When I retired I returned to my home town of Two Wells. I recall coming back to a ‘dying town’ that had been bypassed by the new highway.
As I had been a political activist forever, I joined the local community group, which was trying to get the council to fund a streetscape, to save our town.
It was a long drawn-out battle but, as a result of that group, today we have paved footpaths, kerbing, well maintained shops and war memorial, street trees and flowers, several outdoor café areas, a wonderful bakery and a plush pizza restaurant with an open fire.
The combined efforts of the residents and Mallala Council have worked wonders.
Two recent council decisions, however, have started to unwind the work we started, to aid the small businesses of this town.
The proposed positioning of the pedestrian crossing by the post office is poorly placed (refer September Communicator), damaging the street aesthetics and will cost the small businesses dearly, as did the closing of Drew St to trucks.
The paved area in front of the Post Office (PO) will be extended out to the width of the current parking space, forming a bottleneck where people catch the bus.
It’s why we have seating under the shady tree, which saves council building a bus shelter. Turning that car parking space into a bus parking zone may have been a better option.
All five angle parks in front of the old bank and the IGA will be removed. Two garden beds will be affected. The roses and a couple of the trees, which have been maturing for 12 years to provide shade, will be destroyed with little consideration of how new trees struggle to get a foothold, in our hot bituminised street.
Businesses are dependent on parking spots in front of their shops.
Heavy groceries need to be loaded directly into cars at the front of shops. With parking areas further away, if shopping trolleys are required to be pushed up an incline, to be returned, it could result in trolleys littering the street area.
Adding two new parking places and a new garden bed by the grain merchant, in front of petrol bowsers, which may be reactivated in the future, seems a needless risk.
That business already has space for ‘off street’ parking out front. And good luck trying to get trees established in that contaminated soil.
That same area, which is at the crest of the hill, and between the public toilets and shops, would be a more popular place for the pedestrian crossing.
While locals use the post office, many more visitors use the toilets and the shops. Mini buses, with seniors, park by the toilets and the barbecue area, by the heritage walk.
They cross the street there, to get groceries, or a cup of coffee.
They don’t walk back over the hill to the PO, to go to the shops or cafes. Unlike the PO area there is no expensive re-paving, re-kerbing and plant replacement required, so it would be less costly, more aesthetic and no loss of business.
In one stroke the Drew street traffic restrictions reduced the bakery and southern end food businesses by 40 per cent. Formerly customers coming in from Gawler Rd could turn left and parallel-park in the main street. Now those extra trucks are not slowing to turn, but barrelling, at speed, over the railway lines through the town, past two kindergartens and the school entrance.
To buy food they now have to turn left at the Tavern and park on the wrong side of the road, because there is only angle parking on the left, and the road is too narrow for U turns.
Council received few responses to their submission, but if you care about our town or have a better suggestion, contact them before the next meeting and have your say. Mallala Council can be contacted on 8527 0200.
Jill Barclay-Davis, Two Wells