Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Canberra insurance broker
of choice since 1985

Barr kicks Dickson residents (again)

By Paul Costigan - 24 July 2015 34

P1080437

After seven months of silence since the last workshop to discuss the future options for the Dickson Parklands (Section 72 Dickson), the Dickson Residents Group asked for a meeting to ask a range of questions. This meeting happened on Thursday afternoon (23 July).

To our surprise we were told that two sections of the site are now proposed for residential use. We were also shown a notice that was to go the public next week or soon after.

Last year the residents of the inner northern suburbs were very clear about their aspirations for this site and that residential developments were not favoured.

It had been anticipated that there would have been further engagement over the reports from the two workshops held in late 2014.

Instead there has been silence.

Until now!

Without any warning, a media release has appeared today announcing the change of lease.

Residents who attended the meeting were not told that this media release was being circulated the very afternoon as we met with the directorate officers.

This is not a good example of community engagement as set out in the ACT Government’s own community engagement policy.

This latest move by the chief minister’s directorate has come as a sudden shock to the resident groups involved.

Residents are again being provoked into having to respond and resist proposals affecting the future of this valuable community asset.

As has been outlined in submissions to the government, as the rest of the surrounding suburbs undergo intensification, the Dickson Parklands site will be even more required as a site for a mix of cultural and arts facilities.

Parkland-P1110955

There is no other site like this within the inner northern suburbs of Canberra. Once it is lost to development, it will be gone forever as a community cultural site.

The Dickson Residents group had hoped that the chief minister had learnt that the residents of the surrounding suburbs are wanting to and were looking forward to working with the planning and development agencies to enhance this important inner north site.

The community vision was for:

  • a linear parkland
  • a community arts and cultural precinct
  • a peaceful refuge of landscaped green space based around the existing woodlands and creek line that provided a green corridor connecting the urban hub of Dickson to the more outer suburbs in north Canberra and our surrounding mountains (people already use this site for this purpose, and it is likely that this opportunity will be cut back with the proposed residential development)
  • a community resource that would have become increasingly important as the shape and form of the inner north changes in response to the light rail and the infill needed to support it. (The parklands would be accessible to the whole community, rather than segmented by private land and residences and the cars and traffic that will necessarily come with 200 plus residences).

Sadly the community’s aspirations have been totally ignored by the chief minister and his directorate.

All indications are that the chief minister and his directorate wish to provoke the residents  – yet again.

With the coming 2016 ACT elections, residents are hoping that this matter can be resolved quickly. It would be unfortunate for this insult to be the basis of election debates, especially in and around Dickson where the chief minister is hoping to be re-elected to represent this community and its aspirations.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
34 Responses to
Barr kicks Dickson residents (again)
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
shellcase 4:58 pm 30 Jul 15

Ah, dear me! I happen to be well and truly ensconced within the ACT construction industry and I must say to you dear people Barr and his cohorts don’t give a twig about you. Our own dear, sweet, cuddly local Labour Gummint is just as corrupt as their departed Federal and State mates.

Get rid of them next year! And no, I am not saying vote Lib; I haven’t voted Lib since 1996 and I haven’t voted Labor since 1972. Just don’t vote Labor. Hold your vote, don’t give it to anyone. Maybe, one day, they’ll get the message.

When he was installed as Chief Minister Mr Barr made a statement he would do his best to get same-sex marriage up and running in the ACT. Fine, good stuff, enjoy. But that ain’t the most important worry to the majority in this Territory and I believe he and the Gummint continue to demonstrate a deplorable lack of concern for the majority of our population.

JC 11:25 pm 27 Jul 15

Paul Costigan said :

My last comments on this post

The site in question includes are large grassed-parkland site as well as the Salvation Army buildings and the site of the former club (that burnt down).

There are no grasslands. A quick look at google earth would tell you that. All there is is the Salvo building, which has a bit of grass on the Antil street side and the club site. Hardly an earth shattering grassland and not much good for anything, except parking, which by the look of the driveway arrangement is how the salvos probably used it.

