Mt Barker redevelopment approved by Rann Government
A LONG-TERM growth plan for Mt Barker has been approved including a blueprint for delivering a $550 million infrastructure support package, the State Government says.Mt Barker residents say their worst fears have been confirmed and the approval is an "insult" to the thousands of people opposed to the plan.
Infrastructure Minister Pat Conlon said the plan was "a landmark partnership" between the State Government and developers.
New freeway access together with further transport infrastructure will be among a raft of critical projects delivered through this strategic partnership, he said.
Mr Conlon says $160 million in transport infrastructure will form part of the $550 million in projects to be invested in to help meet the growing demands of this important regional centre.
"Without having undertaken such a comprehensive re-zoning process, the negotiation of such infrastructure would have been near to impossible," he said.
"Ultimately this long-term investment will benefit the entire Mount Barker community and not just those moving into the new growth areas."
Acting Urban Development and Planning Minister Jack Snelling said a significant number of changes were made to the final DPA as a result of consultation with government agencies, the Mount Barker Council and local residents.
REMOVAL of 29 hectares of land from the DPA to preserve important remnant vegetation.
IDENTIFICATION of sites as important for flora and fauna conservation.
RESTRICTION of urban development within about 200 hectares of land rezoned by the development plan, while intensive animal production businesses remain operational.
DESIGNATION of all existing and proposed urban areas as medium bushfire risk.
"These changes respond to the comments made within submissions and representations at the public meetings," Mr Snelling said.
Stop Urban Sprawl spokesman Ian Grosser said the interests of developers had been put ahead of the greater public.
"The worst fears of the Mount Barker community, that their environment and social fabric will be destroyed, have now been confirmed," he said.
"It will destroy iconic South Australian landscapes and well-watered, fertile farmlands close to city markets. It commits the state to a high-energy future from commuting to distant jobs, and to further draw-downs on the River Murray.
"The decision is an insult to the thousands who have signed petitions, written a record number of individually written submissions and attended a record number of formal public planning meetings.
"It proves that the consultation process has been a farce, and makes a mockery of any claims that the Rann government listens to the people."
Greens MLC Mark Parnell said it was a "disgraceful" decision.
"Covering prime farming land with masses of houses is just not sensible planning. High-value agricultural land so close to the city should be treasured, not covered in bitumen," he said.
"Commitments to new infrastructure spending do nothing to redeem this bad decision.
"That money could have been far better spent fixing existing services to allow for a higher density in current urban areas."
Mr Conlon said an agreement with the developers would ensure funding was directed towards the required transport infrastructure as the urban growth occurs during the next 15 to 20 years.
"The proposed road, transport, energy and water infrastructure is critical for development of the land that has been rezoned," he said.
"There are detailed planning processes required prior to work beginning, but I would expect that some of the site works could be expected to start as early as 2011-12.
Infrastructure identified as necessary to support the population growth includes upgrading the existing freeway interchange at Adelaide Rd, a new interchange to the Southeast Freeway at Bald Hills Rd and new local road ring route around the town to connect to the Bald Hills exchange.
Arterial and local roads also need upgrading and up to three additional park-and-ride facilities need to be built, he said.
A new sewer and water infrastructure costing $260 million and energy infrastructure estimated at $35 million are also needed.
Mr Snelling says infrastructure discussions conducted in tandem with the consultations on the rezoning has enabled government agencies such as health, justice, education and others to plan ahead as the population increases.