Home' The Mt Barker Courier : The Courier - 2016-02-03 Contents PAGE 14 – The Courier Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Letters to the Editor
ON MONDAY, January 25, my son had
an appointment with an employment
agency in order to arrange possible work
This appointment was in lieu of a
previously cancelled appointment.
On the morning of the 25th he received
a phone call from the agency informing
him that his appointment had again
been cancelled due to the “Australia Day
This was clearly not Australia Day.
If employees value their jobs so lowly
that they don’t want to work to help
others obtain employment and take
sickies for their own benefit, then
perhaps my son should take their jobs.
He wants to work!
Only way is up
I LOVE nature and I love Mt Barker,
but unfortunately I can’t spend much
time with either because of my commute
to the city each day for university.
Unfortunately, once I’m employed and
independent, it is unlikely I will live in
Mt Barker because the houses are too
large and too far away from shops to
get to without a car. That is, unless good
quality apartments are built in the town
Currently there is a big misunder-
standing in Mt Barker and in all of
Australia on how and why apartments
affect townships and communities.
Ultimately it is not the height, but
the design of these buildings which will
positively or negatively affect Mt Barker.
The community obviously has a voice
to initiate change due to the fact that
height limits were reduced because of
public outcry, but I encourage people to
drop their assumptions and think outside
the box before speaking.
Developers want to develop and will
bend over backwards to build as much
as they can. The council and community
should use this to their advantage by
demanding that new buildings conform
to certain architectural styles instead of
a height limit.
Old Dutch, English and German style
buildings up to and above five storeys
could line the streets of Mt Barker if the
community really wanted it.
During construction this is just a
matter of applying an outer cladding to
internally normal structures.
If this is applied throughout the town
centre, the need for outward expansion
would cease and negotiations with the
State Government could save hundreds
of hectares of agricultural land from
Additionally, Mt Barker would become
a thriving, vibrant place to live and visit.
I AM so encouraged by the process led by
the Mt Barker Council whereby residents
had the opportunity to comment on the
proposed rezoning within the town
Residents in our part of Mt Barker
made many positive contributions and
felt they were listened to throughout the
Although a number of residents’
suggestions weren’t taken up, many
were. This was local democracy in action.
It therefore came as a great surprise
in the recent front page Courier article,
‘Rezoning to create a vibrant town’ to
see that a “community backlash” had
required changes to the Regional Town
Centre DPA plans.
Examining the article in detail, I note
that land currently used by the caravan
park was still included as part of land
zoned “mixed use”.
Readers may not be aware that this
is part of the land (which also includes
the swimming pool) was gifted to the
residents of Mt Barker in 1897 for
“recreational use”. The generous early
benefactor, Dr Leonard Bickle, was at one
time the town doctor.
It would seem very strange if this land,
given to the people of Mt Barker for a
specific purpose, could be quietly sold off
by the council for other uses.
Surely such a significant change
would need the approval of the elected
councillors and the blessing – at least
the conscious acceptance – of our local
But very few people know about Dr
Bickle and his bequest.
Should the caravan park itself move,
this land, along with Dunn Oval and
the swimming pool area, could be
incorporated into new recreational
facilities which could include a swimming
pool complex to replace our much-loved
but ageing Mountain Pool.
Other activities for the site could include
a playground, outdoor gym equipment
and a community garden. Wouldn’t it be
great for the larger community to come
together and agree to the future uses of
this generous legacy?
We have precious little recreational
green space or open land in the centre
of the town and we cannot afford to lose
Once sold, it can never be replaced.
Let’s keep this land in public hands.
I WRITEin response to the front-page
article in last week’s Courier, ‘Rezoning to
create a vibrant town’, and in particular
that the proposed multi-storey, mixed-
use development area will include the
current caravan park.
How many people have heard of early
Mt Barker resident and surgeon, Dr
Dr Bickle was a truly remarkable man
and amazingly generous to the people of
In 1896 he purchased more than seven
acres (2.8ha) of choice land smack dab in
the middle of Mt Barker. Not for himself,
or his descendants, but for the Mt Barker
community, residents and visitors.
The land was to be used specifically for
This gift cost Dr Bickle almost £200. An
equivalent gift would cost millions today.
Dr Bickle was a visionary. He was ahead
of his time in appreciating the value to
health and wellbeing of fresh air and open
space, and how an attractive recreational
area would draw people to the rapidly
He carefully chose the area adjoining
land already gifted by John Dunn, the
town’s first benefactor.
Together, the two historic bequests
today encompass Dunn Park Oval, the
Mt Barker Caravan Park, the Mountain
Pool, adjoining car park, and Von Doussa
Not many know that this area was
gifted to the people of Mt Barker and is
administered on our behalf by council.
This same spirit of community service
later saw Dr Bickle, at the mature age
of 57 years, volunteer for active medical
duty in WW1.
Instead of enjoying a comfortable
retirement, he served, with the honorable
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, as a surgeon
on troop ships.
Dr Bickle died in 1921 at the age of 64
but, through his Mt Barker bequest, his
spirit is still with us.
