Category Archives: trees

Argyle Housing and the Dickson Land Swap

ACT Government entangles Common Ground in Land Swap

Stephen Bartos, chair of social housing provider Common Ground, said his organisation wasn’t involved in the planning processes around the planned Dickson site and certainly didn’t want to be, when he spoke to “CityNews” on June 3.

Continue reading Argyle Housing and the Dickson Land Swap

ACT politician almost gets it right

Here’s praise for an ACT politician. The accolade goes to the Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur for her work in chairing (from 2016) the Legislative Assembly committee on planning and urban renewal and the release of the April report – “The Inquiry into Engagement with the Development Application Process in the ACT”.

Continue reading ACT politician almost gets it right

ACT Government’s toxic planning

Canberra’s community representatives struggle to find positive things to say about the ACT’s planning directorate. Most have seen too much bad stuff going down.

Continue reading ACT Government’s toxic planning

Complexities of the ACT Murrumbidgee electorate

the empty chair waiting for the right candidate

How candidates perform in the electorate of Murrumbidgee is going to be a focus in the October 17 ACT election.

Continue reading Complexities of the ACT Murrumbidgee electorate

ACT Greens fail to be green

 

On the last day of April, the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) issued a media release advocating the importance of streetscapes, open spaces and trees.

Continue reading ACT Greens fail to be green

NCA and inequity in decisions

How the horse paddock grab is about inequity

Residents are often taken aback by the culture of disrespect for locals that has become firmly embedded within the ACT’s political and bureaucratic ranks.

Continue reading NCA and inequity in decisions

ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

The City Renewal Authority uses spin rather than facts

In November, Juliet Ramsay of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians presented a paper to the Australian ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

Continue reading ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

ACT Government to trash West Basin

NCA trades North Curtin horse paddocks

It’s not often that the community sector gets stunned completely by an ACT government development announcement.

Continue reading ACT Government to trash West Basin

ACT Government messes with Gungahlin

Developers ruin the town centre, politicians silent!

In late 2019 the ACT government proposed to vary the plan for the Gungahlin town centre. It didn’t take long for the Gungahlin Community Council to spot the devil in the detail – or to be more accurate – what detail went missing.

Continue reading ACT Government messes with Gungahlin

The degradation of Canberra by the ACT Government

Canberra’s lack of good design

After any neighbourhood auction, the conversations usually follow a similar line: will the property be occupied and the garden maintained or will it be up for demolition for yet another large, grey box with the established greenery taken away as rubble?

Continue reading The degradation of Canberra by the ACT Government

Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

the tricks of Yvette Berry MP and other ACT politicians

As the ACT’s state of COVID-19 emergency gets tougher, people look to those in authority that they should be able to rely on – those they want to trust.

Continue reading Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

Spoiling the bush capital

The ACT Government ruins a good city!

The Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his Labor/Greens government have made it clear that their view of Canberra’s future is different from that of the city’s residents and those that cherish its place in the world as Australia’s bush capital.

Continue reading Spoiling the bush capital

fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

ACT community betrayed by ACT Greens

Before the 2016 ACT elections the Labor Party indicated that it was to make changes to how planning and development happened.

Continue reading fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

The ACT Government spins about trees again

More spin about trees but nothing changes

When the government slipped through the unique variations to the rules for south-east corner of section 72 Dickson, all the local government members, including Green/Labor member Shane Rattenbury, signed off on this most inappropriate action by the planning minister.

Continue reading The ACT Government spins about trees again

ACT Government burns tax dollars

City Renewal Authority waste money – again

In centuries past when a colonial power arrived somewhere foreign (to them), they presumed that they knew how to improve the local culture and commenced with handing around beads and trinkets.

Continue reading ACT Government burns tax dollars

ACT Government hospital mismanagement

Woden Valley Community deal with serious issues

Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) meetings have commenced the year 2020 with priority themes that are much the same as in 2019.

Continue reading ACT Government hospital mismanagement

ACT Greens and Trees

ACT Greens throw stones at themselves!

A tree came down earlier this week in Dickson (above).

Looking at the trees nearby, it will not be long before more of these trees meet a similar fate.

Continue reading ACT Greens and Trees

ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

More questionable behaviour from an ACT Minister

Previously I reported that there remains a looooong list of dubious matters involved with the proposed building of a Common Ground apartment complex on Section 72 Dickson. These date back to the infamous Dickson land swap.

