Gawler residents have jumped another major hurdle in their campaign to stop the Vadoulis Nursery at Evanston Park from being rezoned for commercial purposes, with the Council voting at its recent special meeting 5 votes to 3 to not support the proposal.

In a rare display of solidarity with the community, a majority of councillors acknowledged the concerns raised by residents.

Local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo, who has provided residents with support and guidance on how they should campaign to ensure their voice was heard, said the council decision was a welcome one and demonstrated that meaningful community engagement was a key to good local governance.

“After a lengthy debate, which included presentations from both residents and the proponent, the council voted 5-3 to not support the proposed code amendment,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Residents had worked hard to understand the process and issues and prepare their submissions to both the proponent and the council over the past 12 months.”

The amended proposal involves changing the zone from residential to commercial allowing for buildings up to 10.5 metres high in the area characterised by single story houses.

Residents have raised a number of concerns including:

• Traffic impact on the already congested Main North/Adelaide Roads at Evanston Park and Gawler South.

• Impact of the increase in traffic on Coleman Parade as drivers “rat run” through residential areas to avoid a third set of traffic lights within an overall distance of 600 metres.

• The impact on the adjoining residents by the sheer scale and size of the development the change in zoning would allow.

• The proposal is out of character for the area and would detract from the powerful and positive entry statement the racecourse makes to the historic part of Gawler.

Mr Piccolo said while the decision by the Council is welcomed, it is not the end of the process, as the final decision maker is the state minister for Planning.

“The process has been more difficult than it would have been had Council acted sooner with the with the community engagement process,” said Mr Piccolo.

“The Council had originally decided to not consult the community about the code amendment until the Minister advised that they could and should do so.”

“This decision is not about rejecting investment in our town, but rather it is asking council and developers to adopt a more strategic approach which would create a clear benefit for the community.”

“In the end councillors thought the proposal was seriously at variance with Council’s community plan for Gawler, and decided to advise the proponents they did not support the proposal.”