Category Archives: A DICKSON RESIDENT

Views and issues and much more from a resident’s perspective

bureaucrats lack empathy

Costigan-P1120577It was during a recent North Canberra Community Council meeting that I realised I was hearing something very rare. The presenter was talking about fairly matter-of-fact issues to do with changes to local traffic lights and footpaths and it sounded as though she identified with the issues being dealt with.

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Dickson Parklands – Land Grab

Article Lead - wide998573026gija9aimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.giivvm.png1437707368480.jpg-620x349The North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) has expressed both surprise and disappointment at yesterday’s shock announcement by the ACT Government proposing residential development in Dickson between the Dickson Pool and Dickson Playing Fields. It is known formally as Dickson Section 72 and informally as Dickson Parklands. click here for the full media release from the community council.

Dickson Shops

An update on development in Canberra

Looking to the next elections for resident friendly solutions

dickson-shops3 The Dickson residents continue to be disappointed with the ACT Government for allowing so many inappropriate development proposals to be taken seriously. The latest let-down is that local politicians look as if they are allowing a supermarket and residential proposal to progress even though the evidence indicates how wrong it is for this inner suburb.

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A real Chief Minister

Foolish Urban Dreams and Aspirations

P1040708It was earlier today while sitting back on my verandah reading a book on the concept of architecture and enjoyment that this Dickson resident had the pleasant autumnal experience of drifting away into a city of complete amazements. The city’s government had just appointed a Chief Minister of extraordinary vision for urban development.

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Yarralumla Development

Development to alter the Yarralumla ambience

Master-plan-Feb-2015_The following is a slightly longer version of a post I uploaded to RiotACT. This post concentrated on the new development sites which will replace much of the greenery around the southern edge of this part of Yarralumla. I have left comments about the redevelopment of the former brickwork’s sit for another time.

Continue reading Yarralumla Development

Dickson Planning Consultation Dilemmas

Development dilemmas: part three
The future of the Dickson Precinct and beyond

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This is the third of several posts on planning and development issues for Dickson in Canberra. Residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

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Dickson Parklands

Development dilemmas: part two
The future of the Dickson Parklands

Section72-DicksonThis is the second of several posts on planning and development issues effecting the local residents of Dickson in Canberra. The issues are not unique to Dickson. Residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

Continue reading Dickson Parklands

Dickson Shops

Development dilemmas: part one
Residents and the future of the Dickson Shops

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This is the first of several posts on planning and development issues effecting local residents. The stories and issues are not unique to Dickson in Canberra. Many residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

Continue reading Dickson Shops

Dickson Flats and Canberra Planning Madness

The madness of Canberra’s planning and development

flats-P1100033Since the 1960s there has been several rows of public housing located on the main road into Canberra. In the last year, the Dickson Flats have been listed for demolition to allow for brand new multi-unit developments. So far so good. Maybe! (pic by Paul Costigan)

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Dickson Shops

Planning and Development of the Dickson Shops

A bad case study in community engagement

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It was just days before Christmas (2014) when local residents may have noticed that a development application with big ramifications for their precinct was now available online for comment – with a month in which to submit any comments.

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Corruption in Planning

The widespread corruption within planning agencies

Conflict-conferenceOver many years I have been observed the annual round of numerous industry events. This includes award dinners as well as seminars and conferences. Besides all the usual suspects that attend such functions, there are invitations to a cohort of government departmental officers and/or key personnel from planning and development agencies. These invitations are usually in the form of complimentary tickets.

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Putting a Value on Community Spaces

Comment: Locals often do not get it right

P1070342In my home suburb of Dickson in Canberra, the push is on to allow some commercial residential development on what has always been designated as a community space. The site is now known as the Dickson Parklands.

I have written about this in previous blogs – click here.

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Dickson Parklands

Opinion Piece: The Case for the Dickson Parklands

The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands

The debate has commenced within the communities around the Dickson Parklands, previously referred to Section 72 Dickson, as to how the whole site could become a parklands with an integrated set of community cultural facilities that connect to the surrounding communities.