Continue reading ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

Berry Bulldozers Dickson Residents again

The year begins with yet another event around Dickson section 72 (Dickson parklands) involving ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry doing her best to upset and alienate the voters within the inner north, just in time for the 2020 elections.

Continue reading ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

The Singapore government of the ’70s, led by Lee Kuan Yew, was hell-bent on building a modern and prosperous city/state. It took a close relative to point out that if he wanted tourists to visit, then he needed to stop bulldozing the old stuff.

Continue reading The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

Parrots and ACT politicians

Using the media to mislead the residents

Taking the time to observe the many birds in our garden provides a complete distraction from the more serious matters of life.

Well, at least this is what it should be.

Continue reading Parrots and ACT politicians

Yarralumla does Christmas

Big Red Bows and a Jolly Suburb

Is there a more significant way of celebrating Christmas than with a tree?

Yes, with lots of trees! How about a suburb of trees? This is what the Yarralumla Residents Association is doing for Christmas this year.

Continue reading Yarralumla does Christmas

Canberra and trees

Thinking about trees at Christmas time

It’s Christmas! A time to be jolly.

A Christmas tree is such a positive symbol. No matter how crazy or plain, Christmas trees, like the real ones, bring joy. And we could do with a lot more fun in life.

Continue reading Canberra and trees

Canberra Brickworks and Doma

The suburb where common sense took 32 years!

The Yarralumla Residents Association (YRA) is 32 years old.

The association was formed because of the first proposals to redevelop the Brickworks site on the western edge of the suburb.

Continue reading Canberra Brickworks and Doma

ACT Greens and spin

Into the inner-north letterboxes has appeared a pamphlet from one of our local members, the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury. There will be more from others given the October 2020 ACT elections.

The problem with the Greens’ pamphlet was the spin. The heading read “Putting our climate first”.

Continue reading ACT Greens and spin

ACT Government and changing flood map information

How did the water recede from the ACT Flood Map?

Here’s an issue now being looked at in the inner north – and no-one has yet to work out what happened.

Continue reading ACT Government and changing flood map information

ACT Government and trees

Let’s talk trees

It was announced on Wednesday (October 23) that the government is reviewing the ACT’s Tree Protection Act. Good news! Maybe.

The devil is in the detail and we are talking about a government that we have learnt not to trust.

Continue reading ACT Government and trees

ACT Greens and trees

Greens do not react to more trees being removed!

The ACT government is hoping to plonk Common Ground onto Section 72 in Dickson and is asking for feedback on the concept design for the building and site design.

Continue reading ACT Greens and trees

more on Canberra and trees

Bureaucracies can be so out of touch with reality. Not for the first time there are serious questions around decisions being made about the fate of trees in the suburbs of Canberra.

The catalyst for this piece starts with a sad story in Holder where a resident is being driven crazy by decisions about the obvious need to remove an inappropriate tree next to his house.

Continue reading more on Canberra and trees

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.

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.

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.

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

 

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.

 

 

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 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.

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.

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

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

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two

Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part Two: The Urban Development Atrocities

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The Queensland state government spent millions on the Roma Street Parklands. This parkland was set to add huge value to any apartments built around its edges. One would have thought that the City would have insisted on at least some higher levels of design for such buildings. Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part One

Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part One: It is about creative Garden Design

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I first visited these gardens and parklands back in 2004 and was very impressed then. This parkland project was a major commitment by the then state government to re-develop a former industrial site and to join it to the existing Albert Park to form one larger parkland, the Roma Street Parklands. I highly recommend anyone and everyone visiting Brisbane to allocate at least an hour to wander about these parklands ten minutes or more away from the Brisbane CBD. (click on any image to enlarge it)

Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part One

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.

Drain-Walk-01

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

Continue reading North Canberra Greenway

wetlands

Comment: Wetlands and Climate Change Adaptation

wetlands-P1030438

Australia has a very mixed understanding and relationship with wetlands. I happen to be fortunate to live close to one. This came into existence just a couple of years ago when the local government transformed a disused and degraded parkland into a wetland attached to an old style concrete drain.

Continue reading wetlands

neglected trees

Opinion: Trees

and yes, we should be looking after them.

