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CHILDREN! not factories [Rumblings at Oaks Estate]

By OEPA 18 October 2012 42

Would you feel good about industrial factories been built on contaminated land in your suburb – and across the road from a childrens playground. Well it seems to be happening in the village of Oaks Estate.

A recent unopposed decision by Queanbeyan City Council (QCC) has meant just that.

As part of a recent LEP process, Railcorp through the QCC sought to have contaminated land rezoned to industrial use. The land area while ‘technically’ in NSW – is literally on Canberra’s border – fronts Railway St (ACT) and can only be accessed and serviced by driving heavy commerical vehicles through the village of Oaks Estate, which is in the ACT.

The residents of Oaks Estate say no to this and have sought assistance  – but little support given by the ACT government to date. 

There is a cross border MOU in place to allegedly manage ACT/Queanbeyan infrastructure issues and the sharing of…however been told that Queanbeyan has at the expense of ACT residents the right to determine an outcome which is only to their social and economic benefit…just does not stack up.

The community of Oaks Estate wants an outcome that is to the ACT’s benefit also.

We want a safe place for our children to play – not be polluted.

Help us say no!


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42 Responses to
CHILDREN! not factories [Rumblings at Oaks Estate]
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OEPA 7:24 am 21 Oct 12

In the spirit of riotact …as highlighted below and as oft repeated the issue is about ill considered planning at best…

chainsaw said :

So far, nobody has commented on the other side of what Rail Corp is doing with their rezoning. There is quite a lot of land involved but the large area on the Queanbeyan side of the railway tracks is zoned for recreational use. Queanbeyan Council supports this, to buffer the station, a heritage building, from high density residential development. But the small and contaminated part nearest to Oaks Estate, with lousy access for trucks, is to be used for light industry…

Of course, that area is too small to allow for effective buffering between industry and (ACT) housing. But that’s OK, isn’t it? Council says that people in Oaks Estate should be grateful that Rail Corp doesn’t build another fuel terminal, or worse, on the land. For railway use, of course. Really? The rail system locally is going backwards year by year, and needs less infrastructure accordingly. That is why Rail Corp were willing to rezone such a big area of land – it’s just coincidence (isn’t it?) that the icky stuff gets served up as close as possible to the ACT. Yes, just coincidence, of course it is…

And where was the ACT Government while all this was going on? Busy debating the fine points of buffering between Hume and Tralee, that’s where.

chainsaw 3:40 pm 20 Oct 12

So far, nobody has commented on the other side of what Rail Corp is doing with their rezoning. There is quite a lot of land involved but the large area on the Queanbeyan side of the railway tracks is zoned for recreational use. Queanbeyan Council supports this, to buffer the station, a heritage building, from high density residential development. But the small and contaminated part nearest to Oaks Estate, with lousy access for trucks, is to be used for light industry…

Of course, that area is too small to allow for effective buffering between industry and (ACT) housing. But that’s OK, isn’t it? Council says that people in Oaks Estate should be grateful that Rail Corp doesn’t build another fuel terminal, or worse, on the land. For railway use, of course. Really? The rail system locally is going backwards year by year, and needs less infrastructure accordingly. That is why Rail Corp were willing to rezone such a big area of land – it’s just coincidence (isn’t it?) that the icky stuff gets served up as close as possible to the ACT. Yes, just coincidence, of course it is…

And where was the ACT Government while all this was going on? Busy debating the fine points of buffering between Hume and Tralee, that’s where.

milkman 11:35 pm 19 Oct 12

In the spirit of RiotACT arguments, I’d like to point out that Queanbeyan was there well before Oak’s Estate.

Woody Mann-Caruso 6:14 pm 19 Oct 12

OEPA, can you get out? If you privately own, is selling an option? If you are a govvie tenant, I would contact Housing ACT ASAP about a swap or transfer.

Or you could say you’re homeless, and move in next door to miz!

OEPA 5:14 pm 19 Oct 12

watto23 said :

The land is already contaminated. Its far better to build industrial use facilities on contaminated land. Sorry, but builkding anything else would be wreckless and careless. Especially when people start reporting health issues of their children who were using some community facility built on contaminated land.

Your post uses a lot of clkiches to try and throw emotion into something. The only person who agrees, has a history of nimbyism on RiotACT also.

