I’m going to get all political on you today.
You may be aware that Minister Rau made an announcement in McLaren Vale last week regarding the release of land at Seaford Heights for housing.
The McLaren Vale region, and the Oliver family, have been very against this land development, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the proposed development is on extremely valuable agricultural land. Once it is covered in concrete- that is the end. It may not necessarily be for grapevines, although our recent geology map shows that the soils would be perfect, it could retain its current use for wheat & barley production, or could be retained as open space. We need to understand that if we keep covering our agricultural land with houses, we will soon be in a position where we can’t feed all the people we are building houses for.
Secondly, McLaren Vale is currently a very high contributor to the tourism dollar in our state. The new housing development will mean that the gateway to McLaren Vale will be filled in with very high density, low cost houses. Who wants to holiday in suburbia? I know I don’t.
Thirdly, we don’t have anywhere near the infrastructure in the region to cope with such an influx of population. I’m talking schools, doctors, transport- McLaren Vale doesn’t even have any taxi service currently! And the development is not a very innovative one- just high density, low cost. No thought into being a world class sustainable development, with cutting edge innovation and being leaders in the industry.
Lastly, I just feel extremely sad at the loss of open space and agricultural land. I worry about the next generations on the Taranga property and whether they will be pressured off the land as it gives way to housing and concrete. We just need to be smarter about where we put our housing for the future- how we do it and where we do it. We need to ensure that we maintain our rural and agricultural regions- areas that produce food for our state, and areas that bring the important tourism dollar.
Both Minister Rau and Premier Rann have recently been very vocal about their plans to protect rural regions from urban encroachment- in particular around McLaren Vale and the Barossa. I guess that actions speak louder than words.
Anyway- people far more articulate than me have had plenty to say about this- Philip White’s article is an awesome read http://www.drinkster.blogspot.com/ .