Helicopter business out of place in Adelaide’s Parklands

The proposal for a commercial helipad in the Adelaide Parklands by the banks of the Torrens is an inappropriate privatisation of community land and should be abandoned, according to Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader of the Greens SA.

The Adelaide City Council is finalising its public consultation on the helipad project with submissions due by 5pm on Tuesday 4th July.

“The Parklands are an environmental and recreational asset for all South Australians to enjoy.  They aren’t just vacant real estate waiting for the latest commercial development idea", said Mark Parnell.

“Helicopters are incredibly noisy and with arrival and departure flight paths being over the Parklands (not the City), the noise impact will be widespread over what is currently a relatively tranquil oasis.

According to the Council, the helipad would cater for “commercial and private helicopter flights” to service the Barossa, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. 

“To be clear, this facility isn’t about helicopters used for medical emergencies or police operations, this helipad is simply to avoid the need for tourists to take the short trip to Adelaide Airport just a few kilometres down the road.  The existing airport is the appropriate spot for commercial aircraft, not the River Torrens and the Adelaide Parklands.

“This is simply the wrong place for this project.  Council’s own consultants identified other suitable options including city rooftops or the existing approved helicopter facility at the Old RAH.

“In addition to practical concerns about the impact of noise and low-flying aircraft on the Parklands, there are serious questions around why a project that is so seriously at odds with the Council’s own Management Plan for the Parklands could have got this far.  Ultimately, the project will need to be referred State Parliament, but I hope common sense prevails before too much money is wasted.  Otherwise, “disallowance” of the helipad lease in the Upper House is a strong possibility.

“The area identified for the helipad has been used for temporary car parking for construction workers and for storing dredged material from the Torrens lake, however once those temporary uses are finished, the land should be returned to open space for the community, not fenced off for a new City airport”, concluded Mark Parnell.