And these precious “parklands”, run for about 200m alongside the open stormwater drain will not be touched, even really even if they were it would hardly be the end of the world. In fact covering over the stormwater drain may actually improve the place. But again they are not touching it.

As for this dream of somehow turning these two sites into something more community oriented, what a waste of time it would be. Now yeah if you could bulldoze every building in that area you might be on to something, but that ain’t gonna happen. So the choice is residential or some other form of business, or religious entity, either way they will have buildings on it.

Paul Costigan 10:37 am 27 Jul 15

My last comments on this post

The site in question includes are large grassed-parkland site as well as the Salvation Army buildings and the site of the former club (that burnt down). The leases under question are in government hands.
The argument is for community and cultural infrastructure to support the increases in residents in the suburbs surrounding.

Well designed infill and developments in the surrounding suburbs is happening and largely supported; but questions are raised when it is inappropriate, cheap and unsustainable.

This along with much needed improvements to other infrastructure (eg sewage) is part of the integrated planning approach being sought by residents as the infill progresses – as it must.

The links to the light rail is a furfy as people more than 800 metres away would catch the bus.

Other agencies have let it slip that there is no need for apartments on this site as the zoning across the other areas will supply more than enough to meet the infill targets.

The proposal is a money grab cloaked in the thinnest façade of planning – in fact this agency does not do planning for these developments as it is all about using up the ‘development banks’ of land – that term is what this agency uses to describe all the vacant land that could one day be sold to make money – look around your own suburb and any non residential land is potentially available for this ‘development bank’.

The proposal is cloaked in the issue of providing social housing. Social housing in isolated blocks does not work as has been learnt time and time again across Canberra – yet here we go again. But this is to be expected from the government developer that has not real interest in social issues beyond being a developer. They know the damage they do but continue to these ad hoc inappropriate developments across Canberra as this is what they are paid to do.

The Parklands may be technically within Dickson, but all the surrounding resident groups are working to keep this community infrastructure and then having it enhanced to include a core set of facilities for the growing population of the whole area.

There may be a follow up new post later – as we are fact checking all the misinformation being circulated.

JC 9:56 am 27 Jul 15

Barrry said :

Nimbyism is totally valid when it wants to retain the vibe of a place which made it attractive and liveable in the first place. Being against cr*p development which is for development’s (or developers’) sake is not a bad thing. We don’t have to ‘get with the times’ and accept poorly imagined planning which ruins everything we like about our own city. The government is in our employ and it is their job to listen to what we say.

Andrew Barr seems to consistently trot out the line that publicly owned facilities are run down, leading to their inevitable destruction. Perhaps he should consider IT IS HIS JOB to make sure they are funded and maintained. Instead of turning the ACT government into a front for developers who are sucking at the teat of public funding. It is pathetic.

It’s our money! Our community! Screw this government. Developers have enough money already. Let’s preserve what makes this city unique and beautiful.

Will someone please start a party and take this to the election? I will vote for you if you seem relatively sane.

How do we know this new development is cr*p? I mean to say all that is happened is two sites have been rezoned. No actual buildings have been planned, not has the land be sold to a developer, it has just been rezoned to allow it.

As for keeping what is good about the place are you suggesting that the old club site should just be left as it is? Have a look at a map? It is a disused car park and the remnants of the old clubs footings.

Whilst the Salvo’s site is much better in that it has a building on it, unused it won’t be long and that will be a dump too.

Oh and have I said before that the wonderful tree lined vista that the OP is going on about and has so thoughtfully provided a picture of won’t be touched?

PS in your rant against Barr you talk about government owned facilities, for the record the two sites rezoned are not government owned and were not left to be run down by the government so not sure the point of that argument in this discussion.

