Coonawarra vineyards saved – for now

This article first appeared in Spectator, 2009
Tyson Stelzer

Plans for a highway bypass that would threaten vineyards in South Australia’s Coonawarra region have been delayed indefinitely.

A Supreme Court ruling this week placed an injunction on the local Wattle Range Council, preventing the compulsory acquisition of prized vineyard land for the bypass.

The ruling represents a victory for Foster’s Group and Parker Coonawarra Estates, who lodged the court application on the basis that the proposed bypass “destroys irreplaceable terra rossa soil vineyards,” damages local tourism through reduced traffic and does not alleviate the dangerous mix of vineyard and tourist vehicles with fast moving trucks along the main strip of Coonawarra cellar doors.

The council accepted the ruling and agreed to pay costs.

Mayor of Wattle Range Council, Mark Braes, announced that the council would need to consider if it would proceed with the bypass. If it did, it would be required to recommence the process, including a “full and fresh consideration of all submissions received” in relation to alternative routes for the bypass.

The future of the proposal is unclear, although vineyard owners are concerned that the original process of compulsory land acquisition may simply be recommenced. They remain in discussion with council.