A Plea to the Council

This submission is particularly addressed to the councillors of this City, because you hold the power in your hand. This is your decision.

You have the choice of representing the residents of your city of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters, or perhaps representing the SA State Government, or maybe you feel like standing up for your loyal and hard working staff, or for some of the 500,000 people the government wants to bring here under its 30 year plan. Some of those people have not reached Australia yet and some of them may not even have been born.

The staff have worked very hard on the Development Plan Amendment. That hard work cannot be placed ahead of the right decision. The staff have been paid for their work. No effort is ever wasted and it will be the foundation for future plans, but the documents they have produced, cannot commit you councillors to the wrong vote.

The State Government is not forcing this on you. You do not have to vote for this amendment in case the State Government will do something bad. Your own Q & A paper says this. The councillors who have been made to feel afraid of the State Government, have nothing to fear.

The 500,000 people the government wants to house in some of these apartments the development plan proposes, are not in Australia yet. The 30 year plan says that this is about immigration. This is not a NIMBY objection. It is a fundamental population objection. Our natural birth rate is below replacement value - a girl for me and a boy for you but not quite one each and none at all for death by accident, illness or war. We are instinctively lowering our birth rate because this driest State in the driest continent is full to the goog.

The Development Plan Amendment is about the flawed population increase.

More jobs in SA might happen for architects, builders and maybe even for shop assistants but for musicians, artists, IT specialists, merchant bankers, company managers and a whole range of young people's career dreams, it is hard to see that building stacks of apartments to fill with immigrants will change their job hopes. Even the government itself admits that its jobs target (2010 -2014) will not be achieved. Please don't vote for this plan on the basis of more jobs. It's not achievable.

Besides, the government has just instituted a comprehensive review of State development laws. This could not be a worse time to make a decision on a significantly destructive development proposal. The development laws are under review. We need to see the result of that review. We are not in a position to second-guess the outcome, even if we think we know. This is a premature move.

Our own Peter Goers recently made an impassioned plea for the folk north of Grand Junction Road to be given the chance to improve their lot, and to come and live in these apartments planned to be built in our suburbs. The State government housed some problem children in River Street Marden, and their beautiful environment did not really improve their lot in life. We need to take the bull by the horns and restore education, ethics and discipline to our children, and that will give them a chance at life. We should not stack and rack them in 7 storey apartments with no gardens to tend or yards where the family can play.

We should make South Australia kinder and better, not bigger, squashed and snitchy.

The opposition to the higher residential density plans is widespread. If you vote against it, your vote will be a popular vote.

The government has admitted that loss of habitat is a factor in decline of our native species and that it is unlikely to turn this around. If you really care about our native fauna and our native flora becoming extinct, this is not the plan for you.

Let's quickly look at density problems. It is already horrendous trying to drive out of the suburbs between the river and Payneham Road. If this can't be solved, then the worse problems of more traffic still, can't be solved either.

My house will be placed in shadow. I losing my sunshine, my good cheer, my vitamin D and my trees and plants all cast in mould and doom.

There will be street parking issues and annoyances. There will be noise annoyances.

There will be overlooking annoyances.

The platitudes can't really solve them. They just say they will.

The things being said, in support of the plans, are not true. To say that the riverside is near to transport and shops and schools is a plain furphy. The O'Bahn tears along the river at a rapid rate but you can't catch it. Marden High was lost years and years ago. The shopping centre is way too far to walk from the river with bags and children.

"Some credit for the intelligence of the public wouldn't go astray" These people are your residents. They are the flesh and blood of this City, they pay the rates and pay the wages. The people here surrounding you tonight have experience, wisdom and knowledge in spades. Please do not discount us.

We are a democracy. We are getting Russian style apartments, but hopefully not a Russian style autocracy. We all know that political parties need funding and that some of the funding legitimately comes in part from the development industry. Your State government might feel obligated to the development industry but you councillors need not. You are not politically aligned. You are whistle clean. You can vote with the people, with a democracy, against destruction of our way of life. Leave the autocracy to the big boys in State Parliament and let them be dealt with in the ballot box.

Margaret Minney