Sandman 5:50 pm 26 Jul 15

scentednightgardens said :

Nowithstanding the affront caused by the apparent paucity of consultation, I don’t think that Barr and his directorate deliberately set out to provoke the residents of Dickson (or, the sample represented by the ‘Dickson Residents Group’) for the sport of it. Barr et al have to think about the future, and make strategic calls regarding revenue sources, and balance the interests of everybody in the territory. Keep these small parcels as ‘linear parkland’ or an ‘arts precinct’ and we lock future Canberrans out of a central housing opportunity, and ratepayers across the ACT pay a little extra for the amenity of a few. I guess I would probably would be more empathetic if I didn’t have a look at Google Earth and see that the areas in question are adjacent the significant the preserved urban open spaces that are the Dickson playing fields and the Dickson Wetlands!!

There was once some nice open space where the homes of the members of the Dickson Resident Group currently stand. It was a shame to see that space go…but hey……

Excellent post. I’m a resident of the heart of Dickson and see no problem with developing the proposed sites. Within 5 minutes walk I can access 3 school ovals, the Dickson playing fields, wetlands, the pool and the shops. That whole area over that side has been a bit of an odd wasteland since the Planetarium burned down (it may have been a wasteland before then, I never really went in there as it wasn’t appealing. )
That little row of gums is a bit of a nothing, and won’t be affected by development as it runs directly next to the storm drain. That whole section of Antill St is probably the best place for this sort of development. It’s a much better road than others like Majura or Limestone to have this higher density housing. I’d even go so far as to say a nice little 6 story office building housing some small government departments might not be a bad thing there. Plenty of accomodation options nearby for both the single and family public servants, as well as good eating and recreation options.

Barrry 5:36 pm 26 Jul 15

Nimbyism is totally valid when it wants to retain the vibe of a place which made it attractive and liveable in the first place. Being against cr*p development which is for development’s (or developers’) sake is not a bad thing. We don’t have to ‘get with the times’ and accept poorly imagined planning which ruins everything we like about our own city. The government is in our employ and it is their job to listen to what we say.

Andrew Barr seems to consistently trot out the line that publicly owned facilities are run down, leading to their inevitable destruction. Perhaps he should consider IT IS HIS JOB to make sure they are funded and maintained. Instead of turning the ACT government into a front for developers who are sucking at the teat of public funding. It is pathetic.

It’s our money! Our community! Screw this government. Developers have enough money already. Let’s preserve what makes this city unique and beautiful.

Will someone please start a party and take this to the election? I will vote for you if you seem relatively sane.

chewy14 2:49 pm 26 Jul 15

rommeldog56 said :

chewy14 said :

It’s the “I’m right Jack, you go live somewhere else” mentality to future generations who want to access some of the amenity of these inner areas. Which is particularly galling because successive governments at local and federal level have done everything in their power to make sure these existing residents have had massive increases in the value of their properties and any suggestion of pulling back some of those benefits is instantly jumped upon by various rent seeking interest groups.

So, if u think that “successive governments at local and federal level have done everything in their power to make sure these existing residents have had massive increases in the value of their properties”, you now want to penalise those residents or “pull back” back some of those advantages – which no doubt were a primary reason why those people purchased there in the 1st place. That in itself sounds selfish to me – more of the politics of envy.

Might as well appoint Stalin to administer the ACT along socialist ideology if we are going to reengineer the “bush capital” into the “high rise capital – with tram”.

Existing residents of those suburbs have a right to be heard.

No, the benefits I was talking about are tax advantages and planning restrictions and land development policies that have purposely been designed and implemented to ensure current residents properties don’t reduce in value.

If people are making investment decisions assuming that the government will always preference them first, then at some point they’re going to be disappointed. It’s funny that you mention socialism whilst expecting the rest of society to fund your investment gains through government policy yet want to complain if that policy may ever adversely affect you.

And anyway, these development plans will actually increase the value of local residents properties regardless so there’s nothing to complain about.

JC 7:54 pm 25 Jul 15

All well and good except these two developments are not being built on parklands. They are being built on a disused club site that is just has the remnants of a carpark and the club and the salvos site. It is hardly massive development it is using spaces that have been developed in the past the only change is they are now allowing residential.

Talking about These supposed parklands and showing pictures of what seem to be parklands is overly emotive and misleading. These parklands which are not being touched btw are just some trees along the open stormwater drain. About 50m wide but did I say not being touched in any way shape or form. Just metres away are the ovals in one direction and the pool in the other. The rest of the site is full of buildings many that have been there for years and years.

