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Monarto’s destiny should be up to locals, not outsiders, residents say
Is Monarto to remain a sandbox for politicians and big companies, or will it live up to its promise as a community?
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For too long, Monarto has been dominated by outsiders’ interests, locals say.
Fifty years ago it was the Dunstan government evicting most of the local farming families; more recently, big organisations like Big W, Zoos SA and Australian Portable Camps have been the ones calling the shots.
Through it all, locals have been “over-consulted” but never really listened to, as one suggested at a public meeting last Thursday.
A diverse crowd now inhabited the district: farmers and tree-changers, young families and migrant workers.
But you couldn’t blame most of them for staying at home on a chilly evening – only a handful of people showed up to have their say about the Murray Bridge council’s plans for the district over the next four years.
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“Things are decided outside the community, and the community wears it,” local architect Emilis Prelgauskas told the council’s representatives.
Double standards were a problem, too, those present said.
That was true in everything from council rates, which Zoos SA didn’t pay; to SA Water coverage, which was all but non-existent; to landscaping requirements, which seemed to apply to residents but not large companies.
“Things we’d have to do to live happily with council, these people don’t have to,” local historian Barry Wilson said.
What would make things better?
Public transport to and from, and around, Murray Bridge
A new map for the info bay near the freeway, focusing on a wider area
Streetscaping on Ferries McDonald Road
Enforcement of council development policies
A closer relationship between Zoos SA and Monarto CFS
There was a lot to like about the community, though, the locals said, including its top-class conservation parks and widely renowned go-karting, motocross, remote-control aircraft and shooting facilities.
Mayor Wayne Thorley said he was listening.
In particular, he mentioned that – on his watch – there would be “no free ride” for Australian Portable Camps, a company which had clashed with the council on development issues over a number of years.
Consultation on the council’s strategic plan will continue with workshops at the Murray Bridge council office at 2pm this Thursday, August 17; and at Murray Bridge RSL at 6pm next Tuesday, August 22.
Have your say: Complete the survey at letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au before August 31.
More information: letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au/murray-bridge-structure-plan.