MEDIA STATEMENT: Hutt Street community unites to reject Centre expansion
16 December 2019
The majority of retail business owners in the intimate Hutt Street retail and residential precinct have signed on to oppose plans to redevelop the Hutt St Centre.
The united front comes in the form of 23 signatures of support attached to a detailed submission by the Hutt St Traders Association (HSTA) to the City of Adelaide (CoA) panel that is assessing a rushed and ill-conceived development application by the Centre.
The Centre has submitted a development application without any meaningful consultation with its neighbours as a way of supporting further organic growth and diversification of its day centre.
In its submission, the HSTA outlines the basis for its opposition, including:
– The Centre’s operations have expanded unchecked for decades and without council approval for much of its core operations. It is already operating well beyond capacity.
– The state government has a well-advanced program for a homeless hub in the city with a buffer zone so everyone can be safe, the homeless can receive professional care, and the southeast of the CBD can prosper. Approval of the development application will negate this.
– The CoA must reject or minimally defer the decision-making process until after the nature, scale, location and operational ownership of the hub is finalised.
– The CoA cannot go against so many of its own development requirements, including several council-wide objectives.
– SAPOL data (which does not include incidents resulting in persons being detained under the Mental Health Act) show a strong correlation of police attendances close to the Centre and during its operating hours.
– Failure to address car parking demand by the Centre’s 70 staff and 450 volunteers.
The submission notes the Centre claims its development will resolve the safety, anti-social and public nuisance problems that are destroying livelihoods. However, this claim by the Centre is untrue.
“Problems majorly occur while their clientele traverse to/from the Centre on a daily basis,” the submission says. “Redevelopment of the Centre’s building to make it more modern and functional will simply make it more attractive to more clientele and exacerbate the traversing impact on the neighbourhood including small family-owned businesses which are already suffering.”
A report by Hudson Howells, included with HSTA’s submission, found business health in the Hutt St precinct is worsening and potential investment, estimated at $400 million, has stalled due to anti-social behaviour linked to a cohort of non-homeless people who use services offered by the Centre.
“Unfortunately, many in the wider community have been duped into supporting Hutt St Centre’s antiquated day-centre operation that, because of its short-sighted open-door policy, ultimately creates public nuisance and ruins small family businesses in the precinct,” Hutt St Traders Association secretary Wayne Copley says.
“Many seem to think the Hutt St Centre is only caring for the homeless, when in fact the homeless are a minority in the Centre, which attracts a cohort of non-homeless housed people who are responsible for the majority of issues.
“Hutt St Centre’s own statistics show that, at any given time, 70 per cent to 90 per cent of people using Hutt St Centre’s services suffer from a combination of mental health conditions, illicit drug dependency and/or alcohol related problems.
“We call on the Centre to get on board with the Don Dunstan Foundation’s inner-city homelessness services hub initiative.
“The hub is a win-win and the community would be supportive of the Hutt St Centre moving into the hub and running the operation.
“Unfortunately, the Centre appears to be intent on protecting at all costs its antiquated operations by proposing further development in Hutt St, which will only serve to intensify its operations and set a course for ongoing and escalating conflict.”