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Murray Bridge council watch: May 2022
Here's the latest on a car rally at Rockleigh, Murray Bridge's silo art, Erskine Bridge at Callington and more.
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Adelaide Hills Rally approved without consultation
A controversial motor sport event will return to the Murraylands this October after winning the approval of Murray Bridge’s councillors.
Most stages of the Adelaide Hills Rally will take place at the Bend Motorsport Park, and a street party will be staged in Murray Bridge on the Thursday night leading into it.
But roads at Rockleigh and Monarto will also be closed for the event on October 22.
Residents of the area were not consulted before councillors made their decision.
Cr Karen Eckermann argued that the rally would have a dire impact on the operators of animal refuge Wildlife SA, whose native animals suffered greatly when the event last visited in 2019.
But Cr Mat O’Brien said the promised street party, and economic benefits it would bring, had soothed the concerns he had last time.
Sections of Frahns Farm, Wattle, Disher Hill, Preamimma, Anders, Law, Panican Hill and Critchley Roads will be closed for about six hours on the day.
Murray Bridge silo art concept finalised
An image of a father and daughter fishing will be painted on Murray Bridge’s silos after councillors gave their final approval earlier this month.
Artist Sam “Smug” Bates will complete the artwork in the coming months, as weather permits.
A recent public consultation suggested that most locals were generally in favour of the design – only two of the 35 people who responded were opposed.
Cr Clem Schubert said he was among those who had concerns – he wanted the artwork to focus more on the district’s agricultural past – but Cr Wayne Thorley pointed out that Mr Bates was a very skilful artist.
“Let’s give him a chance,” Cr Thorley said.
‘We keep flogging a dead horse, we’ll convince them eventually’
The Murray Bridge council will keep trying to convince Callington residents that a traffic light is the answer to their concerns about pedestrian safety on the bridge which links the two sides of the town.
At a public meeting on April 7, locals had shown a strong preference for a new pedestrian bridge, rather than the cheaper option of putting lights on the single-lane Erskine Bridge, the council’s city infrastructure manager said.
Cr Wayne Thorley suggested the council was “flogging a dead horse” by continuing to resist the option locals obviously wanted.
“We’re here to meet community expectations,” he said.
“A historic bridge, putting stop lights on it, to me is not meeting their needs and we must look for other options … if it’s not us that does that, the state government will need to come to the party.”
That would be ideal, Mayor Brenton Lewis said, but without a record of crashes or injuries on the bridge, it wasn’t likely to happen.
Councillors voted to continue “targeted consultation” with various groups around Callington.
Solar farm rules are not good enough, councillors say
The Murray Bridge council has called for a review of statewide planning regulations around solar farms, which councillors say are not good enough.
The council’s development team leader told a council committee that there were rules about the visual impact of solar farm developments, how they would affect native vegetation and how far back they should be set from fencelines.
But the current regulations provided little guidance around the acceptable size and scale for solar farms, appropriate locations or “interface impacts” on neighbours, she said in a report.
The council voted to write to Plan SA and the Murraylands and Riverland Local Government Association about the issue.
Thirteen applications to build solar farms have been made in the Murray Bridge district since 2018.
Council hopes to unlock land for housing
Land in Murray Bridge’s west and south should soon be opened up for housing under a council rezoning plan.
In the long term, the council hopes to rezone almost 370 hectares of land west of Bremer Road, and along Old Swanport Road, to accommodate the thousands of people who are expected to move to the city over the next 20 years.
But for now it will focus on three much smaller areas around Bremer Road, currently zoned “deferred urban”; and Agricultural Drive and Commerce Road, currently rural living.
Public consultation will be required before the zoning can be changed.
Residents should be given free trees to plant, councillor suggests
The Murray Bridge council should give out free trees to residents to help with its efforts to slow down climate change, a councillor has suggested.
Karen Eckermann brought the idea to the council’s May meeting.
Giving away trees people could plant in their gardens would improve shade cover, civic pride, public health and the overall look of the city, she said, as well as helping to slow down climate change.
Council staff will report back with suggestions about how the scheme could work.