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section 72 Dickson – the future

An Opinion Piece

The Future of Dickson Section 72 as a Community and Cultural Site

The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands.

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I wrote a piece yesterday about the disappointment expressed by residents about the manner in which the ACT Government is dealing with the local communities over the future of the community site officially known as Section 72 Dickson. Click here.

Continue reading section 72 Dickson – the future

section 72 Dickson

An Opinion Piece

Dickson Section 72 – Community Consultations – 20th Oct 2014

P1080436On a cool Monday evening, more than one hundred local residents from surrounding suburbs gathered in the Dickson College hall in response to the invitation to attend a workshop staged by the ACT Government.

Continue reading section 72 Dickson

Urbanity: Canberra Planning & Development

Commentary: The problems of Canberra’s Planning & Development

watson-House-P1030003Canberra, as with most major centres in Australia, is caught up in complex and sometimes nasty urban planning debates.

On the one side there is the property council groupings that include the gung-ho developers*, and their colleagues amongst the architects, planners and the planning authorities.

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Andrew Leigh and a new book

Notice: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life.
Andrew Leigh, 2014

resized_9781743314715_224_297_FitSquareMy review will have to follow once I have a copy and have read it. Having received notice of the book, I have been checking several comments online, and knowing Andrew Leigh’s early writings and books, I feel very confident that this will be another good read.

Here is some text copied from the publisher’s site:

Continue reading Andrew Leigh and a new book

The Monthly on Supermarkets

The duopoly of supermarkets in Australia

8061542291243433879There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers,  are continuing to allow this to happen.

The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.

Continue reading The Monthly on Supermarkets

National Capital Authority

The NCA is no longer relevant

An opportunity has presented itself with the Commonwealth Government’s announcement to allow the National Capital Authority (NCA) to open up the Parliamentary Triangle to more commercial opportunities. (CT 12 July, Page 1, Shopping in the triangle? It’s a private matter)

I have no problem at all with more commercial activity happening within the Parliamentary Triangle. The question is just how to intelligently implement such a change to this landscape that presently serves as a national monument.

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Canberra Architecture

Review: Book
Canberra Architecture, Andrew Metcalf
Watermark Architectural Guides, 2003

CanberraI picked up this book quiet a while ago but it is only now that I have had time to look through it. I am glad I did, as after reading through quite a bit of it, I have become more aware that Canberra has a reasonable amount of good and notable architecture.

I have a quiet interest in good architecture and have spent some energies complaining about the current crop of badly designed houses and commercial buildings being thrust onto Canberra. Residents have despaired that good design in our civic areas and suburbs has become a thing of the past.

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North Canberra Greenway

A brief concept proposal:
The North Canberra Greenway and Artwalk.

This is a proposal to enhance some present green infrastructure within inner north Canberra.

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The North Canberra Greenway could be formed by linking and then enhancing the present green infrastructure elements throughout inner north Canberra.

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Dogs

Opinion: Domestic dogs and their owners

It was while staying with friends on holidays that I took the opportunity to occasionally take their dog for its evening walk. The dog is a very friendly and well-behaved golden retriever. While walking this happy animal I was reminded of the feelings I have sometimes when approaching a person walking a dog. It happened a couple of times that I could see people move out-of-the-way as I approached with the dog.

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Canberra Urbanity: Marsden Street

An Anniversary

About two years ago, during 2010 – 2011, this quiet residential area in the inner north of Canberra was the battle ground over a very silly proposed redevelopment of two blocks of land.

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Once the residents had been through the tribunal process, and before the decisions were handed down, the complex chain of events was documented. It is called Do Onto Others.

It is a long read – click here.

Canberra Urbanity

Climate Change adaptation falters in the suburbs

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Dealing with the complex issues of climate change adaptation should by now have become a priority and part of the everyday for any local government in their oversight of design, planning, development and the re-development of our settlements.

Here in Canberra we have been the subject of a decade or two of pronouncements from newly appointed chief planners on how they are to oversee development that is sustainable and .. lots of other spin that always sounds so sensible!