Yes i’m all for creating a harmonious community with ties between the ACT and Queanbeyan. Why don’t you rally the government for a safe place for the children to play in in Oaks Estate? much more proactive and less abrasive.

I believe Oaks Estate residents do have a place for children and others to recreate – in fact this was the recent recipient of a major upgrade – the irony is that Mayor Overall and the Chief Minister Katy Gallagher presided over this opening.

Why should communities always be subjected to corporate expediency and profit over a balanced outcome? Saying it is bad and thus a planning process can be used to worsen a situation in 2012 is no longer that valid nor an easy justification.

But if QCC wish to rezone – provide appropriate buffers that recognise the NSW/ACT border, and landscape treatments – importantly provide access to this land from the NSW side of the border.

If this is the final planning outcome, and I hear much recently said by Mr Papps about improving the planning process – it will undo close to 25 years of studies, consultation and planning.

We welcome a productive cross border dialogue on this and invite both QCC and ACT Government to work in the spirit of the MoU, and meet with the residents of Oaks Estate to formally discuss this.

watto23 4:01 pm 19 Oct 12

The land is already contaminated. Its far better to build industrial use facilities on contaminated land. Sorry, but builkding anything else would be wreckless and careless. Especially when people start reporting health issues of their children who were using some community facility built on contaminated land.

Your post uses a lot of clkiches to try and throw emotion into something. The only person who agrees, has a history of nimbyism on RiotACT also.

Yes i’m all for creating a harmonious community with ties between the ACT and Queanbeyan. Why don’t you rally the government for a safe place for the children to play in in Oaks Estate? much more proactive and less abrasive.

Keijidosha 3:13 pm 19 Oct 12

I spent my youth in a house opposite a light industrial area that included a rail line and fuel/gas depots. Apart from some noise and my cat being hit by a truck it was a completely uneventful place to live, and I didn’t end up with any short/long term health issues.

That being said I can understand why a community would want to avoid industry taking root in a residential area, but unfortunately for Oaks Estate that horse bolted long ago.

miz 1:42 pm 19 Oct 12

I can see why you all want to stay in your existing community – you have an admirable sense of community spirit, a value which is unfortunately seriously undervalued these days (as there is no $$$ attached to that important value). Such places are often surprisingly terrific to live in. I only say ‘surprisingly’ because a lot of Canberrans pigeon-hole Oaks Estate as an undesirable place to live.

It would have been better if the land were to be decontaminated and used for community purposes. I am guessing it is contaminated from its former use by the railways – surely it is not so hard to decontaminate if this is the case – plenty of examples in Pyrmont, Ultimo (etc) in Sydney.

I see from the election guide thingy that you are in the Molonglo electorate. I would be getting MLA’s views now, and then writing to (emailing, petitioning) successful MLAs once the election is over, asking that you can be involved in what goes eventually happens to that land. Think about how you might be happy to compromise. Examples of this are, eg you might be OK with a shop or two, a child care centre, and single storey offices, but don’t want after hours traffic, noisy industry, multi-storey, etc etc.

I wish you the best.

Deref 11:59 am 19 Oct 12

I wish you luck, OEPA, but if it comes down to Issue X and profit, profit will win every time.

Although, yeah, I’d be more concerned about getting rid of the contamination first.

aussielyn 11:56 am 19 Oct 12

The next chief minister should take a lesson from the late Jim Fraser who worked for the benefit of the residents. Having a street that has one side ACT and the other NSW with two different planning rules is a recipe for a disaster. The Oaks Estate master plan indicates traffic calming on Railway St. Will this be safe access for the trucks coming and going from the warehouses in the light industry zoned site?
History is repeating itself as has been the fight for water, sewerage, electricity, and other municipal services. In the 1920s, OEPA nimbys had the nerve to want more than one half inch water tap for the whole settlement! Residents have always been left out in the battles between QCC and the ACT.
If sanity is to prevail, talks should commence between QCC, ACT, Railcorp and OEPA to sort out a way forward. There are steps for dispute resolution in MOU between the ACT and NSW.

NoImRight 11:31 am 19 Oct 12

How long as this “contimated land” been there and/or owned by Railcorp?

