PORT Adelaide's ever-faltering revival moved a step forward yesterday when a plan was presented to State Cabinet to turn the inner Port's vacant outdoor areas into green, gathering places for people.
The "activation program" was outlined to Cabinet by Port Adelaide Renewal project director John Hanlon before it goes to the Port-Enfield Council and then the community will get a chance to comment. Mr Hanlon, who is also deputy chief executive of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, has until December to complete a master plan for the Port's inner harbour. Undaunted by at least eight previous failed master plans for the Port, Hanlon told Indaily he was busy trying to generate renewed interest and investment in the precinct.
He said Cabinet had not given him a master plan budget "at this point in time" for the four different precincts along the river
"I've got to look at private investment in those areas and we'll be talking to people about whether they're prepared to reinvest in the Port," he said.
"I won't have a lot of government money to throw at it at this point in time. I'll have to do a pretty good selling job to Cabinet and Treasury to free up some dollars there. But we have got land and I can use the leverage of that land to help get some private investment. Interestingly, there's still plenty of people interested in the port. Not everyone's given up on it, and that's great."
The four precincts cover the area from dock one to Hart's Mill corner; completing the stalled Urban Construct development on the northwest side of the river; the historic area where the old boat slips are located; and finally Cruikshank's Corner. Hanlon's immediate focus is to get some human activity back along the riverfront.
"You go back and look at everything, all the master plans for the Port, everything that people asked for... it could have been, and it still can be, a fantastic place and space. Right at the moment it's not looking good but we're negotiating with a whole range of people to try to get that water activated again. You need some movement in and around there, people using the water and the harbour. We're talking to people about that at the moment. Hopefully we'll do some things that will get it moving and then gradually just build up on that and get some real interest and investment back in there. That's the aim."
Also on Hanlon's master plan agenda is an architectural design competition for the landmark Hart's Mill and the adjoining Adelaide Milling Company, near the Jervois Bridge. The competition was announced last January by Premier Jay Weatherill at a public meeting in Port Adelaide. Hanlon said local people had made it plain they wanted the building kept for community use.
"So when we write the brief for the competition we won't be leaving it so open-ended that someone will come back with, you know, 10 apartments and exclusive use for 10 people. The brief will have to be written so that it takes into account those previous views of the community down there. They’re been pretty clear about how they want Hart's Mill used."
He said the structure was in good condition although it might give SafeWork conniptions in its current state.
"The structure of the outside of the building is pretty damn good. But it's the floors and those sort of things that would all have to be reinforced. It's got a lot of heavy equipment right up the top floor, so it's obviously holding together pretty well like that. You wouldn't call it a safe place at this point of time but the outside structure, it looks pretty good. We could make it work, I think. Someone's going to have to throw some dollars at it to make it happen. There might be some opportunities for some commercial activity in there as well as community activity. That's what we'll leave to those people who want to throw their hat in the ring about a design competition. But I think in the main I'll be steering away from exclusive use arrangements for it,"
He personally escorted a group of local heritage campaigners through the disused Mill last month.
"It's a bit shaky in there but we went right up to the top floor. A magnificent spot"
For more details on the Port Adelaide Renewal project, click http://saplan.org.au/yoursay/port-adelaide-a-fresh-approach