ACT Government and green spaces
When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks
documentary photography exhibition
National Library of Australia exhibition, Friday 16 September 2022 until Monday 13 March 2023 Entry is free, curated by Matthew Jones
a link to the NLA page on the exhibition – click here
a tour of the exhibition click here
Greenslabor planning in Canberra is a mess
With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?
The mess that is planning in Canberra
The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.
Continue reading Winning design lost to bigger development plan
The mess that is planning in Canberra
Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?
Continue reading The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?
the mess that is planning in Canberra
Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.
Continue reading Bewildering world of development applications
In my spare time , I have put together a collection of early 20th century photographs from Japan – click here to see the collection (for sale)
CMAG – a new future
More than three decades ago the local visual arts community advocated for the establishment of a Canberra Regional/City Gallery. Continue reading visiting Canberra’s City Gallery
The lies told too often
Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents
It was a recent photography exhibition by Catherine Rogers (closed 14th August) that brought home to me what a great space the ANU Drill Hall Gallery is.
Continue reading Visiting ANU Drill Hall Gallery
The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer
When the national Gallery opened in 1988, the exhibitions and their café became frequent destinations – a meeting place for locals, to take in the latest exhibitions while seeing old friends – the fabulous works in the permanent collections. Continue reading Visiting the National Gallery in Canberra
Infill would be more embraced if it was well designed
There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.
Continue reading ACT Government fails on architecture and design
As a consequence of the Greenslabor Ministers Vassarotti and Berry’s cruel eviction program, attention turned to their social housing programs. Continue reading The vexed question of social housing in Canberra
Saturday 30 July was a sunny day that encouraged a walk somewhere else in the city, besides the usual meander through the local streets.
Continue reading Belconnen arts and architecture
Back in 2019 during a discussion about the preliminaries for the city’s coming planning reforms, it was suggested to the chief planner that governance needs to be central to any reforms. Continue reading ACT Government fails governance
Public art — Civic in Canberra
A media notice from the City Renewal Authority about a new artwork in Civic caught my attention. Continue reading Civic still a bit of a mess
approved despite it not meeting the rules
The ACT’s government planning system is under review with the first badly organised and inadequate consultation stage completed in mid-June.
Continue reading ACT Government approves Kingston block
A place to visit often
There were few people visiting the NGA’s Sculpture Garden when I visited to enjoy the garden’s well-designed spaces and to check out the artworks.
Continue reading NGA Canberra Sculpture Garden
You need to see this for yourself
There’s a residential development at 18 Darke Street, Torrens, that is beyond belief. This is happening because the city’s planning system is broken and totally corrupted.
Continue reading ACT Government planning failure
ACT Government not so environmental
In February, 2012, the then-ACT Labor Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, officially opened the Dickson Wetlands (completed in 2011). This marvellous water feature changed the neighbourhood.
Continue reading Dreaming of having a real environment minister
the ACT Greens moved away from core values
More than a decade ago the ACT Greens had priority on issues such as climate, the environment, and equity. How things have changed.
Continue reading ACT Greens a neoliberal Labor faction
Nasty treatment of Housing ACT tenants
Earlier this year 330 Housing ACT tenants received the same soulless unsigned eviction notice.
Continue reading ACT Government cruel evictions
Time up for the ACT Greens
Given the successes of independent candidates in the federal election, conversations are underway about how voters could be offered better candidates for the 2024 ACT election.
Continue reading How to say goodbye to the ‘Greenslabor’ cult
ACT Government endorses bad planning
The ACT’s planning directorate is a rogue bureaucracy doing the bidding of anyone but the residents of Canberra. Few residents would be confident that the directorate has the expertise to do anything except to continuously mess stuff up.
Continue reading Democracy muted as Mick calls in YWCA project
planning in Canberra gets worse
People were shocked to hear the realities of the behaviour of the ACT government as set out clearly by two speakers at the June meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council.
Continue reading Planning mess: where the hell are the pollies?
The ACT’s “Greenslabor” government has provided multiple opportunities this year for the Canberra Liberals to step up and demonstrate that maybe in 2024 they could be ready to form government if the voters were to be convinced.
Continue reading Canberra Libs keep missing the opportunities
ACT Government reduces greenery
The worst behaviour of any politician or bureaucrat is when a mistake has been brought to their attention, that they double down, pretend there’s nothing wrong, produce alternative facts and discredit those who have identified the error.