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

those damn leaves!

Need to rake those damn leaves!

September 2013.

Casual roaming of the neighbourhood can reveal some of the oddities of local urbanity.

First a background story. Going back several decades, there used to be tradition in Canberra that each winter the residents would rake their leaves in the street gutter and then set fire to them. The neighbourhoods were full of smoke from these frequent local burnings. Eventually the local government put a stop to this local tradition.

Continue reading those damn leaves!

Canberra Urbanity

Thinking outside that box

originally published Monday, 16 September 2013

Civic was established to be the main metropolitan centre of Canberra. Back in the 1970s and into the 1980s this was the heart of Canberra and had developed its own culture. People would go there to be seen, to meet and to shop. The outer centres were yet to offer the same level of amenity.

The Canberra Centre was a small mall. So most of action was out in the open areas, Petrie Plaza and Garema Place and the spaces along City Walk.

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Canberra Urbanity

Are we to be served?

originally published Monday, 9 September 2013

I was having a quiet moment with friends at the Dickson shops last Friday, when we noticed that we were being circled by three senior ACT Planning officials. We recognised two of them as senior planners, the other was the legal combatant from the famous Marsden Steer battle (link to follow).

shops-P1010597We remembered well this guy’s vicious treatment of the residents who were appealing the planning decisions. His way of dealing with the case was best summed up by another resident (a mother) who said, ” now I know where those playground bullies end up!”

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Canberra Urbanity

original published November 2010

DESIGNS ON THE FUTURE FOR CANBERRA RESIDENTS

The debate in Canberra, particularly around my own suburb of Dickson, of the future of infill and the need to redevelop our suburbs has now focussed on the dire need to change the way this territory does the business of planning and development. The Canberra community is not fighting to halt development, but is wishing to influence the planning and development decisions to ensure that development delivers on the needs of present and future generations, the young and the elderly, and need to address the full range of human and environmental issues – being housing, health, ecology, transport – and you know the rest. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

The Art of Trees

Trees

originally published May 2013

If you had not heard, Canberra is celebrating 100 years.  Right now the city is in the advance stages of winter, with all signs being that it will arrive seriously on our leafy door steps this time next week.

This is one of the pleasures of being up here on this hinterland and in the middle of the countryside where someone about 100 years ago thought it wise the plonk the national capital. Because of the location, we get to experience the full gamut of the changing seasons. And right now it is getting cold. Continue reading The Art of Trees

Canberra Urbanity

Are we being served?

Originally published January 2011

Christmas meanderings through Canberra inner north suburbs was a very pleasant way of exercising. The streets were very quiet and the weather very accommodating for these excursions. It was also a timely chance to observe the local levels of commitment to dealing with climate change. It seems every other street in inner Canberra has some form of house being rebuilt or refurbished. But the real attention within the local communities has been on proposals for knocking down adjoining homes and their replacement with multiple units. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

The Dangers of being Malled

originally published December 2010

In late 2010 I took a photo of a Christmas tree in the main street of Geelong. The structure was all lit up and stood a proud three stories high. What is striking about this image, taken around 5pm one evening, is that there are so few people in the photograph. Elsewhere at this time of the year the streets and plazas are busy with Christmas shoppers and those out for a very warm evening’s promenade. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

Views from the front veranda

originally published December 2010

There’s something very peaceful about returning to this suburban street after working interstate for too long and too often. Here we sit amongst the intense greenery of Dickson, the rush of breezes amongst the lush trees with the occasional squawk or chirping of birds. Layered on this filters in the voices and music of the three young renters next door, the sounds of the baby from the newly arrived couple across to the left, the chatter of the seven-year old with her parents heading out on bikes, the sound of students coming and going down the road, and of course, a dog or two (as there always seems to be around here). Maybe soon this will be joined by the sound of one of the immediate neighbours and their teenage children enjoying dinner outside tonight. A diverse mixture in such a small part of Dickson. And this is what the ACT Planning Minister sees as a threat! Continue reading Canberra Urbanity