Mt Barker is finally about to get a second freeway interchange and it is largely thanks to the dogged persistence of the town’s council.
The Mt Barker Council has for years been tirelessly lobbying both State and Federal governments to support the project.
When doorknocking Ministers and department officials failed to secure any financial commitments it went a step further.
For much of the last decade the council has been quietly working to do everything in its power to make the interchange “shovel ready”.
It bought land on all four corners around the Bald Hills Road tunnel.
It has, stage by stage, upgraded Bald Hills Road itself to prepare it for the anticipated traffic increase.
It worked with the State Government to design concept plans, took them to public consultation and handed the Government the results of that feedback.
Its persistence has paid off with the help of Mayo MP Jamie Briggs, who has also been a resolute campaigner for the project.
The co-operation of the State Government in working with both the council and Federal Government should also be applauded, as should its commonsense decision to include the upgrading of the Old Princes Highway/Bald Hills Road junction as part of the project.
Eyes of the world
The Tour Down Under (TDU) international cycling event has become an institution in SA and for the past 15 years the Hills have played a major part.
The region’s steep and winding roads – interspersed with straight stretches for the sprinters – continue to appeal to race organisers.
Our beautiful bush scenery and quaint villages so close to Adelaide are also an attraction and two key reasons why Stirling hosts a stage finish just about every year.
Next year is no exception with another Stirling finish for Stage 2.
But unlike last year where the region was mainly part of the stage journeys rather than being the main destinations, the Hills is hosting two more finishes at Paracombe (Stage 3) and Mt Barker (Stage 4).
All three events are expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors.
Stage 4 also incorporates the Bupa Challenge for amateur riders which last year attracted 6600 cyclists.
It could be easy to be become complacent about an event that keeps on coming back, but as a community we should embrace and celebrate the fact that the eyes of the world will be focused on the Hills come January 2015.