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Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?

By Mike Jeffreys - 2 March 2015 110

light rail artist impression

I’ve had a couple of long conversations with Summernats’ Chic Henry, who is tossing up whether to run in the 2016 ACT election.

He told me that the Liberals want him to stand but one of the reasons he hasn’t yet committed is his age. If he were fifteen years younger he’d have no hesitation, but as it is he’s unsure.

He will make a decision by September or October to leave himself time to do what’s needed, including grass roots pre-election work like knocking on doors.

Chic has quite a lot to say about the light rail plan and the possible closure of EPIC:

“There is more value in promoting the very notion of electric cars, trucks and buses in Canberra to support the clean future.

It was moving along for a while and stalled and as usual, unless people of some consequence drive it, it dies. The late Chris Peters had that vision.

A tram to the airport is wasted effort. There is not likely to be enough housing to support it and as for increased tourist visits, the sun may rise in the west before that time.

Canberra airport has great value as a freight hub especially if a VFT is to ever come to us. On another subject, the MAGLEV Consortium had the best plan, as it was to go towards the Snowy Mountains as a route to Melbourne. Good value in that.

If the proposed light rail for Canberra is to be built, the Community deserves to be shown the extent of the network, especially the proposed corridors. Without doubt, we can expect that Civic will be the hub from which all lines will radiate, with connections to Woden and the Valley, Belconnen and Gungahlin of course.

Consideration must be given to the Parliamentary Triangle, Russell, the Airport, Fyshwick and maybe even Queanbeyan.

These corridors and the supporting bus networks must be presented if we are to believe that the Canberra Community could realistically catch the light rail instead of using their cars.

Such corridors will naturally include bridges, overpasses and possible a tunnel somewhere as well as the resumption of specific real estate.

For example, a line through or close by to the Triangle going towards the Tuggeranong Valley will face two major obstacles, the first being our precious lake and the second, the hill on which Parliament House is built.

Let’s consider the bridge, the cost, the land and the public outcry. Right now we are hearing that the cost of Stage 1 is $800 mil or thereabouts.

Guaranteed it will go north of that and it’s on relatively flat ground.

Imagine what the next stage/s will cost.

We are hearing that EPIC may close and the land dedicated to housing. It is without doubt, valuable real estate but where will EPIC be then located?

What might be the cost of such relocation plus the cost of a suitable patch of ground?

Seriously, it is inconceivable that Canberra does not have a showground, especially one as amazingly multi-purpose as EPIC.

We are led to believe that we, as a community, have above average intelligence.

It is immensely important to visualise the future for town planners, so why not give us the big planning picture with reasonable costing and a time frame.

Just maybe, we might get it. Sadly though, we must suffer the political games that parties play.

The late Martin Luther King once said, ‘I have a dream’.

Chic Henry, proud Canberra resident, says ‘I have a fear. A fear that Capital Metro Stage 1 may be the tram to nowhere as the only stage ever built’”.

What’s Your opinion?


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110 Responses to
Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?
dungfungus 9:20 am 03 Mar 15

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change…

This would be the Parliament House opened in 1988 by the government led by Bob Hawke, midway through his second term?

As a Liberal, apparently.

I think building commenced under the Fraser government (Fraser was then a Liberal, now a lefty) and of course it was a unanimous decision by all parties and stakeholders to go ahead. Even journalists were provided with a meditation room.
The final cost was $1.4 billion dollars.

astrojax 6:51 am 03 Mar 15

There probably won’t be a next stage. I can see it extending to Russell and maybe to Manuka and Kingston. That is as far as it will go. To make the tram viable they need a high density corridor, which is what they are creating. It may work in that sense, but its not a solution for all of Canberra.

which is it, watto? no next stage; or extensions east, and south across the lake?

and why do you imagine there needs to be a single, one-size-fits-all solution for canberra?

gooterz 12:12 am 03 Mar 15

Both houses of federal government, have seen the future in the NBN.
Working from home and home run businesses and IP are going to make the money.
Traveling to work because that is where the work is at is heavily declining.

