Home' Plains Producer : Plains Producer February 5, 2014 Contents Why not a
Plains Producer,Wednesday, February 5, 2014
What can we do with this?
... AND THIS?
BALAKLAVA’S railway yards, looking east
from the the former Transfield depot and,
BELOW, the large expanse of land looking
west, viewed from War Memorial Drive.
IT’S time to publicly raise a Balaklava
issue which has been local scuttlebutt
for some time now.
No, not THAT worst-kept secret about
*****. Or ********. Or ** *********.
Nor the other “parish pump” rumours
about council elections and who might
stand for election later this year. You did
know they were coming up in November,
You knew Central and Western Wards of
Wakefield Regional Council will be com-
bined, with a reduction of one councillor
from the current five.
Who will go? Who will stand? And will
our popular and hard-working mayor, James
Maitland, continue for another four-year
term? Big shoes to fill, should he retire.
Plenty to think about as we settle into
another year, now the school sirens have
sounded and local life gets back to normal.
But time to cut to the chase regarding
the first paragraph.
There’s been talk by people in various
places – some of whom always like to re-
main in the background – about the railway
yards in Balaklava.
I know Balaklava Area Committee has
discussed this, usually prompted every
spring when locals start complaining about
the unkempt appearance and weed growth.
The yards, roughly stretching from War
Memorial Drive to the Whitwarta road,
haveo been the subject of public comment
over many years, particularly after the rail
service was discontinued.
Last year, with the installation of the
big green box on the corner of Railway
terrace and War Memorial drive, the yards
received a bit of an unscheduled tidy up, as
pipeline contractors, Leed Engineering and
Construction, went about their business.
(Incidentally, didn’t that company do
a great job as it constructed the pipeline?
Apart from the recent blip with the big leak,
everything was kept very neat and clean
during the lengthy process and Leed staff
were courteous and well-received by locals).
Back to the point.
With the eastern end of the yards now
cleared and the removal of the old shed on
the northern side, we are seeing an expanse
of land which could become quite a public
facility, without too much cost or work.
As mentioned earlier, others have also
seen opportunity here, so I can’t claim all
of the following as my own. But I do have
some other suggestions
If we turn the area into a public green-
space and parking bay for grey nomad
caravanners, what else can we do?
If we remove the old boundary fence
on Railway terrace (scrap value there) and
create the caravan parking bay, say adjacent
to the pine trees, can we value-add?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to plant some
shade trees and even a bit of grass, creating
a park-like setting equal to Balak’s central
parklands off Wallace street.
What an impression this would make, not
just on locals but the thousands of tourists
who pass it each year.
Couldn’t we find a use for the old rail shed
opposite the eastern silo? Or find a use for
the sheds in the large fenced yard vacated
by Transfield Services?
Would Transfield, with great philan-
thropy, donate them to the community?
What could they be used for, if lowered
from their stilts? Perhaps a business?
Why not a monthly market?
Other towns in our region seem to run
markets with some success. Why not Bal-
aklava? Copy Mallala and run the markets
during footy season on home match days.
The basics are there. The sheds would be
excellent for stallholders. Throw in the old
railway station building, even create some
public toilets there and we are well on the
way. Surely clearing the area and planting
a few trees can’t be that difficult.
Only problem is, the yards are under
the control of rail operators Genesee and
Wyoming Australia (GWA).
GWA could be reluctant to give up au-
thority of an area which might, one day, be
returned to service? Yes, most unlikely, but
never say never.
And there has been optimistic proposals
floated over the years about restoring some
of our disused rail corridors for transport use,
though massive costs are the main stopper.
The concept even gets a mention in the
State government’s Integrated Transport
Land Use Plan, released three weeks ago.
So would GWA give the nod to our am-
bitious plan? Possibly. The company will
work with communities when it sees merit
in proposals and it’s a win-win for both.
Besides, the land could always be retuned
to GWA if needed without much impost.
Why don’t we ask them?
Over to you, Balaklava Area Committee
and Wakefield Regional Council.
WHAT ABOUT THIS?
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