8 December 2005

All hell breaks loose over city plan

| Kerces
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Well the leaking of the Canberra Central plan to the Canberra Times yesterday has set off some fireworks.

Developer Terry Snow told the ABC the taskforce’s decision was inevitable because “it’s mainly set up with government people on it”, a claim which Planning Minister Simon Corbell, whose plan was the chosen one, denied (well, he said he refuted the claim but presented no proof so I figured he just used the wrong word).

Former commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission Tony Powell told the Canberra Times the taskforce’s report was a joke and the loss of a golden opportunity for Canberra (NB only half the CT story is online, it was continued inside the paper).

“They [the Government] may as well have given the whole thing to the Bullamakanka Golf Club,” Mr Powell said.

He was also critical about the taskforce’s failure to outline how the government should go about the development, saying that was main reason why the minister revamped the task force in May with seven private-sector appointees.

Greens MLA Deb Fosky welcomed the report’s leaking and somehow said the plan meant the government could pursue more affordable housing around the city — I couldn’t quite follow her logic (note, if you want to argue about Dr Foskey and public housing, this is not the place. Try here).

Finally, Opposition planning spokesman Zed Seselja says the plan to leave City Hill untouched (which Dr Foskey applauded) is a lost opportunity for the city, saying the City Hill revitalisation “should have been a bold new vision for Canberra”.

“It appears Simon Corbell is going to turn a blind eye to fresh and vibrant development ideas simply because they are not his ideas and he doesn’t agree with them,” he said.

He also commented on the lack of recommendation of a way to carry out the project, and favours a statuatory authority.

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On the bright side at least plans to demolish City Hill to build a glorious monument to the EGO of the ACT Legislative Assembly appear to have fallen by the wayside.

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