6 May 2024

$13.7 million Kingston proposal should not be built on community land, says residents group

| Ian Bushnell
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render of Kingston development

Kingston medical centre and office proposal. Image: Hugh Gordon Architects.

A proposed new medical centre and office development on the only community facility zoned land in Kingston should be refused, according to the local residents group.

CF Prime Pty Ltd, owned by reclusive developer Jae Choi, has proposed a $13.7 million four-storey building at 19 Giles Street (Block 1 Section 29), currently the site of a child care centre.

According to the plans, the proposed medical centre will occupy one-half of the ground floor, with the rest of the building devoted to office space.

The DA prepared by Purdon Planning says the health facility and office development will meet a strong underlying demand for office space and health care in the Kingston region.

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The Kingston & Barton Residents Group (KBRG) says in its representation to the ACT Planning Authority calling for the DA to be refused that there is no guarantee that there will ever be any community facilities in the proposed development,

It says there is no evidence of a “strong underlying demand” for this type of proposal in Kingston.

“There is, in fact, no shortage of this kind of activity in the ‘Kingston region’, at the Kingston shopping centre and Kingston Foreshore,” KBRG says.

“There are also two major pending redevelopment proposals on other sites at the Kingston shopping centre for this kind of development.

“But there are no other ‘Community Facility Zones’ sites in Kingston, apart from two churches and the Causeway Hall, so it is very important that this site is devoted to genuine community facilities of benefit to the local community.”

KBRG says the requested lease variation is biased towards business and office uses, saying “Community use” is limited to early childhood education and care, and health facility”.

“What about other permissible ‘Land Use/Development Types’ such as ‘community activity centre’, ‘community housing’, ‘community theatre’, ‘cultural facility’, ‘educational establishment’, ‘indoor recreation facility’, ‘place of worship’, ‘religious associated use’? Why have all these been excluded?” it says.

One of the proposed land uses is “financial establishment”, which is not permitted in a community facility zone, KBRG says.

childcare centre in Kingston

The child care centre at 19 Giles Street, Kingston. The site sold last August for $3.97 million. Photo: Burgess Rawson.

It says the proposal fails to meet or mention any policy outcomes for community-zoned land.

Regarding the District Strategy, the DA says the development will deliver social and community infrastructure to help satisfy the all-time high demand for healthcare facilities.

KBRG says there is no evidence of ‘all-time high demand’, and the proposed medical centre only occupies an eighth of the building.

The DA says office spaces could be retrofitted into health care should demand increase, but KBRG says the building could also be used entirely for business offices.

“There is no guarantee that even the health facility will be provided,” it says.

“It appears that the proposal is basically a four-storey office building and is entirely inappropriate in the Community Facility Zone.”

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KBRG has also objected to the parking shortfall in the two-level basement.

It says the DA’s traffic report shows that only 59 spaces are provided, 27 short of what is required, nearly half of what is proposed.

The report proposes that the 17-space shortfall on the site be carried over to the new development and that the remaining 10 spaces be found on the street.

But KBRG says it believes government policy for many years has been that all new developments in the Kingston shopping centre and vicinity must include all parking on-site because of the high demand for the limited on-street parking now available in the area.

Purdon Planning CEO Dan Stewart said the project incorporated a health facility and office, which were both permissible uses in the community facility zone.

“The ultimate mix will depend on market demand. However, the proponent views a health facility as a highly desirable outcome for this site,” he said.

Mr Choi bought the site for $3.97 million in August last year.

Comments on the DA close on 13 May.

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NIMBYs with no credibility. The KBRG committee (the actual members who schedule/attend meetings, decide policy, write media releases, cultivate journos and write submissions against DAs) are the same FIVE people for the last decade. Kingston has 6,500 residents, but this handful of people claim to speak for them all and misrepresent ‘community opposition”.

And when Telopea Park School needed to expand, this lot blocked that too.

Nick Stevens6:30 am 07 May 24

Cannot believe a building so stunningly beautiful and such irreplaceable architecture significance, will be demolished to be replaced with a building that threatens us with El Nino Armageddon.

So the new building will cause a catastrophic el nino? Gee, ok.

Nick Stevens7:13 am 08 May 24

Maybe you have taken my comment , without the humour intended.

Sorry, I admit to not getting it. Any level of hysteria seems plausible from the usual suspects.

Nick Stevens5:54 am 09 May 24

I share your frustration. As per the featured development, it is what it is, a modest building, replacing an aging dated one.

thoughtsonthesubject3:11 pm 06 May 24

The site of 19 Giles Street Kingston has at present a building surrounded by trees and other vegetation. This is supposed to be replaced by a massive building filling the whole site with just a fringe of grass surrounding it. Has anybody considered the urban heat island effect this will have on that area? What about all those government promises of microclimate assessments, increasing the number of trees, ready to mitigate temperatures when El Nino is hitting again. Quite obviously the only people profiting from the proposed development is not the community, as they should, but only the developer and owner. To make this profit possible, the community will have to pay the price of having to live with for many people dangerous temperatures once the heat returns. These are not NIMBY objections, but an appeal not to turn this place into one where future generations can no longer lead a healthy life.

thoughtsonthesubject2:58 pm 06 May 24

The site of 19 Giles Street Kingston has at present a building surrounded by trees and other vegetation. This is supposed to be replaced by a massive building filling the whole site with just a fringe of grass surrounding it. Has anybody considered the urban heat island effect this will have on that area? What about all those government promises of microclimate assessments, increasing the number of trees to mitigate temperatures when El Nino is hitting

19 Giles St is right next to Telopea Park which is a significant stretch of trees and greenery so the urban heat island effect wouldn’t apply in this instance. Hopefully “urban heat island effect” does not become a synonym for “not in my backyard.”

thoughtsonthesubject4:29 pm 06 May 24

Giles Street is not my backyard. I live in a different suburb. However, with our generation having destroyed so much of the environment with which future generations have to cope with, I think it is everybody’s duty to see that the situation does not constantly get worse. The heat from the proposed lump of concrete with a great number of air conditioners blowing out hot air will affect the whole area, also those hoping for cooler air in Telopea Park, but even more so those on the other side and behind the proposed building. Easy enough to use the NYMBY accusation to destroy the environment further for the sake of profit. But extremely sad if people lack the foresight to understand the harm they do to those who come after us.

“Those who come after us” would probably like homes, services, jobs etc. Along with Telopea Park next door, Giles St is also close to Kingston foreshores and lake so making claims about “heat islands” doesn’t really pass the sniff test. If you have any specific evidence of heat impacts of the proposed building then by all means bring forward your evidence.

Sounds to me more of the same NIMBY objections, the child care centre was a commercial operation. This looks to be a better use of the land. Sick of the “no development” nonsense that comes from these groups.

it’s run by a non-profit organisation for the benefit of the community. it’s not a “commercial” operation

CanberraMatey5:29 pm 07 May 24

No it is not some NIMBY objection. Read about the recent Dubai floods, it had everything to do with urbanisation and lack of trees and soil to absorb the water. Greed is destroying the environment, atleast the so called ‘nimbys’ are trying to protect it.

Oh right, floods in Dubai. Sounds really relevant. It’s just as well the nimbys know these things, and are selflessly working to save us all from such an imminent fate down in Giles Street.

This looks like a money grab at the expense of the local community.
Where are the pollies who should be speaking up for their constituents ??

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