Report to AGM - 22nd March 2023

This report was presented to the 22nd March 2023 AGM by the Acting President Paul Ensor.

Many of you may not be aware that the St Peters Residents Association has been in existence for just over 50 years. The Association was in fact incorporated in October 1972 which we believe is probably the oldest continuously operating residents association in South Australia.

I suspect most resident associations have some periods where there is a decline in activity and in our case, our activities during 2020 and 2021 can be best described as sporadic. However, since early in 2022, there has been a revival of activity mainly thanks to the intervention of David Cree who has been a stalwart and the main motivator in reviving the Association over the past 15 months. Many of you will remember the wonderful work done by David in 2019 to research details of 145 servicemen from the then town of St Peters who died during the First World War and the subsequent arrangement to mount bronze plaques in their honour, onto the War Memorial in St Peters Street. These were unveiled by the Governor General on Anzac Eve 2019 in a moving ceremony.

David has also been mostly responsible for producing the newsletters during this period so a big thank you to David for all of your efforts over the last 12 months.

The Committee has also been fortunate to have regained the services of Evonne Moore who has had a long association with SPRA as a past President and who has now re-joined the Committee following her decision not to stand for Council again after serving in excess of 25 years as an elected member, initially with the former council of St Peters and more recently representing the St Peters Ward in the Norwood, Payneham and St Peters Council.

Those of you who are members of the Association and receive our newsletter or those who simply follow proceedings from our website will know that the Committee has met quite regularly over the past 12 months discussing a wide range of issues which I will touch on briefly.

As one might expect, we have continuously monitored the activities of your Council and reported on those activities which we believe would be of interest to members. Newsletters have covered many of these issues with regular updates of major projects. Some of these are:

  • The Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre
  • An Upgrade of the Dunstan Adventure Playground in Winchester Street
  • The Upgrade to the Parade Streetscape scheduled to commence in 2024
  • The upgrade of the St Peters Streetscape
  • The upgrade of the Linear Path as well as Burchell and Cruikshank reserves

In keeping with our objectives, we have also kept a watching brief on matters that could impact adversely on the character and amenities of our suburbs and indeed the city as a whole:

  • This naturally has focused on ensuring we are maintaining and protecting the heritage of our buildings in the face of ongoing community concerns expressed about trends in building development across the city.
  • These concerns led to your committee lodging several submissions in an endeavour to influence Government decision making. One of these submissions was at the time the previous Government was formulating the Planning and Design Code which was subsequently introduced in March 2021. Unfortunately, not much attention was given to our recommendations (or those from others) as the legislation which resulted was not very good and left most people feeling dissatisfied. More recently we have put in a further submission into the Planning review, currently occurring under the Malinauskas Government. The consultation period closed at the end of December with submissions currently being considered by an “Expert Panel” who will make their recommendations to Nick Champion, the Planning Minister, any day now.
  • Some concerns have been aired during our meetings in relation to the perceived encroachment of properties onto public land, notably around the Billabong. This led to us writing to the Council in respect to one of these properties. The Council have informed us it has followed up these concerns and have instructed the residents of the property to move the rear boundary to where it should be.
  • Trees have also been an issue for the Committee. Some of you would be aware of the Conservation Council report that Adelaide is losing around 75,000 trees annually mostly as a result of urban infill. This led to the Committee lodging a submission into the current Parliamentary Enquiry into the preservation of Adelaide Urban Forests with some suggestions of how to ameliorate this decline. (Our thanks to Evonne Moore for her work in preparing this submission).We are pleased that as part of their tree strategy the Council has committed to increase the tree canopy by 20% through increased tree plantings.
  • Concerns about poor traffic and parking across Council areas have been a hot button issue over the past 12 months with ongoing discussion in relation to many resident concerns which have included:
  • Rat running through avenues at high speeds with an increased risk of accidents.
  • Limited parking around business premises
  • Difficulties experienced by residents in being able to park close to their own residence.

These and many other traffic issues are currently being considered by Councils Traffic Management and Road Safety Committee following a lengthy consultant’s report into these matters. Our most recent newsletter refers to submissions that have been sent to this Committee by resident groups providing links on the website to access the actual submissions. Those who have done so will have noted that the Committee has supported the introduction of the 40km speed limit on streets between Portrush and Hackney Roads.

In respect of the website, I would just like to say a special thank you to Matthew Pole who has been maintaining and slowly developing our website for several years. I know Mathew is keen to further develop the website and has flagged some suggested improvements for the new Committee to consider.

I don’t intend to add much more at this point other than to indicate that I have been very pleased and encouraged by the number of people who have indicated an interest in being on the new Committee for the coming year.

This should provide for a vibrant Committee which will continue to discuss not only issues I have outlined but also other matters brought to their attention by residents. I am sure that whenever necessary, the Committee will take appropriate action in an endeavour to ensure that St Peters, and adjoining suburbs, continue to be desirable places to live in.

(I have not mentioned the work undertaken to review and modernise the Constitution which David will talk about shortly after he has dealt with the financial report)