Continue reading Deaf Greens do nothing as trees come down
mean and nasty government just got meaner and nastier
Just when the Housing ACT relocation (eviction) program was looking mean and nasty, the ministers involved, Yvette Berry and Rebecca Vassarotti, upped the ante by introducing something even more dodgy to make lives difficult for some of the Housing ACT tenants.
Continue reading ACT Government evicts housing tenants
It was, as I was reading an online US newspaper on Thursday, June 2, that I spotted they had the streaming of the Queen’s platinum celebration in London. How could I resist?
Continue reading Korean food to celebrate the Queen
In April, the Commonwealth Government granted Commonwealth status for Lake Burley Griffin and parts of the surrounds.
Continue reading ACT heritage minister fails heritage
Folks, we have a problem – this time not with the ACT government and its planning directorate but with the National Capital Authority.
Continue reading National Capital Authority not fit for purpose
There was news in May that a new supermarket is to open in Canberra. Harris Farm Markets are to build a new store at Majura Park on the northern end of the site occasionally used by the circus. Continue reading Supermarkets, galleries and Italian food
There are discussions within the community sector puzzling over the motives of the ACT government’s politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to their managing planning, development and housing. Continue reading The cruelty of ACT Government politicians
Towards the end of the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s forum last month, a question was asked about whether the chief planner could override decisions on urban trees. Continue reading Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees
It has been said many times that if people were to vote for the Canberra Liberals in the 2024 ACT elections, it could not be any worse than the developer-focused, neo-liberal approach to planning and development being delivered by the conservative-leaning ACT Greens and Labor.
Continue reading Would the Canberra Liberals be any better
For a city with the international standing for being well designed (thank you, Walter and Marion), it is embarrassing to witness the shambolic efforts by the ACT government’s planning bureaucrats to come up with something resembling a 21st century planning system.
Continue reading ACT Government planning charade
While voters were occupied with the federal election, the ACT Planning Directorate slipped through a variation to Variation 369 – the one that was to deliver greenery to the city’s backyards.
Continue reading ACT Government fails on backyard greenery
The National Capital Authority has responsibility for the care of the capital’s design features.
Continue reading NCA blocks the axis view
Last Tuesday 9th May, the inner south community met to hear presentations on the ACT Government’s efforts at planning reform.
Continue reading The ACT Government’s planning reforms fail the basics
Particular major urban developments in Canberra have been promoted to be in line with the plans of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin or somehow in the spirit of the Griffins.
Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!
Election forums are underway across the city. You do get to watch the candidates in action. Unfortunately, their performances have not been individually or collectively too exciting.
Continue reading Federal candidates should think local
It was heartening to see the new state member for Monaro, Nichole Overall, take on the monster of the NSW Department of Education, and win.
Continue reading When ACT Housing evictions happen, ACT politicians hide
When the Kingston Barton residents brought together a bunch of candidates last Tuesday evening, it was an opportunity to observe who among them had that extra spark to be a great representative for the voters of Canberra.
Continue reading Federal candidates take the tram to nowhere
In mid-March the ACT’s government’s planning reform process moved to another stage of being something that might happen – one day. Continue reading ACT Planning reform – A sad joke!
The inner north has, so far, not been saturated with the roadside election corflute signs as has happened with previous elections. Continue reading ACT Greens work against democracy
YWCA behaves as questionable developer
The ACT government’s planning system and processes are no longer fit for purpose. They have been corrupted by ad hoc, ill-informed and illogical decisions.
Continue reading YWCA disrespects local community
There are architecture tours of the city of Chicago conducted (when it is not frozen over in winter) to admire the wonders of design incorporated into the city towers. It would be doubtful that there would ever be architecture tours of Woden’s town-centre towers. Continue reading Woden town cramming continues
Housing clearances in Canberra in 2022
It is beyond belief that in the 21st century a self-nominated progressive Labor/Greens coalition government sanctioned the eviction of its own social housing tenants.
Continue reading ACT Government evictions
Developers control the ACT Greens agenda
In the early 1980s, the environmental movements fought to protect significant Tasmanian river systems and world heritage sites.
Continue reading ACT Greens and developers
while more trees come down!
Last week, the ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, announced her draft action plan about the loss of mature trees.
Continue reading ACT Government has morning tea
Once ACT Greens and Labor politicians become very important ministers in the ACT government, their contact with real people diminishes.
