Darlington Upgrade (Government Supply Bill)

In Parliament - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (17:16:58): I also rise to speak on the grievance debate as part of the Supply Bill. I will probably not be using references to Churchill or the early settlers, as my colleague the member for Kavel did, but—

Mr Gardner: Too late.

Mr DULUK: It is too late—he has beaten me to it. But, like many on this side of the house have already done this afternoon, I would touch on infrastructure and road funding, and I did this yesterday in my main contribution on the debate.

I would like to mention specifically the Darlington South Road project, which is a project that is having a big effect on my electorate. As the house knows, this major road infrastructure project will shortly commence, being the Darlington project. The project will involve a 2.3-kilometre section of Main South Road between the Southern Expressway and Ayliffes Road being upgraded, and it represents one of the largest current infrastructure projects in this state. I must say that this is a long-awaited project and is an 80:20 funding project between the commonwealth and the state. It is a welcome relief for commuters, especially commuters of the southern suburbs, to see this project finally underway after many years of discussion.

My electorate takes in many suburbs, including, particularly in terms of this project, Darlington and Bedford Park, and these two suburbs will be substantially affected by the upgrade. My office has been approached by residents, residents' groups, businesses and community and sporting clubs who are concerned, and they are well-founded concerns, in relation to certain aspects of the project. Those concerns are that many of their concerns are not being taken into account by the planning and development team, because it is the residents, communities and interest groups of Bedford Park and Darlington who will be most severely or adversely affected by what overall is a very good project.

On behalf of the residents who have contacted me in relation to the Darlington upgrade, I would like to put their concerns on the record to the house. In no particular order, these are just some of the concerns that have been raised with me: a dedicated dual lane for peak afternoon traffic from the university, being Flinders University, entering Sturt Road and turning right onto South Road—unfortunately, the current design concept does not consider this a necessity, as it currently does exist, as we have at the moment people turning right onto South Road from Sturt Road.

The concept plan indicates that all Flinders University traffic, including that from the Flinders Medical Centre, will now only be able to exit onto South Road heading north via the Sturt Road slip lane and onto Shepherds Hill Road. Many residents have contacted me about the importance of retaining the current turn right option onto South Road from Sturt Road, and I support this concern of the residents.

The Bedford Park residents triangle, which is bordered by Sturt, South and Shepherds Hill roads, has essentially become a permanent car park area for both university and medical centre users alike, namely, staff and students respectively. Mainly, this is because on-site car parking at both Flinders Medical Centre and the university is vastly inadequate. I believe due consideration needs to be applied to additional parking and this should be managed with the project team along with Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre. This is certainly required for residents who live in that Bedford Park triangle. Under the current concept plan, the residents on Shepherds Hill Road will need to contend with increased peak hour traffic flow with cars passing their property at a rate of about every two seconds, creating an impossible task when reversing out of or entering a driveway, as one can imagine.

Collaboration and research on Flinders University car parking and exit points does not seem to be part of the project team, and it is a shame it is not, as the current concept really is just looking for one solution, having all those cars exit onto Shepherds Hill Road, and this is vastly inadequate. The major changes proposed for Shepherds Hill Road will also create a ripple effect as traffic using the Women's Memorial Playing Fields need to enter and leave via Shepherds Hill Road, as do hundreds of residents in Eden Hills, who can only enter or leave their part of Eden Hills via Mill Terrace.

Another key concern for residents and businesses of South Road, Brookside Road and Watervale Court at Darlington is the loss of the ability under the current concept to turn right onto South Road for northbound traffic. In addition to penalising these residents, the Sturt River Caravan Park, Lucas Earthmovers and McDonald's at Darlington will be particularly impacted by the loss of the ability to make a right-hand turn.

For local McDonald's franchise operator Mr Alan Brodie, who employs over 120 permanent and part-time staff at the McDonald's at Darlington, the consequence of the current Brookside Road proposal will mean that, potentially, all northbound traffic that currently turns onto Brookside Road to enter the Darlington McDonald's will cease, as vehicles no longer will be able to re-enter northbound lanes and, instead, must turn left, southbound. Essentially, in the morning if you go and get your coffee from McDonald's and you are heading into the city for your commute, you will go into the drive through and will have to turn left, head back to where you came from, and somewhere find a place to do a U-turn to get back onto the expressway to go to work. I am sure the member for Kaurna can sympathise with his constituents who may use the McDonald's at Darlington.

Mr Picton: I think they want the upgrade, not the McDonald's coffee.

Mr DULUK: As they come off the upgrade, they might want to use the McDonald's.

Mr Picton: They'll use McDonald's at Seaford.

Mr DULUK: Maybe they may want an additional coffee by the time they get to Darlington.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

Mr DULUK: This change will have a large and detrimental effect on businesses that rely on the current turn right option. We are talking about over 1,000 vehicles each day that use Brookside Road. Mr Alan Brodie has collected over 500 signatures on a petition calling for a turn right option to remain as part of the concept plan, and I support his position and know he has submitted this to the project team.

Other concerns of Bedford Park residents include lack of residential car parking within the suburb. Given the proximity of the suburb of Bedford Park to both Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre, parking in and around the streets of Bedford Park is always at a premium. Under the construction of the project, the current car park on the west side of South Road used by staff at Flinders Medical Centre will be converted into the project's site office. The reduction in parking areas will increase demand for parking in local residential streets and, of course, this is going to impact on the development of the site.

Access and egress for residents, especially those who rely on Flinders Drive, has been a hot topic of concern for many residents. Current access issues include restricted egress and access to the local area known as Bedford Park South, lack of turn right options onto South Road from Bedford Park South, and reliance on a new access point under the proposal to Flinders Drive over the Francis Street reserve (a local reserve and park used by families and local residents). Under the current concept, to leave Bedford Park South, it is proposed that a road goes through an existing reserve onto Flinders Drive, and to me and to the residents of Bedford Park South, this is completely unacceptable.

Access over Flinders Drive at peak times will be slow. The current plans allow for non-residents to cut through the residential streets and do not allow for easier parking for the existing residents of Bedford Park South. Other issues are how the new concept plan will integrate with public transport services and there is a lack of detail surrounding sound walls and revegetation of the project site.

The existing service road for Bedford Park South is critical to local traffic movements, especially when there is banked-up traffic at the Flagstaff Road intersection and this also needs to be considered. The current concept also sees a loss of amenities for residents of Bedford Park South, including a doctors and dental surgery, and food and restaurant outlets that are going to be compulsorily acquired under the project. For many long-term residents of Bedford Park, losing these services will be a shame. The project team must also ensure that public transport services are maintained.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Warriparinga reserve and being shown around the significant Indigenous, cultural, environmental and educational site formerly known as Laffer's Triangle by the friends of Warriparinga reserve. The friends of the reserve have raised their concerns with the current concept plan, namely further erosion of their open space, the impact it will have on native vegetation and further noise in what used to be a peaceful haven, including open space, the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre and Fairford House.

As I put on the record from the outset, I do support this project, but bear in mind that, like any large infrastructure project, consideration of that project needs to be weighed up against those who will most be impacted by it and, in this case, it is those residents of Darlington and Bedford Park.