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Are you part of “A huge groundswell of anger”?

By johnboy - 30 July 2010 41

The Canberra Times is leading with John Thistleton’s supposition that:

A huge groundswell of anger is brewing among residents of Canberra’s inner suburbs over unit developments.

Which is curious, because as a long term inner northican I look at the developments with some hope that they might one day lead to prices low enough that I too may buy.

So maybe it’s land owners of Canberra’s inner suburbs getting grumpy?

What’s Your opinion?

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41 Responses to
Are you part of “A huge groundswell of anger”?
molongloid 12:20 pm 30 Jul 10

I’m all for it as long as the plot ratios are right, for living and for parking. Finer-grained zoning too to keep the denser stuff off the back streets. If the inner north holds double the population then there better be funds and zoning for infrastructure development for the extra police, schools, doctors, shops etc…. but I bet there won’t.

troll-sniffer 12:03 pm 30 Jul 10

And thus we enter the realm of the whingers paradise. Urban infill areas, drawing in the self-righteous like moths to a scented candle. Well, I for one can tell you that no matter how many fora are hosted, how many community consultations or information sessions attract many or few, you will never get agreement on this issue. The NIMBYs want to continue their unsustainable lifestyle, the developers want to provide an increase in population density and a profit in the process, and almost no-one thinks outside their own little box.

I grew up on a quarter acre block backing onto what seemed like a million acres of parkland, but having ‘grown up’ further since then, I am all for the consolidation of Canberra into relatively high density suburbs while retaining the large swathes of parkland and bush. Those who decry the increase in traffic should either adapt (and contribute to lessening traffic by walking and riding) or go and move somewhere that encourages your out-of-date lifestyle based on exclusive car-based transport options. (Jerrabomberra would be a suitable start). Those who own or yearn for the streetscapes of neatly tended gardens on discrete quarter acre parcels, complete with often very inefficient housing, are more often than trying to live a dream that doesn’t exist. As an example, in the rapidly infilling suburb of Ainslie, a large percentage of the blocks were overgrown and never tended beyond a desultory mow twice a year. A lot of those eyesores have been replaced by smart looking neat body corporate-run gardens. Same thing with unit developments, most of the modern ones present a tidy and pleasant face to the street, the gardens are tended and the rubbish is removed, miscreant parking types are dealt with by the body corporates, and so on.

We can all be reactionary nostalgia-laden stick-in-the-muds but a city that does not evolve stagnates, and those who cannot adapt and become bitter never realise that being open-minded and moving with the times isn’t really that hard, it just requires an ability to think laterally and accept that not everything was perfect ‘back in my day’.

JessP 11:38 am 30 Jul 10

Winge winge winge. Its OK to build more units in ‘outer suburbs’ (hello Crace) but not in the inner areas? Get real.

NIMBYs rule! Ans also the NOTE!

We all know the NIMBYs….but there is also the Not Over There Either group.

sepi 11:11 am 30 Jul 10

Sign me up for the groundswell too. they seem to pick the skinniest streets in Dickson to build mega unit blocks on, which makes it really difficult to drive through the streets as people are parked all along the street as there is never enough parking in these developments.

It is also depressing that they market these things saying ‘lovely leafy streetscape’ and then the developers park trucks on the naturestrip right on top of the tree roots. I mean they dont’ care if the trees all cark it in a year or two.

Urban infill is a good idea in theory, but just slapping up huge block of units in little streets is not a winner. And where will all the kids go to school – my local preschool was on the closure list a few years ago, and now it is booked out already for next year and my kids can’t get in.

Holden Caulfield 11:04 am 30 Jul 10

I’m angry that there are no signs the O’Connor shops are going to get tarted up/refreshed/developed. A couple of extra coffee shops might be nice, haha.

Anyway, I guess the more medium density development there is, the more likely it is the shops of the inner north will get updated.

headgroggogwog 10:57 am 30 Jul 10

Didn’t Stateline do the same story a few weeks ago?