What would Dr Bickle say if he were
That public rest and recreation areas
should and can complement multi-storey
commercial and residential development,
but they should not be replaced by them.
He would say that recreational spaces
draw people as much as good shopping and
transport. That they’re an essential part
of good urban design and, importantly,
value-add in dollar terms. He was a man
who knew the value of money.
As Mt Barker’s population grows and
more people are attracted to live and
work in the town centre, preserving
the extraordinary community asset
created by this historic bequest is more
important than ever. Keith Stephenson
Park is terrific, but it’s not easy for many
people on the north-eastern side of the
town centre to access.
Dr Bickle’s prescription for a healthy,
attractive and prosperous community
has not reached its use-by-date. It is still
It’s up to us to ensure your vision
continues to nurture our vibrant town
centre and growing community for the
next hundred years.
Myrana and Lester Wahlqvist
THE report regarding ‘Rezoning to
Create a Vibrant Town’ (The Courier,
January 26) raises several questions.
We understand the land on which the
caravan park and swimming pool are
situated was originally bequeathed to
How is the Mt Barker Council able to
rezone the caravan park without public
The swimming pool and associated car
park are not mentioned in the plan to
build high-rise housing along Cameron
Road, but a potential developer would
certainly express great interest in that
Can the public be sure the council
will honor the bequest regarding the
swimming pool area and carpark?
When the pool is relocated will the area
at least be made into a much needed
We have been told that Dunn Oval
(also, but separately, bequeathed to the
public) is safe from rezoning but that
fact is absent from this report. Will
council honor that bequest, too?
When it was decided to allow a second
storey on high-rise housing to face
Cameron Road, when residents were led
to believe that there would be a single
storey at the front and two storeys at
the back, lower area, so that there would
be less visual impact on the residents
What is the DPA’s solution to even
more traffic in this area and the CBD
Last year close to 1000 cars were
counted travelling along Cameron
Road on school days. Morning traffic to
and from Cornerstone College and the
proposed housing along Cameron Road
will cause even more build up from
the roundabout on Druids Avenue to
Adelaide Road, and from Cameron Road
to Gawler Street.
Now add that to cars from St Francis de
Sales College. It is already a nightmare.
Mr Voortman said the development of
high-rise housing would take years to
unfold. This cannot be guaranteed. Just
look at the rapid development that has
already occurred. High-rise housing
is just as likely to take place within
the next two years following State
We are not against development in Mt
Barker but feel that the above questions
must be satisfactorily answered.
B. and M. Pascoe
ONCE upon a time it was said that if
you paid a lot of tax it meant you were
earning a lot of money.
These days the economic rationalists
credo says if you are paying a lot of tax
you need to change your accountant.
Capital gains tax discounts, generous
negative gearing and superannuation
concessions, not to mention the use of tax
free havens and profit shifting enjoyed
by the top end of town: The consequences
of tax minimisation on a grand scale
can be seen in underfunded hospitals,
schools, universities and the crumbling
of adequate social infrastructure that is
the hallmark of a caring, civil society.
But how does our Federal Government
plan to deal with this revenue deficit?
A 50% increase in the GST (perhaps
even on fresh food) in order to fund tax
cuts to the very institutions that make
tax avoidance an art form! And the rest
will be used for further election-winning
tax cuts with the remainder churned to
compensate the low paid.
Problem is, income taxes are
progressive as they ensure those
who can afford to pay more do, while
consumption taxes are regressive
because inflation will always outstrip
any amount of compensation. Hence the
gap between rich and poor widens as the
budget deficit deepens.
Our shiny new PM says he wants to
run the country like a business (which
means the profit motive is the only thing
He also says he believes in fairness.
But there is nothing fair about an
agenda that stipulates everyone must
pay more for every day life because the
rich and powerful do not pay their fair
LAST week I parked my car in Hillcrest
Avenue, Crafers, and caught the bus to
the city, not knowing that I had left the
driver’s window down.
Later when I returned to the car in
pouring rain, I discovered that a good
Samaritan had placed a waterproof
covering over the open window and saved
the interior from a certain drenching.
What a kind thing to do for a perfect
I would like to find out somehow who
this wonderful person is, but in the
meantime I hope you read this letter
and accept my heartfelt thanks for your
extremely kind action.
From page 11
He said he realised the Government
wasn’t obliged to let local government
know but as a courtesy it could help
alleviate the anxiety experienced by
residents if their councils had background
“They go to their elected member and I
would have taken steps to investigate,” he
The council plans to contact the Local
Government Association about its
Diane Atkinson said concern about the
exploration licence was widespread.
“The biggest concern is the lack of
knowledge about what this really entails
and I believe there were some people who
got a bit panicky,” she said.
Ms Atkinson said locals weren’t given
enough time to stop the licence but she
and other residents hoped to organise a
public meeting this month to discuss the
They wanted to invited Greens Member
of the Legislative Council and former
lawyer, Mark Parnell, to be guest speaker.
However, there were no plans to invite
representatives of Yandan Gold Mine or
the Government’s mining department to
speak. “We don’t have the contacts ... we’d
like to inform ourselves as the first step,”
Councillor calls for more clarity
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