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A victory for the Nimbys — Karralika expansion scrapped

By Kerces - 25 August 2006 29

ACT health minister Katy Gallagher announced yesterday that a proposed redevlopment and expansion of a drug rehabilitation facility in Fadden will not proceed.

She cites “lack of agreement from the community” as one of the reasons for this decision.

The fuss over the Karralika facility began two years ago after Fadden residents realised there were (recovering) drug addicts in their midst. The plan being looked at was a 10 bed expansion of the facility from the current 25, though the initial proposal was for a 30 bed expansion (and Brendan Smyth seems to think the expansion would have made a 60 bed facility).

The consultative committee considering the matter couldn’t agree about what should happen to the facility and has produced majority and minority reports, both of which can be read on the ACT Health site.

Greens MLA Deb Foskey said the decision to abandon any expansion is “disappointing”. She also said she thought the consultation process could have been handled better.

The Liberals think the decision is fantastic. He calls it a “victory for common sense”, which brings to mind Einstein’s saying that “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18”.

“This is a decision for common sense and is a repudiation of the attempt by former Health Minister, Simon Corbell, to sneak the proposed expansion of the Karralika facility through the planning processes without effective consultation,” Brendan Smyth said. “I am delighted that the community in Fadden and Macarthur has had a victory in forcing the Stanhope Government to withdraw the proposed extension.”

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29 Responses to
A victory for the Nimbys — Karralika expansion scrapped
seepi 6:06 pm 25 Aug 06

the original Riotact post from 2004, by D Heidenberg:

Fadden and Macarthur residents are getting their knickers into a real knot about this announcement by the Stanhope government, regarding the expansion of the Karralika drug rehabilitation centre on Bugden Avenue Fadden.
The current facility is about the size of a large house. The new facility will be made up of 8 buildings, representing an enormous expansion of current arrangements.

It is amazing that S Corbell tried to call 7 new buildings and a bus carpark a ‘refurbishment’ and used Section 12 of the land and planning act (that prescribes the development as either a “confidential service” or “special dwelling” thus exempt from the normal planning process) to keep the ‘refurb’ secret, and yet still got re-elected. And after he had a public nervous breakdown as well. No wonder he thinks he can do what he likes now.

This represents another major failure by the Stanhope Government. Not only have they completely alienated a large section of 2 suburbs with their total lack of consultation, they have also ensured that the residents of this facility are further looked upon as objects of disdain by an already intolerant society.

What could potentially have been a real positive (increase in funding to fight the scourge of drug abuse) has turned into a disaster. Good one Johnny. Has there ever been a more accident prone government?

I must also point out that I am a resident of Macarthur. I will also point out that my children walk straight past this facility to go to school, and will continue to do so.

Cityboy 4:30 pm 25 Aug 06

The talk about process is not a good reason to reduce drug treatment space which are lacking. It looks more like an arguement of convience as the complainers (libs and the people of Fadden) do not have the balls to talk about there real problem that they just do not like drug addicts.

Roland GRNS 4:07 pm 25 Aug 06

Mr Corbell’s approach to the Karralika redevelopment was sneaky and it backfired (things could backfire back in those minority government days.)

Even if the original plans had gone ahead it would not have been as big or obstructive as seepi suggests.

There would have been support I think for a smaller refurbishment if the process had been managed more carefully.

Everybody (ie Mr Smyth MLA, Ms Macdonald MLA, Karralika Action Group) say they support Karralika.

Chris S 3:56 pm 25 Aug 06

Look, seepi has tried to get a bit of sanity into this debate, as some of you are jumping on the anti-nimby bandwagon without a skerrick of fact to back your point of view.

This all started when Corbell used his call-in powers to approve a so-called “refurbishment” of the Karralika facility.

The residents (I’m not one, but I whole-heartedly sympathise with their situation) found out by accident that it was not a refurbishment at all – it was a very significant extension to the existing facilities.

This got the dander of the locals up, quite rightly, and then Corbell did what he has done so many other times – refused to listen, prevaricate, dissemble, whetever you want to call it, and in the end, he was censured by the Assembly.

Karralika itself was also at fault – by not consulting, they craeted a situation of mistrust and dishonesty over the so-called “refurbishment”.

Karralika then started an anti-resident campaign, which was as dishonest and reprehensible as the original proposal.

The Fadden residents have long acknowledged the value of the existing Karralika facilities, and fully support it. Some are reasonably happy with some modest redevelopment, but after the way they were treated by Corbell, ACTPLA, Department of Health and Karralika, in the end no common ground could be found.

I think it’s disappointing that it came to that, but it is a direct result of the arrogance and spite that Corbell has displayed all through this episode, the machinations of the Departnment of Health to get Corbell to use his call-in powers, and the subterfuge of Karralika itself over not respecting the interests of locals.

Deb Foskey is right – it is not the best result, but one that was almost inevitable when Corbell carries on like the dickhead he is, supported by his (then) departments and Karralika.

Could a few of you at least get your facts right before starting your anti-NIMBY crap, particularly Big Al and JTK. If you can’t do the research or intellectual stuff, your arguments aren’t worth shit.

miz 3:17 pm 25 Aug 06

Perhaps if they re-named it (hm, who’s the nearest thing to Betty Ford in Australia?) the Hazel Hawke Clinic . . . ?

I agree people in rehab are no trouble, especially compared to hoons/burnouts and other anti-social happenings in general suburbia.

