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Your views: on council governance, and a Crows' parklands HQ

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Today, readers comment on local government direction, and defend public land against private enroachment.

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Commenting on the story: Mayoral “interference” claim over city councillor motions

Were it not so serious, one might laugh at the regrettable use of patronising excuses for directing the behaviour and language of local elected representatives.

There was a time when local government and the city council brimmed with plain-speak, diverse views, independent thought and vigorous debate that rightly reflects the vibrancy of local democracy.

Instead, it teems with indifference and quelling of voices, which is enveloping the city council and demeaning local governance and the city.

The city is the poorer for what is becoming its council’s hallmark.

Democracy in motion is not a mere matter of convenience. – Elbert Brooks

We’d be better off replicating the Brisbane council; one council for all of Brisbane.

Instead, we have a plethora of suburban councils replicating each other, each council with its own council chambers and a multitude of staff and councillors.

Council town clerks earning astronomical salaries, equivalent to Members of parliament or quite possibly even our Premier.

Vast amounts of council machinery and equipment duplicated by surrounding councils.

And poor ratepayers facing the prospect of increased council rates each year, too fund their ever increasing egos and whims.

Enough is enough. We deserve a centralised council responsible for all ratepayers in Adelaide.

Most suburban council chambers and excess council land and buildings could be sold off to fund a super council and redundancy payments for disbanding our suburban councils. – Mike Lesiw

Commenting on the story: Olympian throws down gauntlet over Crows’ park lands HQ bid

Fifty years of community service will be trashed by the City of Adelaide council if it entertains the proposal from a private football club to take over the running and management of the public Adelaide Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Since the centre was opened by the then Lord Mayor, Robert Porter in December 1969, the centre has provided a public and community facility for the benefit and enjoyment of all South Australians irrespective of where they lived, worked or paid taxes.

That legacy is about to be cast aside on the basis that the council says that it can no longer afford to run it, doesn’t want to run it, that it does not make a profit and is used by people who do not reside in the City of Adelaide.

These new criteria for the provision of public services and facilities turn on their head long term community-based policies and criteria.

It is being seduced by a private club which promises to refurbish the centre and build multi-storied buildings adjacent to the centre for its 65,000 members which means taking over significant parts of the remaining land in Park 2 for training, management, executive and others functions, expanding the existing footprint immeasurably.

The private club also wishes to build a commercial licensed club for its members and provide them with carparking spaces.

Such a proposition is an outrage and a total abnegation of the council’s obligation and legislative imperative to protect and preserve the parklands for future generations.

It should call a halt to all these so called “overtures” and “negotiations”

The council has not sought to canvass any other options or expressions of interest and is dealing solely and quietly with the private commercial club.

Unfortunately, it is aided and abetted in this endeavour by both major political parties, each of which have pledged $15 million to this desecration of the parklands and its amenity.

The council does not deny that the centre is popular, well used and has an extensive user profile. Its own planning documents reveal that there have been 780,000 visits by people of all ages and abilities in the last 12 months.

The council is under no obligation to pick up on the strategic neglect shown by the private club over the last 10 years when it knew it was going to relocate. The club’s “parklands option” is not in the public interest, there is no mandate for it and it does not add to the amenity of Park 2 and would deprive hundreds of thousands of people from the enjoyment they currently gain from the centre.

My experience of the people in Adelaide is that they are solidly behind preserving the parklands from commercial exploitation.

Commercial outsourcing is not and cannot be the criteria upon which any decision about the parklands is made by any level of government. – Mike Duigan

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