Category Archives: opinions

ACT planning lacks good governance

This opinion piece only scratches the surface of the enormous problems we have here in Canberra with planning and development. The whole of the planning system has been corrupted by decades of bad management and the development of a culture that has residents as the enemy to be tricked and out manoeuvred. Click here for my piece in City News.

Griffin impugned for the West Basin’s awful future

Good journalism is welcomed and embraced. Journalism that is written to promote bad decisions by government must  be called out. Here’s an example of the latter.  The author, Tom Greenwell, starts well by making some points about Walter Burley Griffin’s planning for Canberra. But then he commits the crime of using Griffin’s name and visions to justify some outrageous developments being planned by the ACT Government (Urban Renewal Authority again!) that will destroy a wonderful part of the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Click here for the article in City News.

and for more about West Basin alternative facts – click here;  includes letters from Richard Johnstone of kingston – a supporter of West Basin developments.

And for more on the arguments against what Tom Greenwell has written – click here for a very well informed  piece by Penny Moyes, one of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians.

ACT planning’s brutal behaviour goes unchecked – again

Before the 2016 ACT Elections, the chief minister promised that there would be a panel formed to bring about master planning for the precinct around the Manuka Oval. That panel was to meet by the end of 2016. Did not happen! Instead there have been games, spin and alternative facts. The most recent insult being a meeting called that pretended to be about Manuka planning – but was simply a waste of people’s time. Another broken commitment by the ACT Chief Minster.  Another insult to the intelligence of residents by Andrew Barr and his planning barbarians. click here for the opinion piece in City News.

It’s not easy being green around Kippax centre

When developers eye off ACT Government green spaces – the trend in Canberra is that those developers get to buy that land and the people lose yet another piece of precious community open space. This is happening with land behind the Kippax shops in west Belconnen in Canberra.The local Labor member is Yvette Berry and she loves to show up with a shovel to be photographed when community land and green spaces are being removed from the public ownership. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.

Woden Valley gets ignored

Two stories about a meeting at the Woden Community Council meeting in late July. The first is about an ACT Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, addressing the audience and apparently not having an understanding of the depth of anger about the lack of facilities in this centre – despite the enormous growth in apartments. The second involved the ACT Government’s planning bureaucracy’s mishandling of a small green space within the suburb of O’Malley. Both performances were astonishingly terrible – sort of funny if it was not about people’s lives. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.

National Capital Authority stupidity on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge

The agency that is supposed to be the steward for the national capital, the National Capital Authority (NCA), does come out with some rubbish at times. In this case it floated the idea of pulling down Commonwealth Ave bridge to build a new bridge for the tram. Luckily the project engineer who worked on the bridge is around t point out how stupid this thought bubble was. Click here for my opinion piece in City News.

Heritage ignored in Reid house approval

The suburb of Reid in Canberra is one of the oldest and residents accept that there are heritage values to be considered for most of the suburb. When a house was demolished and plans were approved by the ACT Government that paid token attention to these heritage values – residents were not happy. To make matters worse the ACT Heritage Council approved the development application. What were they thinking! Click here for my opinion piece on this in the City News.

Continue reading Heritage ignored in Reid house approval

New ACT Labor Minister goes neoliberal

Chris Steel became an ACT Labor Minister about a year ago. Watching him recently at a Weston Creek Community Council meeting I became aware of how these Labor politicians have so easily accepted the arguments of the classic NeoLiberals. It is all about market forces. Click here for my opinion piece in City News.

time to do something about West Basin

a call to all ACT politicians to do something

There’s misleading information being used to justify apartment developments on West Basin. It is overdue for all our local politicians to get involved. more on this from my opinion piece in City News – click here.

and for a later article on this — click here

 

ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Crunch time looms for Dickson parklands

There’s a long saga at play in Dickson in Canberra. Here’s the latest on this – click here.

and there’s more..

Continue reading ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

A Christian School and trees being removed

No punishment for felling trees on public land

a story of a Christian School corporation, their use of public lands and significant trees being removed. Here’s a link to my opinion piece in City News.

