What to do with Hume Reserve, Murray Bridge? | POLL

If Sturt Reserve had an ugly stepsister, Hume Reserve would be it.

As a big open space on the banks of the River Murray, close to the heart of Murray Bridge, it has almost everything going for it.

But in recent years it has more often been a dumping ground than a picnic spot, and the lack of visible progress there has got Councillor Clem Schubert fuming.

"At the moment tourists look across at a big disaster of dirt and weeds," he said at a council meeting on July 10.

"Our rural city's badly lacking anything of calibre, especially when compared to other river towns."

He demanded that the council show some leadership, cut the reserve out of plans for the rest of Murray Bridge's riverfront and spend $75,000 fixing it up "now ... within this financial year".

He suggested a green-grassed area, powerboat slipway and caravan park, a concept the council had previously rejected to allow more time for talks with the site's traditional owners, the Ngarrindjeri.

"I understand the Ngarrindjeri people with their rights, and fair enough, but I'd think if we were to ask the Indigenous where their sacred sites are and ask that they might come in and use it as an extra tourist thing, and promote the beliefs of the tribes that lived in this area, it might be beneficial to both of us," Cr Schubert said.

"Edwards Crossing, that's the reason Murray Bridge got started ... there's so much history down there that should be incorporated.

"It's too good a chance to waste and not develop."

Cr Jerry Wilson shared his frustration.

"I personally have been pushing this for 11 years and haven't got an answer," he said.

But for the second time in six months, Mayor Brenton Lewis urged patience, saying the city's riverfront strategy was taking shape, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority was about to present its plans, and the sale of the adjoining railway land by the state government was imminent.

When the sale was finalised, he said, "there will be a whole new group of people willing to come to the table".

"We all came to this last election saying we were going to do things to the riverfront," he said.

"There's no backing off, there's just no doing it in an ad hoc way that comes back to bite us.

"That's got to be the way we look at this."

Cr Airlie Keen agreed the site was "hideous" and that something needed to happen, but said the council needed to focus on its long-term vision for the entire riverfront.

"Let's stick to the plan," she said.

"If we're all on board we can achieve results."

Cr Fred Toogood said a caravan park would go better in the back half of Sturt Reserve anyway, once the former landfill there was remediated.

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