Developer lobbyists and their government friends do a great job of getting the media to promote a false narrative about the motivations of residents who care for their suburbs.
Developer lobbyists and their government friends do a great job of getting the media to promote a false narrative about the motivations of residents who care for their suburbs.
Media and opinion writers when criticising the government of the day, traditionally keep the focus on the politicians and not their bureaucrats. Then there was Robodebt.
The Illusory Truth Effect is a tactic often used by spin doctors to assist politicians get away with being dishonest.
Many decades ago when talking to a staff member of the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) in their 220 Northbourne office about urban and social matters, I was distracted by the view south from the 9th floor office window.
There’s a relatively new driveway off Angas Street Ainslie on the side of the Ainslie Football Club. It goes nowhere – it serves no known purpose.
There is a common theme to the many well-crafted and informed submissions by residents trying desperately to influence the proposals to change the city’s planning.
There are many comments circulating about the 400 submissions received by the planning directorate on what the community thinks of the ACT Government’s attempt to reform planning.
On Thursday 30th March Jo Clay MLA stood up in the assembly on behalf of the ACT Greens and moved a motion about the chief minister’s planning reforms.
The Braddon Bowling Club story is one of many about how this government and its bureaucracy has corrupted its own governance – how they do stuff badly.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 28th March, Canberra Liberal Peter Cain rose to his feet in the legislative assembly to deliver a brief speech about an aspect of the chief minister’s planning reforms.
Community groups who have studied the Greenslabor planning reform plans and strategies know that the chief minister’s deregulation reforms will devastate the suburban characteristics that attract people to this city.
There is huge gap in values between those of the residents of this city and those of the ACT’s planning authority. Canberra’s community groups have been writing submissions about their aspirations and urban priorities for more than a decade.
The Minister for Canberra Planning has reassured residents that the minister has read the hundreds of submissions that hard working Canberra residents have submitted about the so-called planning reforms.
In 2011 the Dickson Residents Group asked the then planning minister, Andrew Barr, to consider a comprehensive eight-point plan for this inner north precinct.
Unfortunately for the city’s future, the ACT Chief Planner is not known for taking biodiversity seriously. Others do, although their efforts may be a little too polite to make any impact on this Greenslabor government.
Given the latest line-up of Housing ACT development applications for sites in Griffith that were thrown out by the appeals tribunal, the question is who has taken responsibility for these defective proposals for social housing.
When the ACT chief planner was appointed in April 2017, he explained his theoretical approach to planning. In April 2019 I used those statements to set out ten performance indicators and then scored how he was doing.
There has been a load of rubbish spread around about what happens when residents challenge decisions by the ACT Chief Planner.
Given their historical policy positions, the ACT Greenslabor coalition government would have been expected to have had a high priority on social housing and homelessness programs. But then there was the tram.
With the formal consultations now closed on the ACT government’s planning reforms, many in Canberra’s community groups would be wondering about the motivations of the planning bureaucracy.
In the last twelve months, many in community councils have had to spend too much time reading through fairly dense planning reform documents.
While the majority of people in this city indicate their preferences for stand-alone houses and possibly town houses, there are those who wish to retire into apartments and others who because of their economic circumstances have no option than to purchase (for now) whatever unit they can afford. Continue reading Time to rethink tower cramming
Dealing with the complexities of Greenslabor planning reforms has been an unpleasant experience for those reading the badly written documents that were drip-fed to the public last year. There is nothing positive about what is being proposed. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options
It may be a little out of fashion with the ACT Greenslabor ministers, but residents like to be listened to about what happens to their home, their street and their neighbourhood.
When in August last year the ACT Heritage Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, stood aside the members of the ACT Heritage Council, the problems she outlined to justify her actions did not come as a surprise to those in the know about the recent history of this ministerially appointed body.
Things are serious when the senior ACT Government planning bureaucrat uses interviews with selected local media to send a message to local politicians.
In the weeks before Christmas, when people were trying to think positive about life, the universe and everything else, the ACT Government and developers rolled out multiple gifts of development applications and planning reform documents for people to read. These gifts were not fun stuff. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor policy frauds
The ACT Government’s planning reform stuff has been rolling along for a couple of years. Continue reading ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners
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.
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.
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.
Resident’s groups have become reluctant to respond to ABC Canberra’s call for comment on the development decisions such as those for the Ainslie Group (Ainslie Football Club).
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
Back in 2019 during a discussion about the preliminaries for the city’s coming planning reforms, it was suggested to the chief planner that governance needs to be central to any reforms. Continue reading ACT Government fails governance
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.
This was a difficult piece to write for City News.
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.
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
While voters were occupied with the federal election, the ACT Planning Directorate slipped through a variation to Variation 369 – the one that was to deliver greenery to the city’s backyards.
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
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.
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.
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.
In November Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson proposed the ACT Legislative Assembly meet for longer than the allocated 35 days for 2022.
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).
Wandering through Civic, there loomed ahead a shape.
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!
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.
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.
I have written earlier about the goings-on in Manuka over the Lianglis Manuke Cinema development.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several community associations have had presentations about an ACT government initiative titled the “Demonstration Housing Project”.
In the lead up to the October ACT election, trees were an item of interest to anyone wanting to be elected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to the ACT government and planning and development, 2020 was not a year to be celebrated.
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.
It could be said that residents and community groups have been a little foolish.
Canberra used to have an active level of advocacy across the spectrum of arts, social and welfare groups.
This piece is addressed to the ACT Greens & its members