Housing clearances in Canberra in 2022
It is beyond belief that in the 21st century a self-nominated progressive Labor/Greens coalition government sanctioned the eviction of its own social housing tenants.
It is beyond belief that in the 21st century a self-nominated progressive Labor/Greens coalition government sanctioned the eviction of its own social housing tenants.
In the early 1980s, the environmental movements fought to protect significant Tasmanian river systems and world heritage sites.
Last week, the ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, announced her draft action plan about the loss of mature trees.
Once ACT Greens and Labor politicians become very important ministers in the ACT government, their contact with real people diminishes.
Continue reading ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents
Attached is a must read document: Analysis of the ACT Light Rail Stage 2 project.
ACT voters are about to select three lower house and two Senate politicians to represent this territory’s interests nationally.
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.
The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has reluctantly entered his older years. He has cleverly handed the more in-your-face, complex portfolios to his Labor colleagues, a couple of whom obviously aspire to occupy the chief minister’s chair as soon as he looks to make an exit.
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.
I recently sat on the pictured bench and pondered the shrubbery and trees planted in several clumps on a mound in a Downer park.
Several conversations of late have centered on the question – what has happened to the much-touted Draft Variation 369?
Continue reading ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action
The ACT planning system is opaque and inaccessible.
Continue reading Developers sidestep Gentleman’s planning fix
Houses of heritage value often cause problems for ACT Heritage Ministers and their planning chiefs.
Continue reading Fate of Forrest heritage house remains mystery
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.
Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra
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.
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.
In November Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson proposed the ACT Legislative Assembly meet for longer than the allocated 35 days for 2022.
Continue reading ACT Government too busy for community issues
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).
Continue reading Inner South Canberra District Planning Strategy
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.
This year’s planning reform announcement was accompanied by the usual spin (sorry, media release) and another misleading online document (sorry, progress report).
Continue reading Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms
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.
Continue reading innovative architecture versus boringly normal
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.
Recently, the North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) chair tried a creative way of engaging with local politicians. It worked.
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.
Continue reading Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?
When the ACT government announced on September 25 an allocation of $14 million to plant 54,000 trees across Canberra, clearly it was designed to give the impression that the government took trees and biodiversity seriously.
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
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?”
On May 12, I finished a column on the shocking state of Woden developments with this statement: “This government’s expertise in town cramming is worthy of an award.
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?
The news that the ACT government had taken over the O’Connor Tourist Park, with its 130 cabins, as a quarantine centre seemed to be accepted as simply another good idea done well.
Continue reading Is Andrew Barr capable of changing his leadership style?
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.
Continue reading ACT government planning gets personal and stupid
Another mid-century home, designed by an honoured designer, gone!
With the Planning Directorate having lost the debate and all credibility about reforming ACT’s planning systems, its communications sections have been seeding articles to both distract from the real issues or to shift the debate on to safer topics.
The ACT’s Labor/Greens coalition government is well practised at not addressing planning issues.
Continue reading ACT Planning Directorate not fit for purpose
When it comes to the future travel for southside residents coming north across the lake, things are looking grim thanks to the tram follies about to be played out by the ACT government.
I have written earlier about the goings-on in Manuka over the Lianglis Manuke Cinema development.
When “Seven Days” columnist Ian Meikle remarked in “CityNews” on July 19 that the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality is seeking submissions to its inquiry into memorialisation through public commemoration, it did raise an issue or two.
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?
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
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.
Continue reading National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising
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
It is a conversation I now have repeatedly. I have it with community group members, with people at Tilley’s, at the supermarket, while meandering through Dickson or other centres, and when wandering around galleries.
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 danger to Australia’s civil society is the current Australian Prime Minister.
This blog article based on personal experiences reinforces that. click here.
With Canberra being a “city in a landscape”, why does the ACT government not understand the value of landscape and open spaces?
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.
For the ACT’s Labor/Greens coalition politicians, planning is not something they worry about much despite it being something of major concern to residents.
With the 2021 Australian budget announced last night, the sad part is the way most in the media accept the spin.
Last week the National Capital Authority announced its long-awaited Tree Management Policy.
The humbug around the spin on taking actions on climate happens internationally, nationally and locally. Continue reading Climate Change humbug
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
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.
Along with the wish the government would look after the city’s landscapes, its greenery and its open spaces, a common frustration is that the government does not understand design and does little to encourage good architecture.
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.
Think back to 2015 when Chief Minister Andrew Barr had to back down on a mess of land dealings locally known as the Manuka Land Swap.
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.
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.
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.
When governments don’t want to do much about something that requires actions, they hold inquiries, set up “Have Your Say” websites, present loads of useless stuff to public gatherings, talk a lot as if they are doing something and produce draft strategies.
While the October ACT election returned a new version of the Labor/Greens coalition, this result was not because it was respected.
Book Review: Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul
Elizabeth Farrelly’s new book “Killing Sydney: The Fight For a City’s Soul” is a must-read for anyone with an interest in their local planning issues.
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.
A couple of days before Christmas, a call came through from the Coles project manager to the Dickson Residents Group convenor that the new supermarket complex was to go ahead in May/June 2021.
People try hard to have faith in the federal government and its processes. When it comes to important matters, such as heritage, how can we expect the federal government to behave?
Canberra residents care for their homes, their streets, their suburbs and wish that the urban environments and facilities were maintained and enhanced for future generations.
There’s a new level of frustration within Canberra’s community groups with how the ACT government conducts itself on planning and development.
The boards of the City Renewal Authority, the National Capital Authority and the Suburban Land Agency have little connection to the everyday life of residents.
Two weeks into 2021 and thoughts go back to early last year when the pandemic struck and Canberra went into lockdown – not as tough as the later Victoria episode, but it was an experience that possibly changed some habits.
When it comes to the ACT government and planning and development, 2020 was not a year to be celebrated.
When community groups bring residents together to collectively do something for their suburb, good things happen.