OEPA 10:25 am 19 Oct 12

miz said :

I know I would not want to live or play that close to industry (albeit ‘light’) and/or warehouses. I doubt the critics posting here would not want to either, being safe in the knowledge that this awful situation you are facing is not happening to them or their kids.
I note that light industry includes the firm responsible for the toxic fire in Mitchell guys (now, excitingly, relocated to Hume. Yay.)

OEPA, can you get out? If you privately own, is selling an option? If you are a govvie tenant, I would contact Housing ACT ASAP about a swap or transfer.

thankyou for the balance and considered response.

No OEPA is the voice of more than 1 it is a resident committee formed in the 1920’s to provide representation for the residents of Oaks Estate. The residents of Oaks Estate live in a community where they know their nehighbours and are proud of where they live.

The committee has a long history of seeking good planning outcomes whether it be a decades long fight for water and sewer or services for children and has included working for and with both public housing tenants and private. The community gifted land on which the community hall stands (1950’s) and also used their own money to repair the hall once it had been relocated. Or more recently a playground upgrade which the committee successfully sought funding for and which is the subject or the original post.

There is a strong sense of valuing community here – its heritage, whether it be social, built or environment.

We dont want to leave Oaks Estate.

We want to see ACT & NSW governments create good community focused planning outcomes

miz 9:44 am 19 Oct 12

I know I would not want to live or play that close to industry (albeit ‘light’) and/or warehouses. I doubt the critics posting here would not want to either, being safe in the knowledge that this awful situation you are facing is not happening to them or their kids.
I note that light industry includes the firm responsible for the toxic fire in Mitchell guys (now, excitingly, relocated to Hume. Yay.)

OEPA, can you get out? If you privately own, is selling an option? If you are a govvie tenant, I would contact Housing ACT ASAP about a swap or transfer.

NoImRight 9:27 am 19 Oct 12

Is this another committee of one?

OpenYourMind 8:10 am 19 Oct 12

screaming banshee said :

How about that…Oaks estate has the interwebs now.

Learn something new every day.

It’s all the more surprising given it was only last month Oaks Estate residents discovered fire.

bigfeet 6:58 am 19 Oct 12

OEPA said :

I’m exhausted

I imagine that convincing yourself you live in a ‘village’ is quite exhausting.

It is wearing me out just thinking about it.

milkman 4:20 am 19 Oct 12

arescarti42 said :

I suspect the people of Queanbeyan probably don’t have much sympathy for this issue, after the ACT government built an entire industrial suburb and a prison on their door step in recent years.

A very important point often overlooked by the people of Canberra.

OEPA 1:30 am 19 Oct 12

OEPA said :

I had thought this to do with poor planning, poor governance, poor consultation, indifference and its impacts on communities and yes children.

Why should they have their only safe public place made over as some themed industrial park?

Btw I like Vespas, vintage dodge trucks and horses

Btw c_c the tannery I believe is in an area named Beard. Named after a reformed and to do ex convict.

It is also by the map closer to Harman than the village of Oaks Estate. Oaks Estate as a surveyed area containing residences is now confined to an area defined by the intersection of Oaks Estate Rd/Railway St, railway line at Mcewan Ave and of course the mighty Molongolo, which is downstream from Captains Flat.

Can you please explain which map you viewed that shows you traffic movements?

I’m exhausted

dph 12:53 am 19 Oct 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Don’t live in oaks estate…

This. /thread

c_c 11:42 pm 18 Oct 12

OEPA said :

So the tannery is now ‘nearby’ and the Molongolo river has been flowing backwards since 1977?… Is there a hydrologist in the house…sorry oaks estate has a limited area of industrial zoning.

As I originally said, the tannery is in Oakes Estate, and is nearby the specific part of Oakes Estate you refer to as the ‘village’.

Now bad editing on that post admittedly when merging two paragraphs into one so one sentence leads into another and doesn’t make sense. So I’ll clarify:

The ‘village’ as you call it has lived just fine with a tannery nearby the residential area since 1977, and upstream of Oakes Estate is Captains flat, leaching toxins into the river for decades and a far greater concern.

Now I looked on the map and there’s no heavy traffic coming through the village, Railway St links directly to the main Oakes Estate Rd on the edge of the village, they won’t go through it.
That’s of course assuming they don’t just use Henderson Rd

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