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Published July 21st 2016
Our parklands are priceless, too valuable to sell
Square Mile Music Festival at Veale Gardens, South Parklands
Why Are the Parklands Special? The Adelaide Parklands are one of the notable attractions in Adelaide. They feature prominently in tourist promotions, and in 2008 were added to the National Heritage List. The listing states "Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout is regarded throughout Australia and the world as a masterwork of urban design". South Australia currently only has a seven National Heritage Places in total.
Victoria Park was once the home of horse racing in Adelaide, but is now a haven for happy dog walkers and model aircraft enthusiasts. Sports fans love the parklands, with soccer, football, cricket, bowls, petanque, blokarting, and many other sports enjoying the open green space so close to the city.
But for some, the parklands are a rich source of income. Governments in South Australia have readily put commercial ventures such as the Adelaide Convention Centre and the Intercontinental Hotel on land designated for parklands. One of Planning Minister Rau's recent projects was to hand over a priceless piece of community land next to Parliament House - free of charge - to an interstate developer.
The government's latest proposal has really outraged the community. Despite it being illegal, the government wants to sell parklands formerly occupied by the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Rau claims it will "retain economic activity and people in the East End" - a claim debunked in this Adelaide Review article.To avoid legal issues the government propose to lease, rather than sell the land.
Heritage Buildings at the RAH: Margaret Graham Building
Is That OK? The government would like to sell the RAH land for top-end residential apartments for rich investors. Once the party for the workers, the ALP is now the party for lawyers and developers, and these groups can see enormous financial benefits in harvesting the parkland for commercial purposes. Mind you, the Liberal Party doesn't seem to have many objections either - both parties need election funds. Fortunately the Greens have been outpoken in defending the parklands.
The idea of private ownership of the parklands has caused waves of anger across the community. The Adelaide Parklands Preservation Association (APPA) has received widespread criticism of the plans to sell the old Royal Adelaide Hospital by many eminent South Australians, and APPA has now published their opposition in an open appeal to the government.
Much loved South Australian celebrity Maggie Beer has joined with many others - members of parliament, a former Premier and Ministers, former Chief Justice John Doyle, Senator Nick Xenophon, architects, artists, councillors and Mayors: they all say Don't Sell the Parklands.
Eminent South Australians Say Let's Stop Selling the Adelaide Parklands (Image: APPA)
What Can Be Done With the Old RAH? North Terrace is a place for ALL the community. It has a marvellous collection of beautiful public heritage buildings, largely freely accessible to the public. It's a place for all - not a place for privilege. The heritage buildings in the old Royal Adelaide Hospital are equally attractive, and deserve to be re-purposed for everyone to use.
Logically the Royal Adelaide Hospital heritage buildings could be used for another art gallery (the old gallery can't display most of its collection at the moment). A science museum. Perhaps a medical museum. An open space for performances and enjoying lunch. The heritage buildings could also accommodate cafes and gardens to support the community buildings. These buildings on our community land must not become an exclusive enclave for only the wealthy.
Returning parts of the old RAH grounds to parklands is easy, after all the Botanic Gardens are right next door. It would then serve to make the Botanic Gardens even more accessible if the walls were brought down.
Here are some other ways that you can help protect our parklands in South Australia. Please do care about this, and help find a way to ensure that the parklands are still there for your children - and theirs.
The plea is correct. Perhaps in the 19th century it was understandable that citizens thought the parklands suited all sorts of economic and private sports club purposes. That was when people lived nearby and walked to the parklands. Any commercial use involves traffic and parking space to be cut from the green (have a look beside Montefiore Road right now). At the least, any leases for private businesses and clubs should be published annually with the rentals they pay (or do not pay?).
by firstname.lastname@example.org (score: 2|555) 1199 days ago
Why don't they do like they have done in England where they were saving a patch of land from development they sold off the land to all comers eg you could by a plot of land 1 meter by 1 meter for $50 then if you sell that land to lots of people the prospective developers would then have to track down and offer the multiple owners a good price to buy the land it's made even harder if some of those buyers are overseas lol just something to think about