 

 

National Capital under threat from the NCA

NCA has lost the plot with aqua park proposal

Something very worrying has happened to the National Capital Authority (NCA). There’s been a shift in its planning culture somewhere in the last five years. click here

The ACT Builders and ACT planning directorate

The little guys beaten by a care less bureaucracy

Talk to a builder, a building designer/architect or tradesperson working in Canberra’s construction and soon the conversation turns to the frustrations of having to work through development applications (DAs) with what is seen as the badly managed ACT Government’s planning directorate.   click here for more

 

ACT Government bullies residents, again

Disneyland, like it or lump it in Coombs

Imagine this. You have bought a home and paid extra for views of the hills and to be opposite a quiet park alongside a pond with bird life and other animals. Trouble is the ACT Government then wrecks the place.. click here

 

ACT chief planner fails his own test

Chief planner’s quotes come home to haunt him

Two years ago the new ACT chief planner, Ben Ponton, went on the record in the daily paper with a statement about how wonderful he would be. I have used those statements  to assess whether he has met his own key performance indicators (KPIs). He didn’t!

Here’s the piece in City News – click here.

Wading through the fog of ‘busy words’

For residential representatives in Canberra, the last few months have been very onerous due to the simultaneous release of a load of government consultation documents as well as the usual tricky development applications (DA) that need to be consumed and feedback provided. Click here for my piece on this.

Labor’s mess, but where do the Libs stand on planning?

The ACT Greens/Labor coalition government has a host of ministers who are making a mess of the planning and development of Canberra’s urban environments. The question asked by the community sectors is where do the ACT Liberals stand on these planning issues. Click here for my piece in City News on this topic.

West Basin blatantly a property deal

With the Christmas release of the draft City and Gateway Urban Design Framework, the ACT Government’s City Renewal Authority undertook media advocacy during February for an apartment suburb on West Basin. The ACT Government continues with its proposal for West Basin against the opposition of the Canberra community – click here.

Strange tale of the Manuka tree

THE people of Canberra love our trees and when one is threatened unnecessarily, people do whatever they can to save it. Here’s a tale about a significant tree, the ACT’s chief planner, the developer and  – the tree’s future. Here’s my piece in City News on this.

ACT Minister plays games with housing

Social housing in Canberra as overseen by the ACT Government is not something seen as being well done. Here in Canberra’s inner north  residents are involved in a long running battle to save some precious community land being rezoned for residential use – with social housing being used as the Trojan Horse. Here’s my piece in City News

 

 

Canberra planners and respect

People are sick of the dumb statements that infill is necessary and therefore we must give up our cherished suburbs for high-rise. This is stupid.

The government’s real message on infill is not for residents but for developers seeking a green light to carry on as usual. Here’s my piece on this topic  – click here.

Planning strategy of smoke and mirrors

People want the bad stuff to stop now

On December 5 our blessed planning minister, Mick Gentleman, ascended Mount Ainslie to hand down the 2018 ACT Planning Strategy. This was just another media performance to try to convince someone that this government takes  planning serioulsy.

It does not.

Here’s my piece in City News on this silly performance.

Bad design spreads like a disease

My post last week on the lack of good design and planning that is evident in the more recent parts of Gungahlin definitely caught a lot of people’s attention.

Continue reading Bad design spreads like a disease

Gungahlin – urgent climate adaptation required

 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on the threats to biodiversity caused through inappropriate developments across Canberra.

Continue reading Gungahlin – urgent climate adaptation required

Social Housing vs community spaces

With Canberra having such an informed and aware community, one would have thought that a community-focused government planning minister would have surfaced by now – one being committed to development and the future growth of the city while simultaneously embracing the enhancement of (rather than reducing) the city’s amenities that are admired internationally.

Continue reading Social Housing vs community spaces

Government and religion

In Australia we have a small band of conservatives who work tirelessly to have their brands of religion have a greater influence on government and the country’s laws.

Luckily till now they are more of less not so successful – well most of the time.

In their last round of attempts to achieve more religious freedoms (whatever that meant) – what would have been more applicable would have been to remove religion and the influence of such religious fundamentalists completely from the workings of government.

Meanwhile in a land not far away – things are going from bad to worse.

Click here for the story in the Guardian.

 

 

Marea Fatseas and Community Councils

The 2016 ACT election was just over 12 months ago (how time flies) and the hot election topics back then included planning, development, community engagement and a host of issues around the ACT Government’s dealings with residents.

Continue reading Marea Fatseas and Community Councils

Rebecca Solnit on Trump

It’s Time (again)

It is definitely time for all forms of peaceful and concerted actions to adjust our democratic structures to deal with the damage being done by forces that have resulted in Trump and his cronies being where they are.

Continue reading Rebecca Solnit on Trump

Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back

We expect a lot of our politicians. People rightly expect their elected representatives to do just that – be representatives of the people who elected them. That’s not always a success story.

Continue reading Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back