Panorama TAFE is one of a few colleges of technical and further education south of Adelaide which were closed by the state government in the last decade. Like O'Halloran Hill TAFE the Panorama college remained idle and derelict after closing, its abandoned buildings a victim of government cutbacks on education. The derelict college buildings have become a focus of the war at Panorama TAFE.
After the Mitsubushi car plant at Tonsley closed, the government was able to reduce its embarrassment by populating the derelict factory with the new Tonsley TAFE. It would be interesting to compare student enrolments at the various TAFE colleges, but surprisingly TAFE SA's annual report doesn't publish that figure. In fact TAFE SA executive directors bristled angrily when asked to reveal historical enrolment figures, and demanded to know why the statistics were required.
Inside Tonsley TAFE Campus at the Disused Mitsubishi Factory
Fortunately the government had already budgeted $10.5m for the relocation and consolidation of programs from O'Halloran Hill and Panorama TAFE SA campuses to the Regency Park site. This budget was simply reallocated for Tonsley TAFE, leaving the government with the prospect windfall prospect of land sales from both TAFE colleges.
Accountant Tony Wong at Panorama TAFE 1987 (Image: Messenger Newspapers/State Library SA)
Opponents of the Bunnings development pointed out that new jobs only will occur because competition from Bunnings mega store will cause other local hardware stores such as Domain Mitre 10 on Goodwood Road Westbourne Park to close. The owners of Banner Mitre 10 in Blackwood and Mitre 10 Barrow & Bench in Malvern also have expressed their concern.
Obviously people won't start renovating or gardening because a Bunnings warehouse opens - there will be no "new" jobs at Bunnings. The only new jobs are temporary construction jobs, and liquidators for bankrupt businesses.
Some portray the war at Panorama TAFE as being a huge multinational company taking on small family business. Bunnings is owned by Wesfarmers, Australia's largest company. In the opposite corner are small family owned hardware stores, fighting for their survival. Although the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission looked into Bunnings takeovers of Mitre 10 stores in 2008, it took no action at the time.
Many Panorama residents oppose the new hardware mega store because of traffic issues. The Springbank Road corner is a nightmare already during peak hours, and traffic will only get worse with a Bunnings mega store nearby. Around 2,000 residents signed a petition opposing the redevelopment, but the City of Mitcham is still working to clear impediments to the new warehouse. Despite a massive financial windfall from the land sale, it seems that the government has no plans to improve the Springbank Road intersection any time soon.
Commuters on Goodwood Road and local residents will both be losers when this redevelopment is approved.
Abandoned Places in Adelaide: Derelict College at Panorama After Dark
Alternative Versus Traditional Redevelopment
While the state government bends over backwards to facilitate development of any kind, a different sort of redevelopment is happening at derelict and abandoned places in Adelaide. Under cover of darkness hordes of urban explorers and graffiti artists infiltrate disused factories, abandoned hospital buildings, and long closed schools, turning them into some of Adelaide's scariest places.
Surprisingly the abandoned O'Halloran Hill TAFE has escaped largely unaffected by urban explorers, perhaps because of its distance from the city.
But the war at Panorama TAFE has raged rampantly for months. Despite high fences, barbed wire, and security patrols, urban explorers have successfully penetrated the derelict college, entering the disused buildings and trashing them. The graffiti on the Goodwood Road front of Panorama TAFE is huge - it seems hard to understand how it could happen unnoticed on such a busy street.
This transformation by the more disenfranchised in our society is in essence an alternative sort of redevelopment. Most of the graffiti artists and urban explorers will have no say in what happens with the Bunnings redevelopment. They leave their mark in the only way they can.
Inevitably it seems that Bunnings will win this battle. It is surprising that things have taken so long to be finalised - normally the state government is keen to muscle in and intervene. That won't necessarily end the war at Panorama TAFE immediately, but hostilities must slowly die out. Will it be a happy ending? That depends on your point of view.
Re Mitre 10, they need to make their prices more competitive. Apart from "special"sales, a lot of their prices are higher than Bunnings and other large Hardware etc. chains. A friend who has a Seniors Card went to Mitre 10 and used his seniors card to get discount. He later discovered he would have got them cheaper at Bunnings with no discount.
Why do you use the misleading term of "urban explorers? They do not "explore" anything at all. They are squatters and criminals who trash and deface the place. Please try to be FACTUALLY CORRECT instead of POLITICALLY CORRECT.