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Hall update causing angst
DESPITE elaborate marketing cam-
paigns from some of its candidates,
Gawler Council saw a fall in its vot-
er turnout during last month's local
Only 30 per cent of eligible voters in the
Gawler Council area returned their ballot
papers, down three per cent from 2010.
It reflects the statewide trend, which
shows a slight drop in voting, from 33 per
cent in 2010 to 31.99 per cent this year.
Newly elected Mayor Karen Redman
said council was unhappy with the turn-
She noted that smaller and rural coun-
cils tended to see higher participation
"But Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge
and Whyalla are all similar size councils
to Gawler and all recording around 40
(per cent) turnout, so Gawler could learn
something from them," she said.
The figures come despite heavy cam-
paigning and a spotlight on a series
of complaints lodged with the South
Australian Electoral Commission.
Both metropolitan and country coun-
cils saw a fractionally lower turnout this
year, compared to the 2010 election.
Mrs Redman cited several reasons for
the reduced participation in Gawler, in-
cluding a change in voters between elec-
"It is estimated that 40 (per cent) of
electors on the Gawler roll in 2014 were
not on the roll in 2010," she said.
"With people moving more than ever, it
is harder to keep up with local issues.
"Having national, state and local elec-
tions close together may have been a mi-
She hoped a statewide review looking at
better explaining council voting, "because
some people find it confusing", would be
Statewide, there was also a lower turn-
over of elected members, with 38.5 per
cent of new faces across South Australian
Gawler Council bucked the trend, with
five new councillors inducted last month.
Council voting down
PROPOSED renovations to the historic
One Tree Hill Institute Hall are causing
concern among community users.
Playford Council recently sought com-
munity consultation from ratepayers
about the planned designs for the hall,
to be discussed at a public meeting on
However, the decision to upgrade the hall
was made without meeting and identifying
the needs of the regular hall users, according
to the facility's manager.
Hall manager Pat Jones said although the
proposed plan is a beautiful design, it does not
fit the character or accommodate the versatil-
ity of the hall.
"I don't think it is the right concept for the
hall," she said.
"We have everything from christenings,
funerals, 90th birthdays and weddings to bi-
weekly playgroups, dance schools and senior
"It hasn't been well thought out for the
business and the people that use the hall."
Mrs Jones, who has voluntarily managed
the hall for 14 years, was unaware the facil-
ity was being considered for upgrades until a
Playford Council plumber mentioned it dur-
ing a repair job and then plans were present-
ed at the One Tree Hill Progress Association
"It would have been nice if I had a bit of
input so that (Playford Council) knew what the hall was used for and how busy it was,"
"If it was a function room which I could
keep like that it would be fine, but that is not
all the hall is used for."
The council has proposed removing the
hall's iconic leadlights and stage, installing
ceiling-to-floor curtains, changing the layout
of both the kitchen and bar and replacing
wooden folding doors with material-coated
These changes, according to Mrs Jones, do
not meet the needs of hall users.
One Tree Hill resident Leah Walsh said the
design is not versatile for children.
"When it is cold and wet we linger inside
and do crafts; with the new (kitchen and bar)
design there will be no tables to accommodate
"The stainless steel kitchen means par-
ents will be scrubbing handprints the entire
"The (hall) designs take away from the char-
acter of the building and if I was looking at
this new design for a wedding I wouldn't have
Following the public meeting, all concerns
with the hall's proposed designs must be sub-
mitted to council by December 27 for renova-
tion in May and June.
One Tree Hill resident Leah Walsh (left), with daughter Kaylie, and One Tree Hill Institute Hall
manager Pat Jones are concerned about proposed renovations to the hall. PHOTO: Kimberley Pratt
Gawler Council has bucked the state-wide trend of a reduced elected members turnover, inducting ve
new councillors last month.
PHOTO: Natalie Vikhrov
" PAT JONES
If it was a function room
which I could keep like that it would
be ﬁne, but that is not all the hall is
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