Fiction:  APPA is so negative!  You're opposed to all uses of the Park Lands!

Facts:  We're not!   We love to see people using the Park Lands.  "Free and unrestricted access" for everyone is our goal.  What we object to is

  • fencing to keep people out (other than for short-term 'events'),

  • privatisation and/or commercialisation; and

  • any buildings that aren't consistent with the character of the Park Lands as a "a place for public recreation, leisure and enjoyment."


Fiction:   You are NIMBYs who want to keep the Park Lands as your private back yard

Fact:  The truth is the exact opposite.  Special interest groups or businesses are always seeking to build over Park Lands or fence out anyone who's not a paying customer or a members of their special group.  APPA is the voice of the public, seeking to keep the Park Lands free for all.

Fiction: Any proposed new building should be supported because it will bring more people into the Park Lands

Fact: Proposed new private buildings will change the land on which they stand from being part of a Park, to being something else: a hotel, a school, an office, a restaurant; something other than a Park.

We love to see people using the Park Lands but getting more people into them is not a goal in itself. Otherwise we might as well have all Parks looking like this:


Fiction: The Park Lands are under-utilised.   There's no-one in them most of the time.

Fact: ADELAIDE City Council estimates there are 8.87 million annual 'visitations' to the Parklands each year.   This figure includes:

  • 1.87 million visits for informal recreation (e.g. running, cycling, picnicking)

  • 1.75 million visits for organised sport; (e.g. soccer, football, cricket, netball, lacrosse, croquet and more)

  • 1.68 million for "events" (e.g. Symphony Under The Stars, Writers Week and Soundwave Music Festival)

  • 1.32 million visits to the Botanic Gardens, Botanic Park and West Terrace Cemetery; and

  • 8,000 visitors for more than 100 weddings;

  • among other categories of visitations.

Fiction:   We need new buildings on Park Lands to help Adelaide come alive - to boost the city's vibrancy.

Fact: We agree that events on Park Lands boost tourism and add to Adelaide's appeal for residents and visitors alike.   But non-stop "vibrancy" is impossible.  Trends come and go.  Once-popular pastimes and buildings eventually become stale, boring or irrelevant.  That's why most events on Park Lands use temporary structures, such as marquees.   If we erect buildings for currently-fashionable purposes, then the buildings will stay on for generations, with their footprint overlaying the Park Lands.   If new buildings are really needed for "vibrancy" then they should be placed in City locations that won't effectively reduce our irreplaceable heritage of Park Lands.

Adelaide - You Need Vibrancy!

Estadio Lluís Sitjar, Mallorca (Spain) It used to be very "vibrant".

Fiction:  There’s plenty of Park Lands – look at all the open spaces.  It doesn’t matter if just a little bit is built upon.

Facts:  Approximately 25% of the land originally dedicated to the Adelaide Park Lands has been alienated from the public since Colonel Light originally allocated 930 hectares.  This includes 150 hectares that was lost almost immediately to 'Government Reserves' which brought the Park Lands back to about 780 hectares.  Even if we disregard that initial loss, we have lost a further 80 hectares or so, over time, so that now, only around 700 hectares remain.

The loss of those 80 hectares since 1837 means that on average, we have been losing an average of 4,500 square metres annually.  That's the size of about 7.6 tennis courts, on average, every year,   Chipping away at the Park Lands occurs gradually, in small chunks; e.g. just a pathway, just a small fenced-off area, just an extension of a building, lost to a variety special interests.  They all add up.

Egypt is selling off the pyramids! (?) !!

Fiction:  The old RAH site is a great location and should be developed for all kinds of uses.

Facts:  Yes, the old RAH site is a great location because it is part of the Park Lands encircling the city of Adelaide. The site should be reinstated as open space for all South Australians and not gifted to commercial interests or the University.  Much of the area taken by the old RAH originally belonged to the Botanic Gardens.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see that area returned to the Gardens?

Fiction:  Car parking is a legitimate use of empty spaces in the Park Lands

Facts:  Vehicle movements compact soil, and kill flora and fauna.   Permitting car parking on Park Lands means there’s less incentive to develop public transport.  It encourages disrespect for the Park Lands.   Do you want a city in a park or a city in a carpark? 

Fiction:  When a building on the Park Lands is no longer needed it can be removed.

Facts:  Of course it can be, but that very rarely occurs.    Most buildings stay there, and new uses are found for them, or a new building takes the place of the old one.  A lot of new buildings on North Terrace have taken the place of previous buildings that were on Park Lands, so few people even realise that the land was ever Park Lands.  It is a lot harder to get rid of something that is built than not to build it in the first place.

Fiction:  So much of the Park Lands is degraded - dry, dusty not landscaped.

Facts:  This fiction usually comes from those who have never visited (perhaps not even heard of) the Wirraninthi wetlands (Park 23), the Walyu Yarta community garden (Park 21) the Himeji Gardens in Wita Wirra (Park 18) the re-vegetation in the southern part of Victoria Park (Park 16) etc.  But of course, there are parts of the Park Lands that are not irrigated, and so the seasonal grass dries off in summer.  So what?  Adelaide City Council's Park Lands management strategy does not envisage every part of the Park Lands being landscaped like an English countryside. It would be prohibitively expensive to do that, and it would be nonsensical in the driest State in the driest continent to pretend that all vegetation stays verdant during heat waves.  Whether they are lush and green, or dry and yellow (for some parts of the year) our Park Lands are large enough to effectively lower the temperature in the CBD (1) and also reduce electricity consumption in CBD buildings, especially those located close to the Park Lands (2).  Seasonal dryness is no argument for limiting their size.

(1) Guan et al et al "Effective surface areas for optimal correlations between surface brightness and air temperatures in an urban environment" Journal of Applied Remote SensingVol. 9, 2015

(2) Guan et al "Response of office building electricity consumption to urban weather in Adelaide, South Australia" (2014) Urban Climate 10 (2014) pp 42-55

Fiction:  APPA, you have no vision.  We want Adelaide to come alive with new developments, and you are stuck in the 19th century.  Why can't you envisage what the city could become?

Facts:  We do have a vision.   Here it is:

"In a crowded world with more and more people squeezed into megacities the world of the mid-21st century will come to prize and glorify the last remnants of open space that still survive in any of those vast urban concrete sprawls.  In this over-crowded future, open space will be a rare jewel, and in that world, the city with the most abundant treasure trove will be Adelaide.  Then, as now, Adelaide will still be the only city in the world surrounded by open Park Land.  Tourists from all over the world accustomed only to tiny crowded parks (or no parks) in their home countries will come to revel and enjoy the untold riches that we (in our wisdom) would still have preserved, more than 200 years after the founding of our city. " 

Some people want to make sure that this vision cannot occur because they are intent on building over or selling off Adelaide's priceless heritage, piece by piece.

Vijayawada, Andra Pradesh, India, 2014.  Park Lands? What are they?

Vijayawada, Andra Pradesh, India, 2014.

Park Lands? What are they?