Listen – Connect – Share

‘Why I love the Willunga Golf Course’

glorious weather today! I took the dog for a walk in the late afternoon and by
the time the sun was beginning to set we were in the Willunga Golf Course.
Although I walk there almost every single day, it never fails to impress me and
lift my mood. Surely, Willunga Golf Course must be one of the most beautiful
park spaces in South Australia?

    Which begs the question,
why is its continuing existence up for review at the council? And why is it
never part of regional McLaren Vale and Fleurieu promotions? Anyone can walk
through it or play a round of golf through it – and I highly recommend you do!
Perhaps because it doesn’t have a large expanse adjacent a main road, like so
many golf courses in small towns do, it gets forgotten. On one hand, this makes
it a real treasure for locals who do know about it, but on the other hand, if
more people don’t get on board to support it, we’ll lose it!

    Moreover, we’re likely to
lose the impressively huge, and rare, old growth eucalypts that are dotted
around it, along with the wildlife that call those trees home. Native birds of
all sorts are a common sight and sound in the golf course and with good reason:
relatively uninterrupted habitat like this is a rarity now, with some 90% of
the Adelaide Plains cleared before you could say ‘This looks like a good place
to live!’

    Good places to live seem to
be hard to find. Too often homes are jammed up against each other and any trees
present have been sacrificed to make way for the homes, or were removed decades
earlier. And there either aren’t any local parks or the ones that are there are
pocket parks. Too often, the shops are too far away to walk to and the streets
to get there are hot and barren in summer, no shade trees to be seen. Too
often, there is no public transport. Too often there are no bike lanes. Too
often, we’re told, we can’t afford the kinds of surroundings that have a
positive impact on holistic well-being; the kinds of spaces that add value to
our lives every single day; the kinds of spaces that contribute to Gross
Domestic Happiness.

    Right now, Willunga does
have all of these things. We are a rarity. We should be the norm, but for now
we’re not and there are many pressures on us to bring us down to the mediocre,
sub-par, un-caring, disconnected, short-sighted, ill-standard that is fast
becoming the national standard in this country.

    There is no regard for the
economic value of open space or homes for creatures other than humans (i.e.
habitat corridors). There is no regard for preventative health. There is no
regard for shared assets, like the Willunga Golf Course, like food-producing
land and local farmers and fishers, like the Great Australian Bight, the Great
Barrier Reef and the eco-tourism of countless sites across Australia. Our
common-wealth is being sold off at bargain prices for one-off private gain.

    In recent years the name
‘Willunga’ has become recognised as meaning ‘place of trees’ in the local
Kaurna language. The huge trees we see in the golf course and a few other
locations in the town, were here before white settlement – they’re hundreds of
years old – and if we protect precious places like the Willunga Golf Course,
they’ll be here long after you and I are gone, and Willunga will continue to be
a great place of trees. To achieve this, we need everyone to stand up for our
open spaces, to promote them for the tourism value they have and for the value
they have to residents each day. Share your thoughts. Like posts like this.
Share them. Tweet. Write to your local representatives and to your local
papers. Your voice is important. And our voices together are the only things
that will secure our community’s long-term health and well-being.

    Go for a walk. Go for a
round of golf. Look. Listen. Connect. Share.

#OpenSpace #Health #Wellbeing #Nature #CityOfOnkaparinga #saparli

Palitja Moore, text and image, 2017

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