Evanston Gardens' land fight goes to parliament

Light MP Tony Piccolo with disgruntled Evanston Gardens residents, who do not want to give up their park to housing development.
Light MP Tony Piccolo with disgruntled Evanston Gardens residents, who do not want to give up their park to housing development.

Evanston Gardens residents opposed to Gawler council’s proposed sale of their park for housing development have taken their fight to state parliament.

A group has sought assistance from Light MP Tony Piccolo to ensure their voice is heard.

Mr Piccolo said he tabled the 584-strong petition last week and delivered a speech to the House which ensured Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll, was aware of the residents’ views.

“Under the Local Government Act the Minister for Local Government must approve any decision made by a local council to revoke the community classification of a park or reserve before it can be sold on the open market,” Mr Piccolo said.

“Through the petition, residents have made Parliament aware of Gawler Council’s intention to seek revocation of the Musgrave Street Reserve and are calling on Minister Knoll to refuse to approve the revocation of the community-classified reserve.”

Residents argue that the sale of the reserve will remove important open space from the immediate vicinity, which is used by local fauna and adds to the amenity of the suburb.

Council is in the process of reviewing the public submissions received in response to its proposal, and will prepare a report containing a series of options for consideration at July 24 meeting.

But Mr Piccolo said that the residents had taken the step to petition parliament because they were not confident that the Gawler Council was listening to their pleas.

“A number of decisions and actions by the Gawler council over the past two years, on a range of issues, has created an atmosphere of mistrust and a lack of confidence that council’s consultation processes are a genuine attempt to gauge community views,” he said.

“The residents are leaving no stone unturned and hope that the Minister will listen to their arguments, even if the Gawler council doesn’t.”