Thumper 2:38 pm 25 Aug 06

Isn’t that how Corbell always acts?

Come to a decision without asking anyone and then find a way to implement it with out telling anyone?

seepi 2:20 pm 25 Aug 06

The old RiotAct site is not searching properly, but here is the main part of JB’s article on how Simon and the Health Dept approved the development and kept it a secret:
“The other point of interest is the very ugly picture it paints of the Health Department, which seems to have decided on an outcome and then pursued a strategy of secrecy to achieve it without thought to common decency or even legality. Possibly the most notable recommendation from the report was prompted by the admission of the Chief Executive Officer of ACT Health that he didn’t actually know the meaning of the Regulations he had advocated be used.”

James-T-Kirk 2:04 pm 25 Aug 06


But, is being a nusiance defined by others definitions?

My examples above, cite cases where residents moved in and ignored their surroundings and then complained.

Take, for example, a high energy particle accelerator. Lets imagine that one has been built, and is operating peacefully. If the govmit wants to sell houses around it to make additional land revenue, should the new owners have the right to whine about it’s existience? Where are the boundaries?

I am comforted to hear from from seepi that there is no animosity from residents in this particular case.

Big Al 1:25 pm 25 Aug 06

JTK my remark centres on the fact that it is not a defence of nuisance to claim that you were there first and that others came and chose to live near you – if you are a nuisance in an empty field of surrounded by suburbs you are still a nuisance.

Big Al 1:21 pm 25 Aug 06

So unexpected to see the hand of Mr Corbell involved – the man is like a magnet for incopetence.

James-T-Kirk 1:19 pm 25 Aug 06

Mr Al,

I would bow any day. I know people who work with the team at Karolika, and have the highest respect for them.

As far as nuisance value goes, can you back your words up with actual statictical figures on calls to the police to deal with problems in Fadden?

I would suggest that where I live in Gordon, there is more nusiance than in leafy Fadden.

seepi 1:17 pm 25 Aug 06

There is a lot that you have not covered here.

Simon Corbell tried to approve the expansion of Karralika comepletely secretely, using a combination of his powers as planning minister, and health minister. He got his head of hte health dept to designate this development as ‘sensitive’ (usually used fopr safe houses etc – not appropriate in this instance, as eveyone already knew Karralika was drug rehab). Thus there were plans to redevelop the facility from a small house sized place, to a several storey institution with a car park for busses. They were very secretive about the number of beds, but currently if it has 25 they are counting cots etc, as it is not large.

Also, currently it is located in a small greenway between Fadden and Macarthur, through which residents of both suburbs can walk up to the reserve area. The redevelopment would have essentially blocked access to the reserve. Also primary school kids would have had to go onto Karralika ground to get to school (or else a very long way around via streets).

Fadden and MaCarthur residents support Karralika in its current form and have always said so. There was a RiotAct story on this when it first became clear that Simon had done his secret approval for the redevelopment.

I’m not sure why the govt have decided against it – lack of consultation hasn’t stopped them before, although it may be that they don’t want the story of Simon abusing his powers as health minister to approve secret developments to hit the press again.

In any case – there is no particular reason for Karralika to be expanded in that small spot. Why not put it somewhere where there is more room.

Anyway – I would see this one as a real govt stuff up, rather than a NIMBY success.

Big Al 1:13 pm 25 Aug 06

As far as drug rehabilitation goes – the best facility the Government could invest in is a nice brick wall to stand these fucked-up maggots against and a well trained firing squad to deliver the rehabilitation. The community would save through lower crime rates and less shit-bags clogging the public health system with their self-inflicted ailments.

In terms of demonstrating a complete ignorance of the common law principles of nuisance = the award must surely go to JTK – take a bow my good man…

James-T-Kirk 1:04 pm 25 Aug 06

Looks like yet another case of the local’s whinging, and adversley affecting a usefull service.

Shall we examine a couple of others:

1. Jerra residents – Gosh, you only just realised that there was a flight path over your house? I seem to recall that the airport was there **long** before the housing estate. Get over it. If you *choose* to purchase land below a flight path, expect it to get busy over time – Kind of like a highway. Don’t go complaining to the govmit about it.

2. Residents of Kaleen / Mackella – Gosh, Those stick things in the fields over there are called Antennas. They are on a Naval station that was build a long time ™ befory your suburb was built. They transmit. Wow. That is why when you turn off your flourescent lights at night, they *keep on glowing*. Having a whinge to the Govmit e wont fix that. You moved in *after* they did. Get over it. By the way, a large slab of the suburb you have built your house on was a tip, but the land should have settled by now. So there should not be too many cracks in your new foundations.

3. Residents of Fadden. OMG – What do you mean there is a drug and rehab place down the road. Oh No. They clearly moved in after you did (not). So you should clearly have a say about their actions. In fact, why not close them down. We dont want any of those druggos in our subburb.

The hidden message here, is do some research when you purchase a property. In all of the above cases, there was something *before*, in fact, a long time before you moved in, so move in with your eyes wide open.

Now, here is the clinka, Should we tell people about the shep diping pits in tuggers that were there before the Tuggeranong valey was a twinkle in some planning ministers eye?

I support Karolika 100%, and would hapily purchase a house next door, if I thought it would insulate the people there who are getting on with their lives from the idiots who only look at their land values.

simto 11:13 am 25 Aug 06

So, Brendan can’t do maths – in what universe does 25 plus 30 equal sixty?

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