Dickson Parklands

Fact checking statements about Dickson Parklands.
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There have been inaccurate media statements and comments online by the bureaucracy and others about the actions of residents to save the Dickson Parklands.

Here are some key points about the debate for the Dickson Parklands

  • There was a series of well attended workshops in late 2014 on the future of the Parklands. Since then there was absolute silence on this topic from the bureaucracy. It was the residents who approached the agencies for an update.
  • At the 23 July meeting residents were informed for the first time that a decision had been made for apartments on the parklands. This was a surprise given the feedback from the workshop participants for enhanced community cultural facilities and that an overwhelming majority clearly requested no more apartments within Dickson Parklands.
  • There was no previous notice for 850 apartments. To say that the number has been reduced from 850 to 200 is one of many furphies.
  • The inner north Canberra suburbs are experiencing a growing number of residents and massive changes. Residents do not oppose the infill – just that it should be well planned, designed and appropriate.

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  • Residents are trying to work with the many agencies involved (far too many) to obtain an integrated approach to the increases in houses and apartments.
  • Agencies continue an ad hoc approach to development that lacks relevant evidence based arguments. This is clear in their new pamphlets about the Dickson Parklands.
  • The argument for the Dickson Parklands (as community cultural parklands) is a pro-development push. The parklands are part of the infrastructure that will be required for the increasing number of residents. There is also the need for improvements to the sewage and other infrastructure.
  • The parklands are on the edge of Dickson, but all the surrounding resident groups are working to have this community infrastructure enhanced with arts and cultural facilities for the growing inner north population.
  • The parklands should part of the infrastructure that planners would otherwise be providing in advance of the population increases.
  • The Dickson Parklands is not an abandoned site. But it is true that it has been managed badly by the various agencies.
  • The part of the site in question includes large grassed areas, the Salvation Army building and the site of the former club (that burnt down).

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  • The leases under question are in government hands. The details of the lease changes are unknown.
  • The links to the light rail is another furphy. The major redevelopments along Northbourne will be far more relevant to the future usages of the light rail.
  • The Dickson Parklands are well beyond established distance of 400 metres that planners use as the distance that residents would most likely walk to and from public transport. The Parklands are at least 800 metres from Northbourne. Residents more than 800 metres away would catch the many available buses.
  • Another agency has let it slip that there is no need for apartments on this site as the present zoning across inner north Canberra will supply more than enough new residences to meet the infill targets.
  • The proposal is about using the ‘development banks’ – a term used within the development bureaucracy for open spaces that could be sold. Look around your suburb and any non-residential land and car parking spaces are probably classified as being in this ‘development bank’.
  • The proposal is cloaked in the provision of social housing. Social housing on isolated blocks does not work as has been learnt time and time again across Canberra. Social housing should integrated into established areas.
  • The loss will be to the wider community in the loss of community facilities and to potential occupants who will be isolated and living in ‘branded’ estates.
  • The government’s proposal is another clear example of how badly Canberra planning continues to be managed.
  • No local politicians have so far stepped forward with any real visions for Canberra’s urban development.
  • There is now a complete lack of trust in the chief minister and his development bureaucracy.

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Residents are urging the government to cease this stressful and wasteful process. The ACT Government needs to engage honestly and transparently with the residents on the future options for this important community site.

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Paul Costigan

 

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