Chief Minister Andrew Barr says his Government has provided unprecedented access to representatives of the Oaks Estate community and has taken action to address some specific issues of concern to residents.
Every independent and minor party in Mr Barr’s electorate of Kurrajong, which takes in the suburb of Oaks Estate, has today pledged a series of commitments for the suburb given what they describe as government neglect.
Mr Barr this morning acknowledged that Oaks Estate was a unique community that did need a level of government attention.
“There are challenges in terms of service delivery given the size of the population, so some issues were able to easily be resolved and have been, others, you know, the system of prioritising upgrades to intersections or to pedestrian crossing or the like, there will be a hundred other intersections that have more people, more demand, more risk, but, nonetheless, we were able to address some specific issues at Oaks estate,” he said.
The ACT Government had worked with the Federal Government on some initiatives, he added.
“I think it’s unfair to say there’s been no attention paid to the area, we have had a number of meetings with residents and the Oaks Estate Progress Association over the last two years, in fact the entire cabinet met them, which I think would be unprecedented for any area of Canberra, for one suburb, to have the entire cabinet meet to discuss their various issues,” Mr Barr said.
“You also have to look at the needs of 400,000 people, and so we balance those things, but there have been initiatives in Oaks Estate, there will continue to be into the future, there’s been heritage work, planning work, police and road safety work, transport work, local government amenity, toilet facilities, playground upgrades, those sorts of things have all occurred.
“There’s more people who live on my street than live in Oaks Estate, so you’ve got to balance things.”
Mr Barr’s office provided the following list of ACT Government actions in relation to Oaks Estate since an April 2015 meeting between stakeholders and government.
· Members of the ACT Policing Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) met with the OEPA on 9 July 2015 to discuss crime and safety. CRU provided information about personal safety, Crime Stoppers, and provided fridge magnets with contact numbers for ACT Policing.
· CRU spoke with Mr Michael Starling, President, OEPA on 12 August 2015 about concerns of suspected criminal behaviour in Oaks Estate.
· ACT Policing continue to liaise with the OEPA and have agreed to attend future OEPA meetings if invited.
· ACT Policing conducted an audit on its activities within Oaks Estate, which, based on year-to-date averages, showed a similar level of traffic infringement notices issued in 2015 and 2016, and a small increase in traffic targeting and crime targeting activities.
· ACT Policing will continue patrols of Oaks Estate, including patrols to address speeding and anti-social driving.
· The Justice and Community Safety Directorate is working with Access Canberra to have new sites for mobile speed cameras in Oaks Estate up and running shortly (once baseline speed surveys are conducted).
· Minister Berry provided a contact and information on the services the St Vincent de Paul Society provides under the Samaritan Services Program in Oaks Estate.
· QCity confirmed it does run a normal timetable into Canberra during NSW school holidays.
· Railway Street in Oaks Estate has moved up in the warrant system since 2013 by 104 places and it currently ranks 98 in priority for detailed investigation in relation to local area traffic management.
· Roads ACT has completed an investigation of Railway Street looking at traffic volume and speed data, crash history and percentage of heavy vehicles, as well as surrounding land use such as the presence of shops or schools. The assessment indicated that Railway Street carries approximately 4,100 vehicles per day travelling at an average speed of around 54 km/h.
· An analysis of crash records at the Railway Street and McEwan Avenue intersection revealed there has been one reported crash at this location in the last seven years (2009-2015), with a total of seven crashes between Oaks Estate Road and McEwen Avenue. These results show Railway Street performs better compared with other similar roads in the ACT, and is therefore a lower priority for traffic management measures
· In 2015 Roads ACT completed an investigation at the intersection of McEwen Avenue and Railway Street intersection, with no indication that a pedestrian crossing is needed. Roads ACT will undertake a new survey at this location after school holidays to assess any changes to the pedestrian requirements.
· The Environment and Planning Directorate is reviewing Draft Variation to the Territory Plan No. 328 (DV328) for the Oaks Estate Precinct Map and Code in light of the submissions received through public consultation in early 2015. DV328 aims to protect the existing character of Oaks Estate by limiting building heights in the residential area, limiting the area that can be taken up by buildings and introducing setbacks to protect the heritage character of Robertson House.
· The draft variation has interim effect, which means development will have to comply with the provisions of the current Territory Plan and the provisions of DV328, with the more onerous provision taking precedence.
· There are no plans to release new blocks in Oaks Estate before the Queanbeyan sewerage works are upgraded, still several years away.
· The Heritage Council is currently considering if the Oaks Estate Precinct meets the threshold for heritage registration under the Heritage Act 2004. If the Council decides to register the Oaks Estate Precinct, heritage guidelines will be developed to protect the identified heritage values of the precinct.
· The Planning and Land Authority has received a development application for 30 units on block 25 section 3 Oaks Estate. This application is being assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2007.
· The Heritage Council has endorsed a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Robertson House. This includes guidance on opportunities for public access, and presents further opportunity to build on the Oaks Estate community’s involvement in the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival, held in April each year.
· The Government has decided not to move the Railway Museum in Kingston to Oaks Estate because it would require significant funding to relocate and accommodate the collection of locomotives, carriages and other railway related memorabilia, additional railway tracks and associated infrastructure such as sheds, workshops and parking areas. In addition, the operational heavy rail facilities adjacent to Railway Street are on the NSW side of the border and the ACT has no jurisdiction over this land, preventing a direct land grant.