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Coonawarra bypass plan foiled

Plans for a road that would cut through several prized 'terra rossa' vineyards in the Coonawarra region have been temporarily shelved.

The local Wattle Range Council had planned to build a bypass to the west of Penola town to divert trucks from the main street.

However, the road required compulsory acquisition of vineyards owned by Foster’s Group, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Jim Barry Wines.

Foster’s objected on several grounds including the destruction of ‘irreplaceable terra rossa soil vineyards’, safety on the Coonawarra section of the Riddoch Highway along which most of the region’s cellar doors are located, and loss of tourism due to reduced traffic through Penola.

Foster’s, through subsidiary Seppelts, and Parker, part of the Rathbone Group, combined to challenge in the Supreme Court of South Australia the process the Council used.

The Council has decided not to contest the challenge and to pay costs.

‘It’s back to the drawing board, and council will have to actively reconsider the whole issue afresh,’ said Mayor of Wattle Range Council, Mark Braes.

Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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