Category Archives: Canberra

ACT Government Design Panel a disaster

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

ACT Minister for heritage in trouble

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

ACT Planning learn nothing

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

Australian War Memorial as vandal

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

ACT Government questionable housing program

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

ACT Government chops down more trees

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

ACT City Renewal Authority

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 not so green

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

What happens in Sydney – happens here

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

over-development in Woden

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 Supermarket approved

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

Heritage Listing Lake Burley Griffin

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

Yes Minister! rules ACT Government

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

National Capital Authority failures

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

ACT Government stacked boards

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

ACT Planning has to change!

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!

Canberra community groups have fun

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

Margaret Timson Park Belconnen

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

ACT Government score card

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

ACT Government ignores Commonwealth Park

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

ACT Government and public sculpture

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

ACT Government and its electorate

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

Canberra’s missing arts centres

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

West Basin and City Renewal Authority

Reason to go for a wander

This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members

Continue reading West Basin and City Renewal Authority

ACT Government stuffs up social housing

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

ACT Government and Greenery

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

Deafening silence of the ACT Greens

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

Floriade Canberra 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

ACT Government planning mess

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

Ainslie residents and local park rezoning

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

A flawed plan gets the nod

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

Chris Steel works hard to lose 2020 election

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

ACT Government and West Basin

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

Waste Facilities to wreck Fyshwick

ISCCC call to arms!

The Inner South Canberra Community Council has published a “Call To Arms” to highlight what is going on in Fyshwick with developments for major waste-disposal activities.

Continue reading Waste Facilities to wreck Fyshwick

2020 ACT Elections

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

West Basin and ACT Government spin

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

Vote for Greenery

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

Signage wars in Kingston

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

ACT Government land deals

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

More about Geocon, Purdon and Kingston

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

Argyle Housing and the Dickson Land Swap

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

ACT politician almost gets it right

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

ACT Government’s toxic planning

Canberra’s community representatives struggle to find positive things to say about the ACT’s planning directorate. Most have seen too much bad stuff going down.

Continue reading ACT Government’s toxic planning

Complexities of the ACT Murrumbidgee electorate

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

Mistake being polite with ACT Government

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

ACT Greens fail to be green

 

On the last day of April, the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) issued a media release advocating the importance of streetscapes, open spaces and trees.

Continue reading ACT Greens fail to be green

NCA and inequity in decisions

How the horse paddock grab is about inequity

Residents are often taken aback by the culture of disrespect for locals that has become firmly embedded within the ACT’s political and bureaucratic ranks.

Continue reading NCA and inequity in decisions

NCA takes away community horse paddocks

Secretive land swap with ACT Government

Alternative facts are being used to deny the ramifications on a national asset and on the lives of Canberra’s active equestrian communities as the public wakes up to the ACT government’s secret land swap with the NCA.

Continue reading NCA takes away community horse paddocks

ACT Government overdue to go

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

ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

The City Renewal Authority uses spin rather than facts

In November, Juliet Ramsay of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians presented a paper to the Australian ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

Continue reading ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

ACT opposition remains a mystery

What do the ACT Liberals stand for?

It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with Andrew Barr. When he made that statement about Alistair Coe’s comments last week, I thought he was spot on.

Continue reading ACT opposition remains a mystery

ACT Government to trash West Basin

NCA trades North Curtin horse paddocks

It’s not often that the community sector gets stunned completely by an ACT government development announcement.

Continue reading ACT Government to trash West Basin

ACT Government allows urban blocks to be neglected

More rubbish, more neglect, more bureaucracy

In September 2019, when I wrote about the regulatory disaster that was taking place in Paperbark Street in Banks, many people responded with like stories from across Canberra.

Continue reading ACT Government allows urban blocks to be neglected

ACT Government attack on Dickson residents

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

ACT Government messes with Gungahlin

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 allows excessive noise

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

The degradation of Canberra by the ACT Government

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

Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

the tricks of Yvette Berry MP and other ACT politicians

As the ACT’s state of COVID-19 emergency gets tougher, people look to those in authority that they should be able to rely on – those they want to trust.

Continue reading Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

Spoiling the bush capital

The ACT Government ruins a good city!

The Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his Labor/Greens government have made it clear that their view of Canberra’s future is different from that of the city’s residents and those that cherish its place in the world as Australia’s bush capital.

Continue reading Spoiling the bush capital

ACT Government spin about the hospital

The Minister tries again to fool the residents

It’s always good to give credit where credit is due. When people call out political nonsense and ingenuous behaviour, those doing the calling out should be valued and praised.

Continue reading ACT Government spin about the hospital

fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

ACT community betrayed by ACT Greens

Before the 2016 ACT elections the Labor Party indicated that it was to make changes to how planning and development happened.

Continue reading fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

ACT Government makes a mess of the hospital

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

The ACT Government spins about trees again

More spin about trees but nothing changes

When the government slipped through the unique variations to the rules for south-east corner of section 72 Dickson, all the local government members, including Green/Labor member Shane Rattenbury, signed off on this most inappropriate action by the planning minister.

Continue reading The ACT Government spins about trees again

ACT Government burns tax dollars

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

ACT Government hospital mismanagement

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

ACT Government on climate emergency

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

ACT Greens and Trees

ACT Greens throw stones at themselves!

A tree came down earlier this week in Dickson (above).

Looking at the trees nearby, it will not be long before more of these trees meet a similar fate.

Continue reading ACT Greens and Trees

City Renewal Authority fails

Silly signs indicate the failure of this agency

Full marks to someone in Dickson last week who spotted the opportunity to place a discarded City Renewal Authority silly sign up against the wall of a major Dickson shop.

There was a message in this action.

Continue reading City Renewal Authority fails

ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

More questionable behaviour from an ACT Minister

Previously I reported that there remains a looooong list of dubious matters involved with the proposed building of a Common Ground apartment complex on Section 72 Dickson. These date back to the infamous Dickson land swap.

Continue reading ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

ACT Government’s inability to listen

Residents speak but the government interprets

In August 2019, Ben Ponton, the ACT’s chief planner, said: “Your feedback plays a key role through your unique ability to communicate useful observations into issues that may affect your neighbourhood…”

And the reality? 

Continue reading ACT Government’s inability to listen

ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

Berry Bulldozers Dickson Residents again

The year begins with yet another event around Dickson section 72 (Dickson parklands) involving ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry doing her best to upset and alienate the voters within the inner north, just in time for the 2020 elections.

Continue reading ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

The Singapore government of the ’70s, led by Lee Kuan Yew, was hell-bent on building a modern and prosperous city/state. It took a close relative to point out that if he wanted tourists to visit, then he needed to stop bulldozing the old stuff.

Continue reading The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

Parrots and ACT politicians

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

ACT Government and drones

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

Yarralumla does Christmas

Big Red Bows and a Jolly Suburb

Is there a more significant way of celebrating Christmas than with a tree?

Yes, with lots of trees! How about a suburb of trees? This is what the Yarralumla Residents Association is doing for Christmas this year.

Continue reading Yarralumla does Christmas

Canberra and trees

Thinking about trees at Christmas time

It’s Christmas! A time to be jolly.

A Christmas tree is such a positive symbol. No matter how crazy or plain, Christmas trees, like the real ones, bring joy. And we could do with a lot more fun in life.

Continue reading Canberra and trees