Continue reading ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents
will Zed Seselja survive this time?
ACT voters are about to select three lower house and two Senate politicians to represent this territory’s interests nationally.
Continue reading Federal elections and the ACT candidates
There used to be the sound of owls in the inner north of Canberra at night time. I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of their call until, one day, I realised it was no more.
Continue reading Owls, old trees and the ACT Government
During a recent Inner South Canberra Community Council meeting, a topic mentioned by several speakers was one of the fundamental problems with the ACT planning system.
Continue reading The good and bad of Consultation
When a government exercises significant influence over media outlets, propaganda and alternative facts easily become the message that people hear.
Continue reading NCA propaganda fools the ABC
something to make you shudder!
The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has reluctantly entered his older years. He has cleverly handed the more in-your-face, complex portfolios to his Labor colleagues, a couple of whom obviously aspire to occupy the chief minister’s chair as soon as he looks to make an exit.
Continue reading Yvette Berry for Chief Minister
Government delivers for developers, again
Throughout history, the growth in government propaganda is linked to increasing authoritarianism. The more they lie, the more they concoct alternative facts to justify dubious actions and to distract from real intentions.
Continue reading the ACT tram light rail hoax
ACT Government fails on planning, again
When it comes to infrastructure and planning issues, the Woden Valley Community Council continues to have difficulties having real discussions with this ACT Labor/Greens government.
Continue reading woden Valley Community Council issues
I recently sat on the pictured bench and pondered the shrubbery and trees planted in several clumps on a mound in a Downer park.
Continue reading suburban biodiversity
Several conversations of late have centered on the question – what has happened to the much-touted Draft Variation 369?
Continue reading ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action
ACT heritage minister is missing
Houses of heritage value often cause problems for ACT Heritage Ministers and their planning chiefs.
Continue reading Fate of Forrest heritage house remains mystery
A compliant NCA to be fooled again
The ACT government’s proposal to “Raise London Circuit” for the tram was submitted for approval to the National Capital Authority (NCA) in October.
Continue reading Tram spin to defeat the NCA
NCA called on to be sensible!
In this city with the ever-increasing towers, as encouraged by the developer-friendly chief minister, the major issue is not just the towers themselves, but the lack of planning guiding the appropriateness and logic of their size and the location.
Continue reading A Tower too far by Geocon
and how it is being lost
When Marion Mahony Griffin provided those glorious drawings for the submission to design Canberra, she included a distant view of the mountains.
Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra
Downer residents confronted with 25 metre pines
The trees along Bradfield Street, Downer, have been the subject of debates in Downer for at least a decade.
Continue reading Local politicians fail residents on trees
Politicians chose vanity over housing homeless
The majority of candidates going to ACT elections talk about how they will be progressive on issues that matter. But once elected, the reality is something else.
Continue reading ACT Government fails homeless
increasing biodiversity to the suburbs
There are many open spaces in Canberra that could be doing far more for biodiversity.
Continue reading Nature is messy
ACT Government planning up to old tricks
This tale points to how bad planning has been corrupted by the ACT Labour Greens coalition government.
Continue reading the trees of Ainslie don’t cast shadows!
The National Capital Authority (NCA) finished 2021 on a low note. Not that would surprise those who have recently dealt with the NCA.
Continue reading The NCA can stop the tram going south
In November Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson proposed the ACT Legislative Assembly meet for longer than the allocated 35 days for 2022.
Continue reading ACT Government too busy for community issues
Welcome to 2022. While there are many things not yet addressed in planning and development by the elder Andrew Barr and his government, there are some tangible programs to do with biodiversity that are waiting to happen.
Continue reading Biodiversity begins in the garden
Residents take the lead in planning for their suburbs
First, a shout out to the hard-working community council volunteers who bring together views of residents and then present these to the government. The latest has just been published by the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC).
Continue reading Inner South Canberra District Planning Strategy
Design leadership missing in action
The south side of Franklin Street, Manuka, was shut off during November for several clusters of seats and tables on fake grass. It was apparently another of this government’s pop-up experiments.
Continue reading ACT Government fails on landscape design
ACT hides its real intentions on planning reforms
This year’s planning reform announcement was accompanied by the usual spin (sorry, media release) and another misleading online document (sorry, progress report).
