Thursday, September 9, 2010

Letter to the City of Onkaparinga RE: Seaford Heights

Dear Councillor,

I wish to show my personal support of the City of Onkaparinga in regards to the proposed Seaford Heights development.

I am not anti-development, far from it. Development means employment and progress; my Mother and Father ran Southern Drainage for 35 years. Housing development gave my family the dollars and cents (also pounds and pence!) and helped me get to where I am today.

In the city I want to be part of we develop in a smart way. We don’t except old practices and we think outside the box to create places for people to live a good lifestyle. I think Adelaide needs to build smart best practice 21st century, not build in a sprawling , mid 20th century style.

I feel proud of the City of Onkaparinga for sharing that vision with their decision regarding Seaford Heights.

I applaud the decision by the City of Onkaparinga to recommend that the State Government re-zone Seaford Heights from residential to rural – keeping it as buffer space.
In an ideal world development policy needs to be - infrastructure first... then housing.

Unfortunately, I have been worried that we are getting good at creating car transport dependent housing. Suburbs where you have no choice but to commute by car to your work, to your doctor, to shops like Marion. We are in real terms a CO2 city. We are ruled by the car and the commute.

However I see hope, for example, we have a huge amount of land at Christies Beach / Downs that is slowly being turned in to very good, seaside, medium density housing.

In this area, with good planning and investment a great suburbs could be created near existing train line, shops, and hospitals. Currently the area still has run down 1950's, 1960's and 1970’s housing - often still on 1/2 acre blocks, ripe for medium density development such as what was proposed at Seaford Heights.

My first house was in this area, and it was a great place to live. I could walk to the beach, or shops, or train service or a local doctor, or even the Noarlunga hospital as I needed. I had a reasonably short car ride to McLaren Vale where I worked. It represented a good lifestyle.

Can you do this from Seaford Rise? Or the proposed Seaford Heights? Other than the short car ride to McLaren Vale, it does not have the same advantages. In fact I would go as far to say those in the Seaford area are disadvantaged in comparison to those nearer supporting infrastructure. I feel you can't live without a heavily car based lifestyle in the new sprawling suburbs.

Meanwhile, Christies Beach is slowly changing into a very livable location. This is happening organically due to natural market forces e.g. private land developers. Unfortunately the large developers don't buy up areas like this because they like virgin land, which is much cheaper and easier. Under this development model we sprawl to the outskirts of Adelaide and leave areas like Christies Downs to stagnate, when in fact a renovated suburb, with a combination of medium density, rentals and small houses would be a great place to live.

I hope in the battle between mid 20th century style, cheap, virgin land developing versus infill 21st century best practice, we remain creative and don’t settle for second best.

That is my view and those who share in it will have my support.

Thanks for all your hard work on the communities behalf.

Regards,

James Hook

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