Story – Gawler Region Community Forum Inc.

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The Gawler Region Community Forum Inc. provides a forum for community involvement in decisions about planning and development and the promotion of ecologically sustainable development and conservation in the Gawler region

NEWS 16th Nov 2016 – Community groups argue for better protection of Gawler’s green belt

Gawler’s Bunyip page 7:

green-belt-debate-bunyip-16th-nov-2016-p7

NEWS 17th May 2016 – A vague response from the Minister

We are told that “The department is not fast tracking urban development at Concordia”.

Advice from the Planning Minister  – QWN reply_Urban Growth at Concordia_17May2016

The original question asked by Mark Parnell MLC in Parliament on 13th October.

NEWS Dec 2015 – Questions and answers: the Councils’ positions on what should or shouldn’t happen at Concordia

2015-12-02 Barossa Council response re Concordia Growth Area

QWN reply_Urban Growth at Concordia_17May2016

2015-12-02 Town of Gawler response re Concordia Growth Area

NEWS 1st July 2015 – A story on page 10 of Gawler’s Bunyip: more on what is or isn’t or may be happening in Concordia

15-07-01 Story in the Bunyip - The Concordia Debate

NEWS 20th June 2015 – Who is driving development in Gawler?

NEWS 30th Jan 2013 – Gawler’s Residential BIG BANG

NEWS 1st March 2010 – Who’s running the show?

Penny Johnston and Tammy Jennings met with Gawler residents to discuss the results of freedom of information applications by Greens MP Mark Parnell’s office. Residents toook their concerns to the net and voiced them loud and clear:

Penny Johnston – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hwet5nYNX8&feature=channel

Paul Koch, Urban Growth Boundary Forum Committee – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhyqXrzUqCQ&feature=channel

Craig Pengelley, Bentley Road Action Group – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVvd6d0e3aI&feature=channel

Dr Helen Wilmore, Cheek Avenue Area Residents’ Group – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgU3OOe-vPo&feature=channel

Irene Hartwick, Bentley Road Action Group – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQhObAFF5gc&feature=channel

Momentum is building behind calls for greater transparency and consultation that is truly in the public interest.

THE GAWLER REGION COMMUNITY FORUM STORY

Our community

Part of Gawler East rezoned for development
Part of Gawler East rezoned for development

Gawler is a historical town 40km north of Adelaide, currently separated from the city suburbs by a green belt.  The town has approximately 20,000 residents, but is facing a massive and rapid increase in size. Formal plans for large scale growth for Gawler were made public in 2007, with a proposal to extend Adelaide’s urban growth boundary, and again in 2009 with the release of the 30 Year Plan. These proposals mean that Gawler is now facing an expansion over the next 10 years that will double the population of the town.  Over the next 20-30 years, the proposed development of Concordia, on Gawler’s north eastern boundary, will bring the town’s population to between 50 and 60,000. In addition, on Gawler’s northern boundary, Roseworthy is also earmarked for massive greenfield development, to accommodate 60,000 or more people. During the last 4 years, the community in the Gawler region has continually expressed many concerns with these proposals, relating to issues such as traffic, infrastructure, lifestyle, environment, and food and water security.

Our group

A public meeting was held in Gawler following the announcement in 2007 of the proposed changes to Adelaide’s urban growth boundary.  Towards the end of this meeting, 120 residents and other interested parties decided to form a group to represent the local community and express their concerns with the proposal.  This group was named the Gawler Urban Growth Boundary Forum Committee. The group organised and sent a petition to the Government asking for adequate information about the impacts on traffic, infrastructure, services etc.

Our story

The group and many of its members wrote submissions to the Government and letters to newspapers and the local councils.  Protest signs were placed in prominent areas.  Group members also met with Government Ministers and their advisors at a community Cabinet meeting in Gawler, to convey the concerns of the local community.  Despite the community concerns, the changes to the Urban Growth Boundary were approved. The public continued to attend and express their opinions at a large number of public meetings held by the Council, the Government and community groups. The group organised and sent a petition to the Government asking for adequate information about the impacts on traffic, infrastructure, services etc.  The group and many of its members wrote submissions to the Government and letters to newspapers and the local councils.  Protest signs were placed in prominent areas.  Group members also met with Government Ministers and their advisors at a community Cabinet meeting in Gawler, to convey the concerns of the local community.

Sign erected in Gawler East

In May 2009, the Gawler East DPA (Development Plan Amendment) was released for public consultation.  This described the rezoning of 320 hectares of grazing land and a former quarry to accommodate 10,000 new residents.  In response to the DPA, there were 350 written submissions from the public, which for the Gawler area is a remarkable result.  Apart from a handful of submissions from beneficiaries, these were overwhelmingly critical of the Gawler East DPA and raised numerous issues.

The public meeting for the Development Policy Advisory Committee was a marathon event, not finishing until 12.30am.  42 people gave oral submissions and 39 of these expressed concerns with various aspects of the DPA.  Many asked that the DPA be withdrawn.  The Gawler East DPA was approved by the Minister in August 2010.  The community was appalled to see very few changes made to address their concerns.  Although some members of our group asked to be heard at the Environment, Resource and Development Committee hearings relating to the DPA, the Committee decided not to hear any submissions from the public.

In October 2010, the group decided to become incorporated and to change its name to the Gawler Region Community Forum.  The group also decided to look at the possibility of a judicial review into the rezoning of the land at Gawler East.  The main reasons for this were:

  1. the perception that the DPA was substantially written by the developer and/or their consultant.
  2. the view that the Minister had a conflict of interest as he was also the Minister responsible for considering funding for rehabilitation of the quarry contained in the land at Gawler East.
  3. the perception of bias in relation to the Minister’s role in the preparation and approval of the DPA.

After 6 months of court proceedings, the Forum ceased the legal action prior to the scheduled trial.  A range of principles had been agreed to by the developer of the majority of the land.  These principles should lead to better environmental outcomes in the development.  The first blocks of land at Gawler East are now on sale.  It is sad that the final option left to the community was legal action, which carries a financial risk and is a stressful and time-consuming process.  The group could not have done this without the efforts of its members and the work our solicitor, Kris Hanna, undertook on our behalf.

The Forum continues to be an active proponent of much better outcomes for planning in our area and the State.  From this whole process, we have learnt there is an urgent need for changes to be made to the way land is selected and approved for development.  This includes not merely “public consultation”, but the paramount requirement for the shaping of our State to be based on the wishes of existing communities.

Contact details:
Gawler Region Community Forum Inc., P.O. Box 898, Gawler, SA 5118
Shirley Humphrey 8522 3694; Dr Helen Wilmore 8522 3019 [email protected]
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