Consultation for better planning

Article image - Consultation for better planning Trevor Smart, CEO and Leith McEvoy, Director Environmental Services

The District Council of Grant recently unveiled its master plans for Port MacDonnell, Tarpeena and River & Coastal communities, which provides a multi-million dollar roadmap for the revitalisation of river and coastal townships in the lower south east of South Australia.

Council undertook extensive community engagement in the planning process, to create a shared vision for the future of these communities.

Council secured $60,000 in partner funding through the Places for People Grant program, through the South Australian Government’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) to engage a professional urban planning, design and landscaping consultant to conduct extensive public consultation and prepare an Urban Design Framework and Master Plan for the Port MacDonnell township and the River & Coastal Communities.

The plans aim to create and link public spaces that promote vibrancy, a sense of place, safety and connectedness by maximising and increasing the quality of public spaces through a focused and community-driven approach.

The blueprints focus on revamping the main areas of the townships, including the foreshores, town centres and entrances, as well as recreational areas and key street corridors.

Whilst Council has invested substantially over the years in communities, works had been generally undertaken in an ad hoc and isolated fashion and not formed part of a larger cohesive plan.

Through the preparation of appropriate urban design guidelines, the potential exists to catalyse developments on public and private land, further reinforcing and enhancing these community townships.

The overall implementation of the Port MacDonnell Master Plan is estimated to cost around $6 million and will include town centre improvements, a shared cycle pathway, foreshore upgrades and the ‘under grounding’ of power lines.

The Port MacDonnell Plan also outlines the need for a major commercial development on the idle and vacant old boat yard, in a prime location on the foreshore in the centre of the town, with the aim of improving the character and visual appearance of the landmark site.  

The Master Plan process also revealed the community believed that more facilities, a large family friendly playground area, and the redevelopment and upgrading of the jetty were needed along the foreshore to attract and retain visitors to the town, as well as being an asset to the local community.

The River & Coastal Community urban design framework and master plan will guide the development of public spaces for Donovans, Dry Creek and Reed Bed located along the Glenelg River, as well as the coastal communities of Brown Bay, Eight Mile Creek, Racecourse Bay, Cape Douglas, Nene Valley, Blackfellows Caves, Pelican Point and Carpenter Rocks.  

The Master Plans follow months of community consultation and work by leading planning designers MasterPlan SA, Ian Robertson Design and Outerspace Landscape Architects.

The strength of the final framework and precinct master plans is in the contributions submitted from a range of community members, professionals, qualified planners, Council staff and local business owners, together with other key stakeholders.

Trevor Smart, Chief Executive Officer said of the process, “Our consultative approach with the local community has provided an opportunity for them to participate in the development of a shared future vision.”

The Plans provide Council with scope and direction for revitalisation projects that can be developed to source external grant funding and progress the community’s holistic vision for the future.

The River & Coastal Communities Urban Design Framework & Master Plan has been nominated for an Award for Planning Excellence, in the category of Best Planning Ideas for Small Projects, hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia South Australia.