The Attorney General, Mr John Rau addressed the February monthly meeting of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies (AIUS) this week defending the 30 year Plan and the Inner Rim strategies. Not happy with the nature of the public debate he was nonetheless pleased that the community is finally talking about how to house the future population of this City.
It was important we have this discussion he said but he was not happy with much of the discussion as it was ill informed. His Government he proclaimed commenced the debate with their 30 year strategic plan and the inner rim strategies to deal with the projection of demographers for the population numbers likely in 30 years time.
The demographers have predicted a growth of some 1/2 million people in that time.
He noted that if they have overstated the increase then the more visionary aspects of the plan will not be needed. If we overshoot it however he promoted that we would be in trouble. Worse yet he indicated is with no plan we will have left a legacy for future generations that will paint this generation in less than favourable light.
Defending the Inner Rim strategy he noted (as has been oft reported in the press) that we cant keep growing outwards with single storey development. Greenfield development is way more expensive than Brownfield development; twice as expensive he claims. Having said that he acknowledged there was still much Greenfield development possible in the next 30 years, in the Playford, Two Wells and Virginia area but that there was limited on no opportunity any more in the south.
Responding to claims that his strategies will harm heritage areas in the Inner Rim council areas he said that current planning policies were the biggest threat to heritage because it allows large blocks to be carved up into smaller blocks, including hammer head developments. The TOD “higher” density development proposition is allowing greater protection of heritage precincts and that this had been built into the development plan amendments being negotiated with various councils.
In fact he said that the process was one of give and take and that they (the Government) was giving more than taking by protecting heritage areas better than in the past.
I know this to be true in the case of my council in Unley.
Finally he confirmed he was not looking at wholesale 10 to 12 storey residential development and that he was looking generally at 4 to 5, which he saw as “higher” density not high density. People claiming skyscrapers were going to rule our city was patently wrong and were ill informed.
When questioned later why he was encouraging 10 to 12 storey development he became quite agitated and indicated that the person asking this was proof of his observation about ill informed people sabotaging the debate (my words not his). Seems that person did not hear his previous comments OR did not believe them.