Category Archives: urban development

West Basin and City Renewal Authority

Reason to go for a wander

This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members

Continue reading West Basin and City Renewal Authority

ACT Government stuffs up social housing

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

ACT Government and Greenery

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

Deafening silence of the ACT Greens

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

Floriade Canberra 2020

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

ACT Government planning mess

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

Ainslie residents and local park rezoning

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

A flawed plan gets the nod

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

Chris Steel works hard to lose 2020 election

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

ACT Government and West Basin

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

Waste Facilities to wreck Fyshwick

ISCCC call to arms!

The Inner South Canberra Community Council has published a “Call To Arms” to highlight what is going on in Fyshwick with developments for major waste-disposal activities.

Continue reading Waste Facilities to wreck Fyshwick

2020 ACT Elections

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

West Basin and ACT Government spin

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

Vote for Greenery

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

Signage wars in Kingston

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

ACT Government land deals

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

More about Geocon, Purdon and Kingston

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

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

Mistake being polite with ACT Government

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

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

NCA takes away community horse paddocks

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

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 opposition remains a mystery

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

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 allows urban blocks to be neglected

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

ACT Government attack on Dickson residents

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

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

ACT Government allows excessive noise

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

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

ACT Government makes a mess of the hospital

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

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 Government on climate emergency

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

City Renewal Authority fails

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

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 Government’s inability to listen

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

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

ACT Government and drones

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

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

Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess

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

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

Making a mess of hospital developments

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

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

City Authority pretends to do urban design

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

voting for the empty chair in 2020

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

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

Canberra’s Community Councils

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

Canberra and the fictional Utopia

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

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