Continue reading Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms
ACT Government does not get biodiversity
Wandering through Civic, there loomed ahead a shape.
Continue reading Christmas, trees and biodiversity
ACT Government fails on equity and empathy
For almost half a decade, the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) has been careful not to oppose development. The WCCC has focused on the quality of the developments and to have the redevelopments include social and sporting facilities.
Continue reading The Chris Steel boy band plays Woden
NCA challenged on suburban design
When you think of planning and development and who is making a mess of this city, attention usually turns to the dark arts as practised by the ACT Planning Directorate.
Continue reading innovative architecture versus boringly normal
ACT Housing fails on biodiversity
One constant theme of residents is the ad hoc planning regimes that enable knock-down rebuilds in established suburbs resulting in a loss of trees, greenery and biodiversity.
Continue reading ACT world-class heat island in the making
the need to make money leads to development
There are three major development issues within Canberra’s inner north that are going to make things interesting in 2022.
Continue reading Sports club as developer
ACT Government reports how they do not much
A good strategic or corporate plan outlines what is being done and proves timelines.
Continue reading Boxes ticked, it’s time for morning tea
ACT Government fail on social housing
Recently, the North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) chair tried a creative way of engaging with local politicians. It worked.
Continue reading return affordable housing to Northbourne
This was to be the year the ACT government was to deliver the much-vaunted reforms to make planning simpler and more accessible.
Continue reading the nightmare of the ACT’s Better Normal
More spin from the ACT Government
Last week ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman announced the approval for the draft variation for the first of the “Demonstration House” projects.
Continue reading Spin and ACT Demonstration House
What if the ACT minister for planning was replaced?
About a month ago community organisations floated the idea that the ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, should be replaced. What a great idea!
Continue reading Mick Gentleman passed used-by date
It was stunning to see the images of Premier Dominic Perrottet after NSW opened up on October 11; he welcomed people back to his version of normal – that of blokes, pubs, beers and more blokes. Women were absent.
Continue reading ACT Public Art and inequality
Inner-south community groups received a curious, but welcomed, phone call on Thursday (November 4) from the communications officer of the ACT Suburban Land Agency (SLA).
Continue reading Kingston Arts Space reboot – maybe
Here’s some news the ACT Labor/Greens coalition government may not appreciate. The model they use to enable for development and for getting the tram done, builds on the way trains and trams were introduced in and around Sydney in the late 19th century.
Continue reading Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?
When the ACT government announced on September 25 an allocation of $14 million to plant 54,000 trees across Canberra, clearly it was designed to give the impression that the government took trees and biodiversity seriously.
Continue reading The ACT Greens look the other way on trees
For most people, what happens with planning regulations tends to be of little interest, until the day arrives when it becomes the issue requiring their utmost concentration to work out what the hell is going on.
Continue reading When planning permission is beyond the pale
In response to my September 8 column on how the ACT Greens have turned their backs on biodiversity, a question popped up asking: “You’re a consistent opponent of higher-density development. Do you not think that urban sprawl is bad for the climate?”
Continue reading Urban infill on a human scale
On May 12, I finished a column on the shocking state of Woden developments with this statement: “This government’s expertise in town cramming is worthy of an award.
Continue reading ACT Government stuffs up Woden Town Centre
The ACT political parties have had enough time since the October, 2020, elections for voters to see what they are about.
Continue reading It’s been a year, what do we think of this mob?
The news that the ACT government had taken over the O’Connor Tourist Park, with its 130 cabins, as a quarantine centre seemed to be accepted as simply another good idea done well.
Continue reading Is Andrew Barr capable of changing his leadership style?
Time to duplicate the Urambi Village model
A lot has been said about the folly of the ACT government’s Demonstration Housing Projects. The bureaucratic spin has been frequent and blatant.
Continue reading Move ACT Racing
On Wednesday, September 15, the ACT’s planning bureaucrats issued their decisions on an application for re-consideration for the second stage of the development of the Manuka hotel-residential cinema complex by Liangis Investments Pty Ltd.
Continue reading ACT government planning gets personal and stupid
Another mid-century home, designed by an honoured designer, gone!
Continue reading ACT Government fails heritage
With the Planning Directorate having lost the debate and all credibility about reforming ACT’s planning systems, its communications sections have been seeding articles to both distract from the real issues or to shift the debate on to safer topics.
Continue reading Fact checking ACT planning