Category Archives: URBANITY

all things urban

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.

Yvette Berry insults Canberra’s inner north residents

After almost a decade of residents saying very clearly what their preferred options were for a precious community site within Dickson in the inner north of Canberra (Dickson Parklands) , residents have been told that Yvette Berry, Minister for social housing (housing clearances mostly) is to announce that her wonderful deaf government is to build on this community site.  Click here for the opinion piece published in City News.

for another instance of Yvette Berry’s talent – click here – being dismissive about the urgent and long over due needs for sports, community and cultural facilities in Woden.

Yvette Berry does herself no favours in Woden

Yvette Berry as ACT sports minister attended a recent Woden Valley meeting and totally trashed all the ideas that residents put forward for much needed and well-overdue sports, recreation and cultural facilities for Woden – where there are 20 plus towers of apartments about to appear. And as yet – no facilities are being planned for the area. WTF?? Click here for the opinion piece in CityNews.

16 years on, is this Canberra’s worst building mess?

Canberra planning is in a mess. How can a residential site be left as a rubbish tip for 16 years despite people contacting authorities to see if it can be fixed. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.

Mick Gentleman is the ACT planning minister – and is the local Labor member for this suburb. Nothing has happened! Go figure!

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.

The NCA and towers to dominate national capital

Some stories about planning in Canberra are simply unbelievable. This is one of those and involves the National Capital Authority not doing its job.

Click here for my piece online 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

 

Politicians and the company they keep

Do our politicians keep the right company?

How does a group of otherwise sort-of-reasonable people get convinced that they are doing humane and considerate things when they allow the development of the city to happen in such a barbaric manner. click here for more

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.

Destroying Australia’s National Capital

NCA quietly approves tower shock on Northbourne

There are serious problems with the National Capital Authority (NCA) that could be addressed by the soon-to-be-elected ACT Federal politicians. I have outlined the background to the issues in a 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.

Downer residents rally against development push

You can tell when residents are hitting the government where it hurts – when the press coverage from the government turns to spin – and more spin.  There is no doubt that this is a response to the successes the pesky residents of Downer have had in getting attention through their brilliant “Don’t Dump on Downer” grassroots campaign. Click here.

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.

Give us this day our daily spin…

It is annoying to constantly experience the culture within this ACT government that delivers a daily onslaught of spin. Who writes this stuff? Don’t they realise how hollow they sound? What do they think this nonsense achieves? click here for my piece on this

Mischievous elves dump on Downer

THE ACT’s muddle-headed bureaucrats keep coming up with planning brochures laden down with alternate facts and marketing spin. Ministers then blindly sign letters to residents based on the bureaucrats’ gobbledygook and then wonder why people get upset. I wrote about what is happening in Downer in City News.

Planning shock: regulators say no to developers!

In Canberra how developers bend and get around planning rules is a common debate. The ACT Government has several ministers who mess around in planning and development – and all not good at it. See my City News article – click here.

How does the ACT planning minister keep his job?

Here in Dickson we have seen the disgraceful, long-running mess created by planning ministers and bureaucrats about the establishment of a second supermarket in Dickson. This mess is typical of how business is carried out under the current planning minister.

I wrote about this in City News – 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.

National Capital Authority and the developer

Late in 2018 residents rallied about a questionable development proposal for 71 Constitution Avenue in Campbell. This development comes under the National Capital Authority and residents were dealing with the fact that the development broke the NCA’s own rules yet somehow it was being progressed. Here’s my piece in City News.

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

 

 

Traffic chaos delivered by Canberra planners

 

Unfortunately what has been happening for years in Canberra, being bad planning and development, looks to continue given the on-going bad decisions by the ACT’s planning minister and his bureaucrats in the planning directorate. Click here.

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.

When bureaucrats bully residents

The ACT Government has a sad history of very nasty behaviour by some bureaucrats towards the residents. This is not new and it continues today. Unfortunately when it occurs our elected politicians tend not to want to hear about it – they turn away.

This is the story of one such incident – it is bullying at its worst.

Here’s my opinion piece in City News.

ACT Government in conflict of interest

There’s a massive urban development on the western edge of Canberra (beyond Belconnen) called Ginninderry. There are a lot of good things being done by the developer at Ginninderry. But it is hard not to notice issues around the ACT government’s involvement as a partner. It is a very dubious arrangement.

I wrote about this in City News – click here.

Lack of trust in ACT Government

End of year thoughts

Congratulations to all the residents who care and work hard on planning matters – endlessly. The shocking thing is that those in government, on all sides, now take it as normal that they are not trusted and respected. It is not something anyone should simply live with.

I wrote for City News 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.

ACT Government & Significant Trees

The ACT government’s decisions on trees are often contradictory and not in the context of long-term strategies for the bush capital. It continues to make a mess of the legacy it inherited.

There are so many stories around how the ACT Government handles significant trees and so many people who have had bad experiences because of the bureaucratic stupidity.

Click here for my piece in City News on this – these are just a few of those stories.

Canberra needs a planning minister

Canberra desperately needs a real-life planning minister who works honestly with the people of the city to get great results. Unfortunately we have one who is not regarded as being a minister who does his job but rather sits on his hands and watches the city’s amenities being degraded

I have addressed this issue in a piece on City News

Hi-rise for another suburb

image from the Downer Community Association website

The suburb of Downer is the next inner-north Canberra suburb to be subjected to the reign of development terror from our “much-loved” planning authorities as they allow the developers free rein to maximise profits.

Here’s my opinion piece on this published in City News

ACT Government ignores residents

The ACT Government has a bad reputation in its dealings with residents and their concerns for the future of Canberra.

I have written about this topic in City News – here’s my piece – click here.

Climate Change

A country run by dangerous idiots

We are still being governed by idiots – who will see the country suffer now and into the future to appease their own interests and their mates in the coal industry.  The good news? They are guaranteed to be gone at the next federal elections.

Click here for the story.

Remember they are people

The ACT Government and public housing

This is a slightly revised version of a previous post of mine previously written as the government moved to close the public housing along Northbourne Avenue in Canberra as part of its Urban Clearances programs

Continue reading Remember they are people

Trees and smart planning

Smart city planning can preserve old trees and the wildlife that needs them
File 20180629 117377 112lzty.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1Mature trees have horizontal branches that are attractive to wildlife and birds.from shutterstock.com

Philip Gibbons, Australian National University

Continue reading Trees and smart planning

Signs of intrigue within the inner north

First an update on the 2016-2017 ACAT appeal about the proposal to remove the carpark in front of Woolworths and to build an apartment and supermarket complex.

Continue reading Signs of intrigue within the inner north

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

Respect and Responsibility in planning and development

Someone needs to ask the ACT Planning Minister why the planning directorate continues to encourage local residents to form residents’ associations to oppose inappropriate developments.

Continue reading Respect and Responsibility in planning and development

Put landscape and biodiversity first

This post starts with being in front of our house at 6.15 am listening to the cacophony of sounds coming from what must have been a rowdy Christmas Day gathering of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos at end of the street (near the Dickson Drain).

Continue reading Put landscape and biodiversity first

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

Dear Minister for Town Cramming

Why are we so unfortunate here in Canberra to have a string of planning and urban development ministers who feel that it is their duty to say something regularly to upset those who enjoy a fantastic ambience within inner Canberra?

Continue reading Dear Minister for Town Cramming