Category Archives: planning

Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?

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.

Continue reading Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?

When planning permission is beyond the pale

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.

Continue reading When planning permission is beyond the pale

Urban infill on a human scale

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

It’s been a year, what do we think of this mob?

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?

Move ACT Racing

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

ACT government planning gets personal and stupid

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

The good, the bad and too much ugly!

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!

ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

and now heads south to mess up more suburbs

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.

Continue reading ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

ACT Government planning a lost cause

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

ACT Government misplaced spending priorities

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

National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising

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

ACT Government and planning

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

ACT Government fails on social housing

They think they are progressive – HAH!

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?

Continue reading ACT Government fails on social housing

ACT Government and more fibs

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

Another failure of the ACT Greens

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

ACT Government fails own climate actions

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

ACT planning directorate past its use-by-date

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

ACT Government lacks design leadership

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

Watson community knows about planning

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

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 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 Government Stupidity Halted

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

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

A day out in Braidwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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 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

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

Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess

When the ACT Legislative Assembly voted in October to establish a committee to examine the planning problems that plagued the development of the Molonglo suburbs of Wright and Coombs, it would follow that this signalled that someone may be paying attention to what residents have been saying for the last few years.

At least that is what we should be thinking.

Continue reading Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess

Canberra Brickworks and Doma

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

Making a mess of hospital developments

How political decisions overrule logic and good planning

 

First the good news. The ACT government is committed to adding overdue facilities to the Woden Valley Hospital.

Continue reading Making a mess of hospital developments

ACT planning lacks good governance

This opinion piece only scratches the surface of the enormous problems we have here in Canberra with planning and development. The whole of the planning system has been corrupted by decades of bad management and the development of a culture that has residents as the enemy to be tricked and out manoeuvred. Click here for my piece in City News.

Yvette Berry insults Canberra’s inner north residents

After almost a decade of residents saying very clearly what their preferred options were for a precious community site within Dickson in the inner north of Canberra (Dickson Parklands) , residents have been told that Yvette Berry, Minister for social housing (housing clearances mostly) is to announce that her wonderful deaf government is to build on this community site.  Click here for the opinion piece published in City News.

for another instance of Yvette Berry’s talent – click here – being dismissive about the urgent and long over due needs for sports, community and cultural facilities in Woden.

Yvette Berry does herself no favours in Woden

Yvette Berry as ACT sports minister attended a recent Woden Valley meeting and totally trashed all the ideas that residents put forward for much needed and well-overdue sports, recreation and cultural facilities for Woden – where there are 20 plus towers of apartments about to appear. And as yet – no facilities are being planned for the area. WTF?? Click here for the opinion piece in CityNews.

16 years on, is this Canberra’s worst building mess?

Canberra planning is in a mess. How can a residential site be left as a rubbish tip for 16 years despite people contacting authorities to see if it can be fixed. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.

Mick Gentleman is the ACT planning minister – and is the local Labor member for this suburb. Nothing has happened! Go figure!

Griffin impugned for the West Basin’s awful future

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.

ACT planning’s brutal behaviour goes unchecked – again

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.

It’s not easy being green around Kippax centre

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.

Woden Valley gets ignored

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.

National Capital Authority stupidity on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge

The agency that is supposed to be the steward for the national capital, the National Capital Authority (NCA), does come out with some rubbish at times. In this case it floated the idea of pulling down Commonwealth Ave bridge to build a new bridge for the tram. Luckily the project engineer who worked on the bridge is around t point out how stupid this thought bubble was. Click here for my opinion piece in City News.

Heritage ignored in Reid house approval

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

New ACT Labor Minister goes neoliberal

Chris Steel became an ACT Labor Minister about a year ago. Watching him recently at a Weston Creek Community Council meeting I became aware of how these Labor politicians have so easily accepted the arguments of the classic NeoLiberals. It is all about market forces. Click here for my opinion piece in City News.

The NCA and towers to dominate national capital

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.

time to do something about West Basin

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

 

ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Crunch time looms for Dickson parklands

There’s a long saga at play in Dickson in Canberra. Here’s the latest on this – click here.

and there’s more..

Continue reading ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

A Christian School and trees being removed

No punishment for felling trees on public land

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 ACT Builders and ACT planning directorate

The little guys beaten by a care less bureaucracy

Talk to a builder, a building designer/architect or tradesperson working in Canberra’s construction and soon the conversation turns to the frustrations of having to work through development applications (DAs) with what is seen as the badly managed ACT Government’s planning directorate.   click here for more

 

ACT Government bullies residents, again

Disneyland, like it or lump it in Coombs

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

 

ACT chief planner fails his own test

Chief planner’s quotes come home to haunt him

Two years ago the new ACT chief planner, Ben Ponton, went on the record in the daily paper with a statement about how wonderful he would be. I have used those statements  to assess whether he has met his own key performance indicators (KPIs). He didn’t!

Here’s the piece in City News – click here.

Destroying Australia’s National Capital

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