As an Association, our overarching aim is to protect and improve the quality of the local environment, natural and built, and with it, the quality of life for us all as individuals, and as a community.
To do this, we build connections among community members, through working groups, a wide range of social activities, sharing information about community events and developments. We also elicit concerns about new or foreshadowed developments from residents, and communicate them to government.
Reflecting community concerns and interests, we work on a wide range of issues. At the broadest (and most invisible) level, we act to ensure that urban planning policies, processes, and concrete decisions take into account community voices. More obviously, and at a more local level, we organise working groups (and support other community groups) conducting projects like landscaping the railway corridor or maintaining a community garden. And at an individual and social level, we work on ways to help community members to support each other and build a stronger sense of community and connection among us, such as community ‘coffee and chat’ or walking groups, and the ‘Kind Neighbour’ program.
Much of what we do is in response to initiatives, projects or proposals that members of our community see as threatening our natural, built or social environment, such as the Spearfishing Campaign, or Council proposals to sell off part of McConnell Reserve. However, we also seek to be proactive, monitoring the planning and decision-making processes that allow such threats to arise, and maintaining an active engagement with local government to monitor agendas for potentially adverse future developments, so that we can gauge community responses, and act quickly.
Over the years since we were established, our aims, values and activities have evolved in response to the development of the area, including the growth of new suburban development, changes in pressures on the environment and greater understanding of the importance of social and environmental sustainability and the ongoing connection of the Kaurna people to this land. Yet our fundamental commitment to grassroots activity to build community and enhance the quality of life in our area remains unchanged from the first group of residents who got together, doorknocked their neighbours, and then lobbied the council about the impact of new developments around Marino. As an organisation, the Association has grown. The range and scope of our activities has expanded, and both our membership, and the number of community members engaged in activities organised or supported by the Association are continually increasing. We currently have 700 active members, with over 50 volunteers actively involved across 8 task groups.
While we are first and foremost an association of residents in the area covered by the 5049 postcode, we recognise that some of the issues we face are wider than just our own community. Therefore, we maintain constructive links with organisations with whom we have overlapping interests, but are active across a much wider region.
We are acknowledged as an effective representative and advocate for our community, and our input is regularly sought by local and state governments and other bodies on matters affecting our area.
We are proud of what we have achieved since our foundation. Early achievements of ongoing significance, include the building of the Marino Community Hall, which has continued in use on a regular basis although it is now slated for demolition (it will be rebuilt – our Association has significant input into the consultative process for that, too). This was followed some time later by our contribution to the closure of the asphalt and cement plant at the top of Brighton Road.
In more recent years, we have supported, enabled and contributed to a wide range of projects such as greening the rail corridor and street verges in a number of locations, and the dramatic enhancement of Pine Gully including, in some cases, securing the funding needed to enable the project to go ahead.
Recently, we secured funding to purchase a well-equipped trailer to provide catering support for a wide range of community activities. With our support and involvement, the HilltopHub campaign has once again successfully lobbied the Marion Council to retain the McConnell reserve, as a public resource, rather than selling off part of it. And we continue to publish the Newsletter and eNews, maintain a Facebook page and this website, as important ongoing activities.
All these are important achievements connecting and informing members of the community and maintaining and improving the amenity of our suburbs.