Masquara 4:47 pm 25 Jul 15

Please, Dickson residents, learn from the Griffin Centre experience. Canberra had that fantastic huge shabby Griffin Centre, with its wonderful access from all sides, solid brick construction, wooden floors, tall windows, big dance studios with barres, venues with stages, multiple kitchens – and the ACT Government in hand with the developers promised an equivalent building for community use. The replacement Griffin Centre is cheaply built, with low ceilings, none of the atmosphere or amenity of the old Griffin Centre. It was a complete and utter con. So if the developer/ACT Government push the line that there will be “no actual loss of community floor space” etc etc, go and check out the Griffin Centre in Civic and look at the entire block opposite, which is what USED to be the community space. Of course Andrew Barr was claiming on 666 that the amenities in Dickson are “run-down” and that’s the excuse. I’d suggest all of Dickson agitates and puts energy into contradicting Andrew Barr on this. There are already plans for endless dull, undersized apartments all over Dickson – how about keeping some genuine, uncrowded community space.

Vanessa Jones 2:43 pm 25 Jul 15

Here is a post from my page today. You might like to think how your issues look to other Canberrans.
https://www.facebook.com/KippaxIdeas
*****
WRITING/ART COMPETITION IDEA!
My comment yesterday, below, on The Riot Act’s FB page, about the Dickson article I posted yesterday. What do you think about the amount of funds the Inner North gets, compared to West Belco or Tuggers?
Here’s an essay or article or poem or song lyric or artwork idea:
“Compare and contrast the ACT government budget spending and infrastructure allocation between the Inner North of Canberra and West Belconnen or Tuggeranong in Canberra. Detail and discuss the issue.”
The reward: I would love to offer a coffee and cake voucher at a Belconnen café of your choice for the best essay or article, or poem (!) or song lyric (!) or artwork (!), and work can be shared from your page to this page, but I have no idea of the legality of such things on social media. Any advice? Why not have a go? Let’s encourage some debate about Canberra and what different areas receive in funding and infrastructure from this current ALP-Greens government, the ALP have been in power for over a decade. The Canberra Times does not seem interested in such social debates. Why don’t we start the debate?
VJ
My comment yesterday:
“I love parks and bushland, BUT. Imagine if Dickson was treated the way West Belconnen gets treated. How would they like an asbestos tip opened up at the back of Downer? Would they like no public swimming pool, as we have here, instead of the 5 pools they have (3 new ones at Lyneham gym). They might just remind themselves that they are getting a $900 million tram line plus a $100 million aquatic centre in the city. They are doing so much better via government than Tuggers and West Belco, where we also pay rates, I remind you. Would Dickson prefer no pool and an asbestos tip? I’d happily swap our tip and no pool status for a tram and an aquatic centre. Maybe just sit down and think about how fortunate you are, and how West Belco only got $30,000 in the 2015 ACT budget. Get a little perspective. In an ideal world, every park is precious, but if you want your tram and aquatic centre, something’s gotta give, guys.”

chewy14 2:11 pm 25 Jul 15

rommeldog56 said :

chewy14 said :

Ah the lament of the Nimby, it makes my heart leap with joy.

People in this city are going to have to realise that they will not be able to live in areas close to the centre of the city as well as expecting all of the amenity of living in extremely low density outer suburbs.

The community’s aspirations of never having high density areas nearby and a plethora of open space public areas remaining for their personal use is simply not possible or desirable.

Oh, so Dickson is close to the centre of the city is it? “Closer” maybe. In any event, this sort of infill is not being done because of Dickson’s closeness to Civic, it’s because they need to increase passenger numbers on the tram. Nothing more.

I don’t think they are asking for a “plethora of open space” either. Just adequate consideration of that.

Um, yes less than 4km is close to the city. I have no idea how you could think it wasn’t.

And it’s not open space they’re asking for, it’s no medium to high density residential development anywhere near where they live.

