The clock is ticking on this ACT Minister
Having been in government for four months, Rebecca Vassarotti, ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage, should now have a firm view on heritage and comprehend that her role is about being a leader in the stewardship of Canberra’s environments.
Continue reading ACT Minister for heritage in trouble
planning blunder follow planning blunders
Think back to 2015 when Chief Minister Andrew Barr had to back down on a mess of land dealings locally known as the Manuka Land Swap.
Continue reading ACT Planning learn nothing
Memorial declares war on its trees
The residents of Canberra love this city because of the trees. There are numerous occasions when people have had to rally to save our trees.
Continue reading Australian War Memorial as vandal
Zone changes to maximise profits
Several community associations have had presentations about an ACT government initiative titled the “Demonstration Housing Project”.
Continue reading ACT Government questionable housing program
In the lead up to the October ACT election, trees were an item of interest to anyone wanting to be elected.
Continue reading ACT Government chops down more trees
An authority being a waste of space
The ACT’s City Renewal Authority, a 2016 bright idea from Andrew Barr, is something the people of Canberra did not ask for and is spending a lot of taxpayers’ money in one place – a selected part of central Canberra.
Continue reading ACT City Renewal Authority
ACT Greens save park from bulldozers
While the October ACT election returned a new version of the Labor/Greens coalition, this result was not because it was respected.
Continue reading ACT Government Stupidity Halted
Book Review: Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul
Elizabeth Farrelly’s new book “Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul” is a must-read for anyone with an interest in their local planning issues.
Continue reading What happens in Sydney – happens here
lack of planning and havoc in Woden
It has been about 18 months since I wrote a full piece about the Woden Town Centre and the ever-increasing planning issues that plague residents.
Continue reading over-development in Woden
Dickson development about to happen
A couple of days before Christmas, a call came through from the Coles project manager to the Dickson Residents Group convenor that the new supermarket complex was to go ahead in May/June 2021.
Continue reading Dickson Supermarket approved
Commonwealth bureaucratic mischief
People try hard to have faith in the federal government and its processes. When it comes to important matters, such as heritage, how can we expect the federal government to behave?
Continue reading Heritage Listing Lake Burley Griffin
ACT planners review their own rules – not joking!
Canberra residents care for their homes, their streets, their suburbs and wish that the urban environments and facilities were maintained and enhanced for future generations.
Continue reading Yes Minister! rules ACT Government
NCA continues to be tricky
There’s a new level of frustration within Canberra’s community groups with how the ACT government conducts itself on planning and development.
Continue reading National Capital Authority failures
or better still – sack themsleves
When it comes to the ACT government and planning and development, 2020 was not a year to be celebrated.
Continue reading ACT Planning has to change!
Local enthusiasm for trees and parks
When community groups bring residents together to collectively do something for their suburb, good things happen.
Continue reading Canberra community groups have fun
ACT Government and the ACT Greens
Wandering down a street in Auckland, NZ, in early June 2016, we came upon a small group of people having a laugh about an advertising poster.
Continue reading ACT Greens challenged on planning
ACT Government fails on parks again
The last couple of years has been bad news for parks in Canberra.
Continue reading Margaret Timson Park Belconnen
They are not doing well!
With the ACT Labor/Greens coalition in place until October 2024, it’s a good time to start reporting on how it’s performing.
Continue reading ACT Government score card
planning spin (fibs) dominate
It could be said that residents and community groups have been a little foolish.
Continue reading ACT Government and spin (fibs)
They talk to voters at elections only
For Canberra residents involved with advocacy on planning and development over the last decade, a major frustration was the attitude of ACT politicians once elected to government.
Continue reading ACT Government and its electorate
ACT Government failure on culture
In 2015, the now disbanded Land Development Agency announced the follow up to its 2011 master plan with the go-ahead for the Kingston Arts Precinct.
Continue reading Canberra’s missing arts centres
The silence of those who should know better
Canberra used to have an active level of advocacy across the spectrum of arts, social and welfare groups.
Continue reading ACT Government and NGO silence
Reason to go for a wander
This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members
Continue reading West Basin and City Renewal Authority
And that’s being polite
Canberra’s community groups are increasingly having to argue for a rethink on the placement of social housing within their suburban areas.
Continue reading ACT Government stuffs up social housing
Time to give up on the City Renewal Authority
Has the electorate of Murrumbidgee been overlooked again?
Continue reading City Renewal Authority a loss cause
Canberra’s green infrastructure
Driving west on Belconnen Way, under the Gungahlin Drive Bridge, there is a view that demonstrates how planning and landscape aesthetics are not in the skill set of those who run this city.
Continue reading ACT Government and Greenery
Making that choice!
Given that I will be voting as an early voter next week, the time has come to decide on the candidates to be given the tick – or the flick.
Continue reading ACT Elections 2020
Election 2020 and Shane Rattenbury
Many residents who voted for the ACT Greens are disillusioned given how the partnership with ACT Labor has sidelined many planning, development, environmental, heritage and urban issues.
