Community supports world-class environment initiative

The Dusky Woodswallow is one of the bird species currently under threat in the Mount Lofty region
Photo by Lynn Pedler

The Dusky Woodswallow is one of the bird species currently under threat in the Mount Lofty region
Photo by Lynn Pedler

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WRI_Option1  [PDF]  (649.69K)
Development Option 1 was clearly favoured among members of the local community, with 59% choosing it as their first preference (concept image shown).

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Local residents support a proposed world-class environment initiative based at a University of Adelaide farming property, and the majority are prepared to see some land developed to fund the project, according to community feedback.

The University's proposed Woodland Recovery Initiative aims to help re-establish native vegetation to 30% of the Mt Lofty region and prevent further species loss in the region.

As part of the initiative, a world-class environment research centre would be established at the University's property at Glenthorne, south of Adelaide, with 100ha of farmland on the site to be planted with a suitable woodland habitat that encourages the return of native species.

The knowledge gained at Glenthorne would assist researchers in efforts to restore native woodland on up to 150,000ha in the Mt Lofty region.

To provide enough ongoing funding for the project to succeed over the next 100 years, the University has proposed developing 63ha of the 208ha Glenthorne site.

Community consultation on the initiative included sending information brochures to 10,000 residents in nearby suburbs, holding community information days, and obtaining community views via a feedback form and phone survey.

More than 800 printed surveys were returned by local residents, while the telephone survey gained feedback from 400 randomly selected residents in the local area. Both surveys were conducted by an independent market research company.

Survey results

The 1200 survey responses showed strong support for the Woodland Recovery Initiative, with a majority of respondents also indicating support for development to help fund the project.

  • 69% of respondents supported the initiative;
  • 69% of survey respondents identified the social, environmental and economic importance of the Woodland Recovery Initiative as "very important" or "somewhat important";
  • 64% of respondents either supported or were neutral to development at Glenthorne to fund the initiative.

Some of the following comments from survey respondents are indicative of the support for the Woodland Recovery Initiative:

  • "I hope this fantastic project gets legs"
  • "Marvellous idea"
  • "Excellent idea, about bloody time someone stepped up. Great job guys!"
  • "Very happy to see a proactive approach being taken"
  • "A highly required and imperative initiative. An opportunity to develop a world-class example"

Three funding options were put to residents in the information brochure and at the community information days. Respondents to the surveys were asked for their feedback on the three options. Of those who indicated a preference:

  • 59% of respondents favoured Option 1 (western residential);
  • 28% of respondents favoured Option 3 (mix of retail/services and residential);
  • 13% of respondents favoured Option 2 (southern residential).

Some of the following comments from survey respondents are indicative of the support for Option 1:

  • "allows best use of the site's waterway"
  • "allows longer walking trail and 'hides' the development"
  • "best preserves the openness of the view along Main South Road"
  • "forms an effective corridor while protecting proposed housing from heavy traffic noise"
  • "least intrusive - gives greatest length of land for animals to move"

The University's Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor James McWha, says: "We're very excited about the community's response to our major environmental initiative.

"The opportunity to make a real impact on species loss, with meaningful revegetation in the face of climate change, is something that will benefit the South Australian community for generations to come.

"The local community consultation has seen an excellent response rate, reinforcing our views that the land at Glenthorne is an important part of the community and is worthy of this world-class initiative.

"The University is now communicating the results of the consultation to State Government for its consideration."

Further feedback

Throughout all stages of the community consultation process, the community made a number of suggestions for inclusion in the project. These were:

  • public walking trails throughout the wooded areas of the property;
  • involvement in the planning process;
  • volunteer groups to be actively involved in environmental activities;
  • any residential development should be an example of sustainable housing.

"This feedback from the community is in line with the University's vision for Glenthorne, and we intend to incorporate each of these suggestions into our future plans for the site," Professor McWha says.

"I would like to thank all of the members of the community for taking the time to respond to the surveys, and for attending the community information days. Your feedback has been extremely helpful. We believe it will assist in creating an environmental initiative that will be highly regarded throughout Australia and across the globe."

For more information about the Woodland Recovery Initiative, visit the website:

To watch a video about the Woodland Recovery Initiative, click here.


Contact Details

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762