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LDA Consultation Process Lacks Integrity

By 16 July 2014 13

The Yarralumla Residents Association does not share David Dawes’ definition of community engagement as noted by him in the Canberra Times on July 14 (Letters ‘Engaging the Public’). Genuine community engagement involves regular dialogue rather than three years of silence between consultations.

Genuine consultation means responding to community concerns. The community expressed concern in 2010 about the density of the proposed Canberra Brickworks and environs development. The LDA responded by increasing density from 1100 to 1600 dwellings, and increasing maximum building height from 4 to 8 storeys. It provided a short period to comment on a massive development that will double Yarralumla’s population, and affect all Canberrans using Cotter Road, Yarra Glen and Adelaide Avenue.

Genuine consultation also means providing the community with the information needed to make informed comment. Instead, the full Canberra Brickworks and Environs Planning and Development Strategy was not made public until part way through the consultation period. Our Association had to seek consultants’ reports through Freedom of Information.

Sadly, the current proposal ignores most community concerns raised previously. In our view, it does not meet many of the LDA’s own stated objectives and claims for the development. No wonder community members such as Paul Ratcliffe are highlighting the failures in the community consultation process. The consultation process thus far lacks integrity.

The Yarralumla Residents Association would like to work productively with the ACT Government, through a genuinely consultative process, to achieve an outcome of which Yarralumla residents and all Canberrans can be proud.

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13 Responses to
LDA Consultation Process Lacks Integrity
DeadlySchnauzer 10:55 am
16 Jul 14
#1

I have a question here that has been dogging me. There was a very similar large scale suburban re-development approved recently: http://www.lda.act.gov.au/en/campbell5

That seemed to be way more positively received and was quickly approved with full community consultation. I don’t re-call reading anywhere near the level of vitriol that has come forth regarding the brickworks re-development. And on top of that Campbell5 seems to involve putting high rise right next to suburban houses… something that the brickworks development does not do due to its out of the way location.

Is there some difference here I am missing between the two cases, or is it just that in one case there happen to be more extreme NIMBYs entrenched in the suburb?

TheYRA 12:50 pm
16 Jul 14
#2

There are probably a few key differences.

1. The issue about development of the brickworks has been bubbling along for more than 25 years. Up until this latest proposal, the housing development near the brickworks had been presented as a way to fund conservation and development of the brickworks. The LDA announced on May 16, 2014 that only $1.5 million would be spent to ‘make safe’ the brickworks with all other proceeds to go into ACT general revenues.

2. The LDA has used the ‘brickworks’ as a marketing term, but this is a pure land grab for land near the brickworks.

3. Much of the information/ consultant reports have not been released to the community or have only been released after the YRA submitted an FOI request.

4. Unlike Campbell there are limited access points to the new housing estate. The housing estate is plonked in the middle of the Cotter Road/ West Deakin traffic corridor. There is no other direct road link. Even the out-of-date traffic survey commissioned by the LDA notes that a number of roads (e.g., Novar Street/Dudley Street roundabout is already over capacity, and details of this report were only provided to the community because of an FOI request. Community pressure during the past month has forced the LDA to commision an up-to-date traffic survey (which had still not been released by the closing date for submissions).

5. The LDA summarised the community concerns in 2011 and provided a list of measures on how each of those concerns would be addressed. The latest proposal completely contradicts most of the commitments the LDA made in 2011.

6. The Yarralumla shops already suffer an extreme shortage of car parking. This has been under separate review, with community consulation and reports commissioned by Roads ACT. Based on Territory Plan guidelines, the Yarralumla shops requires at least 100 more carparks, but the guidelines are not restrospective so the community has to do with the lack of carparks and is the street with the highest frequency of traffic accidents in the area. Adding 4000 new residents without additional infrastructure will exacerbate the already existing problems.

7. There will be high rise buildings next to existing houses.Plans are for 4 to 8 storey housing next to Lane Poole Place. Although only 2 storey housing is planned to back onto existing townhouses in Schomburgk and Woolls Street, the land that would be built on is already close to the roof lines of existing houses so the new housing would have the equivalent height of 4-storey buildings.

8. The land near the brickwork includes a known asbestos dump.

9. Yarralumla is an old suburb with ageing infrastructure. No water in Schomburgk Street today because of a burst pipe for example. We also quite often have electricity blackouts. Despite this the LDA has said the infrastructure is adequate. The community doubts the voracity of the LDA’s research.