Continue reading Deafening silence of the ACT Greens
Flowers in the suburbs
It is all happening again in Kingston and, as with other locations throughout Canberra, Floriade Reimagined saw locals planting more than 8000 bulbs and annuals in May.
Continue reading Floriade Canberra 2020
How planning went wrong in MacGregor
In 2010, Dickson residents lodged objections to a unit development and eventually took the developer and the ACT Planning Directorate through the appeals tribunal and won.
Continue reading ACT Government planning mess
ACT Government fails on master planning
Canberra’s community groups spend a lot of time assessing complex development applications.
Continue reading Lack of Master Planning in Canberra
YWCA as unthinking developer
While attention is on larger issues such as the pandemic and a host of planning and development disasters, it is important to not overlook the ever-present local development issues.
Continue reading Ainslie residents and local park rezoning
Mick Gentleman waves through bad planning
When, on August 7, Planning Minister Mick Gentleman made a rare appearance to call in the decision on the Common Ground Dickson development application, there was no surprise. This had been forecasted by residents’ groups.
Continue reading A flawed plan gets the nod
A loser in the 2020 ACT elections?
Chris Steel is currently a Labor-elected member for Murrumbidgee and happens to be the Minister for Something within the ACT Labor/Greens coalition government.
Continue reading Chris Steel works hard to lose 2020 election
More spin from the City Renewal Authority
When the ACT’s City Renewal Authority made its announcement on Tuesday (August 11) about the latest plan for West Basin, there was a slight glimmer of hope that, at last, maybe someone was listening. Not so!
Continue reading ACT Government and West Basin
ISCCC call to arms!
The Inner South Canberra Community Council has
published a “” to highlight what is going on in Fyshwick with developments for major waste-disposal activities. Call To Arms
Continue reading Waste Facilities to wreck Fyshwick
Andrew Barr to win – again?
It’s an interesting exercise to commission a friend to draw a cartoon of the three people (two politicians and one bureaucrat) who are largely responsible for Canberra’s planning and development.
Continue reading 2020 ACT Elections
There’s a brochure in circulation about the debate on the future of the green spaces and foreshore along Lake Burley Griffin’s West Basin.
Continue reading West Basin and ACT Government spin
Looking for gems on the shelves
Going to a supermarket has always been enjoyable.
Continue reading Supermarket Shopping
four signs of life
The sign above is in Deakin and placed after an intersection and well before the next.
Continue reading Signs of Something
Difficulties for Canberra voters to support greenery
On World Environment Day, June 5, the Canberra Liberals committed to planting one million trees over the next decade if they form government following the October 17 ACT election.
Continue reading Vote for Greenery
More about Geocon in Kingston
When the spin doctors for Geocon published
the proposal for an eight-storey tower in the middle of Kingston (where two is the norm and three/four nearby), the locals were not happy.
Continue reading Signage wars in Kingston
Reminder of the Dickson Land Swap
With the ACT election now just over two months away, Chief Minister Andrew Barr would be urging his colleagues not to remind the electorate of the infamous Dickson land swap.
Continue reading ACT Government land deals
why do people make a fool of themselves?
ouple of week ago I posted on Common Ground and mentioned the chair Stephen Bartos.
Continue reading Stephen Bartos tries to respond
Before the last election there were promises of how planning was to be made easier to understand (the Ponton planning review that did not happen), planning was to be more people focussed (pigs might fly first), and new agencies to ensure good design and better urban environments (it has got worse).
Continue reading More about Geocon, Purdon and Kingston
another Geocon story
A Regular theme for my column is the spin that dominates the city’s planning and development.
Continue reading Opposition to eight storeys in Kingston
Meanwhile at a site I regularly mention, Section 72 Dickson, another piece of sneakiness has been uncovered by Jane Goffman, of the Dickson Residents Group.
Continue reading ACT Government ignores heritage
This piece is dedicated to those in community groups who forensically examine the complicated planning documents relentlessly put out by the ACT planning bureaucrats.
Continue reading ACT Government endangers heritage
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
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
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
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
Time to stop being polite to rude people
Artwork: Stephen Harrison
Some of us sit at desks writing loads of stuff to bring about change while the barbarous politicians and bureaucrats just keep on doing what they do best – wreck the joint!
Continue reading Mistake being polite with ACT Government
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
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
Secretive land swap with ACT Government
Alternative facts are being used to deny the ramifications on a national asset and on the lives of Canberra’s active equestrian communities as the public wakes up to the ACT government’s secret land swap with the NCA.
Continue reading NCA takes away community horse paddocks
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
What do the ACT Liberals stand for?
It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with Andrew Barr. When he made that statement about Alistair Coe’s comments last week, I thought he was spot on.
Continue reading ACT opposition remains a mystery
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
More rubbish, more neglect, more bureaucracy
In September 2019, when I wrote about the regulatory disaster that was taking place in Paperbark Street in Banks, many people responded with like stories from across Canberra.