I’m not sure about light rail but I’m sure many folk are hoping that Labours inability to deliver anything on time pushes this light rail wet dream out the window at the next election.

Skyring 11:33 pm 02 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change…

This would be the Parliament House opened in 1988 by the government led by Bob Hawke, midway through his second term?

As a Liberal, apparently.

dungfungus 11:25 pm 02 Mar 15

aussie2 said :

We already own ACTION yet subsidise it to the tune of $140m pa. TAMS sent me the network map and there are eight routes on it including Gungahlin. That Gungahlin route is expected to cost $1Billion capital, not including ongoing maintenance. Including the other seven, there are 153km of Light rail. Divide that by 12km, and you get 13 “packets” of tracks times $1Billion. Divide that by approx. 250 000 taxpayers that will contribute to the cost of the network, and run that over the life of the project-30years, equates to around $65K or $2200 increase in taxes pa. Then you have to add the maintenance costs. There was no mention of this kind of money at the 2012 Election, and THEY don’t want any sort of referendum.Keep in mind, we own ACTION but SOMEONE has to payback the contractor for his investment-GUESS WHO?

But something visionary and vibrant is priceless.

Skyring 11:00 pm 02 Mar 15

Chic Henry makes some good points about crossing the lake and traversing hills to extend the network. Another bridge over the lake would be expensive and would be necessary as rail vehicles have difficulty operating on gradients steeper than 1 in 30.

It is hard to think of a feasible route from Civic to Belconnen or Woden which does not involve either gradients steeper than this or extensive engineering, such as tunnels.

rommeldog56 10:30 pm 02 Mar 15

aussie2 said :

We already own ACTION yet subsidise it to the tune of $140m pa. TAMS sent me the network map and there are eight routes on it including Gungahlin. That Gungahlin route is expected to cost $1Billion capital, not including ongoing maintenance. Including the other seven, there are 153km of Light rail. Divide that by 12km, and you get 13 “packets” of tracks times $1Billion. Divide that by approx. 250 000 taxpayers that will contribute to the cost of the network, and run that over the life of the project-30years, equates to around $65K or $2200 increase in taxes pa. Then you have to add the maintenance costs. There was no mention of this kind of money at the 2012 Election, and THEY don’t want any sort of referendum.Keep in mind, we own ACTION but SOMEONE has to payback the contractor for his investment-GUESS WHO?

Watch out aussie2, if you keep on talking logic and common sense, you will get attacked by the “ACT Labor Government can do no wrong” brigade here on RA !

aussie2 8:00 pm 02 Mar 15

We already own ACTION yet subsidise it to the tune of $140m pa. TAMS sent me the network map and there are eight routes on it including Gungahlin. That Gungahlin route is expected to cost $1Billion capital, not including ongoing maintenance. Including the other seven, there are 153km of Light rail. Divide that by 12km, and you get 13 “packets” of tracks times $1Billion. Divide that by approx. 250 000 taxpayers that will contribute to the cost of the network, and run that over the life of the project-30years, equates to around $65K or $2200 increase in taxes pa. Then you have to add the maintenance costs. There was no mention of this kind of money at the 2012 Election, and THEY don’t want any sort of referendum.Keep in mind, we own ACTION but SOMEONE has to payback the contractor for his investment-GUESS WHO?

dungfungus 6:32 pm 02 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

It’s not fear the Liberals are spreading; it’s fact.
And the Liberals have commissioned and presented credible research to back up their assessment that the light rail is a non-goer.

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change, or massively expensive detention camps, or Bruce Stadium (the one they “lost” the files for).

The Liberals do have a history of ‘Sensible’ opposition to most things, like the National Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Medibank, even the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Lets not mention the NBN, National Parks, anything environmental or intellectual, the ABC, the Commonwealth Bank etc etc.

Things they never need costing for are National Party pork barelling, endless freeways, military toys, privatisation of public monopolies into private monopolies, tax cuts for mates and NBN Mark II aka the Telstra Chokehold Mark II.

