The Greens South Australia:

The Greens have introduced a Bill into State Parliament to allow local councils to take over vacant land for temporary public use in situations where the owner is unable or unwilling to develop the site.

“This Bill is aimed squarely at cases like the former Le Cornu site in North Adelaide, an entire city block which has been left abandoned as a fenced and vacant eyesore for 28 years.  This is despite numerous development approvals being granted over many years.  The latest approval expired a few months ago when the owner decided not to proceed with an approved multi-story development,” explained Mark Parnell MLC, Greens SA Parliamentary Leader.

“In North Adelaide, the council has tried many times to negotiate a temporary lease from the owner so the land could be used for a public park until development is ready to begin.  All these overtures have been rejected.  This raises the question: How much longer is it reasonable to wait for the owner to do something with this prime site, and why shouldn’t the public have the use of it in the meantime?

“Under the Greens proposal, the Council would be empowered to lease vacant land on strict conditions with the owner being protected from public liability and council rates.  The land could only be used for parks, playgrounds or sport with no permanent buildings allowed.  As soon as the owner is ready to develop the site, they get their land back.

“The powers in this Bill don’t just extend to the Adelaide City Council.  Any South Australian Council faced with a recalcitrant land owner who is sitting on a prime site and refusing to do anything with it could be invited to lease it to the community.  If they refuse, the Bill provides a fair way to make it happen anyway”, concluded Mr Parnell.