Paving the future

Grandstands have been built for the Summit Sport and Recreation Park's main oval as well as the soccer pitch.

The opening of Mt Barker’s multi-million dollar Summit Sports and Recreation Park (SSRP) is the result of more than a decade of work.
The $23m first stage – which currently consists of a turf oval, two synthetic soccer pitches and grandstands – has been a long-awaited, highly-anticipated facility which will provide for the rapidly growing region well into the future.
But while it undoubtedly will benefit residents immediately, it is hopefully a sign of things to come for the region.
A lack of funding for infrastructure was one of the Mt Barker Council’s main issues with the State Government’s 2010 decision to rezone 1300ha of land around the town for residential development.
As that enormous growth has continued, increasing pressure has been placed on existing infrastructure, with the traffic issues experienced on the freeway in recent weeks a perfect example.
The only major road funneling Hills commuters as well as most road freight from the eastern states into Adelaide has been significantly compromised by massive vehicle pressure, a problem exacerbated by recent extensive road works.
That has led both Hills State MPs – Josh Teague and Dan Cregan – and their Federal counterpart Rebekha Sharkie to call on both levels of government to invest heavily to create a route that would allow freight vehicles to bypass the freeway.
This would not only ease the pressure on the freeway but benefit city drivers by removing trucks from metropolitan roads such as Portrush Road, which were never designed to be major heavy vehicle routes.
Alongside the opening of the SSRP, a range of options have been announced for a $250m project to improve traffic around Hahndorf and State and Federal Government funding will allow construction of a $30m pool in Mt Barker to start next year.
There have also been repeated calls from the region’s councils, the local Regional Development Australia branch and now Mr Cregan for the State Government to restore a passenger rail service in the Hills.
Perhaps these obvious growing pains are forcing the right people in the right places to start taking notice of the region’s desperate need for major infrastructure.