Making money from the the Causeway homes

ACT Government East Lake Place Plan is a farce

The ACT Greenslabor government has perfected its expertise to distract people from what they are really up to when they release one of their contentious planning documents.

This they did very well at the end of March with the release of their East Lake Place Plan.

What most people heard was that the redevelopment was about vibrant and exciting upgrades to the railway station, the landfill areas being converted for recreation and an innovation business hub on Mildura Street (near the markets). This announcement was followed up with comments from the usuals about how excited they were about this initiative. That’s the work of the government media section doing their thing.

In among the self-praise was the killer from Mick Gentleman. He wants to urgently convert the Causeway social housing into a mixed-use precinct that should include more housing options. Think the rest of Kingston foreshore, being up to eight stories of apartments, and you get the picture.

This East Lake Place Plan announcement is about money. This is about selling off the Causeway homes and to generate more contributions to the tram. There are also the profits to be made by developers with more apartment towers for those lucky enough to afford them. And everyone will be happy – except those who thought that the Causeway was their home and their place.

As for the other stuff around the railway and the transport hub, no much will happen there until there are profits for developers. Meanwhile the 41 Causeway households need to get serious as the signs are that this clearance may happen soon. This despite more than a decade of on and off consultations about how the residents will be looked after. In 2009 the ACT Greens stated that the community should be kept together – in the Causeway.

That commitment will join Yvette Berry’s commitment to keeping social housing along Northbourne. The government has a policy on estate developments to include 15% social housing. Within the inner north and inner south, that commitment lasted until the developers submitted that this requirement for social housing threatened their profits. Bingo! No social housing returned to those major sites. It is about money – not respect for residents.

At the April Inner South Canberra Community Council meeting there was a commitment from Rebecca Vassarotti and Rachel Stephen-Smith for housing priority. Translate that vague commitment to be that the residents will be moved out and will be housed in units (not houses) somewhere in Woden or maybe as far away as Weston Creek.

The government succeeded in breaking up communities along Northbourne and across the inner south. It will be easy for them to scatter the 41 Causeway households. That’s how Yvette Berry and Rebecca Vassarotti earn their money. By talking in spin and not upsetting the chief minister’s plans to sell off and transfer housing monies over to the tram.

The Causeway residents have done a great job of working with the consultations, whenever they happen. The last contact being in August 2021. The 2023 Place Plan has unsettled residents. The warnings have been there with maintenance now at a minimum. Why look after homes when you know the bulldozers have already been booked?

There’s huge support for the Causeway residents especially among the inner south residents. Meanwhile, stand by for more gaslighting and statements to justify this harsh treatment of the Causeway residents. The Housing ACT clearance machine will justify their actions through their communications section who get articles placed in the media to divert from what they are really up to.

As the residents are saying to anyone who will listen, why not just build around them and leave the community in place. That would be too easy and too humane for this Greenslabor government. The other unknown is what fate awaits the heritage listed Causeway Hall. Given the chief minister’s dubious attitude towards heritage, anything is possible. Are there any politicians prepared to stand with the Causeway residents on these issues?

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