Onkaparinga News April 2021


 Long Term Financial Plan

In my March newsletter I provided an overview of the Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) for the City of Onkaparinga and Council’s decision in February to adopt it.  This was a major strategic decision and we now have put the past behind, and are moving forward as a financially responsible Council.   This plan directly reflects where and how the community believes their rates should be spent.   Having a sustainable and clear LTFP is the cornerstone of good Council financial administration.   It is founded on a suite of 16 principles developed following feedback from the community on service provision, projects, rates, and debt management.   Council staff and elected members worked hard over seven months to put together a Plan that will make it financially sustainable and more accountable now and into the future.  We now have a detailed model setting out a trajectory for both expenditure of funds, and for reigning in and eliminating debt over the long term.  Importantly, it will eliminate Council’s deficit over four years, transitioning it to a balanced budget.   It will also reduce its call on long-term borrowings to fund future major projects, by applying a new more conservative funding formula and applying greater rigour to decision making.

I would like to take this opportunity to publically recognise particularly the efforts of our finance staff -Anthony Spartarlis and Jade Bird along my fellow councillors – Alayna de Graaf, Martin Bray, Wayne Olsen and Bill Jamieson, with whom I had the pleasure of working with on the Financial Plan Working Group over a number of months leading up to the decision by Council to approve the LTFP and it helped me to achieve one of the main reasons I ran for Council in the 2018 elections.  The next task of this working group is to finalise the content for the Debt Management and Reduction Strategy in line with the principle of educating the community on Council’s approach and use of debt.

PFAS Landfill McLaren Vale

In late February Council was advised by the Environment Protection Agency that an application by Southern Waste Resources Co to receive per – and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at their McLaren Vale site had been denied.  This was an important decision for the McLaren Vale region and ensured that our world-class and pristine wine growing area retained its reputation and world market place.  Our community had a chance to raise its concerns, along with Council and we were heard.

McLaren Vale Main Street Tourism Vision Action Plan

At Council’s March 16 meeting it was agreed to approve the McLaren Vale Main Street Tourism Vision Action Plan 2020 – 2025 and funding amounting to $310,000 from the economic development reserve for streetscapes work planned to be undertaken in 2021-22.  This decision of Council requires:

  • The chief executive officer to review the year 2 detailed designs, costings and delivery methods for costs saving and efficiency improvements prior to implementation
  • That alternative gat funding sources from State and Federal Governments be investigated for Year to offset costs to Council.
  • Funding required for 2022-23 to 2024-24 to be considered as part of the Project and Capital Works prioritisation process as part of each annual budgeting process.

This plan/vision will increase the experience of tourists to the area.  We have also approved a recreational vehicle dump point at the McLaren Vale Visitors Centre.

Main Road Cherry Gardens

Whilst talking about tourism in our City the focus is generally on the coastal, Willunga and McLaren Vale areas and I often try to push the point that it would be nice to encourage those travelling (particularly to McLaren Vale and beyond) come into our region through Coromandel Valley and Clarendon and beyond and take in the great views across the Southern Vales towards the coastline.  We have a couple of great bakeries that one can stop at that tantalise the taste buds or even have a meal at one of the two hotels, but to travel that way one needs to traverse Main Road between Black Road and Cherry Gardens Road.  I do certainly not want people to over indulge and want everyone to enjoy the experience and get home safely.  This roadway is one that is maintained by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) and is clearly in need of a major upgrade.  Concerns have been raised by a number of residents with council through Cr Themeliotis, and myself and our administration has written to DIT regarding this issue.  Put a couple cyclists on the roadway and cars approaching you (particularly on the bends) there will be those moments, especially on weekends or when there are cycling events at McLaren Vale.

I noticed in the past couple of weeks that the Member for Heysen (Hon Josh Teague) has had a survey on Facebook seeking advice from residents regarding road infrastructure in the area.  I responded to the survey in relation to this section of the roadway and I encourage residents to do likewise.

Beachside Food and Wine Festival 

I had the pleasure of attending the Beachside Food and Wine Festival at Rotary Park, Beach Road, Christies Beach during the late afternoon and early evening of Saturday 27 March and must say that this area came to life.  There was great local food, wine, craft beer and produce, along with enjoyable entertainment.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get Tessa my 12-month-old Dalmatian in, so I had to do a quick trip home and return.  That view across the coastline and the setting sun, Wow.  Such events actually help to make one more connected to our great city and it provides a nice opportunity to speak to residents from all over our Council area.  So I encourage our residents to attend these types of events, so keep a look out for next year’s event.

