Naracoorte locals have won the battle over a parcel of community land that was potentially on the chopping block, after intervention from the State Attorney-General.
In April, Naracoorte Lucindale Council voted to reclassify a piece of land at Janz Street, Naracoorte, which would allow the land to be sold and developed down the track but after a tough fight from locals, including a petition with more than 100 signatures, the decision was overturned after a unanimous vote at the council meeting on Tuesday.
Attorney General Vickie Chapman rejected the application for declassification, stating in a letter that "requirements under section 194(2) of the Local Government Act have not been met."
"It is apparent the council has not complied with the requirements in section 194(2) of the Act," the letter said.
"Specifically, statements in the report released by council as the public consultation in relation to subsections 194(2)(a)(i), 194(2)(a)(ii), 194(2)(a)(iii) and 192(2)(a)(iv) do not provide the community with the information it requires: to understand the reason the council is seeking to revoke the community land status of the land, how the land will be used, how proceeds of sale (if sold) will be used and how the land use will effect the community."
"I am therefore of the view that it is not possible to consider the merits of the proposal as the consultation process undertaken by the council does not meet the requirements of the Act."
At the meeting, chief executive officer Trevor Smart disagreed that the proposal did not comply, but recommended that council retain the land as community land.
"Looking at it, I don't think we could do too much differently. We can only go so far with the proposal," he said.
"Council had not decided yet to sell the land. The process was to put it out to public consult to then make an application of revocation of the community land classification.
"If that was approved then our next step would have been to consider if we wanted to sell the land and undertaking the process to do that and what would have been done with the proceeds, we couldn't say."
Councillor Tom Dennis said that the fact that a petition was tabled to council suggested that the community consultation was not sufficient.
"To say we did everything we could is probably a fair comment, but given this feedback, maybe we need to review our public consultation process," he said.
"We did a very very thorough review of land and the parks, it wasn't just a five minute process that was done, and obviously more than 100 people have filled out the petition and brought that to council.
"We went through that process using the right information and direction from our officers around what we were meant to do, to have this taken to the attorney general to have this approved and that hasn't occurred so I would say that need to be reviewed."
He further suggested that council may need to look into improving the land, which is currently vacant.
"Bearing that in mind, now that we are not going to develop Janz St or go for a reclassification, I am foreshadowing that we need to review that park," he said.
"I've read the petition and I don't concur with the statement that people are running around there and doing push-ups.
"I would say it is a glorified carpark at the moment and needs to be re-evaluated and rejuvenated into a park, because at the moment it is a bare carpark .
"So let's get rid of what it is at the moment and re-evaluate, and think about what we want for the future."
Councillor Cameron Grundy praised lead petitioner Mick Deland for his work in getting the petition done.
"He should be congratulated for having they courage and conviction to go ahead and set this petition up, whether we like the decision or not,' he said.
"To have gone through that trouble is a credit to him."