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September 1, 2021
Commerce

Disused green space should not become car park

The head of not-for-profit “watchdog” group, the Adelaide Park Lands Association, says the City of Adelaide and State Government should stick to their commitment to develop Kate Cocks Park into a green space and abandon plans to turn it into a car park.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main image: Johnny von Einem

President of the Adelaide Park Lands Association Shane Sody alleges that for at least the last three years the City of Adelaide has used the green space next to Kate Cocks Park in Tulya Wardli Bonython Park as an “informal storage depot”.

Due to this use, Shane argues the land has become dilapidated, which has made it easier for the State Government to use the public space for its own benefit.

“The fact that it’s used as a storage depot instead of a park makes it so much easier for the State Government, or anyone else, to step in and say: ‘Why don’t we build something there? Instead of restoring it to a park, let’s put a multi-storey car park there’,” he says.

CityMag recently revealed the City of Adelaide’s associate director of the parklands, Michelle English, asked councillors to support the call for an “immediate” investigation into the State Government’s proposal to construct a multi-storey car park in Tulya Wardli Bonython Park.

“We are suggesting we will write very quickly to the Attorney-General, as the Minister for Planning, seeking additional investigations and early collaboration with the City of Adelaide,” she told councillors at the beginning of August.

As detailed in the State Government’s New Women’s and Children’s Hospital master plan (nWCH), published in July, the new public hospital’s ‘Transit Hub’ (read: car park) will be built on land currently designated as Adelaide Parklands.

In July, the Minister for Planning and Local Government, Vickie Chapman, announced a proposal to rezone parts of the Adelaide Parklands in the Planning and Design Code as “City Riverbank Zone” to progress with “infrastructure initiatives of State significance”, such as the new hospital and proposed Riverbank Arena.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade told CityMag in a statement he would be “disappointed” if the Adelaide Park Lands Association opposed the new hospital “for some of our smallest and most vulnerable South Australians.”

“The western side of the rail corridor, along Gaol Road has been determined as the best location for the hospital’s 1,215-space, multi-level car park for patients, visitors and staff,” he said.

“The nWCH site does not have capacity to accommodate this car park on site.

“Rather than impose on the parklands, the nWCH will engage with, and contribute to, its parklands setting by creating links to the parklands. In doing so, the hospital will play a key role in further activating the parklands and providing connections to nature to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of staff, patients and their families through their hospital journey.”


Above is a side-by-side comparison of a 2021 Google Earth satellite photo of the disused park and the State Government’s master plan for the Transit Hub on the same site.

A close-up of the satellite image.


CityMag asked the City of Adelaide if the area had ever been used informally for storage.

City shaping director Tom McCready did not answer our direct question but instead said in a statement that while the council appreciates CityMag‘s interest in the issue, they were yet to brief elected members.

“[So] it is premature to discuss future options for the site. Council will consider the matter and will provide its response in due course,” he says.

Shane tells CityMag he believes the redevelopment goes against the Adelaide Parklands Management Strategy, published in 2018, to which both the City of Adelaide and the State Government have committed.

“The Adelaide Parklands Management Strategy calls for turning Kate Cocks Park into a proper park,” Shane says.

“They haven’t delivered, and that’s probably because there’s not the funding for it, with COVID and everything. It’s dropped down the list of priorities and so it’s just continued on as this informal storage depot.”

The Adelaide Parklands Management Strategy details “a new landscaped setting” for the eastern side of Gaol Road in Tulya Wardli Bonython Park.

The management plan also says “an attractive formal park will be established at the southern end of Tulya Wardli to open up this area for a diverse range of recreational activities appealing to a broad cross-section of the metropolitan population”.

We asked the City of Adelaide if there was any intention of developing the park, as per the management plan, but we did not receive a direct response to the question.

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