Very unusual for John Thistleton to do anything critical of developers! He didn’t touch the stuff about unit construction problems (a RiotACT favourite and another one Stateline banged on about).

The suburban story is not an anti-development/density issue, it’s more a sense of frustration from many of us at seeing developers pushing the limits, building complexes that are too big for quiet back streets, knowing they have the planning muscle, legal back-up and the cash to bash it through the ACTPLA system.

Developers are allowed to build multi-unit complexes in areas zoned ‘RZ2’… The problem is many of these projects are of an inappropriately high density when the zoning intentions are much lower.

Barr said this on the Stateline show and reckons he’ll ‘tweak’ the rules if enough people jump up and down.

indigoid 10:57 am 30 Jul 10

How does it burden infrastructure, exactly?

Low density housing is exactly what Canberra cannot sustain if it is to “grow up” as a city. I’m very happy to see these apartment blocks being built. It does help to build them with parking spaces, though.

georgesgenitals 10:55 am 30 Jul 10

To be afir, having tradies everywhere is a pain. The do park everywhere, leave rubbish everywhere, leave their tools everywhere, connect extension cords to any unsecured external power outlet, and make a lot of noise.

I’ve lived in a new area that was being built once, and the tradies were the main problem.

astrojax 10:50 am 30 Jul 10

the aspect i decry in the development of the inner north is the complete lack of commensurate development of traffic infrastructure; and drivers’ incapcity to drive (or park) to conditions when these areas become more congested with more on-street parkers and pedestrians using their previous ‘rat race’ route…

lulu 10:49 am 30 Jul 10

Unfortunately there is a contingent called NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) They’re mainly, middle-aged homeowners who think that they should be able to live on a quarter acre block and access services they can walk too at the same time as being able to park their car easily and for free wherever they go.

The unbelievable escalation in house prices over the last seven or more years causes not just homelessness but en mass anxiety, feelings of failure, relationship breakdown and family tension. The NIMBYs don’t seem to understand this. Nor can they seem to get it through their heads that higher density housing makes accessable community services more viable.

Thumper 10:49 am 30 Jul 10


What is this huge groundswell of anger that you speak of?

Jim Jones 10:39 am 30 Jul 10

A bunch of people are whining because the (empty) carpark in Hawker is going to be used for development – not much more than NIMBYism in that.

triffid 10:38 am 30 Jul 10

It’s fair to say that I’m part of the groundswell. I’m well over it (the development of that sort). In terms of amenity it impacts in a most detrimental manner. I happen to reside (rent), on my own, in an ex-govvie right next door to 5 new units. I have 12 or so going in just down the street, 8 around the corner, 12 down the street and around trhe corner and (what seems like) 9, 872 over the back fence (with more to come I’ll wager). Sometimes, I may as well have a used car yard on the footpath next door (I have returned home late from work one night to find a car parked — yes! parked! — in my driveway preventing me and my vehicle’s access to the property). So, in some respects, the developments become little different from being essentially a huge share house anyway.

I’ve seen this movie before in inner city Brisbane (New Farm, Fortitude Valley, Teneriffe, Newstead, West End, South Bris and, eventually, Annerley). It burdens infrastructure to snapping point and shatters amenity. It never brings prices down, John . . . never. If it does, it’s years and years down the track, after the place has been rendered akin to a slum through the complete degredation of what amenity existed before. Rather, the developers and agents drive the values up and investors and speculators are happy to pay anything for what they consider land value only (knowing they’ll get a ROI easily). Form the Canberra Shire Council perspective, this is more about collecting change of use charges than proper ‘town planning’ (and I reckon I could find a planner or two, from those I know, who would agree).

astrojax 10:37 am 30 Jul 10


georgesgenitals 10:28 am 30 Jul 10

Why would the land owners get grumpy? As more units and townhouses are built, the number of traditional houses on blocks gets relatively lower, thus making the land more valuable. There will always be people who don’t like progress, but the Inner North is on a slow march toward becoming renewed with medium density housing.

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