the boys line up in their vests
A case studies of how an elected ACT Government has lost track of reality.
A case studies of how an elected ACT Government has lost track of reality.
Many in the community spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy responding to the flow of developers’ consultations on proposed developments.
The most obvious stuff up about the release of the November 1 media release on the Planning Reforms is that what is being proposed does not recognise that planning and development are the most basic keys that the ACT government should be using to deal with urban climate issues.
Murky and tricky would be the polite words to describe what happened with the ACT Greens’ motion in the Legislative Assembly to phase out funding for the Canberra Racing Club – $41 million over five years. Continue reading ACT Greens and ACT Racing
Unsettling thoughts should not enter your head when you are admiring a beautiful garden. This happened recently.
Inner north Canberra community members have been swamped with major development proposals that, according to the planning directorate, need to be commented on in a very short timeframe. The Bureau of Meteorology could not have forecast this inundation of paperwork.
When looking at the use of public money, I want to focus on two ACT Auditor-General reports one year apart.
Rebecca Vassarotti, the ACT Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, announced in late August that state and territory ministers had agreed to a national mandatory seven-star rating for new residential buildings, starting next October.
The term “neighbourhood character” was used in official planning documents and this measure was treated seriously when parts of established suburbs were up for redevelopment. Continue reading Caring for Neighbourhood Character
When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks
With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?
The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.
Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?
Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.
Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents
The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer
There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.
The ACT’s government planning system is under review with the first badly organised and inadequate consultation stage completed in mid-June.
There’s a residential development at 18 Darke Street, Torrens, that is beyond belief. This is happening because the city’s planning system is broken and totally corrupted.
More than a decade ago the ACT Greens had priority on issues such as climate, the environment, and equity. How things have changed.
This was a difficult piece to write for City News.
The ACT’s planning directorate is a rogue bureaucracy doing the bidding of anyone but the residents of Canberra. Few residents would be confident that the directorate has the expertise to do anything except to continuously mess stuff up.
People were shocked to hear the realities of the behaviour of the ACT government as set out clearly by two speakers at the June meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council.
The ACT’s “Greenslabor” government has provided multiple opportunities this year for the Canberra Liberals to step up and demonstrate that maybe in 2024 they could be ready to form government if the voters were to be convinced.
Just when the Housing ACT relocation (eviction) program was looking mean and nasty, the ministers involved, Yvette Berry and Rebecca Vassarotti, upped the ante by introducing something even more dodgy to make lives difficult for some of the Housing ACT tenants.
Folks, we have a problem – this time not with the ACT government and its planning directorate but with the National Capital Authority.
There are discussions within the community sector puzzling over the motives of the ACT government’s politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to their managing planning, development and housing. Continue reading The cruelty of ACT Government politicians
Towards the end of the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s forum last month, a question was asked about whether the chief planner could override decisions on urban trees. Continue reading Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees
Last Tuesday 9th May, the inner south community met to hear presentations on the ACT Government’s efforts at planning reform.
In mid-March the ACT’s government’s planning reform process moved to another stage of being something that might happen – one day. Continue reading ACT Planning reform – A sad joke!
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.
There are architecture tours of the city of Chicago conducted (when it is not frozen over in winter) to admire the wonders of design incorporated into the city towers. It would be doubtful that there would ever be architecture tours of Woden’s town-centre towers. Continue reading Woden town cramming continues
In the early 1980s, the environmental movements fought to protect significant Tasmanian river systems and world heritage sites.
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.
During a recent Inner South Canberra Community Council meeting, a topic mentioned by several speakers was one of the fundamental problems with the ACT planning system.
When a government exercises significant influence over media outlets, propaganda and alternative facts easily become the message that people hear.
Throughout history, the growth in government propaganda is linked to increasing authoritarianism. The more they lie, the more they concoct alternative facts to justify dubious actions and to distract from real intentions.
When it comes to infrastructure and planning issues, the Woden Valley Community Council continues to have difficulties having real discussions with this ACT Labor/Greens government.
Several conversations of late have centered on the question – what has happened to the much-touted Draft Variation 369?
The ACT planning system is opaque and inaccessible.
The ACT government’s proposal to “Raise London Circuit” for the tram was submitted for approval to the National Capital Authority (NCA) in October.
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.
When Marion Mahony Griffin provided those glorious drawings for the submission to design Canberra, she included a distant view of the mountains.
The trees along Bradfield Street, Downer, have been the subject of debates in Downer for at least a decade.
The majority of candidates going to ACT elections talk about how they will be progressive on issues that matter. But once elected, the reality is something else.
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.
In November Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson proposed the ACT Legislative Assembly meet for longer than the allocated 35 days for 2022.
Welcome to 2022. While there are many things not yet addressed in planning and development by the elder Andrew Barr and his government, there are some tangible programs to do with biodiversity that are waiting to happen.
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.
One constant theme of residents is the ad hoc planning regimes that enable knock-down rebuilds in established suburbs resulting in a loss of trees, greenery and biodiversity.
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.
Last week ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman announced the approval for the draft variation for the first of the “Demonstration House” projects.
About a month ago community organisations floated the idea that the ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, should be replaced. What a great idea!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?”
The ACT political parties have had enough time since the October, 2020, elections for voters to see what they are about.
A lot has been said about the folly of the ACT government’s Demonstration Housing Projects. The bureaucratic spin has been frequent and blatant.
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.
The ACT’s Labor/Greens coalition government is well practised at not addressing planning issues.
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.
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.
Two ACT government statements surfaced recently relating to planning issues in different parts of the city.
With the pandemic not going away any time soon, many community groups have utilised technologies to have online meetings – a good thing on wintry nights.
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
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.
The ACT Government’s planning directorate has an impenetrable structure that reminds me of the “Star Wars” concept – the Borg Hive – called The Collective.
When government bureaucrats present at community meetings, their spin and prepared lines do not go down well.
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.
In the lead up to the October ACT election, trees were an item of interest to anyone wanting to be elected.
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.
While the October ACT election returned a new version of the Labor/Greens coalition, this result was not because it was respected.
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.
With the ACT Labor/Greens coalition in place until October 2024, it’s a good time to start reporting on how it’s performing.
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.
It could be said that residents and community groups have been a little foolish.