2018 candidate for Town of Gawler.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you agree that the identification and protection of local heritage places is best done by local councils rather than DPTI (Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure)?
Yes. To assume that local expertise doesn’t exist or should be bypassed doesn’t value local intelligence and understanding of heritage and it’s importance to the local area but also to the State as a whole. We all lose when we get these matters wrong. Local Councils have performed well in this area so it’s quite puzzling why these powers may be removed
In your opinion, has the current system of local heritage protection served your community well?
Yes. Our Development Plan includes both listed items and heritage zones that have served Gawler well with our town able to economically leverage heritage as a driver of growth and business success. The process is slow however when wanting to list more properties or review listings. The risk of losing protection is seen as a positive to some and detrimental to others. Councils including Gawler have fought hard to preserve our town character. It is a falsehood to assume that removing this local control will somehow benefit communities.
Should councils reject proposals to list local places of historic merit simply because an owner objects?
No. The historical importance of a place to the town or neighbourhood as a whole and indeed to the state is the underpinning reason why a place would be considered for listing. Owners sometimes are not aware of this and fear expense and difficulty in selling. In Gawler places of historical merit tend to attract higher prices overall than newer homes. Certainly maintaining your property always pays off so owners should not necessarily be worried when a listing is considered.
Should neighbours of local heritage listed buildings have a right of appeal on development applications that propose demolition?
Yes. Indeed currently these types of DA’s require public notification. It depends on the nature of appeal rights but in general any appeal needs to have merit and be in-line with the development plan. It’s unclear what the new design code will include so protection of heritage listed properties including contributory items will need to be secured otherwise we could be facing a landslide of demolition actions which could destroy Gawlers character forever.
Should buildings listed as Contributory Items in your council area receive better protection?
Yes. It’s been quite a few years since the last review. The current system allows for demolition and has proven to not be a strong deterrent. Knowing the reason why an item is listed is important and helps planners and assessers and developers understand the overall character of a neighbourhood which in turn should inform any decisions to allow demolition. Heritage is deeply intertwined with character and it’s unfortunate when people don’t understand the importance of character and what it constitutes.
Do you agree that places proposed for listing by your council as Local Heritage or Contributory Items should be subject to review by DPTI? Or would reviews be more appropriately conducted by an independent source of expert advice?
I get concerned when State Government departments decide what’s best for local communities. It’s unclear what ‘ review by DPTI ‘ would mean in practice. There is a role though for an expert panel when listings are assessed so there is consistency in determinations.
Would you like to see your council work more closely with the National Trust of SA in protecting heritage, for example, by signing up as one of the Trust's Civic Partners?
That would depend on the nature of the partnership. Certainly would be happy to have a conversation and see where it goes.
What are your personal suggestions for improving the way your council handles policy and planning?
Councils perform very well in these areas. It’s political nonsense to believe that things are so broken they need a massive overhaul. That is simply not true.
Should councils actively encourage individuals to nominate places for consideration as local heritage?
A consistent and thorough process has previously been conducted which worked well for Gawler. Faster assessment and updated lists is an opportunity but it should not be seen as an opportunity to cut listings unnecessarily