Written by Peter Smythe, independent Democrats candidate for Morialta SA, 13th February 2018
Metropolitan and Hills Lifestyle Planning
With a blend of rural and metropolitan areas, the Morialta electorate offers a large range of lifestyles. As an Independent Australian Democrat, I am committed to planning that takes these vastly different lifestyles into account rather than focus only on urban living.
How long we live, and how we live are linked. Quality and length of life vary according to economic restraints, our choices and our locations. As population increases so do social, environmental and economic pressures. We must ensure our planning for this growth is affordable and livable, and this includes revisiting how our streets and services are provided.
Using our current resources we can reach a higher standard of planning than currently exists. I want to introduce policies that encourage ‘planners’ to go that extra mile and think outside the concrete, bitumen and steel square. Technology and science provides us with opportunities to improve what we have.
Below are proposals that cover both Metropolitan and Hills living.
Empowering local voices
For any planning policy to work, whether metro or rural, we must have local input. Local councils are the best available medium to achieve this. There may need to be some ‘administrative cultural’ changes in how councils do business, but the people who live in the area should help plan the area.
“The Adelaide We All Want” is really the ideal of just a few. In reality planning must be a combined effort of local community, councils, developers and state government.
- Where possible, all new housing developments should comply with Water Sensitive Design principles. The capture of runoff should be encouraged in new subdivisions, as well as ‘grey water’ systems to reduce reliance on drinking water for gardens etc.
- Requirements for passive energy saving in building design should be mandated and home owners provided with incentives to achieve these savings if needed. Reductions in state taxes combined with incentive plans, applied over a mid term period (no less than 5 and no greater than 10 years) to help offset potential alternative design costs.
- Off grid photovoltaic systems should be made available to all home owners via a State Government funded subsidy scheme at a low % rate, set for the life of the payment period. This will guarantee affordable energy is always available to those who need it (medical) and it will reduce the increase in predicted energy demands.
- Reflective signs on roads and streets along with high visibility barriers should be installed on all major Hills roads.
- More attention to be given to footpaths. Sometimes these are non-existent, and others are difficult to negotiate for the ageing, those with disabilities or for parents with prams.
- Plans for dedicated public transport facilities, thus ensuring its residents are not car dependent and thereby assisting reduction of the state’s Carbon footprint.
- Traffic Islands or rumble strips on sharp corners to prevent accidental lane changes and speeding.
- Round-abouts like the one at the intersection of One Tree Hill and Kersbrook roads is an example of providing a safe environment.
- A greater use of solar-operated street lighting at isolated or poorly lit intersections should be a major project priority, thereby reducing risks to persons and property.
- All power supplies to be underground or ABC – Aerial Bundled Conductors being fully covered, reducing bushfire risks and electrocution risks from accidental contacts.
- Ensure residents in bushfire risk areas can use water storage for fire safety (via solar and battery back up systems) so they can protect their property, livestock and themselves.
- Clear visible road signs, markings and barriers will assist drivers in extreme conditions. Turn out lanes should be designed to provide shelter in ‘worst case’ scenarios such as those experienced in the Maryville disaster – occupants of vehicles could not see and had no place to shelter.
Smarter access to health and emergency services
Morialta constituents, particularly those who reside, work and travel in the Adelaide Hills, require the same access to Health care as do those in the metropolitan area.
If elected one of my first term objectives will be to ensure that SA Ambulance, SA Country Fire Services, SA State Emergency Services and South Australia Police all have a shared database that will work when needed.
If adopted, these examples will ensure Hospital services can be easily located, improvements will aid in Emergency response times.
As with Hills Planning and design, Morialta’s ‘urban’ areas face new challenges. Reduced room on roads means reduced reaction time.
Rather than large medium or council strips where little or no
maintenance is performed, we can have designs that better utilise the space available in our streets. Suburban roads are already narrow so increased kerbside parking increases risks.
Safety for pedestrians and motorists
- Inlet street parking, giving vehicles more room and therefore more reaction time for those surprises like children coming off a bus or running out from behind a parked car.
- Inlet parking spaces, with concrete or paved pathway to curb for ease of access.
- Inlet bus stops, instead of some of the existing stops and all bus stops to be weather proofed, thus reducing road congestion, improving commuter safety and comfort. This would encourage more people to use public transport.
- Speed bumps or plateaus (these are raised road sections) to reduce speeds where residents feel they are necessary or in identified zones. Public transport providers and emergency services must also be consulted about such traffic-calming measures.
- All public paths, pavements, driveways to be disability friendly and commercial properties to provide ramped access
Reduction of water run off
In all areas of development, maintenance or improvement, porous materials should be used. This allows a percentage of water to be directed back into ground water and reduces water run off and the risk of local flooding.
Space for home owners
One example of the growing difficulties for Morialta residents is the removal of homes on larger blocks, replaced with multiple homes on smaller blocks. The impact of this has left residents in many areas with congested streets packed with parked vehicles. Inlet bus stops will improve this situation.