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Taken for granted

Monday, 4 February 2013
Author: Daniel Bennett, Indaily

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Everyone acknowledges Port Adelaide's potential, but so far government and the private sector have been unable to make a success of the precinct. In the first article of a three-part Indaily Design series on urban renewal in the Port, landscape architect Daniel Bennett looks at the problems it faces and the current Government's response.

IT seems to happen every two to three years. A tired Government with no cash to invest decides to reinvent Port Adelaide.

It employs classic tactics, including a new slogan, more consultants - all eager to "solve" the Port's problems - and more consultation with local "stakeholders".

The locals must be shaking their heads down at the Port. Deep breath, fellas... here we go again.

The newly minted Renewal SA - the rebadged Urban Renewal Authority, which in turn was a rebadging of the Land Management Corporation, the Government organisation behind the failed Newport Quays project - is leading the latest charge, revisiting the master-plans of years ago in a bid to secure some quick wins.

The Port's residents have been waiting 30 years for one of those.

What makes this new process a little tiresome is that some good work has occurred in the past few years, both within and outside of Government and the public service. But this work is largely being undermined by reluctance from Government to focus on investing in the Port centre, especially after it was bitten by the bitter and failed experience that was Newport Quays.

It appears clear the Government's focus is on projects elsewhere: Techport, Tonsley Park, Bowden Urban Village, Adelaide Oval, the Convention Centre, South Road Superway and Riverbank, to name a few. There are billions of taxpayers' dollars tied up in those few projects, but little at the Port.

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