Final decision

The Alexandrina Council’s decision to rezone 21ha of land on Adelaide Road near the entrance to Strathalbyn as residential rather than commercial surely brings this long-running saga to a close.
State Planning Minister Stephan Knoll must still approve the council’s resolution, but the council has backed its belief that significant commercial development outside the town centre would have an overall negative impact on the community as a whole.
The vacant land has been embroiled in controversy ever since a proposal many years ago for it to be used as a golf course to lessen the impact of planned residential development on adjacent land.
This remaining portion has since divided community opinion as to whether or not it should be transformed into a commercial hub.
The council’s decision to restrict development to within the town’s centre is sound, but the robustness of the hub debate has proven there is a definite desire for more retail and specialist services within Strathalbyn.
While coming to this decision was a struggle in itself, the challenge now facing the council is to show how it can facilitate that community desire.
The community wants more retail options, a medical centre and more aged care facilities, among others.
The council now has the motivation to drive such developments.
It must actively promote the town centre as the ideal place to set up shop by engaging business owners, developers and all other relevant stakeholders.
To do nothing is to risk economic stagnation.
The protected heritage nature of many of the town’s buildings – which are arguably the it’s strongest tourism asset – will be one of the largest issues facing developers.
However, with the right planning and co-operation, the right balance can be achieved.
Strathalbyn is a town of huge potential.
It services the smaller surrounding townships as well as the commuter population and its population is growing rapidly.
With more homes potentially springing up on the Adelaide Road site as a result of the council’s decision, there will be even more people drawn into the town’s businesses.