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
The ACT’s Labor/Greens coalition government is well practised at
not addressing planning issues.
Continue reading ACT Planning Directorate not fit for purpose
When it comes to the future travel for southside residents coming north across the lake, things are looking grim thanks to the tram follies about to be played out by the ACT government.
Continue reading ACT Government northside planning mess
I have written earlier about the goings-on in Manuka over the Lianglis Manuke Cinema development.
Continue reading A little splash of plastic brings smile
When “Seven Days” columnist Ian Meikle remarked in “CityNews” on July 19 that the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality is seeking submissions to its inquiry into memorialisation through public commemoration, it did raise an issue or two.
Continue reading Public Art in Canberra
This city is fairly ordinary when it comes to public architecture. There are a few exceptions, often Federal buildings and those on the ANU, but not many.
Continue reading The good, the bad and too much ugly!
and now heads south to mess up more suburbs
In the late 1980s, if you happened to be in the office of the National Capital Development Commission, at 220 Northbourne Avenue, it was hard to concentrate on the discussions because of the view looking south along Northbourne to the far mountains.
Continue reading ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave
bunkum, untruths and ACT planning
Two ACT government statements surfaced recently relating to planning issues in different parts of the city.
Continue reading ACT Government planning a lost cause
As the West Basin foreshore fills with expensive rubble, and a huge chunk of money is being spent taking the tram west around London Circuit to the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, how does anyone justify such excessive expenditures given so many other priorities are being neglected?
Continue reading ACT Government misplaced spending priorities
It has only been a few weeks since the local press bore tributes to Derek Wrigley (February, 1924 – June, 2021).
Continue reading Minister Vassarotti called to save heritage
When the government planners used to plan, community facilities were put in place along with town centres.
Continue reading ACT Government neglects Yerrabi Pond
residents should avoid contact with NCA
I begin this opinion piece about the National Capital Authority (NCA) by going back about 20 years to comments made during a parliamentary committee looking at the NCA.
Continue reading National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising
Is there a planning minister?
Following the media release from the Planning Minister announcing the ACT Planning Review, local community groups were stunned to realise just how badly the current review is progressing.
Continue reading ACT Government and planning
They think they are progressive – HAH!
For a self-nominated progressive government, the ACT Labor/Greens government has not done well with social housing. Their only success in this area is the boldness of their superficial claims. Do they believe they own rhetoric?
Continue reading ACT Government fails on social housing
they fib and get away with it!
Going into the 2016 ACT elections, the Chief Minister was under fire because of the Dickson land swap, with the Tradies Club seen as the winners and the taxpayer the losers.
Continue reading ACT Government and more fibs
The ACT Greens fail being green again
This piece starts with recognition of the many community members who made submissions over many years that consistently emphasise that greenery, trees, biodiversity and open spaces are a priority.
Continue reading Another failure of the ACT Greens
It is a conversation I now have repeatedly. I have it with community group members, with people at Tilley’s, at the supermarket, while meandering through Dickson or other centres, and when wandering around galleries.
Continue reading ACT Ministry of Misinformation
Rhetoric alone is not climate action
Once upon a time, Canberra tourism included views of tree-lined suburban streets. That was Canberra as we knew it – a city in a landscape. The ambience was greenery and open spaces.
Continue reading ACT Government fails own climate actions
The danger to Australia’s civil society is the current Australian Prime Minister.
This blog article based on personal experiences reinforces that. click here.
Why don’t they get open spaces
With Canberra being a “city in a landscape”, why does the ACT government not understand the value of landscape and open spaces?
Continue reading ACT Government and Open Spaces
when most media fall for the spin
With the 2021 Australian budget announced last night, the sad part is the way most in the media accept the spin.
Continue reading Australian 2021 Budget farce
The humbug around the spin on taking actions on climate happens internationally, nationally and locally.
Continue reading Climate Change humbug
The ACT Government’s planning directorate has an impenetrable structure that reminds me of the “Star Wars” concept – the Borg Hive – called The Collective.
Continue reading ACT planning directorate past its use-by-date
How to get hospital planning so wrong!
When government bureaucrats present at community meetings, their spin and prepared lines do not go down well.
Continue reading ACT Government hospital mess continues
A pamphlet arrived in Dickson letterboxes that won’t bring much joy to the other areas of the city. It announced that $3 million is to be spent on Woolley Street, Dickson.
Continue reading ACT Government lacks design leadership
The ACT Government is a planning failure
When the Watson Community Association (WCA) puts forward the community’s views about a proposed development, it does a really thorough job.
Continue reading Watson community knows about planning
the failure of the National Capital Design Review Panel
Along with the wish the government would look after the city’s landscapes, its greenery and its open spaces, a common frustration is that the government does not understand design and does little to encourage good architecture.
Continue reading ACT Government Design Panel a disaster
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 – all talk and not much action
When governments don’t want to do much about something that requires actions, they hold inquiries, set up “Have Your Say” websites, present loads of useless stuff to public gatherings, talk a lot as if they are doing something and produce draft strategies.
Continue reading ACT Greens not so green
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
Board members irrelevant to Canberra
The boards of the City Renewal Authority, the National Capital Authority and the Suburban Land Agency have little connection to the everyday life of residents.
Continue reading ACT Government stacked boards
recommended tasty things
Two weeks into 2021 and thoughts go back to early last year when the pandemic struck and Canberra went into lockdown – not as tough as the later Victoria episode, but it was an experience that possibly changed some habits.
Continue reading Food shopping in Canberra
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
Making the time out to visit regionally
Earlier this month we ventured out for the day to meet a friend at Braidwood. She was from the south coast and so Braidwood meant we both travelled just over an hour.
Continue reading A day out in Braidwood
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
Commonwealth Park neglected by government
Attention to a significant piece of national land is being overlooked among the misinformation used to justify the demolition of West Basin.
Continue reading ACT Government ignores Commonwealth Park
Need for a new public art policy
Sometime during the last election, a candidate said something about revising the public sculpture program initiated by Jon Stanhope when he was chief minister.
Continue reading ACT Government and public sculpture
not so normal travel during the pandemic
We took the opportunity to travel to what seemed like a faraway place – Adelaide.
Continue reading pandemic travel to Adelaide
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
New Leader for a lost party
Hands up anyone who was surprised by the ACT Liberals’ election results.
Continue reading Elizabeth Lee takes over the ACT Liberals
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
The corflute wars
There are corflute wars again with the ACT elections.
Continue reading ACT Elections 2020
Excitement – Coe goes without his tie!
With one week to go to the ACT elections, my interest has definitely reduced.
Continue reading ACT Election boring
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
These boys have a problem
It took my breath away when I read the line by the prime minister’s office – “nothing in the budget is gendered”
Continue reading Scott Morrison and women
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
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
Liberals have barely opposed trashing of the city
Planning is important to Canberrans because they like living in this bush capital and want future generations to benefit from what the city has to offer.
Continue reading ACT Liberals sit on the fence
ACT politicians loyal to parties over voters
It’s begun; politicians are on the phone calling people asking if there are issues they want to discuss. What joy!
Continue reading Once elected, forget the public
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
It is about people – not war machines
A Reminder: the Australian War Memorial is about people
Continue reading Australian War Memorial
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