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Long Island Reserve logjam needs fixing, resident says
Graham Hallandal wants the Murray Bridge council to make use of vacant riverfront blocks on Wildens Way now, not just in 2061.
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An expansion of Long Island Reserve is needed now, not in 40 years’ time, a prominent Murray Bridge resident says.
Graham Hallandal has been a vocal advocate for public access to the River Murray over the past few years, as the Murray Bridge council set its long-term plans to demolish a row of shacks on Wildens Way and turn the area into a public park.
Now he says the council should set aside money in its 2022-23 budget to start making use of the blocks that are already vacant.
The area was overflowing with people on Australia Day, he said in a letter to councillors, with cars double-parked and some visitors forced to find somewhere else to go.
“Council needs to provide, prior to next year’s budget, a plan for the area that includes immediate expansion and expenditure,” he suggested.
“The council-owned vacant land on Wildens Way is an obvious first step for additional car parking without trailers and (a) treed and lawned area adjacent to the river.
“A longer-term plan for council-owned buildings should be considered as step two.”
The council does have a medium-term plan to relieve the pressure on Long Island Reserve and other crowded riverfront spots by establishing new hubs for ski boat users at Toora and Swanport.
However, funding has not yet been allocated to that plan, either.
Councillors and staff will prepare the council’s 2022-23 budget during the next few months.
The council usually publishes a draft budget in about May, which gives the public time to offer feedback before a final version is approved by councillors in June.
What about developing Hume Reserve instead?
Cr Clem Schubert raised the overcrowding issue at the council’s meeting on Monday night, saying there was a big demand for more riverfront areas.
What about Hume Reserve, he asked – could that be developed into something more useable?
“It’s so close to Murray Bridge, and the people who visit this town would be spending money in this town,” he said.
“It’s an extra opportunity for visitors and an extra opportunity for us to make a dollar and create more jobs.”
Mayor Brenton Lewis agreed that the reserve had been on the council’s radar for a long time, and noted that none of the proposals for the area had yet got off the ground.
The council has generally left it to Ngarrindjeri authorities to decide what should be done with Hume Reserve, traditionally known as Pomberuk – it was an important meeting place prior to European settlement and the site of a town camp up until the 1940s.
The surrounding railway land was handed back to the Ngarrindjeri people in 2019 as part of a native title settlement.
Council staff will prepare a report on the options available to solve the overcrowding issue.
Disclosure: Mr Hallandal is a regular unpaid contributor to Murray Bridge News, as the author of the Walk of the Month feature.
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