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Motion: Green Space for Kent Town

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I move: That this council—

1. Notes that Kent Town is the only suburb in the Norwood Payneham St Peters council with no green space available to the public;

2. Recognises that Kent Town residents' access to the adjacent Adelaide Parklands is obstructed at various periods throughout the year due to fenced-off special events; and

3. Calls on the Malinauskas government to acquire the vacant lot 26 on College Road, Kent Town, from the federal government for the purposes of turning it into a publicly accessible park for the local community.

As I said, Kent Town is the only suburb in the entire council area of Norwood Stepney St Peters that does not have access to green space within its own community. The Malinauskas government can change that. A small space could be a big chance for a community win, and a Dunstan by-election is the perfect opportunity for perhaps Pete's Park to be a pocket park for the people of Kent Town.

Kent Town residents have long lobbied for this former bomb space—I am sorry, but if you are going to do that, it is really distracting. I am sorry, Mr President, I seek your protection in terms of people in the gallery having meetings behind me.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Discussions in the gallery are out of order. The Hon. Ms Game and Mr Vessas, have your meeting outside.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Thank you, Mr President. The people of Kent Town deserve a pocket park. In fact, this could be Pete's Park and the Dunstan by-election is the perfect time to make this happen.

This is not a new idea. For three years the Kent Town Residents Association has been asking for a disused piece of green space, the only possible green space at the moment in Kent Town, to be turned into a community space, to remove the lock and to let them through the gate and allow them to have their children walk on grass, have a quiet place to reflect or, particularly for elderly residents, have a place that is not across a significant barrier, and for that lush green space that we all deserve to have in our lives to be accessible.

Indeed, beautiful lush greenery in our local parks is something that we Adelaideans and South Australians treasure. Of course, it not only looks beautiful but it also helps our community to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, especially in urban areas. It does not get more urban than Kent Town, and that is why this place could be such a boon.

Our urban parks provide benefits in public health. Scientific evidence shows that spending time in green space can strongly protect against mental ill health, such as depression, anxiety and stress-related issues. Over recent years, the Kent Town Residents Association has been working really hard to gain access to a very small block of land that is located on College Road, Kent Town, to turn it into public green space.

Until 2020, this land housed weather measuring instruments for the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) moved to West Terrace and the instruments that had been used in this little grassed area were also removed. What is more, since then that 70-square metre block has been left unused and inaccessible. In 2022, it was placed on the commonwealth land disposal list. Kent Town, of course, is a small inner-city suburb with an increasing residential population due to a number of multistorey apartment blocks being built and planned to be built. As such, Kent Town's residents face challenges on both public and private land, including a decrease in their tree canopy cover, an increase in hard surfaces and a reduction in available ground that can be planted. Currently, residents literally have no safe accessible green space within their own suburb.

The residents' association has met with local, state and federal government representatives over many years to discuss the possible purchase of this land for community use as a pocket park, sadly, with no success. This small fully fenced area has been lying vacant now for almost five years, with only an occasional whipper snip to keep the grass down as residents have wryly noted.

I have a series of correspondence between the Kent Town Residents Association, the BOM and the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, that I seek to table for the benefit of council and other parliamentary members to reflect on this particular issue. I seek leave to table these documents.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I hope members of this parliament on reading those documents will see that the Kent Town residents' request is a small but significant one. There has been a purchase of part of this land already by an adjacent school, I understand, to now erect a car park; however, there is still another small pocket of that land that used to hold the instruments for BOM that could be used for the residents of Kent Town.

As I said, this could be Pete's park, if the Premier wished to step in, and certainly the people of Kent Town would be eternally grateful for any member of this parliament who seeks to support what is I think a pretty deserving cause. I look forward to Pete's park, the pocket park, the Kent Town community park—whatever form it takes—being employed instead of sitting there unused and inaccessible because the BOM moved out. With that, I commend the motion to the council.

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