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An open letter regarding Shed 26

Opinion

In a last ditch effort to save Port Adelaide’s Shed 26 from demolition, advocates have sent an open letter to the Premier Steven Marshall and the chairman of developer Cedar Woods. The list of signatories includes prominent people in the arts, architecture, the union movement, the Kaurna community, the museum sector, and more. The letter is reproduced below.

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Hon. Steven Marshall, MP
Premier of South Australia
GPO Box 2343
ADELAIDE SA 5001

Mr William G Hames
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Cedar Woods
PO Box 788, West Perth, WA, 6872

An open letter regarding Shed 26

2 May 2019

Dear Premier Marshall and Mr Hames,

We write urgently to ask that you intervene to halt the imminent demolition of Shed 26 at Glanville, South Australia.

We believe that there is no reason for Cedar Woods to pull the building down in the immediate future.

We ask that you pause this hasty action, which has commenced with the fencing of Shed 26 earlier this week, in order to fully explore all possible alternatives to the destruction of this important and striking building.

While taking into account Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs MP’s decision under the Heritage Places Act to remove Shed 26 from the State Heritage Register, demolition of the building should be the absolute last resort.

It is incumbent on the South Australian Government and the Board of Cedar Woods to take every opportunity to find a solution.

State heritage

As you are aware, the South Australia Heritage Council has found that Shed 26 overwhelmingly meets the high threshold for state heritage listing. It has been found to have state significance for its contribution to the development of South Australia, its outstanding cultural significance, its strong importance to the community, and its special association with the South Australian Harbors Board and the Government dockyards.

Minister Speirs, in his letter to Shed 26 supporters on 18th April 2019, suggested that adaptive reuse of Shed 26 could alter the building so much as to diminish its heritage fabric. This is incorrect and contrary to most understandings of contemporary use of heritage buildings.

There are many ways in which Cedar Woods could profitably repurpose the building which would be satisfactory to the community and to heritage values. These possibilities have not been fully explored.

Good faith with the community

As Minister Speirs has acknowledged, it is fair for the community of Port Adelaide and Lefevre Peninsula to feel that they have not been dealt with in good faith. The retention and exploration of adaptive reuse of Shed 26 was written into the site’s development plan and were part of the EOI/tender process that Cedar Woods participated in.

Before and after Cedar Woods was awarded the tender, Shed 26 remained on all plans and illustrations (Cedar Woods, State Government/Renewal SA and City of Port Adelaide Enfield) of the north-west corner of the Port’s Inner Harbor, right up until very recently. In fact, as recently as 18th April 2019, illustrations of Cedar Woods’ ‘Fletcher’s Slip’ development with Shed 26 retained remained on Renewal SA’s website.

The community has participated in many years of consultation, stop-and-start planning processes, and has engaged with these in good faith. The community feel they have been duped into believing Shed 26 would be retained when there was no intention to do so. It cannot be overstated how much this process has negatively affected the reputation of Cedar Woods in the community.

Cedar Woods and the Government have an opportunity to repair some of the distress caused by this flawed process by at least delaying demolition and fully exploring possibilities for the site within a set timeframe.

Missed opportunity

Good places are built on narrative, imagination and authenticity. The decision to demolish Shed 26 rather than adaptively reuse it, is a huge missed opportunity to see the site transformed into a world class waterfront development.

We note that at Dock One, Starfish are building new houses with sawtooth roofs and investing $30million into the adaptive reuse of a non-heritage listed important brutalist building.

Heritage buildings are repurposed in visionary ways all around Australia and the world in waterfront developments, Hobart being just one case in point. Eminent architect Robert Morris-Nunn, who as you know provided advice to Cedar Woods, has described Shed 26 as ripe for adaptive reuse and its potential demolition as a big loss that is hard to understand.

We respectfully ask both of you to listen to the heritage and adaptive reuse experts and give Shed 26 one last chance.

We ask that you enable an opportunity for proposals for adaptive reuse of the building to be given more time to be costed and considered in full.

Once Shed 26 is demolished, it – and the opportunity for a new kind of development in Port Adelaide that doesn’t repeat the old mistakes – is gone forever.

Regards,

Aunty Margaret Brodie, Kaurna custodian, Lartelare Park, Port Adelaide

Mickey Kumatpi Marrutya O’Brien, Senior Kaurna and Nurrunga man and former member of the Port Adelaide Renewal Project Steering Committee

Hon. Mark Butler, MP, Federal Member for Port Adelaide

Hon. Susan Close, MP, State Member for Port Adelaide

Hon. Tammy Franks, MLC

Cr Joost den Hartog, Port Adelaide Ward, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Cr Steve Vines, Port Adelaide Ward, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Cr David Wilkins, Semaphore Ward, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Cr Helen Wright, Semaphore Ward, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Deborah Morgan, President, The National Trust of South Australia

Michelle Hogan, Chairperson, Port of Adelaide National Trust

Dr Urs Bette, MArch, Program Director, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide

Anthony Coupe RAIA M.ICOMOS, Visiting Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Director Mulloway Studio

Tony Giannone BArch FRAIA, President of the Australian Institute of Architects, SA Chapter, Professor, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide, Director Tectvs Pty Ltd

James Hayter, President, International Federation of Landscape Architects, Professor, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Adelaide, Director, Oxigen

Robert Morris-Nunn, AM, Adjunct Professor, Circa Morris-Nunn Architects, Hobart, Tasmania

Michael Pilkington, FRAIA, Director, Phillips/Pilkington Architects

Dr Julian Worrall, Professor of Architecture, School of Technology, Environments and Design, University of Tasmania

Dr Kevin Fewster, former Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, the South Australian Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Kevin Jones, Director, South Australian Maritime Museum

Lindl Lawton, Senior Curator, South Australian Maritime Museum

Kevin Sumption, Director, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

Brian Samuels, Professional Historian and former Principal Heritage Officer, Heritage SA

Jenny Scott, former employee of the Department of Marine and Harbors, Archivist State Library South Australia, Australian Society of Archivists Accredited Professional, Member International Council on Archives

Jamie Newlyn, South Australian Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia

Andrew Sutherland, Assistant National Secretary, CFMEU C&G Division

Neil Armfield AO, Joint Artistic Director, Adelaide Festival

Christie Anthoney, The Pear, Alberton

Tony Bazeley, President, Port Adelaide Residents Environment Protection Group

Peter Bicknell AM, former Chair of the Port Adelaide Renewal Project Steering Committee

Nici Cumpston, Artistic Director, TARNANTHI

Bob Daly, Chairperson, Port Adelaide Artists Forum

Bryan Dawe, political satirist and former Birkenhead boy

Cath Duncan, former President of Port Adelaide Chamber of Commerce and former member of the Port Adelaide Renewal Project Steering Committee

Alex Frayne, photographer

Jon Gray, Infrastructure Surveyor

Karen James, Gaff Studio Apartment, Port Adelaide

Tony Kearney, former Jenkins Street boatyard tenant and former member of the Port Adelaide Renewal Project Steering Committee

David Sefton, Artistic director and festival curator

Emma Webb, Director, Vitalstatistix, Port Adelaide

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