Continue reading ACT Government allows urban blocks to be neglected
Yvette Berry continues her Boris Johnson moments
As the COVID-19 crisis took hold and people bunkered down, residents hoped for less stupid things by the ACT Planning Directorate.
Continue reading ACT Government attack on Dickson residents
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
ACT Government fails to listen about noise
Many Canberrans have the luxury of living in established suburbs and until recently had some confidence that the nature of the suburb probably would not change radically during their lifetimes.
Continue reading ACT Government allows excessive noise
ACT Government encourages hooning
Surfacing in community meetings across Canberra is an issue that is upsetting people’s enjoyment of their neighbourhoods.
Continue reading Hoons on Canberra urban streets
The panic for toilet paper
I Maybe imagining this, but I think people have taken to smiling more. Maybe it is a way of not letting the threats of the virus get to you, but it is happening.
Continue reading Stay Safe and Carry On
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
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
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
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
Time to call out this government on health
On January 29, “CityNews” published a well-researched article about how the Woden Valley Hospital’s future had been mishandled and is now seriously hindered in its capacity to deliver to the people of Canberra.
Continue reading ACT Government makes a mess of the hospital
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
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
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
When an emergency is not an emergency
In May 2019 the ACT Government declared a climate emergency. The expectation would have been for high-profile urgent actions.
Continue reading ACT Government on climate emergency
Silly signs indicate the failure of this agency
Full marks to someone in Dickson last week who spotted the opportunity to place a discarded City Renewal Authority silly sign up against the wall of a major Dickson shop.
There was a message in this action.
Continue reading City Renewal Authority fails
Where does the money go?
A topic that dominates “CityNews” columns and other media, is how the ACT’s Labor-Greens coalition government collects and spends your money.
Continue reading Mystery of the ACT Government’s finances
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
Residents speak but the government interprets
In August 2019, Ben Ponton, the ACT’s chief planner, said: “Your feedback plays a key role through your unique ability to communicate useful observations into issues that may affect your neighbourhood…”
And the reality?
Continue reading ACT Government’s inability to listen
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 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
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
Residents’ protest about noisy drones
One of the pleasurable experiences of where I live is to sit around the garden, usually in the morning or evening is best, and to take in the cacophony of suburban bird sounds.
Continue reading ACT Government and drones
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
When the ACT Legislative Assembly voted in October to establish a committee to examine the planning problems that plagued the development of the Molonglo suburbs of Wright and Coombs, it would follow that this signalled that someone may be paying attention to what residents have been saying for the last few years.
At least that is what we should be thinking.
Continue reading Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess
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
How political decisions overrule logic and good planning
First the good news. The ACT government is committed to adding overdue facilities to the Woden Valley Hospital.
Continue reading Making a mess of hospital developments
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
Canberra trees and the coming firestorms
Late in 2018 the Weston Creek Community Council held a public forum for fire experts to provide information about fires in the 21st century. It was really scary stuff.
Continue reading ACT Greens and trees
Urgent need for Design in Canberra
Canberra has an enviable reputation as a designed and planned city.
Unfortunately, the shine has come off this accolade over the last decades.
Continue reading City Design Commission
Another example of when the ACT Greens proved to be a disappointment – A Collective Fizzer
Continue reading ACT Greens and trees
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
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
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
Plonk and Run as Urban Design
The many books available on good urban design seem not to have been delivered to ACT agencies involved with urban renewal.
In the last few years there’s been a consistency in approach to upgrading urban places – and it is not about long-term thinking.
Continue reading City Authority pretends to do urban design
As happens regularly across Canberra, developers have a set style in their presentation to community groups.
Continue reading Disingenuous proposals for Dickson
Next year on October 17, the date for the ACT government election, voters must choose a government for the following four years.
Given the views about current ACT politicians, the thought of being compelled to vote is a real dilemma. The leadership chair that trusted politicians should occupy is empty. Yet by this time next year, voters need to put someone in that empty chair.
Continue reading voting for the empty chair in 2020
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
Canberra, our bush capital, is a good place to live (no surprises there). Part of the credit for this goes to residents who have put in time and energy over decades to bring people together through neighbourhood groups and the larger combined community councils.
These community leaders encourage debates (usually friendly) and exchanges of information on a whole range of issues, with planning and development being the usual hot topics (thankfully, not always).
Continue reading Canberra’s Community Councils
ON Wednesday, August 21, ABC TV commenced the fourth series of “Utopia”, starring Rob Sitch as Tony Woodford, the CEO of the fictional National Building Authority.
On the same evening, the North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) hosted a presentation by Malcolm Snow, the real CEO of the City Renewal Authority, on the authority’s program for urban developments and infrastructure around Civic and north to Dickson.
Continue reading Canberra and the fictional Utopia
Here’s a tale of the use of alternative facts by both the government and a couple of its supporters.
Continue reading West Basin alternative facts