Cheltenham Racecourse

23 Sep 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning a question about the Cheltenham development.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My office has been inundated by some of the local residents who have concerns about the Cheltenham redevelopment, in particular, the reduction in the amount of available open space and space for wetlands. My questions to the minister are:

1. Can he advise the exact amount of funding that has been set aside in lieu of the decrease in open space?

2. Is the Land Management Corporation in possession of these funds?

3. Will these funds in their entirety be dedicated towards stormwater harvesting? If so, does this include the Torrens Road project?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Small Business) (14:34): I think it is well known that the government required, as part of the Cheltenham redevelopment, that at least 35 per cent of that site would be made available for open space. We put a proposition to the Charles Sturt council, which had been actively lobbying in relation to this matter, that, if it matched the $5 million that the government offered in addition to the 35 per cent, that amount would purchase an additional 5 per cent.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: Well, we have done our bit. We said we would put up the $5 million and if the Charles Sturt council matched it we could have 40 per cent.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: And, of course, what happened was the Charles Sturt council said afterwards that maybe they would not do that. In spite of all the squeals we had down there, they did not deliver. But, notwithstanding that, we said that we would not only honour our agreement to ensure that 35 per cent of that site was set aside but, in addition, we would set aside $5 million. That money has not been specifically allocated yet because, of course, there still has not been a sale of the site. As far as I am aware, there have been undertakings given for the sale of that site. It is often forgotten in this debate that it was the SAJC that decided to sell this particular site. It was its decision, not the government's decision. That body controls racing.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Always blaming somebody else!

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: I am not blaming somebody else. In fact, the former shadow racing minister (Hon. Angus Redford) actively promoted the sale. Perhaps the Hon. Terry Stephens, the shadow spokesman, would agree that it is probably in the best interests of racing that the activities are consolidated on one site so that the capital that is available is not spread over such a large area. That was the position advocated by the then opposition. Its position was not to require 35 per cent or put in the $5 million, but this government has done that.

There has been agreement to sell the land, but I am not sure whether that has yet been consummated. However, at some stage in the future, $5 million will be provided from the Planning and Development Fund for the purpose of open space, and that sum of money will be available for a combination of wetland and land purchase for the 35 per cent that will be set aside.

Incidentally, a number of people who live in the Cheltenham area have been talking about the need for wetlands there. When the development plan amendment was processed, the LMC requested the best advice available from international consultants, and their advice was that approximately six hectares should be sufficient to treat the water from the 420 hectare catchment, which is basically Torrens Road. There will be more than enough available from the 35 per cent of land (which I think amounts to about 17 hectares) to treat the water.

It is my understanding that the transaction has not yet been finalised but, before it is, a proclamation over that land has to be removed. That action will not be taken until all the details have been finalised to my satisfaction in relation to the agreement between the SAJC, Charles Sturt council and the developers, although not so much in relation to the SAJC, as it will have sold the land, but between Charles Sturt council and the developers. I will need to be satisfied before that is lifted, at which stage the government will provide the money it has promised to enable those developments to take place.