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Your views: on Urrbrae heritage, COVID testing and The Overland

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the Transport Department preferring to demolish a heritage-listed gatehouse, pre-flight testing for repatriated Australians, and the Adelaide-Melbourne train service.

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Commenting on the story: Urrbrae gatehouse demolition preferred as moving would ‘decrease heritage value’

Seriously? How could bulldozing the gatehouse do less damage to its heritage value than moving it? – Allen Marett

I get it. According to government bureaucrats, the gatehouse’s heritage vale would be maintained by demolishing it.

Ministry of Funny Walks? Yes Minister? Yes, all of that. – Robert Warn

What a pitiful argument to justify the demolition of this iconic historical structure, regarded with great affection and importance by so many in the community.

It also belittles the remarkable philanthropic gesture of Peter Waite who donated this incredible parcel of highly valuable land to the state.

It seems apparent that this building can be successfully moved at a reasonable cost and I would have thought it could be relocated a very short distance further back in the block, behind where the proposed new road swings from Cross to Fullarton Roads.

I think the Government would be very wise not to underestimate the anger this issue is generating amongst the normally silent populace. – Mike Giffen

I think we are in bigger trouble than we thought with our governance system. We have a senior bureaucrat telling us that, in order to protect the Waite Gatehouse from damage or loss of heritage value due to its re-location, it should be demolished.  

The disordered logic behind this assertion would be laughable, if it weren’t so serious, and if a Minister of the Crown didn’t believe it.

The Government needs to discard any thought of destroying this iconic State Heritage building if it wants to avoid public opprobrium and a significant electoral backlash. – Warren Jones

Dear Minister Wingard, I wish to explain why I will not be voting Liberal at the next election.

I am totally opposed to the demolition of Waite Lodge, and find that the SA Government’s stubbornness to compromise beggars belief.

Cook’s Cottage was relocated from the UK to Melbourne in 1934. Can the Government seriously expect me to believe that, nearly 100 years later, there is not the technology nor engineering prowess, to either keep the Waite Lodge in it’s current location, or move it to an other spot in the Waite Institute?

Adelaide’s historical buildings are what make us unique. Am I missing something? – Nicola Hastings

The same could be said for Cleopatra’s needle in London and Cook’s cottage in Melbourne. I have never heard such rubbish in all my days.

Stop dealing in dollars and deal with the fact that the “servants” are just too lazy to organise it. Drives me mad. – Mike Jackson

Interesting argument from the government. Moving the gatehouse would diminish its heritage and cultural value, but reducing it to rubble wouldn’t?

And it would cost the taxpayers – who have not even been consulted about the cost – too much?

I wonder what the total cost of this expensive project is. My guess is that the $900,000 to $3,000,000 quoted for the move would be a small percentage.

And the gatehouse has not been lived in for a while? The same applies to the War Memorial. Demolish that as well?

And it is dirty and untidy inside, with salt damp. That has applied to every old building in Adelaide at some time. Check the Yellow Pages, Stephen, and see if you can find some cleaners and renovators. I despair! – David Miller

Minister Corey Wingard and DPTI Executive director of transport project delivery Jon Whelan are being disingenuous when they say that demolition of the Urrbrae gatehouse is the only option. Experts have provided options including relocation of the gatehouse.

Whelan goes on to indicate that relocating the gatehouse as a whole building would decrease the heritage value – I assume that it is OK to demolish the gatehouse, removing all of it’s cultural heritage value!

Excuses by Whelan also include a list of preparatory work for relocation – would you like me to provide a list of preparatory work to demolish the houses and build the new road intersection?

This is a serious error by DPTI and the Minister, which will assist the removal of the Minister at the next ministerial reshuffle. – Bruce Underwood

As I am heading towards the century, maybe I should be demolished!

Age means nothing to some, so heritage listing is fast becoming meaningless. So what if it’s heritage value is demolished by the move?

If it is repositioned on the grounds of Waite it will continue to be valued, and will be safe from this who do not value heritage. – Mary Isabel Storer

They waste so much money on other things. Choose the best outcome possible and spent the money. It is our money, not theirs, when it is all boiled down.

The money they save by demolition will be wasted anyway. I’m sure demolition will do more damage to the heritage value! – Alan Burns

How about removing the pavement to create the extra lane and build an accessible path though the grounds, not only save the building but make it accessible to the public. – Peter Collins

Commenting on the opinion piece: Barbarians at the gatehouse

Hurrah! Somebody is saying these roads are nonsense.

I believe the plan is to take trucks from South Rd up Cross Rd to the S-E freeway. Madness. Portrush Rd is already altered for trucks, leave it alone!

