Your views: on a new hospital, heritage and radio ratings


Today, readers comment on a new Women’s & Children’s Hospital site, the relevance of heritage protection laws, and who’s tuning into what.

Commenting on the opinion piece: Heritage protection now meaningless if historic site is demolished

Premier Malinauskas has reportedly observed that the heritage-listed Police Barracks are ‘not Bonython Hall’.

In 1973 the University of Adelaide sought to replace Elder Hall – a building at least 30 years older and arguably more distinctive (not to say distinguished) than Bonython Hall – with a modern purpose-built concert hall for the Elder Conservatorium.

It was only deterred from this utterly well-intentioned act of vandalism by then ALP Premier Dunstan, who made it clear that the state government’s intended cash subsidy to mark the university’s imminent centenary depended on the preservation and restoration of Elder Hall.

The Police Barracks site is neither well known nor well presented at the moment. But its importance in the history of this state and its potential significance for cultural tourism as a large and coherent heritage complex, in close proximity to the Adelaide Gaol, should not be underestimated.

That is say nothing of the appalling precedent set by state-sponsored demolition of ten heritage-listed buildings in order to erect a massive new structure on the Adelaide parklands. Don Dunstan must be turning in his grave. – Wilfred Presto

This government still does not get it. The Thebarton police barracks, even if they were not heritage listed, are built on parklands.

This proposal if it goes ahead will not only destroy a very significant set of heritage buildings, but be built on parklands which should be retained as open space.

Find a site that is not on parklands and pay for it with the proceeds of sale of the existing WCH site. Governments must stop grabbing “free” parkland for new building developments and start respecting the parklands. I expected better from this government. – John Zwar

This has got to be one of the worst planning decisions made in recent memory. This will result in the destruction of parklands and state heritage assets and I am gobsmacked the Government would have such a blatant disregard for our laws which were enacted to protect our heritage and parklands.

Why was the Australia Post site on Gouger Street and West Terrace not considered? It’s still within close distance to the biomedical precinct and wouldn’t destroy any parklands or heritage assets. – Andrew Schulz

There is a medical imperative to relocate the services of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital as close as possible to a major general hospital, the RAH.

There was no way that the previous Government’s plan to try to utilize a very restricted triangular site was ever going to work. Specialist clinicians had been warning about the gross inadequacies of this plan for over five years. Despite this the Liberal Government proceeded with futile time and money-wasting planning for four years at a cost of $53 million.

Considering all the options, there is no other adequate footprint for a new, enlarged hospital for the future other than the site on the north side of the railway line and extending into the Thebarton Barracks. Arguments for building a freestanding WCH away from the RAH precinct are spurious, ignorant of the medical issues and contrary to modern standards of hospital care.

And so, the barracks have to go; end of story. It is sad to have to sacrifice a State Heritage complex but health and saving lives must trump heritage every time.

Keith Conlon’s lament would have more validity were it not for the fact that neither he nor the Heritage Council has exhibited much interest or effectiveness in protecting other State Heritage Items such as the Waite Gatehouse, the Victor Harbor Causeway and the Port Adelaide ‘Sheds’.

In particular, the Waite Gatehouse was only preserved for relocation due to lobbying from community groups. Similarly the Heritage Council was nowhere to be seen when the previous Liberal Government promoted plans to give over Ayers House to state-run offices and modernized function facilities. – Professor Warren Jones, convenor Protect our Heritage Alliance.

No Premier, the new WCH is not a “binary question”.

In announcing the State Government’s latest proposed attack on Adelaide’s heritage, the Premier claimed, incorrectly, that SA politicians must make a binary choice: Do you want a great new hospital or do you want to protect built heritage and park lands heritage?

This furphy of a binary choice needs to be exposed for the ridiculous assertion that it is. There is no need to choose between the two. It shows a stunning lack of imagination to suggest that such a choice is required.

The proposed site of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital would destroy not only the century-old heritage listed Thebarton police barracks but would also confiscate a significant swathe of Kate Cocks Park within our National Heritage-listed open green public Adelaide park lands.

The Premier has dismissed the suggestion advanced by the Adelaide Park Lands Association and others that the ideal site would be across North Terrace incorporating the old Newmarket Hotel and potentially other adjacent land. He claimed, without evidence, that site would be difficult for ambulance access – apparently unwilling to consider any engineering solution.

The false notion of a binary choice has been rolled out countless times throughout Adelaide’s history to justify a never ending stream of attacks on this City’s irreplaceable garland of green. Land can always be purchased for Government purposes. The cost of purchasing sufficient City land for a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital would be a minuscule proportion of this project’s suggested $3 billion budget.

Providing new infrastructure and protecting heritage are not mutually exclusive. They never have been.

The only difference this time is that due to a lack of innovative thinking within Government, built heritage is now joining our park lands heritage in the firing line as well. – Shane Sody, Adelaide Park Lands Association president

I recently visited the Police Barracks to see the “Greys” and the museum.

One thing the struck me was the passion of one of the serving mounted police officers that told us the history and the current use of the mounted patrols.

The buildings and museum are a hidden gem in the history of South Australia and Australia’s policing since colonisation. To see it bulldozed for political expediency would be a stain on this state and Australia in general.

To the government of today, please don’t do it. There are other options available. – David Tuff

Totally agree with Keith Conlon. The place is either heritage listed and therefore protected, or it is not.

This Government will come and go, we don’t want them to take our heritage with them. – David Burnett

I cannot believe the audacity of the current government in its decision to demolish our heritage, some 10 buildings that have stood for over 100 years.

The Urrbrae Gatehouse was one big excuse to construct what is turning out to be an ugly sterile intersection. Not only was the Gatehouse removed but also, and more importantly, towering pine trees that have stood for decades and were in good health. This is not a shining example of government decisions on heritage and/or environmental conservation.

The Police Barracks should not be used for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital – conserve the little heritage that we have managed to preserve thus far.

And as for the cost – $3billion – eye-watering indeed. Surely private enterprise could build it better, for less cost and on schedule – I cite the new Calvary Adelaide Hospital as an example.

Suggestion for the government: go back to the drawing board and find another site where heritage and environment are not destroyed in the process. – Paula Furlanic

I am appalled at this proposed wanton destruction of these historic buildings. It seems our heritage (our built and natural environment) is increasingly falling victim to development.

It is time we learned to live within boundaries that are sustainable and value our past. – Trevor Caldwell

I am speechless at the temerity of this decision. It makes a mockery of our heritage act as, from now on, absolutely nothing is sacred.

So added to the already huge cost of a new hospital, will be the relocation/rebuild of the police barracks. I have a much better suggestion – demolish the parliament building and build there! – Sue Saunders

Commenting on the story: Radio ratings: ABC plummets in wild survey

Doesn’t this suggest that a lot of people are listening to other stations not reported on, and increasingly?

I’m guessing that the 17% not represented in this survey are listening to Community radio stations, particularly Fresh and Three D Radio.

In the scheme of such a fractured market, that is a large and growing number of radio listeners. Might this be the real story behind the ‘Radio Ratings’? – Andrew Bunney

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