Wildens Way, Murray Bridge land sale causes concern among residents

Graham Hallandal is among several community members concerned about a Murray Bridge council plan to sell public land on Wildens Way. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Graham Hallandal is among several community members concerned about a Murray Bridge council plan to sell public land on Wildens Way. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Concern is growing about a plan to sell a 300-metre stretch of Murray Bridge's riverfront to a private investor.

The city's council plans to sell a row of shacks on Wildens Way, near Long Island Reserve, to an unnamed buyer who made an offer for it.

The council plans to give "owners of adjoining land or others with a pre-existing interest" a chance to submit a higher offer, and is currently consulting ratepayers and residents to ask whether that sale process is fair.

But the public has not been asked whether the land should be sold at all.

Murray Bridge resident and walking trail proponent Graham Hallandal said that was a mistake, and that most locals had no idea what was happening.

"Once it's gone, it's gone," he said.

"It's an asset that has to be preserved at any cost.

"It's all very nice to say 'we're going to put the money into Sturt Reserve', but personally I'd like the council to slow down the project or take out a loan (instead).

"This place is booming, and we're going to need every bit of riverfront we can get."

Long Island Reserve was already chock-a-block during holiday periods, he said, and Murray Bridge's population was projected to grow by as many as 10,000 people over the coming decades.

It was also hypocritical of the council to sell off one stretch of riverfront land when it was working so hard to secure others for the Murray-Coorong Trail, which will eventually stretch all the way along the riverfront, he said.

He urged people to contact Murray Bridge's councillors or submit their comments in writing.

Councillors' discussions relating to the sale - in which they declared the land "surplus to requirements", sought two valuations and decided to accept the offer - were all held behind closed doors.

The council previously turned down approaches from the Taplin Group to turn the riverfront land, and a vacant area behind it, into a residential estate called "Wildens Way Urban Park", in 2007 and 2010.

A 2009 concept plan envisioned a riverfront walking trail, about 16 houses and a wetland recreation area.

The council has not identified who made the recent offer to buy the land.

  • Have your say: Visit letstalk.murraybridge.sa.gov.au or write to the Rural City of Murray Bridge, PO Box 421, Murray Bridge SA 5253 before 3pm next Thursday, December 5.

Comments