Saturday, May 25, 2024

City of Adelaide mounts fight to save park from Police

City of Adelaide Council Lord Mayor, Jane Lomax-Smith says South Australia Police has knocked back alternate sites offered by the Council for the relocation of its Mounted Operations Unit, which is facing eviction from its current site.

“Council is mindful of the imminent eviction of SAPOL’s Mounted Operations Unit from its current site and wants to work with the relevant authorities to find temporary arrangements,” the Lord Mayor said in a statement.

“In a recent meeting with Senior Police and Department for Infrastructure and Transport staff, I personally offered a range of sites for both grazing and office space which would have accommodated their short term needs while a more suitable, permanent location could be found.”

City of Adelaide Council Lord Mayor, Jane Lomax-Smith.

SA Police are eyeing an 8-hectare site is in the southeastern corner of Mirnu Wirra Park 21.

Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens says the parcel of land, on the corner of Greenhill Rd and Sir Lewis Cohen Ave, was selected after an exhaustive evaluation process.

The current home of the police mounted operations will make way for construction of a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Last year, the Victorian Government announced plans to demolish the Thebarton Police Barracks within Park 27 to make way for the hospital project, telling SA Police to find a new home.

Under the New Women’s and Children’s Hospital Act, the final decision will sit with Health Minister Chris Picton. The Act allows for the Minister to vest an area of the parklands to Police Minister, Joe Szakacs, which could then allow the project to be greenlighted.

Potential alternate sites raised by the Lord Mayor this week include the former Equestrian Park, near Bonython Park, where she says the Police Greys could graze and exercise, and a car park area near the Morphett Street Bridge for temporary office space.

“Unfortunately, it is clear that these suggestions will not be taken up,” the Lord Mayor said.

She said Council had shown a willingness to work with SAPOL and the State Government to find a solution and it was “disappointing that there seems to be no room for any sort of compromise”.

“Throughout this whole ordeal, complete disregard has been shown towards Council and the community. There’s been no consultation and SAPOL’s evaluation process has remained a secret.”

“But Council will not resile from its commitment to our Nationally Heritage-listed Park Lands – especially for a part of the Park Lands that is rich in biodiversity.

“We support grazing of horses but unanimously oppose the buildings, 40 stables, high-security fencing, training facilities, accommodation for 30 staff, as well as storage facilities for tack, fodder, and equipment on the Park Lands.

“We will continue to argue that our Park Lands must not be regarded as free land for any project that crops up.”

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