Let’s get to work

With Mt Barker’s population booming, the Mt Barker Council’s proposal for a new employment park at Totness is timely.
It is vital that as the town grows, so too do local industries to provide employment options in the region.
Too much of the district’s workforce is already required to commute to Adelaide and beyond for work because of limited opportunities locally.
There is a genuine need to encourage new and expanding businesses to set up in Mt Barker to ensure the region can become self-sustaining as it grows.
One of the constraints placed on the region’s economic growth has been the lack of available land, with limited sites on offer in Mt Barker’s existing industrial and commercial zones.
Opening up 34ha at Totness, with close access to a growing workforce and the South Eastern Freeway, is an attractive proposition.
The new employment lands zoning will provide greater flexibility for businesses looking to establish or expand in the town, with a range of uses from primary production value adding to manufacturing and commercial permitted in the zone.
That’s good news particularly for the food and beverage industries because it opens up more space for processing businesses.
Totness is already home to success stories including the Prancing Pony Brewery, Skara Smallgoods and Buzz Honey.
The addition of new wineries, cellar doors and food processors would only add to the region’s growing reputation as a fine wine and food producer.
While the Totness location seems ideal, it also comes with its own set of challenges.
One of those is the need to cater for a sharp increase in heavy vehicles accessing and leaving the site via the busy Mt Barker Road.
These trucks will need to negotiate an often congested road to access the freeway via Mt Barker’s busiest intersection.
Plans must be made to upgrade the interchange to accommodate the trucks that will need to turn right onto the freeway towards Adelaide before the development grows to such a point that the heavy vehicles become a safety risk.
The nearby Totness Recreation Park – a precious area of scarce remnant native bush – must also be protected.