Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

Goal 4 of our Community of Possibilities Strategic Plan is Greening…Our Path to a Sustainable City. DPA2 sets out to accommodate the desire of the State Government to densify the inner suburban councils.


The community of possibilities is a 20 year plan to create a sustainable city. It recognises we need a green city. We need lungs that only green space can provide. We need areas were our people (you and I) can get out and enjoy the open air, commune with nature.

Unley Councillors are acutely aware of this given that we have the least green open space of any council in the greater metropolitan area of Adelaide. Our proportion of green open space is only 2.1%. I understand the next best is Burnside with around 9%, a big difference.

In the first 4 years of the plan we have identified among other things that we should:

1   Develop and implement the Environment and Sustainability Plan to reduce Council’s environmental impact,
2   Develop and implement a new open space strategy,
3   Develop Capacity and awareness of community greening and sustainability initiatives.

We now find ourselves deliberating over a Development Plan Amendment in the far corners of the Council. This development plan is all about intensifying development including, as readers of this blog are aware, in Goodwood South.

I have blogged extensively on this plan and have formed very definite views of what the plan is and is not doing. And I can tell you it is not only not working with our greening policy it is directly contradictory of this policy.

So here we are trying as a council to improve the lungs of this city area, to provide an environment that will improve the lifestyle of our residents. We then go out to increase the density of buildings, chopping down the fauna we should be trying to protect and indeed extend, as noted in my two recent wildlife blogs about what the students of Goodwood and Black Forest Primary Schools are trying to achieve.

Sure we need to increase our density if we wish to save our farm lands north and south of the city. We can do this at the likes of Brompton which is regenerating land that has reached the end of it economic life (the land owner having walked away) and can be designed as a whole an complete precinct. A precinct with its own open space built in and all the other creature comforts in a stand alone community; like Mawson Lakes.

We are achieving the government’s expectations too in Unley and I will comment on that in another post.

I cannot reconcile that what has been proposed is the appropriate way to go in Black Forest and Clarence Park. It is a community that is already established. It is a community that is not run down, with the land owner vacating. It is already without significant open space and a community that cannot stand alone.

A community that cannot handle the loss of it’s stock of trees, shrubs and grasses, a community that will be less than desirable to live in as it potentially could be all house and no lung to sustain us. This is in direct contrast to our Greening Policy. It is BAD planning policy as it does not address the balance required for a sustainable community.

Unless we plan for creating extra open space within walking distance (recognised in the criteria being used in DPA2 to assess streets as 200m), we are looking at a plan that will prove the worst fears of those who have spoken to our community consultation. It is a plan that will achieve little extra in population growth at maximum cost to the community and the environment.

And if we are to do the right thing and purchase property within the area to increase green open space in keeping with our greening policy, and as we have recently done as reported by me 2 days ago in Catherine Street, Fullarton), what would result. I say we would be obliged to do this if the DPA were to get the green light just to counter the environmental loss, let along improve on what we now have.

The result I suggest would be the net population growth for the Government would be even less than the minimal that I believe the plan will provide in ti’s current form, if not negative.