‘Community not consulted enough,’ says Joe – but others claim the opposite
In a major setback for development plans in Two Wells, a proposed shopping centre will be delayed after a motion by local councillor Joe Daniele was approved on Monday night by District Council of Mallala.
The 6-5 vote means council must immediately stop negotiations with the government to purchase and then sell public land.
Cr Anne Picard put forward another motion that no further action be taken on the developments until a number of matters had been brought to council for consideration and review.
Councillors voted similarly and the motion was carried.
Cr Picard requested a report, which would outline details of consultants briefs, council obligations, Crown land issues, flood potential and all community consultation in regard to the opinions of Two Wells residents. About a dozen community members watched from the public gallery, hoping the development would not get further delayed.
But the result would be less than satisfying for many locals who have seen years of discussion on the proposed shopping centre.
Two Wells businessman Tony Lange said this was a very disappointing decision.
“We’ve gone one step forward and now five steps back,” he said.
“This will probably set the whole development back another five years.”
These decisions follow Cr Daniele’s survey of the town which found 388 people in favour of a shopping centre located 3km north of town.
Several people have since asked to have their name removed from his list.
At a public meeting in Two Wells last Wednesday, a majority of people spoke against Cr Daniele’s proposal. A separate petition was circulated in the past week, gaining 227 signatures for the development to occur in the town centre. Council’s decision is likely to delay any developments at all, repeating DCM councillors’ tentative approach to development in the area, which was highlighted last year through the Middle Beach boat ramp proposal.
Voting to delay developments were councillors Daniele, Anne Picard, Duncan Kennington, Tom Summerton and new councillors Jan Heley, of Two Wells ward and Karen McColl, of Lewiston ward.
Councillors Yvonne Howard, Terry Keen, Marcus Strudwicke, Mark Wasley and Steve Jones voted against the motion.
Cr Daniele said the community wasn’t consulted enough about the plans.
But Cr Keen disagreed, saying this issue had received the most consultation.
“I’ve been on council a long time and we have had more public discussions, more debate and more input from the public on this one issue than I can remember on any other issue,” she said.
“I really feel this development will give Two Wells a chance to live,”
“It won’t die as the small brother of the new development.”
Cr Howard said delaying this process would not be a good step for council.
“We have had a lot of feedback from the community. We’ve had a lot of options put up and we chose what the best option was,” Cr Howard said.
“All it is doing is delaying the process and that’s not going to help the businesses.”
While the council-endorsed design plans show land is set aside for community open space, councillors are worried about losing community land.
Cr Picard supported the motion because she thought the right answers had not been reached.
“I don’t think we should be selling off, or getting rid of in any way, reserved land,” she said.
Cr Picard said towns in Britain had suffered because they lost their communal open land.
“It wasn’t because of the big shops, it was because of the loss of community land.”
She said the shops should be on the eastern side of the Two Wells area.
“The western side should be used for recreational land or community facilities.”
If council does not purchase this land, the State government maintains ownership. Cr Wasley said he would not support the motion “because the State government can’t always be trusted” to do the right thing when it comes to hanging on to land or selling land.
“I would prefer the council had some sort of say in what happens to the land.”
Cr Jones said it was time to move forward.
“We need to move forward with this and take ownership of this decision,” he said.
“It’s not helpful or constructive to go back on this decision.
“I think it’s time we made a decision as a mature council and get on with it.”
Design consultants JPE and Wax designs are scheduled to present new desired future character statements and design guidelines to council next Monday.