Salt Creek Roadhouse’s owner demands better services

One of South Australia's most famous tourism destinations is being neglected by state authorities, says the owner of the only roadhouse on a 150-kilometre stretch of the Princes Highway.

Adam Stewart's shop and campground at Salt Creek closed last week as he protested obstacles put in the way of his business, fishers, campers and public safety.

"We're selling the Coorong all over the world and you get here and there's nothing," he said.

He hoped SA's new Liberal government could help solve a number of problems.

National Parks South Australia had restricted access to some local campsites, he said, and omitted two popular sites from a new online permit booking system.

Tracks were overgrown: "they've done their best to make it inhospitable and keep out as many people as they can".

Fishing had been banned along a seven-kilometre stretch of beach: "Jaffa and Robe didn't want a (marine) sanctuary zone anywhere near them, so they put it up near me".

A picnic table near his shop was broken a year ago and never fixed.

There was not enough directional signage in the area.

An RV friendly zone established by the Kingston council had slowed the flow of campers into his caravan park to a trickle.

But most concerning were the poor sight lines along an 80km/h stretch of highway where people ran across to use a toilet or have their lunch.

"Road safety, the MAC (Motor Accident Commission) are all going on about stop, revive, survive every two hours; Salt Creek is exactly two hours from the tollgate, 210 kilometres ... but there's not a bin, no street lights, you can't see the river because it's all overgrown and people are just about dying every day trying to get in and out of the place," he said.

"It's a matter of when (there's an accident)."

At half past midnight on Thursday, he wrote down his sentiments in a Facebook post and attached a few dozen photos which showed off his idyllic, adventurous existence: rescuing bogged beachgoers, catching fish, cooking up burgers and welcoming backpackers.

He even recounted his role in the 2014 rescue of two women from Roman Heinze, now serving 22 years in prison for their kidnapping and assault: "the last thing he saw as a free man was my cranky face staring at him as my rusty but trusty silver Nissan chased him down the beach and the two coppers I took with me jumped out".

The post was shared by about 2500 users within 24 hours – not bad coming from area populated by just 11 families, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Among others, the message got through to Coorong council chief executive officer Vincent Cammell, who visited Salt Creek on Monday morning.

He said afterwards the council and Mr Stewart were on the same page.

"We're more than happy to be facilitating his discussions with the state government and try to get people to the table," he said.

"We want to work with him."

The roadhouse will reopen on September 1.

This story Salt Creek Roadhouse’s owner demands better services first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.