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.