Plans for a $5 million tourist park at Sturt Reserve have hit a potentially fatal stumbling block.
The Environment Protection Authority has advised the Murray Bridge council that a contamination audit would need to be carried out at the site of the proposed park, a long-disused rubbish dump now covered with grass and trees.
Such an audit would take one to two years and cost $600,000 or more - an expense ratepayers would have to bear.
Cleaning up any problems with the land could then cost the council even more.
Planning manager Kieron Barnes suggested councillors turn their attention to an alternative site such as land adjacent to Long Island Reserve.
“While this land has a number of similar constraints as Sturt Reserve - potential flooding and zoning - it does not appear to have any unusual contamination issues,” he wrote in a council report.
“Further investigations should be undertaken into the potential future use of this site.”
He suggested a master plan be developed, taking into account all potential issues for any major tourism development along the river, before the council went any further.
At the council meeting last week, Cr Sharon Secker acknowledged there were significant issues with developing Sturt Reserve.
“I just question, though I’m all for development, whether we should be spending money in the short term investigating an alternative when we’ve got other projects we should be investing our time and money in,” she said.
“I’m content to let this sit.”
Mayor Allan Arbon used his casting vote to determine that the council would leave the matter be until a future meeting.
Developer Greg Toop and his company Coorong Cove had expressed interest in establishing a caravan and camping park at Sturt Reserve.
The council had proposed an expression of interest process to see whether any other parties might also be interested in the land, but that process has now been cancelled.
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