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 →
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 →
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 →
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! →
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 →
When the government planners used to plan, community facilities were put in place along with town centres.
Continue reading ACT Government neglects Yerrabi Pond →
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 →
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.
follow-up on a community groups choosing their values
Proposal to answer queries – a follow up piece
More on Bill Pye Park Ainslie and the YWCA
An article was published this week about the proposed building of social housing on a site now leased by the YWCA on the corner of the block that is largely Bill Pye Park in Ainslie.
Continue reading Cherry picking your values 2 →
Community Group as developer chooses to ignore basic values
When the ACT government announced it had approved the development application by the YWCA to build social housing on the corner of Bill Pye Park in Ainslie*, there was a collective sigh of frustration from residents.
Continue reading Cherry picking your values →
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 →
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 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 →
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! →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
time to close this waste of space!
Following a commitment at the 2016 election, the ACT government abolished the Land Development Agency and replaced it with two agencies, the Suburban Land Agency (that sells land) and the City Renewal Authority.
Continue reading the failed City Renewal Authority experiment →
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 →
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 →
There’s not much new about politicians today. The ancient Persian rulers knew they could control their own image though propaganda.
Continue reading ACT Government spin →
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 →
There’s a plaque in the Dickson Library that marks the site of Canberra’s first aerodrome.
Continue reading heritage listing for Dickson aerodrome →
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 →
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 →
Canberra voters can do better
There are about five months to the next ACT election. There’s a lockdown in place. So how do ACT politicians get noticed if they cannot stand around crowded places to try to be noticed?
Continue reading ACT Government overdue to go →
Covid-19 came to the Downer community centre
One of Canberra’s hard-working community groups has discovered that it has been bestowed an authority it did not know it had.
Continue reading Downer residents new power →
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 →
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 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 →
ACT Government encourages hooning
Surfacing in community meetings across Canberra is an issue that is upsetting people’s enjoyment of their neighbourhoods.
Continue reading Hoons on Canberra urban streets →
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 →
When the ACT government announced in February that it was funding the ACT planning review to the tune of $1.2 million there was not much dancing in the streets.
Continue reading No trust in ACT Government’s planning review →
How Canberra’s greenery is being trashed
At the February public forum staged by the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC), the answers to particular questions indicated how much the ACT’s Greens/Labor government values the city’s tree canopy, its biodiversity and its green infrastructure.
Continue reading ACT Government not trusted on greenery →
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 →
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 →
What is the ACT Government’s attitude to good architecture and good landscape design? That’s easy. It does not consider such things important.
Continue reading ACT Government and architecture →
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 →
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 →
A stupid decision by Chris Steel MLA
A media statement by an ACT Minister would surely be fact checked and at least have someone cast their eye over it for a reality check.
Continue reading ACT Minister with silly ideas →
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 →
When bad design hinders being jolly
When in Civic around 10pm on Wednesday last week we were confronted with what the ACT government now defines as a Christmas tree.
Continue reading ACT Government ruins Christmas →
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 →