Residents unite to oppose park sale

EVANSTON Gardens residents have banded together to oppose a Gawler Council proposal to divest a community park that they claim is an essential part of the amenity and peaceful lifestyle of the neighbourhood.

Council has begun notifying neighbours along Musgrave Street and Hindmarsh Boulevard, in Evanston Gardens, that it will soon commence public consultation regarding the potential revocation of community land located on the corner of both streets.

The consultation period will begin this Sunday, April 8, starting with a ‘Play in the Park’ event to be held at the nearby Hindmarsh Boulevard Reserve – which is located down the street from the land in question – and go until May 31.

Musgrave Street resident Peter Baker has already started a petition opposing the community land revocation, which has garnered 48 signatures, while residents along the street have posted signs reading ‘No park sale’ and ‘Don’t be silent!’ on their front yards.

Mr Baker, who has lived on the street for over three decades, doesn’t want to see the park sold off – either in part, or in full – to private developers to be turned into “wall-towall roofs”, saying it would disturb the peace and quiet in the area.

“It is my belief that the council should be providing more open space, not less,” he said.

Neighbour Jan Martin, who has lived on the street for around 40 years, agreed with Mr Baker’s sentiment, saying further residential development would impact on the amenity and land values of pre-existing houses.

She was critical of the council’s overall attitude towards the reserve – which she said hadn’t been properly maintained for a number of years, and had been consumed by caltrop – and sceptical that the proceeds of the land sale would be returned to Evanston Gardens ratepayers.

“Our kids played over there, they climbed on the trees, they used to play on the playground when it was there,” she said.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Gawler Mayor Karen Redman said council is keen to hear from residents during the consultation period, which would then allow it to consider selling part of the reserve.

“Council has not yet resolved to sell the land or how proceeds will be invested, but seek residents’ feedback regarding revocation of the Community Land status,” she said.

“Council is considering a number of options, including the potential to invest some of the sale proceeds into upgrading the nearby Hindmarsh Boulevard Reserve playground and park.

“Residents are invited to attend the Play in the Park, where they will have the opportunity to meet with council staff and ask questions, or, alternatively, download the information pack and have their say via the Your Voice Gawler website, from Sunday, April 8.”

To have your say online, visit gawler.sa.gov.au/yourvoice

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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