I suppose that you oppose personal jet-packs then?

HiddenDragon 5:39 pm 02 Mar 15

No reflection on Chic Henry, but by next October, there’ll be plenty of Canberrans ready to vote for the proverbial drover’s dog if he, she or it promised to stop the trams.

rubaiyat 5:19 pm 02 Mar 15

Oh, and every single Free Trade Agreement they have stitched up, that has directly gifted hundreds of billions overseas.

rubaiyat 5:17 pm 02 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

It’s not fear the Liberals are spreading; it’s fact.
And the Liberals have commissioned and presented credible research to back up their assessment that the light rail is a non-goer.

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change, or massively expensive detention camps, or Bruce Stadium (the one they “lost” the files for).

The Liberals do have a history of ‘Sensible’ opposition to most things, like the National Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Medibank, even the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Lets not mention the NBN, National Parks, anything environmental or intellectual, the ABC, the Commonwealth Bank etc etc.

Things they never need costing for are National Party pork barelling, endless freeways, military toys, privatisation of public monopolies into private monopolies, tax cuts for mates and NBN Mark II aka the Telstra Chokehold Mark II.

dungfungus 3:41 pm 02 Mar 15

watto23 said :

There probably won’t be a next stage. I can see it extending to Russell and maybe to Manuka and Kingston. That is as far as it will go. To make the tram viable they need a high density corridor, which is what they are creating. It may work in that sense, but its not a solution for all of Canberra.

That said the thing that annoys me most about right wing politics is the use of fear. Those who worry too much and fear everything too much will never also do anything that has potential to be great because they fear the downsides too much.

The liberals in the ACT have let us down, because the best argument they can come up with is to spread fear about the cost. It is a genuine concern, but the use of fear rather than coming up with an alternative solution or use facts to reason against doesn’t seem to be a skill political parties have any more. Far easier to scare people into voting against something, than it is to present well laid out facts and research.

As for Chic Henry, if he really wants to help the liberals it would be better to run a right wing independent. If he runs as a liberal, he’ll just be winning a seat that another liberal candidate would win anyway.

Your first paragraph was really all that was needed.
How can the Canberra Liberals have “let us down” when they have been out of power for about 12 years?
They have never proposed a light rail because it just isn’t viable, mainly because it isn’t needed in the first place.
It’s not fear the Liberals are spreading; it’s fact.
And the Liberals have commissioned and presented credible research to back up their assessment that the light rail is a non-goer.
As far as an “alternative solution” (to a non-problem), what should the Liberals have proposed, personal jet-packs for every resident?

watto23 2:18 pm 02 Mar 15

There probably won’t be a next stage. I can see it extending to Russell and maybe to Manuka and Kingston. That is as far as it will go. To make the tram viable they need a high density corridor, which is what they are creating. It may work in that sense, but its not a solution for all of Canberra.

That said the thing that annoys me most about right wing politics is the use of fear. Those who worry too much and fear everything too much will never also do anything that has potential to be great because they fear the downsides too much. The liberals in the ACT have let us down, because the best argument they can come up with is to spread fear about the cost. It is a genuine concern, but the use of fear rather than coming up with an alternative solution or use facts to reason against doesn’t seem to be a skill political parties have any more. Far easier to scare people into voting against something, than it is to present well laid out facts and research.

As for Chic Henry, if he really wants to help the liberals it would be better to run a right wing independent. If he runs as a liberal, he’ll just be winning a seat that another liberal candidate would win anyway.

dungfungus 10:39 am 02 Mar 15

An insight into “value capture” and how it can be used for “value dedication” in urban transport.
http://www.fiscalexcellence.org/blog/valuecapture.html
Our government is taking an enormous risk not only with the light rail but now establishing of their own worker’s compensation business.
Doesn’t take long for the memories of millions of dollars invested and lost in Rhodium Asset Solutions and Transact to be forgotten. And there is the ongoing problem of not being able to manage the public servants retirement fund.
Why waste your time, Chic?

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