Grievance Debate: Morialta Conservation Park Car Parking

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:17): Today, I would like to inform the house about a petition that is circulating in relation to a very important issue for the community that I have the honour of serving, the Morialta district. In particular, it relates to the government's provision of a new nature play space at the picnic area at the Morialta Conservation Park.

Members of the house would be aware that $900,000 was allocated by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to introduce this significant nature play space at Morialta Conservation Park. Unfortunately, what they did not do was put any thought into what the impact of that would be on traffic, parking and road safety in the area, and some other issues have arisen as a result of it. Perhaps I will start by reading the petition so that people will understand the purpose for hundreds of my local residents wishing to have their voices heard by members in this chamber:

The new Morialta Nature Play Space precinct is a resource that allows families from both the local area and around Adelaide to interact with nature in a beautiful setting. However, its installation without adequate planning has created significant parking problems both for users of the park and for local residents. There are also considerable safety issues for children, in particular, who are confronted with the challenging congested traffic situations as they walk to the play space, sometimes across a number of roads due to the lack of parking. Your petitioners, therefore, request that the government implement improvements to on-site parking as a matter of urgency, ensuring that families have a safe destination and that the negative impact on local residents is minimised.

The idea of a nature play space has been around for some time. I think since as long ago as six or seven years, the department has had plans and ideas brought forward for this. I recall in 2014, after the last election, the current minister, the Hon. Ian Hunter, was having round tables with a number of parks groups, and I attended one of them and talked about the need for resources in areas like Black Hill, Morialta, Anstey Hill and some of the other parks in the eastern and north-eastern suburbs I was familiar with, being in or near my electorate.

One of the suggestions put forward was that there be this nature play space. It proved reasonably popular and it has been implemented. This is an area that is immediately adjacent to the Morialta Conservation Park; it is part of the same park. This is an extremely popular park for people to go walking and to appreciate the extraordinary beauty that is so close to Adelaide. Last year, we celebrated its centenary as a public space since it was donated by the original owner.

The Morialta Conservation Park is very popular. Anyone who goes there on the weekend, especially in spring or summer, will know that the car park is always full by about 9 o'clock in the morning, even before this nature play space. The car parking available for this new space is mainly accessible on Stradbroke Road, and that car park is fairly small. I have not done the count, but I think it is in the order of 30 or 40 parks, and then there is some street parking as well.

The challenge has been that an extra several thousand people per weekend come to visit this nature play space, which has quite reasonably been heavily promoted by the government to attract people to it. However, they did not give any thought to where these people will park. Consequently, there are about 15 local streets in Rostrevor and Woodforde in particular where people are parking dangerously and illegally in some cases. They are blocking corners, blocking access to people's houses and blocking driveways.

The Adelaide Hills Council and the Campbelltown council have had significant stresses placed on them. They have had to put parking restrictions up, which significantly impact on local residents' lifestyles. They cannot invite people over to their houses to watch the football on Saturday because either the cars are there for people going to the nature play space or the council has put up parking restrictions. Those are the two options. The councils have been surveying: 'Do you want parking restrictions or do you want the cars there?' Either way, nobody is having a grand final party in Seminary Way, Redden Court or any of those roads.

This is a sincere issue. This is an issue I spoke to the minister about yesterday and I am very pleased that he admitted that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. He said that the department has now been instructed to look at some extra car parking options, but there needs to be more car parking, at least as a temporary measure, for this summer on site, created as soon as possible. Otherwise, my residents are going to have an absolute nightmare of a situation.

It is going to be very dangerous for children accessing the park who have to walk across roads full of cars parked badly and traffic behaving the same. This is an issue that I urge the government to act swiftly on so that my community can have a safer summer and a better outcome for all those residents.