Response from Adrian Shackley
- Following the example of other similar councils across Australia, regarding action on climate change, what climate change mitigation and/or adaptation actions do you see as important for Gawler Council over the next 4 years?(For example https://www.resilientsouth.com)
Councils have a vital role in undertaking measures to assist in limiting global warming to 1.5 C. Gawler Council should be expanding solar power production on buildings and potential solar farms, moving to electric vehicles, and prioritising investment in good walking and cycling infrastructure. Possible solar lights on some high use walking paths. Councils also have a major role in providing leadership and community education to improve recycling, reduce power use, limit water use etc. Council is monitoring relevant variables but needs more attention to getting results and publicity such as in Annual Report. Gawler Council can assist resilience with biodiversity assets in the town by finalising its Biodiversity Management Plan and redirecting some resources to implement priority actions.
- Lots of residential development is happening in Gawler at the moment. Some concerns have been raised regarding subsequent financial and environmental impacts to the community and council, please describe your approach or concerns about the following two aspects: a. Ensuring, where possible, development incorporates sustainable design principles at design stage.
I have several years’ experience on development assessment panels. Unfortunately the experience with most new housing development is that it is quite difficult for councils to produce more than minimum outcomes. Partly this results from state development and building codes providing developers and builders with basic requirements only. Just saying Council will actively enforce standards does not necessarily produce good results. Gawler would benefit from a dedicated planner with higher level sustainability skills.
b. Ensuring that ongoing financial and energy inputs, to council (e.g. in maintenance of open space areas after hand-back to council) are considered at design stage.
Open space planning has been a problem. Developers always wish to provide showy landscaping to encourage sales. Council has an obligation to ensure equity across old and new areas and appropriate landscaping and facilities. I have been actively working for some years to provide input on sustainable landscaping. There is an important role for local parks and playgrounds but water use and management costs need to be reasonable. The creeklines and steep areas in the foothills in eastern Gawler need to be promoted for their biodiversity and habitat qualities and potential for high value quiet recreation for locals and the wider community.
- The future of sustainable food production and other rural uses in Gawler’s Rural Zone has been an issue for Gawler Council over recent years. Proposals include changing the Rural Zone to focus on more residential development. What do you see as the future for Gawler’s Rural Zone?
Rural areas are important in providing food and a society where food production is not divorced from urban living. There are issues with viability of some crops in Gawler’s Rural Zone and changes will be needed. There are quite a number of successful primary production activities – horticulture, viticulture, flower production and nurseries. Cooperative activities need to be encouraged. The Rural Zone also allows many people to enjoy a rural lifestyle with home based businesses and other industries including horses and dogs. I have supported rate rebates for rural areas.
I don’t believe there is support for a future involving much expanded residential housing at the expense of rural activities and the current open landscape. Gawler Rural Zone is about 1650 hectares containing about 250 houses. With current development rules could expand to 400-500 houses mainly in the Kudla 0.9ha area. Taking out about 150 ha (State Government MOSS, cemetery & council land along Smith Rd and existing industrial areas) and allow say 300 ha for roads and some open space – 1200 ha with 1 acre (0.4ha) lots has potential for c.3000 houses in total, and ½ acre (0.2ha) lots potential for c. 6000 in total. For comparison urban Gawler now has about 9000 houses.
- Gawler has been a car reliant town, how would you encourage the adoption of sustainable transport options to help address Gawler’s traffic and car parking problems? (Eg. Footpaths suitable for bike trailers and prams, shade trees along footpaths, bicycle parking in the shopping precinct, water drinking fountains.)
Council recently adopted a new Walking and Cycling Plan. Prioritising funding for the initiatives in the report is the key. Building a case for funding input from State and Commonwealth Govts is also needed. Some footpath improvements are particularly urgent for walking into the town centre eg along Julian Tce east side. Funding has been quite high for residential footpaths for a few years but there is still a big backlog. Better infrastructure and publicising the benefits of walking and cycling is the best way to limit traffic problems and car use. Support other suggestions in question.
- Tell us about your ownpersonal initiatives to make your lifestyle sustainable.
Reduced home energy consumption through low energy lights, better home insulation, energy efficient appliances, having house temperatures much higher in summer and lower in winter and having only limited living areas heated or cooled to save on heating and cooling, use of overhead fans for efficient summer cooling in several rooms, shaded walls with deciduous plants to reduce heat intake in hotter months. Careful recycling. Better shade management and hand watering in native plant nursery to reduce water use by about 2/3. More walking and some cycling – more to be done here! Providing habitat in garden and nursery for many native reptiles and other critters.