2014 candidate for Alexandrina Council.
Heritage survey responses.
What do you think Council's role is in protecting and conserving heritage?
Our Council has a good record in protecting and conserving heritage. At the local government level we lead by convening and providing administrative support for a Heritage Committee which includes members of the community with a particular interest In heritage, as well as a couple of councillors. I am one of those councillors. The committee and the Council's Planning Department is also supported by a part time heritage advisor, who practices as a qualified heritage architect.
What measures and incentives do you support to protect and conserve local heritage?
Our Council makes funds available for perhaps up to a dozen heritage awards each year, and calls for applications from interested parties for the awards. The awards are designed to encourage and assist people with the restoration/conservation of their own heritage properties. . Council has also identified precincts in such towns as Goolwa and Strathalbyn which contain a particularly high concentration of structures of heritage significance, and strives to ensure that any new developments in those areas are in sympathy with the existing heritage values. I am a strong supporter of these initiatives
What is the most important heritage protection issue in your local government area?
It is difficult to rank heritage issues in importance. Clearly heritage which is deemed to be at risk whether through unsympathetic development proposals or because of structural deterioration assumes an urgency not accorded to other structures which may be of equal or even greater significance but which are not considered to be at risk. In my estimation the aboriginal heritage of our area is becoming increasingly important for not just the aboriginal members of our community but the broader community as well. Researching and recording that geographical and cultural history before any more knowledge is lost is extremely important. Our Council has joined with neighbouring Councils in researching and developing a proposal for seeking UNESCO World Heritage listing for the cultural landscapes of the Mount Lofty Ranges region. Development pressures make it important that we give this task plenty of priority before any of the values which would contribute to a successful outcome are further degraded.
What policies and programs will you advocate to protect and conserve heritage in your local area?
I support the continuance and even some expansion of the programs mentioned above. I also recognise that while some of our community's historic records, both written and oral, are very comprehensive, there may still be gaps which are becoming harder to plug over time.
Do you support local Councils retaining development approval powers for projects over $3m in value?
Yes I do, with the proviso that any development approval process should satisfy a fair and reasonable heritage assessment step. $3m is not a large sum of money these days. The main issue is that local people have a higher personal stake in their district than a more remote state government and it is false to assume that a state government development approval process would be intrinsically any more sympathetic to worthwhile heritage conservation than a more local development approval process.
Do you have any other thoughts about the protection of heritage in your Council area?
I think we could still sell the concept better, and capitalise better on the resultant tourism opportunities. Tourism is already our district's second largest industry, after primary production. I still think of the authentic traditional character of the small rural townships in the south of France and I would love to go back there and to other parts of the world with similar character. Most people I know do not want to travel long distances just to see another boring suburb. Why does the south of France retain its character? The answer is far sighted planning laws that don't sacrifice the whole district just so a few can make a quick buck here and there.