2018 - annus horribilis for Park Lands
At the end of 2018, we compiled this “year in review” - a stocktake of the losses and setbacks that befell the Adelaide Park Lands, just in the previous 12 months.
Only by seeing all the setbacks together in one place can you have a proper appreciation of how fast the Adelaide Park Lands are disappearing, and how desperately they need your help in 2019. Remember this is just ONE year. Each successive year there are more losses and setbacks.
Except where otherwise indicated, the following photos were taken in the last quarter of 2018:
Construction of the new RAH (on Park 27) represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity (in 2018) to restore to Park Lands at least some of the old hospital site, on Park 11. Promises to that effect were made by the previous State Labor Government. However after winning office in March 2018 the new Liberal State Government rebuffed all such suggestions. In December 2018 it triumphantly announced that a space agency would be among the many other private uses for this site. The result of decisions taken by the State Government in 2018 is that no part of this site has been or will be returned to Park 11. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, lost!
The site has been handed over to Walker Corporation, along with $180m of taxpayers’ money, for construction of an office tower, shops, restaurant etc. An Auditor-General’s report in 2017 was scathing about the lack of due process. This site is part of Tarntanya Wama (Park 26).
After the construction is completed, some public space will remain but a large portion of what used to be Festival Plaza will be in private hands.
5. ELLIS PARK SPORTS CLUBROOMS
This two-storey building featuring an office, gymnasium, storage room, meeting room etc was approved on the basis that it would replace two much smaller buildings nearby for both the Adelaide Comets and the Western Districts Athletics Club. However the overall impact on the Park Lands was to be a loss of public space in Ellis Park / Tampawardli (Park 24). The project was authorised by the City Council in October 2017 and received $3 million funding from the previous State Labor Government.
6. Unauthorised CRICKET TAKEOVER IN PARK 25
In late 2018, these cricket nets in Gladys Elphick Park / Narnungga (Park 25) were built and locked by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) to exclude the public, despite the fact that the Association had no lease over the land. Other changes to Park 25 have returned some areas to public access, although in December 2018 it seemed that the site of the former red brick shed was being used as a dump for excess soil:
7. TENNIS PAVILION
This area on the corner of War Memorial Drive and Montefiore Rd in Possum Park / Pirltawardli (Park 1) was lost to public access long ago, when it was leased to Memorial Drive Tennis Club. In 2017 the City Council approved construction of a new “pavilion” on the land. The construction in late 2018, makes it even less likely that the land would ever be returned to public access.
8. TREE CLIMB OFFICE, and STORAGE
We were (and remain) supportive of the tree climb activity centre in Blue Gum Park / Kurangga (Park 20) but in late 2017 we urged the City Council to ensure that any office facilities were located nearby, such as directly across Greenhill Road, where there was a property for lease at the time this two-storey shed was being built, in 2018.
GOOD NEWS - A SOLITARY PARK GAIN?
Apart from the dirt mound in Park 25 (see above) the only place where Park Lands might have been restored in 2018 is within the grounds of Adelaide University in Red Gum Park / Karrawirra (Park 12). The former storage shed (left, above) near the corner of Frome Road and Victoria Drive disappeared in late 2018. Perhaps the University might make the vacant land available again as public Park Lands, as it was decades ago?