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ACT Planning bill creating headaches for heritage

By 21 April 2014 8

The ACT government has come under fire over feedback time on fast-track planning legislation.

The bill would allow the government to bypass normal planning laws (including the Heritage and Tree Protection Acts) by declaring special precincts and significant projects. The Fast Track projects would include the proposed rail line between Gungahlin and the City, with a ‘special precinct’ expected along the corridor. This would prevent any heritage nominations over buildings in this stretch of development, including Northbourne Avenue

The fast-track bill has been referred to the ACT Assembly’s planning committee for inquiry this month. However ,the inquiry must report back on May 6, with one day for public hearings on April 24.

The National Trust has written to the Chief Minister urging more time, given the importance of the matter.

Much of the debate will form around the heritage value of public housing along Northbourne Avenue. Northbourne Flats and the Northbourne Housing Precinct has been listed by the Australian Institute of Architects as examples of significant 20th century architecture.

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8 Responses to
ACT Planning bill creating headaches for heritage
bd84 9:57 pm
21 Apr 14
#1

I can see the benefit in the bill to an extent. Either way, the public housing along Northbourne avenue should be bulldozed as a priority. It has no value to the community both to the tenants or for “heritage”. Some things may be a good example of the architecture of the time, but when it’s an eyesore, run down and no possible way of maintaining it to an acceptable standard (e.g. it was a mistake to build it in the first place). Take some pictures of it before bulldozing it.

Sandman 10:42 pm
21 Apr 14
#2

There’s nothing “heritage” about any buildings on Northbourne. It’s outdated, basic budget housing.

The bill sounds like a good idea to me.

banco 1:56 am
22 Apr 14
#3

Agree that anything that allows them to raze the public housing on Northbourne expeditiously is a good thing. Canberra probably only has about a dozen buildings that are worth preserving as “heritage” in any case.

miz 7:23 am
22 Apr 14
#4

Pesonally it’s about precedent and whether the ACT Govt should generally have the power to do this.What if they suddenly decided a ‘really important’ project was to be built near you? Would you like to reserve the right to appeal? We do live in a democracy (so far) though IMO Mr Corbell is exhibiting strong ‘dear leader’ tendencies through this proposed change.

housebound 8:32 am
22 Apr 14
#5

It’s more than just a few blocks of flats. Have around. Treasure what you see. Once this bill becomes law, nothing will be safe. No protection for anything that stands in the way of dollars or a politcian’s grand vision.

The focus on Northbourne Flats is just a distraction aimed at allowing the deluded to think “it won’t happen to me”.

The only question is who will support this in the Assembly: Liberals? Greens? I don’t really place much hope in either on this one

HiddenDragon 12:20 pm
22 Apr 14
#6

housebound said :

It’s more than just a few blocks of flats. Have around. Treasure what you see. Once this bill becomes law, nothing will be safe. No protection for anything that stands in the way of dollars or a politcian’s grand vision.

The focus on Northbourne Flats is just a distraction aimed at allowing the deluded to think “it won’t happen to me”.

The only question is who will support this in the Assembly: Liberals? Greens? I don’t really place much hope in either on this one

I understand the sentiment, but if (and I emphasise “if”) the consequence of this legislation will simply be to curtail, or do away with, current provisions which make little difference, in practice, to planning outcomes it may actually be a good thing because people affected by such decisions will spend less time, money and emotional energy fighting losing battles, and there will be a sharper focus on the role of the Planning Minister and his accountability to the public.

On the particular question of the Tree Protection Act, all that I have seen and heard suggests that, as much as anything, it is viewed and utilised as an instrument by those seeking to stop, constrain or complicate redevelopments and major renovations. As such, it provides the occasional win or concession, but generally holds out false hope to the opponents of change and, of course, is quite random in its effect (given that it only applies to trees which meet arbitrary size criteria and does not protect out-of-favour species).

gospeedygo 1:48 pm
22 Apr 14
#7

bd84 said :

I can see the benefit in the bill to an extent. Either way, the public housing along Northbourne avenue should be bulldozed as a priority. It has no value to the community both to the tenants or for “heritage”. Some things may be a good example of the architecture of the time, but when it’s an eyesore, run down and no possible way of maintaining it to an acceptable standard (e.g. it was a mistake to build it in the first place). Take some pictures of it before bulldozing it.

Just wait and see the sterile white duplo blocks they put in place and ask yourself if this is the kind of world you’d care to live in.

housebound 2:18 pm
22 Apr 14
#8

HiddenDragon said :

housebound said :

It’s more than just a few blocks of flats. Have a look around. Treasure what you see. Once this bill becomes law, nothing will be safe. No protection for anything that stands in the way of dollars or a politcian’s grand vision.

The focus on Northbourne Flats is just a distraction aimed at allowing the deluded to think “it won’t happen to me”.

The only question is who will support this in the Assembly: Liberals? Greens? I don’t really place much hope in either on this one

I understand the sentiment, but if (and I emphasise “if”) the consequence of this legislation will simply be to curtail, or do away with, current provisions which make little difference, in practice, to planning outcomes it may actually be a good thing because people affected by such decisions will spend less time, money and emotional energy fighting losing battles, and there will be a sharper focus on the role of the Planning Minister and his accountability to the public.

On the particular question of the Tree Protection Act, all that I have seen and heard suggests that, as much as anything, it is viewed and utilised as an instrument by those seeking to stop, constrain or complicate redevelopments and major renovations. As such, it provides the occasional win or concession, but generally holds out false hope to the opponents of change and, of course, is quite random in its effect (given that it only applies to trees which meet arbitrary size criteria and does not protect out-of-favour species).

I’ve seen the Tree Protection Act used for good and for evil.

If I were king, I would just allow people to remove trees that they had planted in their yards. Why not? I would also give people more rights to remove a nuisance tree (you know, the widow makers and drain blockers) with something more appropriate to living in a residential area. But overrride their own Act just for convenience?

The bill appears to have no practical limits: they will be able to, and they will, do whatever they want. Look past the Northbourne Flats to other things you might value. If they’re not Stanhopian in scope (or Corbellian or Rattian), then say goodbye before it’s too late.

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