A Kent Town public park: a lost opportunity?

There will be few suburbs in South Australia without some publicly available open green space, ranging from large suburban parks and sporting fields to smaller community parks.

Kent Town is the only NPSP Council suburb with NO publicly available open green space.

Kent Town also has about the least tree canopy cover, the greatest amount of hard reflective surfaces and is one of the hottest suburbs on both day and night.

The Kent Town Residents Association (KTRA) is not against development and in the A Liveable Kent Town: Our Plan  argues for managed density within a greener Kent Town.

After 43 years of service, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) buildings in College Road were decommissioned last year and the building has been demolished.

The weather measuring space next door is the size of a small house block that is grassed and owned by the Commonwealth Government which is considering disposing of the space.

What it looks like now.

(Photo Dave Baker KTRA)

The KTRA is arguing for this space to be returned to the people of Kent Town as a small public park. The photo and illustration show what the space looks like now and could be.

The three levels of Government seem unable, or unwilling, to cooperate to do this.

The Commonwealth Government owns the land. The KTRA has asked the Federal member for Sturt, James Stevens MP, to intervene to stop the disposal of the property while we can argue our case but was advised only that disposal of the land will follow the usual “Commonwealth Property Disposal Policy”.

Last year KTRA made a submission to the SA Parliament Inquiry into Urban Green Space arguing that Kent Town needs support and we were critical of the State Government’s dipping into the Open Space Fund. This contains funds from levies on developments to fund open space within the community. In Kent Town there are some 21 developments that have recently been completed, are under construction or planned, so there must have been some receipts from Kent Town. Yet the State Government has taken millions out to fund its overspending on its Planning system restructure. Disappointingly, there appears to be little benefit from having the Premier as our local member for help with a community park for the electors in Kent Town.

Unfortunately, the NPSP Council declined to seek assistance from the State Government for funding for open space in Kent Town because the State would only provide funding to ‘employment-related’ proposals. Yet funding was sought for projects in other suburbs already with open space.

NPSP Council documents emphasise the lack of open space here in Kent Town and therefore the importance of streets to the residents. Given NPSP already own the streets, maybe they should close a street down to create publicly available open green space.

The people and the organisations mentioned here are no doubt hard-working and well-intentioned but are not achieving the needs of the people of Kent Town.

We hope that this is not ‘a lost opportunity’ and soon there might be announcements that the land really will become a public park. Now that would be a great forecast!!

What it could look like!

(Graphic Art: Sayed Fazeli)