Sam Willoughby BMX Track – Glenthorne National Park

Work starts on Sam Willoughby BMX track with a ground-breaking ceremony was held on Saturday 27 February at the site where SA’s only international-standard BMX track will be built.

Work is set to begin on the $6.05 million Sam Willoughby International BMX Track at the Glenthorne National Park, Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, thanks to significant investment by City of Onkaparinga, City of Marion, and state and federal governments.  The track—named after former World Champion BMX rider and Olympic silver medallist Sam Willoughby—will form part of a sports hub with a new $7 million Southern Soccer Facility (funded by City of Marion and state and federal governments).

The BMX facility will include a floodlit track—the design personally endorsed by Sam—clubrooms and car parking, and become home to Cove and Happy Valley BMX Clubs.

The hub, which will be a new home for an estimated 900 soccer players and BMX riders, will be completed later this year by SA company Partek Construction and Interiors, creating 85 jobs during construction.

Sam, who started his BMX career at the current Happy Valley track, said in a video message from his home in California that it’ll be one of the world’s greatest BMX facilities.

The project is another example of local and state government working together to deliver facilities the community has told us they need.

Promoting healthy active lifestyles is a key focus for us, and having this facility on our doorstep will contribute to that, while also helping to identify and nurture future sporting stars.

City of Onkaparinga is providing $750,000 towards the track, along with Marion Council ($1.75 million), state government ($3.55 million) and federal government ($100,000).

Climate leaders Recognition 

Council efforts to increase tree and vegetation cover in our city were recognised in February with a 2020 SA Climate Leaders Award for tackling climate change.  The awards, hosted by the Premier’s Climate Change Council and presented by Climate Change Minister David Speirs, showcase the innovative work taking place across the state to address climate change and build SA’s reputation as a climate-smart state.

Onkaparinga’s win in the government category recognised council’s Greening Onkaparinga program, which has seen vegetation cover increase by almost 3% over the past four years.

Key to the program is council’s urban forest planting targets, which will see a 20 per cent increase in both tree canopy cover and urban green cover in public areas by 2037 (equal to 100,000 new trees in street verges, waterways and parks).

More than 35,000 have already been planted since the targets were identified in 2016.

The award reflects council’s commitment to tackling climate change, and the importance of trees to the health of our communities and the planet.  The award win comes in the wake of news that council slashed its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent since 2010-11, following a slew of energy-reducing projects.

Another council program, Climate Ready Schools—a partnership between Green Adelaide Education and the Cities of Onkaparinga and Marion—was a finalist in the Government category, recognised for challenging students and teachers to investigate ways to mitigate climate change.

A Safe Easter

I wish everyone a safe Easter period and enjoy the time with your family and friends and most importantly drive safely as we have experienced too many fatal and injury vehicle collisions so far this year.  One of my former staff who is a senior sergeant in the Major Crash Investigation Section and his staff are getting overworked at the moment and the delivery of death messages to families is a traumatic experience in itself for the police who have to deliver them.  Think also of the impact that these incidents have on the emergency services and hospital emergency personnel who have to attend the victims.

On a lighter side I am attending the Noarlunga office for the City of Onkaparinga with my Dalmatian pup Tessa on the morning of Wednesday 31 March to wish everyone an enjoyable Easter.  She has will have her Easter bunny ears on and will be helping to handout some Easter eggs to our staff.  Here is a photo of her doing a similar visit last Christmas.  The CEO’s chair was just too much of a opportunity as he wasn’t on his office at the time, but will be accompanying him on this next visit.  We did say  “Spot the difference”.

Unfortunately all the former dog campaign team are not longer with us, so Tessa is in training.  Hope she doesn’t try to eat the chocolates otherwise it could be another expensive vet visit.

Current Your Say Consultations

The following are on council’s Your Say website for consultation.

  • Morton Road Reserve (Christie Downs) Name Suggestions – closes 12 April
  • Gerald Court Park Upgrade (Christie Downs) – closes 12 April
  • Draft Arts and Cultural Development Action Plan 2021/24 – closes 12 April


The views expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Council.

Geoff Eaton


Thalassa Ward

City of Onkaparinga