Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Parklands public consultation rejected

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Gabrielle Duykers, Naracoorte Community News

A motion to conduct public consultation on the development of the North Parklands has been vetoed by Naracoorte Lucindale Council.

At a meeting last week, Cr Craig McGuire moved that council undertake public consultation on the future use of the greater North Parklands, which is owned by the State Government.

But in the end, even Cr McGuire voted against his own motion.

At a previous meeting, council had decided to ask the State Government if part or all of the parklands were surplus to its requirements.

Also, earlier this year council held an “in confidence” meeting with a developer regarding the area, possibly for housing.

Last week, after Cr McGuire’s motion received zero support from fellow elected members, Cr Ken Schulz said he would second the motion to allow for “some discussion”.

Cr McGuire said early public consultation was necessary after the recent “unsuccessful outcome” of council’s request for the classification of Janz Street reserve as community land to be revoked.

“Why go down a road and spend a lot of council resources if there’s a majority of the community that don’t want us to touch this land,” he said.

“As a council we should be feeling the community out to see what they want.”

Cr McGuire said consultation would provide a clear indication of public support for potential uses of the North Parklands.

This could include residential or commercial redevelopment, or rezoning the land from forestry to native vegetation for community use.

Cr Tom Dennis said using the Janz Street reserve case as a frame of reference was flawed.

“The reason that the Janz Park development didn’t go ahead wasn’t because of the petition of people within the community, it was in relation to the minister putting a kibosh on it saying our public consultation wasn’t extensive enough,” Cr Dennis said.

“The total number of residents in Naracoorte Lucindale Council is 8,500, and I think about 110 people signed the petition.”

CEO Trevor Smart said a letter had been sent to the State Government asking it to consider the North Parklands for redevelopment, but council was yet to receive a response.

“With State Government land (a response) could take two months to two years,” Mr Smart said.

Cr Cameron Grundy also said the Janz Street reserve and North Parklands developments were incomparable.

“I get where Cr McGuire is coming from, from a principle perspective, but the reality is that they aren’t similar in any way,” Cr Grundy said.

He said council would require more information regarding the State Government’s intentions for the parklands before undertaking any public consultation.

Cr Damien Ross agreed with this idea. “Before we even go to public consultation we need to know what options we have in the first place,” Cr Ross said.

Cr Julie Earl said the parklands would require management regardless of whether or not it was granted redevelopment approval.

Cr Scott McLachlan said the forestry portion of the parklands had pine trees that would soon be cut down.

“We’re going to be in a situation where they’re harvested and then we’ll be left with a fairly unsightly area,” Cr McLachlan said.

Cr McGuire closed the debate before voting with all other elected members, against his motion.

Naracoorte Community News 1 September 2021

This article appeared in Naracoorte Community News, 1 September 2021.

Related story: People power saves park


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