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Council signs off $8m SACA parklands redevelopment

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Adelaide City Council has agreed in-principle to an $8 million parklands sports hub redevelopment proposed by the South Australian Cricket Association.

SACA wants to upgrade and consolidate its parklands facilities, opposite the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, to improve spectator and change room facilities in a new, smaller building, adding a kitchen, a bar and entertainment space.

The upgrades would reduce the footprint of SACA’s existing buildings on the site by 65 per cent.

“This will provide substantial improvement to our sport and recreational facilities in the west parklands,” Lord Mayor Martin Haese told InDaily this morning.

“SACA’s been a long-term licensee (and) we’re pleased to work with SACA.

“This is a mixed use facility, in terms of cricket, football, lacrosse and even beach volleyball.

“I think it’s a very good outcome for everybody.”

The council has committed $50,000 in its budget for this financial year to help SACA continue the development of concept designs and cost estimates for the project.

“The plan would improve the amenity of the space for informal use by the growing numbers of workers, visitors and students,” said Haese.

“It’s a great plan for the area, as Narnungga (park 25) is so well located to the tram line, University of South Australia, New Royal Adelaide Hospital, West End retailers, eateries and bars.”

The in-principle approval was passed almost unanimously at last night’s council meeting.

However, North Ward councillor Phillip Martin voted against it, arguing the process to develop the plan with SACA had not been transparent enough.

He said it would be unwise for the council to approve a proposal that would extend SACA’s lease by 42 years on the basis of “nominal” licence fees.

He told InDaily this morning that the proposal would see SACA pay “as little as $10 per square metre per year” and said there should have been an open tender process to redevelop the area.

“It’s a flawed process because it lacks transparency,” he said.

“Adelaide City Council just picked someone (SACA) then it agreed … to lock up that part of the parklands for 42 years on extremely generous terms.

“An organisation with that much wealth (SACA) doesn’t warrant a peppercorn rent – they are not a poor, struggling community organisation.

scope

A bird’s-eye view of the scope of the proposed redevelopment.

“The big end of town is getting first bite of the parklands.”

However, Haese told InDaily the proposal would allow for public use of much of the space.

He said there had been a wide consultation with all stakeholders on the proposal since 2013.

“I think this has been a very transparent process, I don’t have any concerns about that,” he said.

“There’s been two years of substantial work put into this,” he said.

Haese stressed that the plan had only been given in-principle support, and that there were “loads of checks and balances” for the proposal between now and any full approval in the future.

He said there would be a new round of consultation on the proposal, that would come back to a council committee, then it would be debated and voted on finally by a full meeting of the council.

Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad told InDaily the redevelopment would bring “massive results” for city users, economically and socially.

He said Martin’s criticisms of the process were “unfounded” because there had been extensive consultation on the proposal, and that there was “no requirement” for the council to go to tender on it.

SACA’s lease covers just under 10 hectares of the west parklands. The organisation has leased the land for just over 30 years.

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