Oval ‘hotel’ triggers turf war
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