During times of heat, drought, and extreme temperatures, it really demonstrates how the planning of Canberra, ‘the garden city’, was based on serious misunderstandings.

click on any photograph to enlarge it

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Continue reading neglected trees

Lawns of Kingston

Opinion: the Lawns of Kingston return

Beware politicians and designers: We love our Lawns

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In a previous post I had spoken of Australia’s love of the lawn. (click here)

In particular I mentioned a local battle over Green Square at the Kingston Shops in Canberra whereby the local government had replaced a green square of lawn with a designed space,  complete with brick walls and seating and drought friendly, low maintenance plants.

Continue reading Lawns of Kingston

Tale of two Arboretums, Lindsay Prior

Review: A Memorial  Arboretum

Lindsay Prior Arboretum, Canberra

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If you have not already read it elsewhere on this blog, I love trees. Our home is now immersed in shrubbery. Ever morning we awake to sounds of all the bird life that enjoy our the biodiversity in the garden in our street. The front has been planted and designed in such a way that when we sit on the front verandah and look in a northerly direction, all we see are trees and shrubs. There homes and cars in that direction, but they a blocked out so that it looks as though we look out on a private parkland. But despite our private parkland and that a wetland is five minutes away, we do venture out occasionally to see what others are doing with trees. Occasionally!

Continue reading Tale of two Arboretums, Lindsay Prior

Community Engagement

Opinion: A Community Engagement Case Study

The community engagement on proposals to shift the Kings Highway Trees near Braidwood NSW

A Case Study where full Community Engagement was required but not employed.

The following opinion piece discusses an overlooked opportunity for real Community Engagement in dealing with the issues around the memorial avenue of trees leading into Braidwood on the Kings Highway from both sides of the township.

with photographs by Gael Newton

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Continue reading Community Engagement

Urbanity: Green Infrastructure

Opinion: The Realities of Urban Green Infrastructure

montalbanoIt has been while watching the episodes of that wonderful program (on DVD),  Montalbano, that the beauty of the Sicilian cities has been revealed. They are just fabulously charming. (see footnotes)

These are very Mediterranean city scenes with off white buildings, tight streets and plenty of lanes and hill-side stairs.

What is missing are the trees. There are the few decorative ones and those on the surrounding hills. But for one brought up with the luxury of lush street trees, green front yards (lawns) and sidewalks, these streets and lanes are very devoid of greenery.

Beautiful – but bare.

Continue reading Urbanity: Green Infrastructure

Canberra Urbanity

Climate Change adaptation falters in the suburbs

climate-P1020350

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

Canberra Urbanity

The next Northbourne Avenue

The basics of a proposal for rethinking this important piece of Green Infrastructure

NrthBourne-P1020067The main road into Canberra from the north has been the topic of much debate following the ACT Government’s announcement that it is build a light rail with the route being from Civic to the newer suburbs of Gungahlin. In the wings sits the developer lobby as this transport initiative would provide the final green light for the major intensification of the commercial and residential buildings along the full length of Northbourne Ave

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

Anzac Parade: A mixed tale of Trees and Lights

Trees are important in our urban environments. They are part of our urban green infrastructure and perform important roles assisting in health and well-being as well as climate change adaptation.

And they are just beautiful.  I like trees.

Anzac-trees01 Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

The New Northbourne Avenue

There has been a bit of noise of late around the proposals that the ACT Government is to introduce a light rail system into Canberra. In the first instance the rail will connect the inner north and the newer northern suburbs through to Civic, the main CBD area.

The light rail should have been there at least 20 years ago. It will be an interesting problem to make it viable now. Some form of transit system is required but so much of the infrastructure around it will need to be also altered. The city was built for cars. Many issues to be worked through. For instance ….

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

CITY of Trees

Review: Visual Arts

City of Trees, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 5 July – 7 October 2013

This review originally published  August 2013

One lazy Saturday afternoon I took myself over to the National Library of Australia. I had read all the advertising and was very much looking forward to an exhibition on the trees of Canberra.

Any exhibition that focused on the trees of Canberra has to be something to see, something to talk about, and something that would be most embraced.

P1010530the entrance with two light boxes   

In short, this one did none of those things for this reviewer. This exhibition in this prestigious national library exhibition space just left me wondering just what happened. Did the exhibition curators sign up a feel good Centenary Exhibition about one of the core features of the national capital; its fabulous trees. And then the pieces arrived and there was nothing to do but to make a good show of it. In this case it has been well laid out with all the usual fine aesthetics of good curatorship. But the content is just not there.

Continue reading CITY of Trees

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