Lochiel Park

Tuesday 20 May, 2014

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (15:24): I draw the house's attention to the award-winning Lochiel Park 'green village' in Campbelltown in Hartley. For those members who are not aware of the development, the Lochiel Park model community was opened in 2008 by the then premier Mike Rann and it is the centrepiece of the Labor government's plan (at the time) for sustainable living into the future. It is actually said to be the most environmentally friendly development in South Australia.

Every house in the village is fitted with a photovoltaic solar energy cell and gas assisted solar hot water system. All houses are designed to be serviced by a non-potable water system through the creation of two artificial wetlands, pollutant traps and aquifer storage systems to reduce the village's reliance on mains water supplies and to help save water.

I recognise the good work of the local residents of the Lochiel Park community for their continued dedication towards sustainable living. I particularly want to acknowledge Willie Smyth, president of the Friends of Lochiel Park, and its members, as well as the members of the Lochiel Park Garden Committee, who have worked tirelessly to create the magnificent community gardens for all the residents in the area to enjoy.

This community has also been innovative in establishing the Ripples Community Arts group. This group encourages people in the community to participate in art projects around Lochiel Park, the most successful of which has been the Drainwaves project, where members from all walks of the community, young and old, have decorated the pollutant traps surrounding the wetlands with beautiful mosaics. These groups have been particularly successful in encouraging young people to become active and contribute to the collegiate atmosphere of the community.

In spite of the excellent work of many members in the community, problems with this development still exist. Of the two wetlands that I previously mentioned, the southern wetlands system was designed specifically to capture and recycle stormwater. Unfortunately, the gross pollutant trap (the GPT), the principal drain that filters all the stormwater flying into the southern wetlands, is not and has never functioned properly due to a flaw in the way it was designed and built. In fact, it has been reported that in 2008 the total cost blowout for the project is over $7 million, including over $800,000 to repair the stormwater system.

Local residents have reported to me that stormwater from recent rainfalls is not entering the southern wetlands because the water gate that was recently installed by Renewal SA to remedy the existing problems was not working either. Because of the continuing problems with the GPT, the Campbelltown council has refused to accept responsibility for the project from Renewal SA, costing the taxpayer millions of dollars. I regret to inform the house that Renewal SA has not since solved the problem. Work to repair the GPT has been ongoing since as late as last week, when I met with Willie Smyth to discuss the problems affecting the project. It was clear to me, from talking to Mr Smyth and observing the work at the site, that the system is no closer to being fixed than when it was reported in 2008. As a result of these problems, unfiltered stormwater continues to flow into the River Torrens and into the open spaces surrounding Lochiel Park.

The residents of Lochiel Park deserve the renewable facilities they have been promised and that they have paid for. Over the coming months, I will be working tirelessly with local residents, the Campbelltown council and Renewal SA to solve the current problems facing them, so that this vibrant and energetic community can enjoy the facilities they are entitled to, that they have paid for and that they have sacrificed to afford. I commend the people of Lochiel Park for their spirit, their passion and their drive. I look forward to continuing to serve their interests and the needs of this community for many years to come.