Boundary Change Proposal and Discussion
Many will have read in the Advertiser recently regarding the potential boundary changes being discussed amongst City of Holdfast Bay and Marion Council. This has occurred because on 1 January 2019, the South Australian Local Government Boundaries Commission was formed, as the independent body that assesses and investigates council boundary change proposals, and makes recommendations to the Minister.
What you may not have known is that this process can be initiated by a request from just 10% of the affected residents. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2018 the community of Coromandel East - Cherry Gardens - Chandlers Hill - Ironbank had 1,933 residents.
Why would we as a community want to move from Onkaparinga to say Adelaide Hills?
Objectively, there are at least three reasons.
Firstly, the average rates are around $257 less pa (based on an average house price of $812,000).
Secondly, Adelaide Hills is much closer to us. The Adelaide Hills community centre is at Stirling, 16 km from the CFS shed compared to Noarlunga Civic Centre which is 22km away. Closer makes accessing council easier.
Thirdly, we currently receive around one quarter the representation that Adelaide Hills Council residents enjoy. After reducing its councillors from 20 to 12 in 2018, Onkaparinga's Thalassa Ward has a ratio of councillors to residents of 1:9,899. The Adelaide Hills Council has an average representation ratio of 1:2,396.
The LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1999 - SECT 26 sets out criteria that include
(ii) proposed changes should, wherever practicable, benefit ratepayers; [See savings estimate of $257 pa for the average resident]
(v) a council should facilitate effective planning and development within an area and be constituted with respect to an area that can be promoted on a coherent basis; [The word "coherent" is interesting given that that the suburb profile of Onkaparinga is anything but coherent. We are nothing like the high density suburbs of Reynella, Morphett Vale, Christies Beach or Sellicks - yet are under the same planning area.]
(vii) a council should reflect communities of interest of an economic, recreational, social, regional or other kind, and be consistent with community structures, values, expectations and aspirations; [The Onkaparinga Elector Representation Review only talks about "established suburbs", which arguably misses the point of this criteria entirely.]
viii) a council area should incorporate or promote an accessible centre (or centres) for local administration and services; [We are much closer to Stirling than Noarlunga]
(xi) residents should receive adequate and fair representation within the local government system, [Currently we receive around one quarter the representation that Adelaide Hills Council residents enjoy. Higher rates, but far less representation...]
So, where to from here?
To bring community attention to the issue and to see if there is any interest in exploring this further, perhaps with a community meeting at the Hall - I've set up an online petition on change.org
I look forward to discussing this with my friends and neighbours!
Sources are all available online
SA Gov Changes to council boundaries ; https://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/local_govt/boundary_changes
Map and ABS data for community of Coromandel East - Cherry Gardens - Chandlers Hill - Ironbank https://profile.id.com.au/ONKAPARINGA/about?WebID=160
Onkaparinga Elector Representation Review; https://yoursay.onkaparinga.sa.gov.au/elector-representation-review
Adelaide Hills Elector Representation Review; https://engage.ahc.sa.gov.au/elector-representation-review
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1999 http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/sa/consol_act/lga1999182/s26.html
The Cherry Gardens Community Association will be holding a public meeting later in October to give all residents the opportunity to have their say about this proposal. We are contacting both the Onkaparinga and Adelaide Hills councils to ask if they can send a representative to help answer questions.
We are also looking to see if there are any other impacts that need to be considered as part of any proposal to change councils such as other fees, costs and support activities that need to be taken into account.