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November 25, 2022

‘Finally!’: Helen Mayo Park returned to Park Lands

An Adelaide Park Lands community defender has welcomed news that Helen Mayo Park will be protected and rehabilitated, however they remain adamant six other green sites are under “attack” and slated for government development.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main image: The Riverbank Precinct

Planning Minister Nick Champion this week gazetted imminent changes to the Planning and Design Code which will bring Helen Mayo Park back into the city’s green belt.

The State Government also announced today it would give the Adelaide City Council $1.5 million to revitalise degraded parts of Helen Mayo Park.

Adelaide Park Lands Association president Shane Sody says that although this is welcome news (“Finally!” he says), it doesn’t negate the current government’s “six attacks” on the city’s green belt.


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“They have put huge swathes of bitumen in Victoria Park and in adjacent King Rodney Park to help the carbon emission festival otherwise known as the Adelaide 500,” Shane tells CityMag.

“They’ve announced and begun construction of a $98 million high school building on Park 11.

“They have announced that they are not considering any brownfield site for a new $82 million aquatic centre that will retarget these northern parks, Pardipardinyalla Park 2.

“They have announced a $3 billion Women’s and Children’s Hospital on park lands.

“They have announced an eight-storey car park on park lands.

“They have announced or they’ve passed in Parliament a law that will allow them to take any part of the park lands they like for new police barracks.”

The Gazetted notice says that upon publication on the PlanSA online portal, 2.61 hectares of Helen Mayo Park will be given the “full protection” of the Adelaide Park Lands Zone title, which it didn’t have before.

The Adelaide Park Lands Zone is reinstating the area within the dashed yellow line, restoring the full protection of this area to Helen Mayo Park


The Marshall Government indicated last year it would rezone up to 10 per cent of Adelaide Park Lands – 71 hectares of the Adelaide Park Land’s total 760 hectares – to develop education, innovation and entertainment precincts.

Helen Mayo Park – the home of dozens of river red gum trees, river sheoaks and other plants – was earmarked as the proposed location for the former government’s $662 million, 15,000-seat Riverbank Arena.

Although some of the proposed rezoning was scrapped, Helen Mayo Park – a piece of park lands south of the River Torrens Karrawirra Parri – was successfully rezoned and filed under the Entertainment Subzone.


Champion says the government has followed through on its election promise.

”We have made good on our commitment to put a stop to the basketball stadium development and reinstate park lands protection to Helen Mayo Park,” he says.

Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith also welcomed the news.

“I welcome the significant investment in rehabilitating a previously alienated area of park lands which will at last be protected and enhanced for the benefit of the community,” she says in a statement.

Member for Adelaide Lucy Hood says giving the area Adelaide Park Lands Zone protection and investment will allow more of the park to be “safely enjoyed by the locals”.

“I am thrilled that protection to Helen Mayo Park will be fully restored, delivering on the election commitment I made to our community to save Helen Mayo Park,” she says.

But Shane Sody is concerned that it took the threat of development to remediate the site, which he says is being used as a depot by the Adelaide City Council.

“Offers to make those areas accessible, and to landscape them, are very, very welcome [but] they do not require construction of major buildings in order to make that happen,” he says.

“You could do it yesterday, you could have done it 10 years ago.

“With the use of sophistry, smoke and mirrors, they’re trying to link the two: the need to put new buildings on park lands in order to make other parts of the park lands accessible to the public.”

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