At the end of June, I took time out from writing about local urban political matters.
I was worried that maybe there was a detrimental effect on my way of thinking from focusing almost daily on the atrocious behaviour of this ACT Greenslabor government, its well-trained bureaucracy and compliant support of social and community associations.
Canberra matters have occupied a significant part of my life for over a decade. It was time for a rethink and to return to creative and more pleasant matters. It was time to consider where we would like to spend the next decade as well to be closer to family in Melbourne.
In early August we agreed that there was much to be gained from living in the outer suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne. We have decided to move to Melbourne as soon as possible.
We are now putting energy into decluttering and vacating our home. In theory this could be done before Christmas. This may be overly optimistic – but we are exhausting ourselves giving it a go.
This dramatic decision has come as a bit of a shock to both of us let alone to people close to us.
Several months ago, such a drastic change of life was not a reality for the two of us given our comfortable home and beautiful gardens here in middle Dickson.
Our focus now is to make our house ready for a sale, to move into a Melbourne rental and to be monitoring the market to buy a smaller house in a suburb we have been researching. It must be within walking distance of the suburban railway.
It has occurred to us that for a generation that lived reasonably well for decades, we have not exactly set up easily accessible processes and assistance to see people retire, downsize and move house. As a society, our generation forgot to set up people-friendly systems to make this huge change easy for our own generation. There are no handbooks on this.
The home and the urban areas we will leave behind are a product of wise heads of former urban, social and town planners and designers who created these wonderful established areas of this city.
These visionaries knew that this was a city not like others and they built an urban, social and community infrastructure that others could only envy. The ship of fools that is now the ACT government and its pretend planners have missed the point about the fundamentals that formed the thinking behind this city’s creation.
Thanks to those former urban thinkers, the home we will leave behind for someone else remains well connected and ideally a great place to live. It is a pleasant walk to two shopping centres, chemists, a library, optometrists, doctors, dentists, hairdresser, bakeries, butchers, cafes and restaurants, several schools, green spaces, fabulous trees and the Dickson wetlands. Having written that list, why are we leaving! Someone taking away a load of ex-furniture asked that same question.
Logically, it makes sense to stay put and enjoy our surroundings and to carry on having coffee and catch-ups at our favourite cafes. Having lived here for decades we have largely embraced the changes and infills that are now a constant fact of life in a maturing city.
But the Canberra I know and have loved for many decades is now under the influence of self-interested financial forces that have found willing allies and puppets in both Andrew Barr’s neo-liberal Labor-light party and Shane Rattenbury’s greenwash keep-me-in-a-job collective.
I am leaving this city on a high. It still has an urban character that is envied internationally and is fantastic. A special thanks therefore goes out to the city’s former designers and planners.
If only their replacements had just a little of the former’s intelligence and humanity and did not denigrate residents who seek good design, biodiversity, greenery and climate readiness as key elements for developments in established and in the new suburbs.
Now it is back to working out what to do next, what stays, what goes and sleepless nights trying to predict what happens next.
Then there is the worry that maybe we have been too optimistic and the departure for Melbourne may be delayed till early next year.