Spend money on local projects, cycle ways. – Brian Peat

Perfectly articulated. – Michael Adams

Governments must surely have a duty of care to their citizens; they are required to make decisions for the benefit of the public. When was the last time a decision was made that would pass this simple – yet essential – test?  I’m struggling to think of one that doesn’t involve Covid.

Bigger roads with more cars travelling on them is not in anybody’s interest, unless maybe you’re selling cars or building bigger roads. It also splits communities.

What is in everybody’s interest is world class public transport and excellent active transport options. Build it and they will come.

Great public transport infrastructure provides long term jobs for both men and women as well as improved health outcomes for everyone. Road-building on the other hand provides short term jobs vastly skewed in favour of the boys and these bigger roads ultimately lead to poorer health outcomes. 

When we provide viable alternatives to bigger roads – rather than making the bigger roads the default – we are healthier, we sleep better, we’re more productive and we have huge savings to our health system. Children can walk or ride to school – now there’s a radical idea! – and their parents can get to work more easily, whether they go actively or take public transport.

The fight for the Waite lodge is about so many different things: the integrity of Peter Waite’s bequest, the fate of State heritage listed buildings, the fate of big, old canopy providing trees, as well as being about transparent and genuine public consultation. 

Whichever aspect of this current struggle is the most important for you, the fight for the lodge is also about elected representatives making long-term decisions for the good of everyone in the state, not just in the interests of their bureaucratic masters or the lobby groups that make generous donations to campaign funds.

Governments disregard this at their peril. – Joanna Wells

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed in David Washington’s article.

Why have heritage listing if it can be so easily overturned? I despair the loss of some of our most beloved heritage icons, as well as the less iconic but nonetheless important markers of our history.

When in Rome last year I marvelled at how well the past had been preserved. Of course they have centuries on us, but we are fast running out of things to preserve.

We don’t need more bitumen but we do need a sensible, efficient public transport system and an eye on the past – not just on the future. – Jo Dinnison

Well done InDaily for an excellent article. It’s not the planning that is lacking – it is always the implementation and a search for piecemeal solutions to suit short-term political timeframes.

Public transport drives city amenity and convenience. If Adelaide is to have a future as a liveable, vibrant city it needs public transport. Otherwise we will be a vast car-dependent suburb, where our wealthy citizens spend significant proportions of their disposable income on transport and the environment and those without cars lose both hope and a viable future. – Heather Webster

For a long time now DPTI has grown into a unaccountable monstrosity that needs to brought back into line to serve, not dictate, to the citizens who pay their salaries.

Firstly during the drought they turned off fountains, waterfalls and sprinklers in avenues such as Greenhill Road, disingenuously claiming they were doing it to save water and not upset the citizens of Murray Bridge who travelled down the freeway. Really?! The reality was an easily disguised way of saving money.

Now the gatehouse. Not only could it sit in the middle of a roundabout as a feature with a little ingenuity, or just add an additional light change so there are four streams not the existing three, but the nasty truth behind this is the intention to pave the way for directing all semis and haulage vehicles down Cross Rd to meet the South road “freeway” when finished, totally diverting them from Portrush Road.

Watch the undergrounding of the Belair railway line as it crosses Cross Rd and the Goodwood Rd/Cross Rd intersection come up as the next “priority” targets.

How about re-paving the goat tracks that are Belair/Unley and Goodwood roads instead- oh that’s right, no trucks use those roads! – Peter Macdonald

Commenting on the story: National cabinet rejects Marshall’s COVID testing plan

The news report of national cabinet ‘shooting down’ Premier Steven Marshall’s proposal is brief and blunt.

We are told that ‘the advice from the Chief Medical Officer was that it was unlikely to significantly reduce the risk and unable to be implemented’. Really? With 39,000 Australians still to be repatriated, some waiting for months, I would have thought we would have organised the return process much more efficiently by now.

We know medi-hotel quarantine presents infection risks to capital city populations. Why wouldn’t we want people to be tested before they boarded planes to come home – for their own peace of mind and to reduce the risk to us all?

Qantas says they will introduce vaccination passports for international flights.  Why don’t we pay to have people Covid-tested and temperature checked now, before they depart from international ports?

I hope the Premier asks for a more detailed explanation from the Chief Medical Officer than the one line dismissal we have heard to date. – Kym Davey

Commenting on the story: The Overland back on track after Victorian Govt gets on board

The South Australian government should put some money into this great train experience. – Howard Robinson

I would like to add that the car carrying facility also needs to be reinstated, and not just for three years, but for all time. – Jim Scammell 

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