The Mt Barker and District Residents’ Association sincerely hopes that the recent statements proclaimed by the Minister of Urban Development and Planning, Minister Rau in his press release of 17 August 2011 will eventuate. That is, that ‘rezoning will not be allowed to run off without infrastructure planning being bedded down.’ Minister Rau noted also ‘I will not allow developers to push me into rezoning when infrastructure needs are not known, not planned for and not funded.’
The Minister’s words reinforce the well presented views of the 520 written and 120 verbal DPAC submissions presented late last year as part of the Ministerial DPA (MDPA) process. Identifying the lack of infrastructure planning as a fundamental barrier to an effective MDPA implementation process was one of the key elements of many of the submissions.
Coupled with the loss of prime agricultural lands for future food security, the community recommended a review of the MDPA and a more transparent and community oriented approach to urban development and planning.
Minister Rau has indeed confirmed the community’s worst fears – that the Mt Barker MDPA was ‘dishevelled, disjointed and inconsistent’. The process did not adhere to those guidelines stipulated in the Government’s own planning bible, the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide. It appeared that it was a developer driven process where both the local Council and the community’s views were largely ignored.
‘It appears to us that there are some members of Council and Council staff who believe that this rezoning is a ‘done deal’ and that neither Council nor the community can influence any further changes to our situation’ stated Chairperson Dianne van Eck. ‘We emphatically deny this!
We believe a new DPA will be the opportunity for Minister Rau to put right those elements that were deeply flawed in the previous one. We will be lobbying strongly, both to the Minister and the Premier, that a new DPA is required to put right those elementary flaws which should not be included in best practice urban planning and design’.
As part of an ongoing strategy to have the MDPA decision reviewed, the Association presented a petition with over 2,000 signatures to the Premier in December 2011. This petition asked that:
To Hon Premier of South Australia
We, the undersigned, being residents of the State of South Australia, noting that the Minister for Urban Development and Planning has admitted publicly that the Government erred in implementing the Ministerial Mount Barker Urban Growth Development Plan Amendment (MDPA, 2010), now do earnestly request you to replace it with a DPA for Mount Barker that respects the wishes of the people of the District (as expressed in their submissions to the said MDPA) and the District Council of Mt Barker, and accords with the planning provisions announced by the Minister on 17 August 2011.
‘No More Mt Barkers on my watch’ may well be his catch cry, but will Minister Rau put right these most serious of wrongs – a development which had no plans for supporting infrastructure, which destroyed agricultural lands and which ignored the wishes of the people?
Strategic Planning and Development Policy Committee (SPDPC) meetings
This is an open public meeting and all members of the community are welcome to attend. Meeting dates and times can be found on the Council's web site. These meetings are critical as it is here that Councillors discuss urban planning issues related to our community.
Ministerial DPA approved
On Thursday 16 December 2010 the Ministerial DPA was approved and gazetted with very little change. Responses to community concerns have not been made public as part of the Minister's promise to release the DPAC report.
Council received a full report of the DPAC findings which was presented to the Minister. The Council has released the report to the community. It is available on their web site.