Oval ‘ho­tel’ trig­gers turf war

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

But the Premier de­clared there were al­ready ho­tels in the park­lands, such as North Tce’s In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal.

“Com­mer­cial oper­a­tions al­ready ex­ist, not only at Ade­laide Oval but in many other precincts within the Ade­laide park­lands and this is not in­fring­ing at all be­yond the boundaries of the ex­ist­ing de­vel­op­ment,” Mr Mar­shall said.

Ms Ver­schoor, a former Ade­laide Fes­ti­val chief ex­ec­u­tive, said Ade­laide was “the only city in a park in the world” and should be pro­tected for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

And she’s ready to lead the fight, say­ing: “If le­gal ad­vice per­mits us to op­pose it, yes … with the aim of de­fend­ing the park­lands. “The con­cern­ing thing is that it will set a prece­dent for other com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments in the park­lands and that is a line to me that you never cross,” she said.

“There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a cafe next to a play­ground that ser­vices the fam­i­lies and al­lows them to have a cup of cof­fee and en­joy the space, to ac­tu­ally hav­ing a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion where noth­ing is com­ing back to the City of Ade­laide and to the main­te­nance of the park­lands.”

The de­vel­op­ment was ex­clu­sively re­vealed in the Sun­day Mail last week.

Ms Ver­schoor said the Oval precinct was park­lands, with a lease from the City Coun­cil to the rel­e­vant state min­is­ter, then to the Sta­dium Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity with con­di­tions for the on­go­ing use by the South Aus­tralian Na­tional Foot­ball League and the South Aus­tralian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion. The Lord Mayor said she ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts by the SMA to keep the pro­posed ho­tel within the Oval foot­print, to re­strict the height to pre­vent vis­ual im­pact on the Oval’s ar­chi­tec­ture and that it would be in­fill de­vel­op­ment.

“But those mil­lion-dol­lar views that they’re go­ing to sell their $300-a-night room are park­lands views,” she said.”

“They have a com­mer­cial ad­van­tage that other de­vel­op­ers in Ade­laide don’t have. They don’t pay for the land; they aren’t pay­ing coun­cil rates, which ac­tu­ally go into the main­te­nance of the park­lands. To my knowl­edge, they don’t pay land tax.”

Ms Ver­schoor sug­gested that, if the SMA wanted to ex­pand its busi­ness model with an as­so­ci­ated ho­tel, there was am­ple land in the CBD and North Ade­laide.

“So, my per­sonal view is that there are fur­ther dis­cus­sions to be had.” She stressed pro­pos­als should be de­cided on merit, ar­gu­ing Ade­laide Oval was a sport­ing arena that had de­liv­ered “amaz­ing” ben­e­fits to the city and state.

“Bring­ing foot­ball and cricket to­gether and hav­ing them in the mid­dle of the city is an in­cred­i­bly bril­liant out­come for the city. So I have no prob­lem with that,” she said.

Mr Mar­shall ac­cused La­bor of ex­ploit­ing con­fu­sion over a State Gov­ern­ment com­mer­cial loan of up to $42 mil­lion for the ho­tel. “I make it very clear there is no grant be­ing handed over. There is no tax­payer money be­ing given to the Ade­laide Oval,” he said.

“Whilst we didn't pro­pose it, we do sup­port the SMA’s con­tin­ual push for di­ver­si­fied rev­enue, so that they can make sure that they have a sus­tain­able in­come to fur­ther in­vest in main­tain­ing that as a world­class fa­cil­ity.”

Mr Malin­auskas said: “The Ade­laide park­lands are a unique as­set and we must al­ways do what we can to en­cour­age South Aus­tralians to use them.

“La­bor sup­ports the Sta­dium Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but can­not sup­port hand­ing over $42 mil­lion of tax­pay­ers’ money for a bou­tique ho­tel that will com­pete with other ho­tels that aren’t ex­empt from taxes,” he said.

“The key with de­vel­op­ing the Ade­laide park­lands is strik­ing the right bal­ance be­tween main­tain­ing open and ac­ces­si­ble green space, while also en­sur­ing the park­lands re­main rel­e­vant to South Aus­tralians in the modern era.”

Hind­marsh MP Mr Ge­or­ganas said the pro­posed ho­tel had not been thought through and there had been no con­sul­ta­tion with the coun­cil or the pub­lic. “Steven Mar­shall needs to go back to the draw­ing board, per­haps Colonel Light’s.”

The Gov­ern­ment’s mem­ber for Ade­laide, Rachel San­der­son, said the ho­tel would give North Ade­laide busi­nesses and traders “a huge eco­nomic boost with in­creased tourism and foot traf­fic”. “This is not a grant, it is a loan with in­ter­est payable that will ben­e­fit all South Aus­tralians,” she said.

BAT­TLE: Lord Mayor Sandy Ver­schoor and the pro­posed Ade­laide Oval ho­tel.

LORD MAYOR SANDY VER­SCHOOR

PREMIER STEVEN MAR­SHALL

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