Folks, we have a problem – this time not with the ACT government and its planning directorate but with the National Capital Authority.
Folks, we have a problem – this time not with the ACT government and its planning directorate but with the National Capital Authority.
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.
Once ACT Greens and Labor politicians become very important ministers in the ACT government, their contact with real people diminishes.
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.
When a government exercises significant influence over media outlets, propaganda and alternative facts easily become the message that people hear.
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.
The trees along Bradfield Street, Downer, have been the subject of debates in Downer for at least a decade.
There are many open spaces in Canberra that could be doing far more for biodiversity.
This tale points to how bad planning has been corrupted by the ACT Labour Greens coalition government.
The National Capital Authority (NCA) finished 2021 on a low note. Not that would surprise those who have recently dealt with the NCA.
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).
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.
Wandering through Civic, there loomed ahead a shape.
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.
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.
There are three major development issues within Canberra’s inner north that are going to make things interesting in 2022.
A good strategic or corporate plan outlines what is being done and proves timelines.
This was to be the year the ACT government was to deliver the much-vaunted reforms to make planning simpler and more accessible.
About a month ago community organisations floated the idea that the ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, should be replaced. What a great idea!
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?”
A lot has been said about the folly of the ACT government’s Demonstration Housing Projects. The bureaucratic spin has been frequent and blatant.
Two ACT government statements surfaced recently relating to planning issues in different parts of the city.
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?
When the government planners used to plan, community facilities were put in place along with town centres.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
When the Watson Community Association (WCA) puts forward the community’s views about a proposed development, it does a really thorough job.
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.
While the October ACT election returned a new version of the Labor/Greens coalition, this result was not because it was respected.
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.
When community groups bring residents together to collectively do something for their suburb, good things happen.
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.
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.
The last couple of years has been bad news for parks in Canberra.
Attention to a significant piece of national land is being overlooked among the misinformation used to justify the demolition of West Basin.
Sometime during the last election, a candidate said something about revising the public sculpture program initiated by Jon Stanhope when he was chief minister.
This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members
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.
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.
Canberra’s community groups spend a lot of time assessing complex development applications.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.
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?
It’s not often that the community sector gets stunned completely by an ACT government development announcement.
As the COVID-19 crisis took hold and people bunkered down, residents hoped for less stupid things by the ACT Planning Directorate.
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?
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.
Before the 2016 ACT elections the Labor Party indicated that it was to make changes to how planning and development happened.
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.
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.
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.
Into the inner-north letterboxes has appeared a pamphlet from one of our local members, the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury. There will be more from others given the October 2020 ACT elections.
The problem with the Greens’ pamphlet was the spin. The heading read “Putting our climate first”.
Here’s a tale of the use of alternative facts by both the government and a couple of its supporters.
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.
When developers eye off ACT Government green spaces – the trend in Canberra is that those developers get to buy that land and the people lose yet another piece of precious community open space. This is happening with land behind the Kippax shops in west Belconnen in Canberra.The local Labor member is Yvette Berry and she loves to show up with a shovel to be photographed when community land and green spaces are being removed from the public ownership. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.
Two stories about a meeting at the Woden Community Council meeting in late July. The first is about an ACT Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, addressing the audience and apparently not having an understanding of the depth of anger about the lack of facilities in this centre – despite the enormous growth in apartments. The second involved the ACT Government’s planning bureaucracy’s mishandling of a small green space within the suburb of O’Malley. Both performances were astonishingly terrible – sort of funny if it was not about people’s lives. Click here for the opinion piece 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
The Watson Community Association recently conducted consultations to produce the community’s own visionary plan for their suburb. Click here for the piece in City News
The bush capital is under threat from the ACT Government – it’s about trees
There’s a long saga at play in Dickson in Canberra. Here’s the latest on this – click here.
and there’s more..
a story of a Christian School corporation, their use of public lands and significant trees being removed. Here’s a link to my opinion piece in City News.
The Greens/Labor coalition ACT government is infamous for its cabal of ministers who are making a mess of Canberra’s planning and development. What is happening in the Woden Centre demonstrates this. click here
Imagine this. You have bought a home and paid extra for views of the hills and to be opposite a quiet park alongside a pond with bird life and other animals. Trouble is the ACT Government then wrecks the place.. click here
You can tell when residents are hitting the government where it hurts – when the press coverage from the government turns to spin – and more spin. There is no doubt that this is a response to the successes the pesky residents of Downer have had in getting attention through their brilliant “Don’t Dump on Downer” grassroots campaign. Click here.
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.
It is annoying to constantly experience the culture within this ACT government that delivers a daily onslaught of spin. Who writes this stuff? Don’t they realise how hollow they sound? What do they think this nonsense achieves? click here for my piece on this
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 ACT’s muddle-headed bureaucrats keep coming up with planning brochures laden down with alternate facts and marketing spin. Ministers then blindly sign letters to residents based on the bureaucrats’ gobbledygook and then wonder why people get upset. I wrote about what is happening in Downer in City News.
No surprise here! The ACT Government often plays with the truth.
Here’s my piece in City News on this.
Social housing in Canberra as overseen by the ACT Government is not something seen as being well done. Here in Canberra’s inner north residents are involved in a long running battle to save some precious community land being rezoned for residential use – with social housing being used as the Trojan Horse. Here’s my piece in City News
The ACT Government has a bad reputation in its dealings with residents and their concerns for the future of Canberra.
I have written about this topic in City News – here’s my piece – click here.
When your government plays dirty and is not transparent – things get really tough for the local residents.
Surprising things can happen when you are involved in advocacy with the ACT Government on urban environment issues.
Sad story from Manchester. Lesson? – watch out for the spin when developments are announced. click here
Local politicians, like our federal friends, love to take a key social issue and link it to another in order to wedge the residents.
There’s a call by the ACT Government for residents to go online and to offer thoughts on the future of Haig Park.
The Canberra City Bowling Club site in Braddon has now been the subject of articles across several blogs.
This is a tale of an entrepreneur, a tree and a possible (lost?) good planning opportunity.
Response – Revised Development Application 201425744