Sonntag, 29. Juni 2008

~Amalgamation of Councils

Another thing I thought of why West Torrens and Adelaide City Councils should not merge is that the eastern suburbs aren't going to let the western suburbs have more say in the City than them. They'll demand to be allowed in too. Then you will end up with a Brisbane-style mega council anyway. The only way to prevent that is to keep Adelaide they way it is.
Or shave a little off all the surrounding suburbs and include ones like Thorngate, Mile End, Rose Park and Wayville. But I would still be against that. You couldn't include Prospect without including the whole council area of Prospect, and I don't think that's rational.
So the only answer is- keep the council boundaries as they are.

Samstag, 21. Juni 2008

~The Squares, less Victoria

The squares, as they stand, are largely wasted. Wellington is put to good use, and at least Whitmore is not (yet) divided. But Hindmarsh, Light and Hurtle are poorly utilised for what they could become.
Firstly, I would advocate they all be made into giant round-abouts. Wellington and Whitmore Squs are nearly there, but are sort of a series of modified T-junctions where I would have them operate the way a round-about works. The others would be blocked off and turned into round-abouts.
The city should be discouraging through-flow, not increasing it, and you cannot really argue that to make people drive around a round-about will stop people from coming to the city. It will just make them think twice about going through it.
Secondly, they should become "dress circle" addresses. Premium office space with views on the park. High-rise apartments similar to that on Brougham Place would attract more people to the city, and land values would be suitably high to encourage development. At the same time, I would stipulate a certain amount of so-called "affordable" housing should be built- but with supply so high, I doubt prices will ever reach the heady heights that New York apartments on Park Avenue can command. (We have more street facing the parklands and the squares than they'll ever have!)
At least for the foreseeable future, Hindmarsh Square would be 'zoned' commercial. It is attracting some apartments at the moment, but I would now encourage more office space. Wellington Square is the original dress circle, and should remain largely one- and two-storey luxury homes. Whitmore has a lot of potential to be redeveloped with denser housing- with some shops at ground level. Light Square should be reserved for the back packers. It was named after the city's designer because it was the first one immigrants (then coming from Glenelg) would see. It has a long history of welcoming strangers. Finally, Hurtle Square, like Whitmore, is well placed to recieve more high-density dwellings. But, like Hindmarsh, this should be mixed with more offices and a commercial ground floor.
Thirdly, to facilitate this massive influx of people, the squares should be made more attractive. Wellington Squ could be planted as an English Garden. I appreciate this would require a lot of water, but with storm water recovery from Glenelg, it may be possible.
Whitmore could be like suburban park with a BBQ, a water fountain and a playground.
Hurtle would be covered with randomly placed native trees, supported by beds of native ground cover. Grassed and brick paths would provide access to benches, picnic tables and a tea-house nestled in the centre. This attractive building would serve as a lunch/afternoon tea meeting place for workers and stay-at-home parents from the nearby offices and apartments.
Hindmarsh Square would build on the fountain and thong already present and could become one huge adventure with an unoffical oval in the middle, where ball games could be played, safe from traffic.
Finally, Light Square would be, in essence, a monument to our surveyor. Statues, fountains, plaques and benches would proliferate, commemorating the man who enabled this modern, attractive and friendly city to be what it became. The perfect platform from which to welcome domestic and international visitors to our undeniably wonderful city.

Dienstag, 17. Juni 2008

~Central Market Trading Hours

So I have been speaking to a school friend whose parents own a stall at the Central Markets, and I have been convinced there is no need for extended trading hours at all.
On the issue of Sunday trading, there are too many suburban (and Rundle St!) markets competing for people's limited resources on a Sunday. The poor stall owners also deserve the day of rest, and a proper weekend. If they traded Sundays, they'd have Mondays and Wednesdays free. But that's not a consecutive weekend, that's just two days in a week.
The council (=Anne Moran, the most controversial councillor by far, I discover) also wanted to extend trading hours on Tuesday, to 7 or 8 or so. This was obviously intended to counter Adelaide's well-known problem of not enough night life, a city that closes at 5:30. However, an extension of trading hours does not seem to be the answer. The market generates a fixed revenue each week, and to extend trading hours does not generate more revenue, rather it spreads the revenue over a longer period of time, generating more costs without a balancing increase in revenue.
Ergo, my position on the Central Market is to leave its trading hours alone.
The formula for working out rates for stalls at the markets, and also the council's practice of charging for sandwich boards (charging for balconies, anyone?) will be the subjects of a later post, as they are concerns also raised in my conversation.

Montag, 2. Juni 2008

~Balconies Rated?

So I was reading in the Messenger that the ACC is starting to charge buildings for having a balcony. Allegedly there are safety issues, and the rates reflect the liability incurred by the council for allowing them to exist.
I think that's crap, and I would never have supported such a policy. Balconies do not impress upon publich space, except for their supports, which is fine because the footpath is littered with obstructions anyway.
I do not know what the policy is on street dining, but I assume the council earns tidily from that.
Insofar as they ought to be accounted for, a good balcony would raise the value of a property, so the ratepayer is already paying for the privelige of having it: don't slug them twice!
As for safety issues: let's be sensible and say the onus is on the building's owner to make sure it's safe, and if there is criminal neglect, and someone died from a falling railing or something, it's the land lord's fault, not the council's.