13 October 2020

Call for Master Plan as Deakin developments take toll on suburb

| Ian Bushnell
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crane and building site

This project in Dension Street is well under way but other proposed developments are adding to pressures on the area.

The Government has been accused of an ad hoc approach to planning and development in the inner south with the Deakin Residents Association calling for a Master Plan to be developed for the area and nearby Yarralumla.

The association’s president, Dr George Wilson said Deakin was struggling to cope with the number of current and proposed developments, as parking issues, increased traffic flows and loss of amenity take their toll.

“Each development has a cumulative effect on transport and infrastructure yet the capacity for an integrated approach is completely absent as far as we can see,” he said.

Dr Wilson said there had been almost unanimous support for a more strategic approach to the development of Deakin at a recent public meeting to discuss the Grey Street and Newdegate Street former church site proposals.

The proposed developments at the centre of concerns include:

  • Grey Street supported accommodation facility
  • Kent Street Telstra site redevelopment
  • Kent Street Equinox II on the former bowling club site
  • Federal Golf Club construction of apartments

“When are they going to develop the roads and infrastructure to deal with the impact of development,” Dr Wilson said.

He said there does not seem to be any connection between the individual developments and the capacities of the roads to deal with the traffic that they’ll generate.

He said overflow parking was already crowding adjacent streets with people also parking on footpaths.

The former bowling green in Kent Street is now a Wilson car park but “all the side-streets fill up with cars everyday from people who don’t want to pay for parking”.

“That’s going to become more common but there is no plan to deal with it,” Dr Wilson said.

car park

The former bowling club site is now a Wilson car park, but will eventually make way for Equinox II.

He said a Master Plan also needed to integrate with the proposal for Light Rail Stage II, which refers to 120,000 people working and 90,000 living within a kilometre of the Woden corridor by 2041.

“DRA is curious where this estimate came from and what are the implications for Adelaide Avenue, let alone the Curtin horse paddocks,” Dr Wilson said.

Dr Wilson questioned the probable $2 billion or more price tag for Stage II and suggested such an amount would be better spent on improved bus services.

“Stage II will replace an existing 16-minute service between Civic and Woden with one that takes at least twice that time. Indeed we are also assuming the existing bus services will be abandoned. Their fate should also be part of a Master Plan,” he said.

Dr Wilson said the construction of these buildings and developments in the area were going ahead without any reference to the light rail proposal.

“There are various overarching planning documents but they all get ignored,” he said.

The call for a Master Plan comes as the Griffith Narrabundah Community Council expresses similar concerns about the development of the Stuart Flats site in Griffith and the impacts on Manuka.

Council president Dr Leo Dobes said a Master Plan needed to be developed for Manuka as the “piecemeal” approach to approving developments threatened to choke the suburb centre.

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