Paul Costigan 2:02 pm 25 Jul 15

Dear sepi

Thanks for your comments. I share your views on how the inner suburbs now have a growing number of families with young children. The push for Dickson Parklands renewal as a community cultural facility is actually a pro-development argument.

The surrounding suburbs are undergoing massive changes with tradie’s trucks everywhere – this will mean many more residents. The local do not oppose the infill – just that it should be well designed and appropriate. So yes to being NIMBY – no more of that crap stuff here please.

In the case of the Marsden St battle – the developer and ACTPLA were defeated (proposing 14 small units – lacking design) and they then came back with a sensible proposal (8 medium sized units – somewhat better designed) that received immediate support and is now being built.

The surrounding resident groups are trying to work with the many agencies involved (far too many) in securing an integrated approach to how the suburbs are to be infilled. Sadly and mysteriously the various agencies continue to pursue an ad hoc superficial approach that is marketed with much spin lacking any real evidence based arguments. We will see this soon in their pamphlets for their new plans for the Dickson Parklands.

The argument for the Parklands (as community cultural parklands site) is a pro-development push – because we are looking for the infrastructure that will be required for the increased number of residents to be put in place before it is too late. For example – we are also highlighting the need for improvements to the sewage as this was designed for much lower numbers and is already under stress. There are other infrastructure matters we have raised.

The Parklands should part of the new grey and green infrastructure that real planners would otherwise be providing for as the population increases. Sadly again – we do not have a community focused planning and development bureaucracy and no local politicians have so far stepped forward with any real visions for Canberra’s urban development.

The Dickson Parklands is not an abandoned site. It is true that they have been managed badly and have been neglected as possible community facilities – again due to an ad hoc approach to planning and development by the several agencies involved.

The Dickson Parklands remain potentially a much needed community cultural site for the growing populations in the surrounding suburbs; not just because of any linkages to the light rail. The major redevelopments along Northbourne will be far more relevant to the future usages of the light rail.

But many of those people will be looking for places to go and the Dickson Parklands are part of that infrastructure that residents are now arguing for – as part of a more integrated pro-development approach to planning and intensification of the surrounding suburbs.

rubaiyat 1:43 pm 25 Jul 15

rommeldog56 said :

chewy14 said :

Ah the lament of the Nimby, it makes my heart leap with joy.

People in this city are going to have to realise that they will not be able to live in areas close to the centre of the city as well as expecting all of the amenity of living in extremely low density outer suburbs.

The community’s aspirations of never having high density areas nearby and a plethora of open space public areas remaining for their personal use is simply not possible or desirable.

Oh, so Dickson is close to the centre of the city is it? “Closer” maybe. In any event, this sort of infill is not being done because of Dickson’s closeness to Civic, it’s because they need to increase passenger numbers on the tram. Nothing more.

I don’t think they are asking for a “plethora of open space” either. Just adequate consideration of that.

Dickson is close to the City, walking distance in fact.

The government has said the Light Rail is part of raising the urban density so more people are closer to where they work and or enjoy themselves. How is that evil or a conspiracy? It is sensible planned policy.

It is also inevitable, so may as well get on board and see that it is done well and not for just a few people’s personal benefit.

The whole Inner and North East section of Canberra is an obvious development opportunity for medium to high rise development tied into the city with clean, handy, unobtrusive, and reliable transport running through its heart.

The problem is that the Government does not see a clear path for them to benefit from that, so is always opting for green fields sites further out that it can sell to make money out of.

Canberra needs to restructure its land use and development processes so that there is an incentive for everyone involved to upgrade existing suburbs, not continually add new ones, far out and relying on poor, expensive and damaging infrastructure to link them.

JC 1:09 pm 25 Jul 15

sepi said :

Actually it is generational change that has filled the schools in the inner North. Most houses now have young kids, where 20 years ago they had aging couples, whose kids had moved out.

Unit dwellers tend to be students or young professionals with no kids.

In houses that in the past would have been rented to students as group house. So apartments freed the houses up.

Though many apartments also have young kids. It is the way of the current age you know. Apartments are what many first home buyers can afford, they move in breed and eventually move on.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site