“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





02 November 2017


Richard Hamilton applies for resort approval on prime agricultural land

The last time anything really big and rebellious happened in McLaren Vale was the Tractor Action uprising when local farmers and vignerons blocked the streets and roadways to protest against the very real threat of urban sprawl invading prime agricultural land. 

The Hon. John Rau MP (currently the State Attorney-General and Minister for Planning) eventually came down and held a meeting.

There he announced his approval of Seaford Heights, which put a huge and horrid spread of ill-planned housing on priceless grain and vine land right on the entrance to McLaren Vale.

Snookered, the citizens reluctantly accepted this as a sort of trade-off or downpayment for the guarantee of the Barossa and McLaren Vale Character Preservation Acts, which were designed to protect the unique cultural and invaluable agricultural nature of both regions.

Even Senator Nick Xenophon came down to help plant a Guerilla Vegetable Garden on the perfect farming ground of the Seaford Heights site. This was soon bulldozed for the horrid houses.

Local winemaker Richard Hamilton seems likely to be the first to test the limits of the Preservation Acts with this application to the local Onkaparinga Council.

This huge development is intended to go on McMurtrie Road, on prime vineyard land opposite the tasting rooms of Primo Estate and Hugh Hamilton, between the Salopian Inn and Wirra Wirra.

McLaren Vale certainly lacks a large scale luxury accommodation facility with conference amenities, but one wonders why such a development can't be within the township boundaries of either McLaren Vale or Willunga. 

The test will be whether the local and state governments are willing to push the notion that tourism in itself is more important than the agriculture which attracts it. Locals should get around to the council quick smart and have a good hard look at the proposal.

I, for one, don't want to have to get angry again. But I can.

This is the prominent vineyard in the immediate foreground where the whole dream gadget is gambled to go, looking east across Frank Mitolo's shipping container architecture toward Wirra Wirra:

Never forget: We are the stakeholders.


My Life said...

Nooooooooo!!! Surely there must be somewhere else where such a monster won't inflict itself on this beautiful and bountiful landscape???

Lady With Very Big Tractor said...

I see local Liberal kingpin Mr. Harvey there with his walking stick. Surely a respected gentleman like him could have a meeting with Dr. Hamilton and say something like "Richard, so you want to sell some land, do you? First, this is not the way to do it. Second, you don't need the money."

Or are the Harveys in on it, too?

Henry T said...

Get over it petal. The Vales needs people.

Anonymous said...

I've been a part of the Vale wine industry for 15 years. I have had my hands in the dirt, my head in cellar doors and done my time in tank farms. The one comment I hear from visitors over and over and over, is they'd stay in the Vale longer if only they could find decent accommodation. They want to stay longer. We have had cellar door visitors taking day trips up from Glenelg and the city because they could not find local rooms. That means eating meals in Glenelg, shopping in Glenelg. I have heard different variations of this complaint over 1.5 decades, along with some deserved poor reviews of some of the available accommodation. It's not a new problem.

There was talk of a similar resort 10 years ago on Seaview Road and no-one complained. It was approved, from memory but the GFC hit and funds dried up. Even the nearest wineries and cellar doors that would be within direct view, didn't complain. Here is a chance to provide 150 rooms per night, that's potentially 300+ people, per night staying in, and spending in the Vale. Tweeting, and reviewing and sharing our stories. This is a good thing. It will spark other improvements - perhaps being able to buy a decent glass of local wine somewhere after 9pm would be nice, for a change... although the local's House Red is fine when nothing else is open, I suppose.

The Day on the Green slopmess has it's own critics and issues but what local hasn't been to at least one when their fav old-time legend hit town?! No doubt this nearby development will open the door for similar large events at the same location - this is my only concern. For the other 50 weekends of the year, this resort will bring thirsty cashed-up wine lovers to our part of the world. The Vale is growing up. A few weeks ago Chook won a very deserved award for years of service, driving people home late at night and keeping the roads safer. Amazingly, some small-town people were against his buses in the start! But the Vale grew up. The same people perhaps who didn't want the new Coles that opened up the floor space that allowed Romeo's to open and has brought the Vale an amazing array of cheeses and fine foods that Coles would never consider. The Vale grew up. The same ones who still see the Cube as an 'eyesore'. The same ones that will force me to post this as 'anonymous' as I fear the backlash of small town minds.

As long as the immediate neighbours will not be adversely affected... bring it on. This is not the Seaford Heights fight. The Vale needs to grow up.

The Practical Person said...

Well it IS the same as the Seaford Heights fight if you lose it.

Philip WHITE said...

Anonymous. Always puts the standard blur back on a piece of cool hard clarity, the old Anonymous. And I love being told to grow up by Anonymice.

Philip WHITE said...

The more I look at this the more I think it's way out of scale. This region needs to sit back a while and have a real hard talk about its planning. I have huge radical ideas that are tiny in execution, but who do I talk to and where?