Forget 'the Birdcage': Owl Drive residents plan a better future

Residents of a Murray Bridge street are making their voices heard as a collaborative project aims to make them proud.

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Residents of Murray Bridge’s so-called “Birdcage” are being encouraged to work together to improve their neighbourhood’s reputation.

A program called Bringing Neighbours Together: Owl Drive aims to extend the beautification works started by the Rural City of Murray Bridge along Swanport and Adelaide Roads.

The council hosted a free barbecue at Magpie Drive Reserve on Friday evening which brought roughly 50 neighbours together to share their ideas and visions for their street over a meal and lawn games.

Mayor Brenton Lewis spoke passionately and honestly about his desire to instil pride and remove the stigma attached to the streets too often referred to as “the Birdcage” or “Birdsville”.

Watch his speech to local residents below.

With support from AC Care, the South Australian Housing Authority and Unity College, the planned three-year project will aim to deliver on residents’ ideas for improving their neighbourhood.

Popular suggestions from the night included upgrading the playground at Magpie Drive Reserve; installing a community garden, basketball court, artwork or barbecue facilities; or simply greening up the reserve.

Owl Drive resident Alvin Alcantara hoped the council would continue the good work it had already done elsewhere.

“If they can do things like what they’ve done on Adelaide Road, which is pretty good, that would be great,” he said.

“And maybe upgrading the playground for the kids.”

Riley, three, loves lawn games. Many residents hope that having more grass at Magpie Drive Reserve will get more people using the space. Photo: Kurt Miegel.

Residents also voiced a desire to have support to eradicate the often familiar sight of unkempt front yards with large amounts of hard waste, something Mr Lewis was keen to support.

“If we can assist in any way we can to take the financial pressure of someone to do something with their front yard, we can work with you,” he said.

Other popular suggestions were to reduce the speed limit to 40 kilometres per hour and install traffic-calming measures like speed humps.

Neighbourhood Watch area coordinator Trevor Purdie enjoys the free barbecue with Teresa O’Brien from AC Care on hand to plate up. Photo: Kurt Miegel.

While not specifically part of the project, a proposed service station on the corner of Owl Drive and Swanport Road was also a hot topic which drew a largely negative response from locals.

While some said it would be appealing to have a 24-hour shop open nearby to avoid a walk to the OTR site near Murray Bridge High School, the majority expressed concerns that another service station close to their houses would bring further problems to the area.