Wildens Way plan locked in: riverfront shacks will go in 2061

Barring legal action, the Murray Bridge council's plan for the Wildens Way precinct is now set in stone.

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Community members are still behind a Murray Bridge council push to create more open space on the riverfront at Wildens Way.

Only legal action by the leaseholders can now stop the plan to demolish the shacks on Wildens Way when their leases expire in 2061, tripling the size of Long Island Reserve.

That plan was finally approved by councillors at a meeting on Monday night.

One last round of community consultation had found 16 residents in favour of the plan and only one clearly opposed.

“Times have changed since the introductory of 100-year leases,” one respondent said.

“We as a society have a greater understanding of the importance of the environment.

“The land should be reversed into natural state and the general public should have access ... without feeling like they are intruding on private grounds.”

Another respondent urged councillors to think of their children and grandchildren.

“We as current ratepayers owe future residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy our marvellous riverfront,” he said.

Others suggested planting river red gums in the Samphire Wetland behind the shacks, and putting up signage around the so-called “Ngarrindjeri scar tree”, a black box from which a canoe was once made.

Council staff will consider both ideas.

Opposed to the plan was an Adelaide couple who leased one of the shacks, and who argued that they and their neighbours should have the right to buy the land.

Prior to December, the council had planned to sell the Wildens Way land to the shack owners.

Only after discovering a 13-year-old administrative error, indicating that the land should have been protected, did the council change its tune.

Members of the Wildens Way Shack Owners Association have previously threatened to take the council to court over the matter.

Photo: Peri Strathearn. Disclosure: The author made a submission in favour of the council’s plan during the public consultation period.