Why make life even harder for Hutt St homeless?
Lainie Anderson: Why make life even harder for Hutt St homeless?
It seems some would rather marginalise our most vulnerable than measure up to what makes our city awesome, Lainie Anderson says of the decision by Adelaide City councillors to review Hutt St Centre’s planning approvals.
It was good old Gandhi who said the true measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable. Adelaide, bless its cotton socks and open heart, has always measured up pretty well.
Our social reform agenda has long led the nation and the world – largely because enough wealthy, powerful South Aussies have looked beyond lining their own pockets and instead turned their considerable intellect and passion to making the world richer, safer or more equal for others.
Fast forward to the Adelaide of 2020 – an unprecedented year in terms of its potential to crush the lives and livelihoods of South Australians – and it seems some would rather marginalise our most vulnerable than measure up to what makes our city awesome.
I’m talking about the decision by a majority of Adelaide City councillors to demand a review of the Hutt St Centre’s planning approvals – despite council’s own assessment panel recently approving a $2.2 million upgrade for the homeless shelter.
Apparently, this council would rather spend tens of thousands reviewing the Hutt St Centre (and potentially forcing the centre itself to spend a small fortune contesting any adverse outcomes) than injecting that cash into programs to help those in need.
It raises some interesting questions.
For one, surely any relevant planning approvals would have been considered before the assessment panel unanimously approved the centre’s $2.2 million refurbishment – if not, what sort of a circus is the city council running?
And how can any city business owner now be certain they won’t be forced into a similar costly planning review if new neighbours move in and take a dislike?
A great irony is the Hutt St Centre revamp aims to address issues raised by its critics, through improved access to reduce loitering and better use of internal space (particularly to support women and children).