Federal funding

In an election campaign fought largely over national issues it is pleasing to see that local problems such as a much needed second freeway interchange at Mt Barker are still on the agenda.
The $16m promised by the Coalition is $6m less than what was promised at the 2010 election but there are more players in the game this time around, namely the developers involved in Mt Barker’s growth area who have signed a deed to contribute towards transport infrastructure projects.
Times are also tough – no-one in business today would argue otherwise – so given the economic circumstances and the fact Mt Barker is not located in a marginal seat, $16m is probably a good deal.
Of course all this money for what will ultimately be a $47m project is contingent on the State Government making a significant contribution.
Whether the Government has the cash and the commitment to do something to ease the congestion already becoming evident from housing growth, remains to be seen.Hills residents should also be mindful that this is one intersection and while it is symbolic of Mt Barker’s growth problems, it will in no way be a panacea for all the ills associated with opening up land for 11,000 more houses.

Power to the people

The proposed construction of a new above ground powerline to a future substation in Mt Barker has raised the ire of many residents.
SA Power Networks (SAPN) has ruled out undergrounding the 66kV line due to cost and timing.
However, the stance is somewhat bemusing considering electricity supply to the rest of the new development areas in the town will be placed underground.
Mt Barker councillors Jeff Bettcher and Susan Hamilton fought hard at this week’s Strategic Planning and Development Policy Committee meeting but failed in their attempt to demand the line be undergrounded.
Other councillors raised similar concerns but in the end supported an above ground line option, albeit requiring an independent assessment of SAPN’s quoted price to underground the line.
If local residents feel that undergrounding the line is something worth fighting for, they need to get involved in the consultation process.
A strong community voice may result in councillors feeling more inclined to fight hard for the cause when they consider the issue again next month.