10. The community doubts the financial feasibility of the project.

11. There are many other arguments and a number of the submissions made the LDA concerning the most recent proposal are available online:
YRA = http://www.yarralumlaresidents.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/YRA-Submission-July-2014.pdf
ISCCC = http://www.yarralumlaresidents.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ISCCC-Brickworks-submission-July-2014.pdf
National Trust = http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/Assets/17987/
Friends of Grasslands = http://www.fog.org.au/Submissions/20140708.htm

Dacquiri 1:02 pm
16 Jul 14
#3

Dear YRA: I feel your pain. The LDA-run attempt at a master plan for the Hawker commercial area several years ago was characterised by the same shockingly poor (but glossy!) ‘information’ to the community, a similar lack of transparency, and a final decision to abandon the proposed master plan only after strong opposition from the community was made clear not only in meetings (difficult for many to attend) but in the powerful rejection of the proposed plan in the written consultation comments. So it is back to the drawing board, but it is likely to be ACTPLA, rather than the LDA, running the next show. However, it remains to be seen whether the lessons of the previous exercise have been learned.

watto23 9:28 am
17 Jul 14
#4

There is a lot of NIMBYism going on with this development. The only legitimate claim is the roads as it is a reasonably busy thoroughfare that many people use to get to Deakin. If this is no longer possible people will go via Curtain. It is definately an issue. Parking at Yarralumla shops… yes its an issue, however if your were serious about this, you’d provide a solution as its a problem now, not just complain about it.

Asbestos, best way to get rid of it is to concrete over it.

A lot of your other points reek of nimbyism and clutching for reasons to stop the development. Inner suburban land is a premium and its going to be sought after by people.

My suggestion for the YRA is to focus mostly on the traffic issue. You won’t stop the development being built so rather than trying to obstruct it and come up with all sorts of invalid reasons focus on real critical issue, that will affect more than just the residents. If parking is an issue come up with some solutions as to where more parking could be provided, ie instead of on street parallel parking could they put in on street 45 degree parking?

gazket 5:48 pm
17 Jul 14
#5

“Yarralumla is an old suburb with ageing infrastructure. No water in Schomburgk Street today because of a burst pipe for example. We also quite often have electricity blackouts”

I worked on a few new houses in Yarralumla. I would say blackouts occur as residents their don’t seem to have to cut the vegetation away from power lines in that suburb .

TheYRA 10:18 am
18 Jul 14
#6

In response to Watto23.

The traffic issues are not the only problems with the current proposal and we suggest you read some of the submissions to acquaint yourself with the many issues.
http://www.yarralumlaresidents.org.au/planning-development/brickworks/

The YRA is not opposing infill, we just find it hard to fathom how the LDA could have come up with such a poor design and want them to go back to the drawing board.
This is best summed up by our petition that has currently been signed by more than 2000 Canberrans.
http://www.yarralumlaresidents.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Petition-June-2014.pdf

Re: Parking at the Yarralumla Shops
The YRA has been working with TAMS on a solution to the parking problems at the Yarralumla Shops since last year. http://www.yarralumlaresidents.org.au/planning-development/bentham-street-shops/

Roads ACT advise after a review of Australian Standards that
the geometry of Bentham St does not comply with the minimum requirements for 90 degree angle parking (existing), or a two-way 60 degree angle parking scheme.That is, Bentham St is not wide enough to cater for the manoeuvring area required for the angle parking scheme as detailed in the Standard (22.6m required). Roads ACT is currently consulting with shopkeepers and nearby residents about installing 2 hour parking in nearby streets as a quick fix to increase the capacity.
Other solutions have been proposed and will require substantial investment by the ACT government and a budget allocation, which will only be considered once this next step is tried and tested.

The YRA looks forward to constructive consulation with the LDA and other government entities in relation to the proposed development of land near the brickworks.

watto23 11:29 am
18 Jul 14
#7

I have read a lot about your concerns. As I said, I’d be working towards better car parking which you are trying to do, the traffic is a very real issue now, so have no qualms about that, but as soon as you start talking about land grabs, profits etc it reeks of desperate nimby attitudes and generally means people won’t take you seriously.

Come from the angle of they will develop this land and steer them towards a compromise. A lot of the concerns I’ve read are things that seem desperate grabs to stop the development.

