The cities of Onkaparinga and Marion jointly manage the rail trail and have shown their commitment to improving the rail trail by recently putting considerable effort into developing Marketing, Signage and Facilities Plans.
Railtrails Australia was therefore surprised and disappointed to learn that the state government is planning to do the very opposite of this. Through the Land Management Corporation (LMC) they are planning to sell approximately 700m of rail trail land at Noarlunga Downs to A.V. Jennings to put houses on.
In the past several sections of the former rail line were unfortunately sold off requiring several diversions on the rail trails. It is important to maintain (and develop further in this trail’s case) the continuity of the trail to not only provide a better trail experience but also to allow for possible future re-use of the corridor for public transport. For a government to then sell off sections of a public rail trail that has now been open and well used for many years sets a terrible precedent.
Railtrails Australia is not opposed to the government developing surplus land in the area but rather than divert the rail trail around on the creek flood plain this section of the proposed development could be designed around the rail trail. This would be an opportunity to put into action the concept of sustainable and healthy communities, a concept that has been promoted in other LMC residential developments.
Railtrails Australia has written to the City of Onkaparinga urging them to oppose this proposal and will be writing to the relevant ministers. We urge users of rail trails, especially from South Australia, to also write to the government opposing this alarming precedent.
A list of contacts is below. The Honourable Patrick Conlan is the Minster responsible for Transport SA (managers of the rail trail land) and the Land Management Corporation.