.
How would you like to see significant and regulated trees in your area protected from removal?
The application of penalties already established but rarely enforced is the only way to deter their removal. I have with Council endorsement in the current term introduced a tree register to allow members of the public to go online and inspect all records related to trees on public land. The register could be expanded to include all significant and regulated trees on private property.
What involvement should Councils have in decisions about protecting or removing significant and regulated trees?
Council should act always to protect significant and regulated trees. Sadly, the City of Adelaide is one council that has regularly … despite my and other objections … removed them to make way for developments with no consequence.
What actions would you advocate to slow or mitigate the impacts of climate change in your local government area?
Greening targets, preferred infrastructure and building materials with a move to restrictions on materials with high carbon embodied materials, reductions in carbon emissions especially from public transport such as buses, support for electric vehicles including recharging and reduced charges for parking etc, continuing Council supports for green energy through subsidies and public information.
What issues are there with traffic and parking in your area?
Increasing traffic flows are impacting on public amenity such that even outdoor dining is adversely affected. Parking spaces are commonly difficult to find because development is constantly not including adequate parking.
How could transport options be improved in your area?
Reductions in through traffic through the promotion and diversion of vehicles to alternative routes, the provision of better public transport including trams and underground rail and the provision of well constructed and safe, separated bikeways.
What would your top three priorities be for improving planning policy and outcomes in your local government area?
A publicly consulted city plan that creates a blueprint for sustainable development and which includes public transport strategies
Strengthening of heritage values and a drive to increase listing of heritage buildings and places
Measurable and meaningful greening targets