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
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
Reason to go for a wander
This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members
Continue reading West Basin and City Renewal Authority
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
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
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
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
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
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?
A couple 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The suburb where common sense took 32 years!
The Yarralumla Residents Association (YRA) is 32 years old.
The association was formed because of the first proposals to redevelop the Brickworks site on the western edge of the suburb.
Continue reading Canberra Brickworks and Doma
Next year on October 17, the date for the ACT government election, voters must choose a government for the following four years.
Given the views about current ACT politicians, the thought of being compelled to vote is a real dilemma. The leadership chair that trusted politicians should occupy is empty. Yet by this time next year, voters need to put someone in that empty chair.
Continue reading voting for the empty chair in 2020
When confronted with the latest complex goings-on with the proposal for a huge apartment development alongside the Old Bus Depot Markets that will include the Kingston Arts Precinct, the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) did a very sensible thing.
Continue reading Kingston Arts Precinct or more apartments
Bureaucracies can be so out of touch with reality. Not for the first time there are serious questions around decisions being made about the fate of trees in the suburbs of Canberra.
The catalyst for this piece starts with a sad story in Holder where a resident is being driven crazy by decisions about the obvious need to remove an inappropriate tree next to his house.
Continue reading more on Canberra and trees
Here’s a tale of the use of alternative facts by both the government and a couple of its supporters.
Continue reading West Basin alternative facts
Good journalism is welcomed and embraced. Journalism that is written to promote bad decisions by government must be called out. Here’s an example of the latter. The author, Tom Greenwell, starts well by making some points about Walter Burley Griffin’s planning for Canberra. But then he commits the crime of using Griffin’s name and visions to justify some outrageous developments being planned by the ACT Government (Urban Renewal Authority again!) that will destroy a wonderful part of the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Click here for the article in City News.
and for more about West Basin alternative facts – click here; includes letters from Richard Johnstone of kingston – a supporter of West Basin developments.
And for more on the arguments against what Tom Greenwell has written – click here for a very well informed piece by Penny Moyes, one of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians.
Before the 2016 ACT Elections, the chief minister promised that there would be a panel formed to bring about master planning for the precinct around the Manuka Oval. That panel was to meet by the end of 2016. Did not happen! Instead there have been games, spin and alternative facts. The most recent insult being a meeting called that pretended to be about Manuka planning – but was simply a waste of people’s time. Another broken commitment by the ACT Chief Minster. Another insult to the intelligence of residents by Andrew Barr and his planning barbarians. click here for the opinion piece in City News.
The suburb of Reid in Canberra is one of the oldest and residents accept that there are heritage values to be considered for most of the suburb. When a house was demolished and plans were approved by the ACT Government that paid token attention to these heritage values – residents were not happy. To make matters worse the ACT Heritage Council approved the development application. What were they thinking! Click here for my opinion piece on this in the City News.
Continue reading Heritage ignored in Reid house approval
Some stories about planning in Canberra are simply unbelievable. This is one of those and involves the National Capital Authority not doing its job.
Click here for my piece online in City News.
How sad! Yet another glossy ACT Government planning document that is a waste of time and effort – click here for my piece on this CRAPP in City News
a call to all ACT politicians to do something
There’s misleading information being used to justify apartment developments on West Basin. It is overdue for all our local politicians to get involved. more on this from my opinion piece in City News – click here.
and for a later article on this — click here
Celebrity tree becomes an icon in the fight for trees
A large plane tree, wedged between buildings on the cinema site in Manuka, has almost achieved celebrity status. click here for the story in City News
NCA quietly approves tower shock on Northbourne
There are serious problems with the National Capital Authority (NCA) that could be addressed by the soon-to-be-elected ACT Federal politicians. I have outlined the background to the issues in a piece in City News – click here
Warning! neoliberal labor at its worst
I wrote a piece about the barbarians now running the ACT’s government – click here for the piece in CityNews.
With the Christmas release of the draft City and Gateway Urban Design Framework, the ACT Government’s City Renewal Authority undertook media advocacy during February for an apartment suburb on West Basin. The ACT Government continues with its proposal for West Basin against the opposition of the Canberra community – click here.
This a sad tale of people sitting on the fence while part of the heritage of the suburb of Downer is to be removed. Click here.
The dire state of heritage in Canberra
I have a new piece on City News that goes part of the way to addressing the sad state of heritage under this ACT Government.
Continue reading Heritage? What’s That?
Update from Jane Goffman
Here’s Jane’s January 31 2018 update on goings on with planning and developments around Dickson:
A tour of the good and not-so-good
Have you taken a stroll around the Parliamentary Triangle recently?
Continue reading Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra
Two things to consider: One is that heritage is about to be celebrated here in Canberra with a festival from 18 April till 7 May 2017.
Continue reading Heritage yes – but some stuff should go
There’s a call by the ACT Government for residents to go online and to offer thoughts on the future of Haig Park.
Continue reading Haig Park masterplan
National Trust of Australia (ACT) hosted a public Heritage Election Forum at St John’s church hall in Reid last Thursday night 22 September.
Continue reading ACT Heritage Forum – rating the candidates
The ACT Government has commenced a period of consultations for the development of a five-year heritage strategy (see links below this post).
Continue reading The fog around Heritage Strategy
Barangaroo Reserve, opened to the public in August 2015. It was immediately greeted with much enthusiasm and was declared a success.
Continue reading Barangaroo
The High Court of Australia, which opened in 1980, is the tallest building on the southern central foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Its architectural style, being brutalist concrete and glass, is not exactly friendly.
Continue reading How high for the High Court?
Braddon’s historic car yards in danger
There are reports circulating that the future of an important aspect of Braddon’s heritage is in danger of being lost.
Continue reading Canberra Heritage
Report: The Built Environment
In January 2013 Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, commissioned Sir Terry Farrell to undertake a national review of architecture and the built environment. The report is now available online.
Terry Farrell undertook this Review independently with his team at Farrells and advised by a panel of 11 industry leaders with a breadth of experience that covers education, outreach, urbanism, architecture, property and philosophy.
Continue reading UK Farrell Review