Lets face it, when developers can build under a flight path, then the concerns you list are nothing to them. So rather than trying to come up with a millions reasons why the development is bad, fopcus on the few most important things and maybe they will be repaired/altered/changed.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 5:10 pm
18 Jul 14
#8

Typical NIMBY’s. Go by a property in the bush if you don’t like sharing.

dungfungus 7:30 pm
18 Jul 14
#9

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Typical NIMBY’s. Go by a property in the bush if you don’t like sharing.

Welcome back C&GM!
The problem in buying a property in the bush these days is that Simon Corbell may approve a solar or wind factory (let’s not use that phony “farm” word anymore) next door.
This has been a “source free” comment.

rommeldog56 10:30 pm
20 Jul 14
#10

watto23 said :

I have read a lot about your concerns. As I said, I’d be working towards better car parking which you are trying to do, the traffic is a very real issue now, so have no qualms about that, but as soon as you start talking about land grabs, profits etc it reeks of desperate nimby attitudes and generally means people won’t take you seriously.

Come from the angle of they will develop this land and steer them towards a compromise. A lot of the concerns I’ve read are things that seem desperate grabs to stop the development.

Lets face it, when developers can build under a flight path, then the concerns you list are nothing to them. So rather than trying to come up with a millions reasons why the development is bad, fopcus on the few most important things and maybe they will be repaired/altered/changed.

The ACT Gov’t is making an existing problems, like accessibility to parking @ the shops, worse by the development. Therefore, the ACT Gov’t should come up with effective solutions or mitigation strategies too – its not all about the YRA doing that. The ACT Gov’t has the planning resources + skills should they wish to do so.

Also, I would defend the YRA and other bodies like the Uriarra (sp?) residents, etc, who feel aggrieved about Gov’t planning and spending decisions. Calling them NIMBY’S or dismissing their concerns/voices by advising them to come up with solutions and to work with the proposal means that we should all just accept that the ACT Gov’t acts in their and all ACT residents/Ratepayers best interests.

History tells us that is not so.

People have a right to be heard.

Attacking those raised voices sadly, once again reeks of the politics of envy which is too commonly seen in discussions/posts on RiotAct, I’m afraid.

Acton 4:46 pm
22 Jul 14
#11

David Dawes (Letters July 14) of the Land Development Agency fails to recognise the deficiencies of the consultation process undertaken by his agency, planning 1,600 new dwellings, up to eight stories high near the Canberra Brickworks. Objections have been raised by the Yarralumla community to medium density development and consequential loss of open space in this area of Yarralumla since 1979. Ignoring 35 years of community concerns, the LDA’s latest proposal increases the number of dwellings, increases the height of buildings, removes valued green space, doubles the population of Yarralumla, increases traffic congestion, worsens already inadequate parking at Yarralumla shops and disregards the local environmental impact on a critically endangered species. It is more akin to community confrontation rather than consultation.

The LDA must avoid acting like a colonial administrator appropriating land from local villagers for the benefit of property developers. The Yarralumla Residents Association petition calling for plans for the development of the brickworks and environs to be withdrawn and reworked received overwhelming public support. If residents are NIMBYs, then so too is any community, anywhere, that has a connection to their land and seeks to protect the natural environment and essential character of their home.

HiddenDragon 6:36 pm
22 Jul 14
#12

dungfungus said :

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Typical NIMBY’s. Go by a property in the bush if you don’t like sharing.

Welcome back C&GM!
The problem in buying a property in the bush these days is that Simon Corbell may approve a solar or wind factory (let’s not use that phony “farm” word anymore) next door.
This has been a “source free” comment.

Only just saw this – bravo!

Masquara 7:37 pm
22 Jul 14
#13

I was at an ACT Government “consultation” on an urban infill a few years ago. The opinion counting was based on hands in the air from tables around a huge room. A short woman on the floor was supposedly counting. It was all utterly skewed. The Government had paid interstate consultants a motza to achieve – guess what – “community consensus” that bore almost no relation to the discussions, or the results coming up at the tables. There were near-smug grins on the bureaucrat faces at the next, “refined” consultation stage – this time in an expensive hotel, where the earlier “results” had been further massaged, with any remnants of community opinion mysteriously dropped off. There simply won’t be any truth in this government’s “consultations” unless they commission them with transparency and an adequate record. Fat chance, Yarralumla!

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