13 November 2017

Canberrans asked to have their say on better housing mix

| Glynis Quinlan
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Canberrans are being asked to have their say on what range of housing options they would like to see developed in the ACT and how they would like to see that housing mix delivered.

ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman will visit the National Museum of Australia today to officially launch a new Housing Choices Discussion Paper for community consultation.

“We want to hear from Canberrans about what sort of housing they want and how greater housing options can be delivered,” Mr Mick Gentleman said.

“This consultation is designed to improve our understanding of how Canberrans want to see their city develop and what options the Government needs to consider when planning new suburbs and managing urban infill.”

Mr Gentleman said there has already been community feedback that people would like to see a greater range of housing options, including free-standing houses, apartments, townhouses or other housing types.

“By providing more housing types we can cater for a greater range of needs for the community, for example for an older person or couple in a large family home wishing to downsize to a smaller house, a young person looking for an affordable apartment, or a young couple looking to get started in the housing market by buying a townhouse,” Mr Gentleman said.

“We want to get residential planning and design right. Community engagement on the discussion paper is a valuable way for Canberrans to contribute their ideas on how to achieve better housing outcomes, and be a part of the planning process in our city,” he said.

“We have seen an increase in urban infill projects in recent years, which has allowed Canberrans the opportunity to access affordable housing closer to town centres.”

ACT Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said the consultation would also be important in assisting the government’s development of a new ACT housing strategy.

“Making sure housing developments meet the needs of people is a vital thread to the government’s housing policy, alongside other affordability measures and housing services,” Ms Berry said.

According to Master Builders ACT, increasing housing diversity is one of the most effective ways to tackle worsening housing affordability in the ACT.

Master Builders ACT CEO, Michael Hopkins, said that Canberra’s housing types are currently dominated by expensive single houses built on the urban fringe and small apartments built around group centres.

“However, Canberra’s households are becoming more diverse,” Mr Hopkins said.

“Single and couple households will soon become the dominant household type, overtaking the nuclear family type. At the same time, Canberra’s population is ageing.

“Based on feedback from our members, there is a strong and increasing demand from the community for more diverse housing types, including dual occupancies, townhouses, terrace housing, small homes, and apartments designed for families.”

Mr Hopkins encouraged the ACT Government to review the implementation of the Territory Plan amendment which allowed dual occupancies to be built on certain former Mr Fluffy blocks in the RZ1 zone.

“This rule has operated uncontroversially since its introduction two years ago, and is one example of how alternative housing can be provided for residents wanting to downsize without moving suburbs and away from family, friends, schools and support networks,” he said.

Consultation on the Housing Choices Discussion Paper released today will close on Friday 9 March 2018. For more information visit https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/housing-choices

Would you like to see a broader mix of housing being developed in Canberra? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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No house in the ACT should be built on a property smaller than 600m^2. The fact that you can get a 5 bedroom house on a 300m property is disgusting. We’re a city with loads of space, there was never any reason to cram people in so close together. Backyards are linked with social activities, exercise, dogs, fun, learning and a lot more that has been shown time and time again in studies to be far more beneficial to your child than it is to keep them indoors.

While we’re at it: Mandatory solar panels on new houses, and ‘rental’ properties. If the ACT government is actually interested in renewable energy that would be a huge step in the right direction. Of course all their mates with 15 rental properties will have to fork over some money to comply, so we know it will never happen.

Margie Warner10:16 pm 13 Nov 17

I think more houses with yards and make them not just the standard 3 bedrroom.But 1 and 2 bedroom houses my partner and I hate apartments. Our dogs and our grandchildren are important to us. In an Apartment you cannot have dogs.(unless there small ours are not) We have 7 grandchildren ranging in different ages not a great idea at chrissie time to have us stuck in an apartment but at least in a small 2 bedroom house with a yard not a courtyard we can play games.

Joy Grace Rita Kosciuk11:18 am 13 Nov 17

It is my opinion that a little more space be given to land divisions. There are too many houses and apartments in too small a space. My recommendation would be to have more town houses with small fenced gardens – back yards, to create a feeling of self. At the moment areas like Wright, Coombs and Denman Prospect look overpopulated and unnatural. They are cold and lack a welcoming feel. Canberra has always in my opinion been a welcoming place and is now no longer that. A great shame really, as we should be ever mindful of our status as capital city. It is our responsibility to set a standard for other cities to maintain the human aspect of our neighbourhoods not just create mass produced unit complexes that have no warmth or individuality about them. We also need to keep in mind the affect the land clearing is having on our native wildlife. They have a right to exist too. We need to find a way to co exist with nature. Trees help with creating fresh air – where are our green belts going? Developers need to be more ecologically friendly when designing their developments to incorporate green spaces where people can go to enjoy the outdoors. Bike paths and walking trails need to be factored into all future developments as well as parks and gardens. We need spaces to feel relaxed and spend quality time to continue to function well in our day to day lives. Our home environments play a huge role in how we cope with stress and need to provide a means of doing so.

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