Dealing with planning over-reach

Costigan-Westside5

There were two planning announcements in recent days that would have raised people’s eyebrows just a little.

The first was that the government had taken back the running of the infamous Westside container precinct. This so-called ‘experimental’ development was supposed to be open for business for Floriade in 2014. As of August 2015, it was yet to become fully operational despite the Chief Minister throwing about $1 million dollars at it.

So now the Chief Minister’s own department is in charge of selling pies, coffees, curries and take-aways. I am sure the bureaucrats in charge have already worked out some new propaganda to justify how this is another positive step in the development of Canberra. I am sure we will believe ever word they say!

I would have loved to see something on this site that was architecturally attractive, that provided for on-going entertainments, that was finished and open when it was supposed to be. It did not happen!

Someone has just wasted $1 million dollars on a folly. So now the unanswered question is — how much has been allocated to try to make this thing work? And can we have fries with that?

The other announcement was the big change of heart over one of the many inappropriate planning developments presently occupying people’s minds. The announcement appeared in the press that the huge developments around the Brickworks on southern edge of Yarralumla had been scaled back from 1800 new dwellings to around 380.

Master-plan-Feb-2015_

While residents are on stand-by to see the details of what this may mean, there is no doubt that the changes will be welcomed. The frustration is that a huge amount of time, resources and tax payers’ money has been dedicated to developing the many proposals. There was also the costly time, effort and loss of sleep by residents in trying to bring about a much more sensible approach to the government’s wild ideas.

Surely it is time for the ACT Government to learn from these costly mistakes.

I suggest that on both these projects there has been a very inappropriate over-reach in what the bureaucrats have decided was required. Someone within the agency involved needs to get real and/or should be replaced by people who know how to work with the local communities and not against them.

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We cannot afford to keep allowing the planning and development bureaucrats to be so wasteful with government revenue and other resources. These agencies need a change of culture and to develop a mature and respectful attitude towards the residents of Canberra.

also published on RiotACT

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Paul Costigan

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