Major developments ahead for Murraylands

MURRAY BRIDGE

Gifford Hill racecourse, conference centre and housing development - Gifford Hill has spent the past year waiting for the injection of funds needed to start major works. The dilemma Murray Bridge Racing Club faces is that it needs several million dollars to get its new racecourse up to speed, but needs to sell its old racecourse to raise that money unless it can find another source of income. That source was supposed to be the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Basin Economic Diversification Program, which owes it $5 million, but a dispute between Adelaide and Canberra has held it up for more than 12 months. Once the racing club can move to Gifford Hill, the current racecourse will accommodate a housing estate called “Newbridge” and an extension of the golf course.

Murray Bridge Green shopping centre - At last estimate, the massive expansion of the Murray Bridge Green shopping centre was due to be completed in the second half of 2015, and construction works on the Swanport Road site certainly appear to be heading in the right direction. When complete, the new centre will contain a Coles supermarket, Target and a variety of specialty shops.

Bridgeport Hotel - A redevelopment of the Bridgeport Hotel remains a possibility – though no development application had yet been filed with the Murray Bridge council in November, the Eureka Group had ideas about four-star accommodation, a front bar, sports bar, dining room, kitchen, gaming room and other amenities.

Bridge and Sixth streets redevelopment - Plans for the redevelopment of Sixth Street, Murray Bridge should be complete in the next month, and construction may begin as soon as April. However, the future of the more significant revamp of the rural city’s main street will lie in the hands of its newly elected council. A firm is preparing plans for two different versions of Bridge Street – one with one lane of traffic each way, one with two – and councillors will decide which will go ahead early in 2015.

Lower Murray Nungas Club - The Aboriginal flag has been sighted flying over the Lower Murray Nungas Club on Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge in recent months as volunteers tidy up the site that had been abandoned for several years. Ngopamuldi Aboriginal Corporation project officer Steve Sumner is leading the charge to re-establish a Ngarrindjeri community centre at the club, including health, elders and youth services.

Education precinct - All has been quiet on the Murray Bridge council and Regional Development Australia’s plan for an education precinct in the rural city during 2014, although staff numbers have been reduced at the local TAFE campus.

MANNUM

Mannum District Hospital helipad - The Mannum District Hospital helipad site has been agreed to and costed at about $160,000. That figure will cover the partial closure of Parker Street, undergrounding power lines and the formal design and contruction costs of the helipad. The assesment of the Development Application lodged will now proceed and the Mid Murray Council will investigate potential funding sources.

TAILEM BEND

Tailem Bend Motorsport Park - Peregrine Director Sam Shahin addressed Coorong District Council on the master plan for the SA Motorsport Park last week, where he claimed 339,000 extra people could visit the region and about 1600 full time jobs would be created. Development applications are expected to be lodged with the council and State Government by the end of this year with development planned for early to mid-2015.

MENINGIE

Interpretive and resource centre - Federal funding was allocated for the Murray Darling Basin Interpretive and Resource Centre as part of the former Labor Government's $25 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program, to build a visitor centre for the Lower Lakes and Murray, telephone and internet access, a waterfront cafe and mooring facilities. Funding for the project remains uncertain, and council has applied for grant funding for the project.

Meningie Waters housing development - Planning approval was granted in November 2011, with the population of Meningie expected to double in few years following with the development of 300 new residential allotments. The first two stages of the development have been completed and are still selling. There are plans for future redevelopment and the space allocated for that.

Memorial Park - The exhibits are now in place, with a bit of work to do before the park's official opening on March 29, 2015.

KAROONDA

Weighbridge - Karoonda East Murray council chief executive officer Peter Smithson is creating a document to be further considered at their January meeting. It will incorporate recommendations for a single-plate deck weighbridge with a digital read-out at the southern side of the Karoonda Railway Station. It will also include amendments to the council's Long Term Financial Plan and Infrastructure Asset Management Plan to reflect the capital, maintenance and operating costs and future replacement costs. Legal advice is to be sought about the council's legal implications with chain of responsibility provisions and regulations, and confirmation is to be sought from the Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme that the proposal is covered under the scheme's insurance. A public meeting will be held in late February.

Karoonda Caravan Park - Two Jayco cabins have been installed at the Karoonda Caravan Park. The park has been upgraded with designated service points.

Memorabilia Building - Council are still discussing options. At the August council meeting, EnvironArc's concept plan to build the memorabilia building on the southern side of Railway Terrace in Karoonda was accepted, but the council CEO would liaise further with EnvironArc in regards to possible shared usage and archival specific area which meets a more stringent standard. It was also recommended the building have capacity for growth. There has been discussions on funding opportunities which included sponsorship, patronage, sale of assets at Pioneer Park (as contained in the previous Historical Report) and spreading the project over more than one year.

PALMER

Palmer wind farm - The Development Application lodged by Trust Power is being finalised by the Mid Murray Council before public notification. Plans and documents will be provided to the public and will be available on the council's website in the near future. Two public meetings are expected to be scheduled to provide information on the wind farm's Development Application process. The council expected the development would be made public and advertised for comment in early February, 2015.

MONARTO

Intermodal hub - In September, a developer expressed interest in building an intermodal facility, a freight transfer point between road and rail, at Monarto, just as the Murray Bridge council and Regional Development Australia had hoped. The council is working towards a development plan amendment that would allow the facility to be built. Nearby Australian Portable Camps also has a $100 million expansion on the cards that would create up to 500 jobs.

TEPKO

Cherokee gas-fired power plant - A $750-million proposal for a gas power plant that would supplement South Australia's supply during periods of high demand appears to have been put on the backburner for good. The proposal received development approval in 2010, but the State's demand for electricity from the grid has since fallen due to the increased efficiency of household appliances and wide uptake of rooftop solar power systems.

BRINKLEY

Industrial precinct - A new industry precinct, complete with its own energy source, is in the planning process for Murray Bridge. A Bio gas facility is in the advanced stages of development on land around Brinkley which could provide energy to power an industry precinct which would bring investment and jobs to Murray Bridge.

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