13 September 2019

Common Ground broken in Dickson

| Michael Weaver
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Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry, chair of Common Ground Diane Kargis Bray and Common Ground Gungahlin resident Greg. Photos: Supplied.

Greg is one of many people in Canberra relying on affordable housing just to make ends meet.

He is also one of the tenants at Common Ground in Gungahlin, which provides the type of housing he needs to live independently.

On Thursday, 12 September, the ACT Government opened the ACT’s second Common Ground community housing project at Dickson, following the initial announcement in 2017.

Common Ground Dickson will provide 40 social and affordable homes with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units to support the needs of tenants like Greg.

“Before Common Ground, I was moving between group houses,” Greg said at the opening of Common Ground in Dickson.

“Living here has given me the stability I needed to get back on my feet and now I’m looking forward to finishing my studies at CIT.”

Common Ground Gungahlin resident Greg says the affordable housing gave him the stability he needed to get back on his feet.

Known as Section 72, which the ACT Government bought in 2012, Common Ground Dickson lies between the Dickson pool and the Majura playing fields, and is large enough to combine a mix of uses including community facilities and private homes, in addition to the planned social housing.

The project will primarily host low to medium-rise elements of up to four stories and will deliver social services, a café, communal green space and more trees.

The ACT Government set aside $2.4 million in the June budget to build Common Ground in Dickson, and Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said the project will help people facing chronic homelessness, particularly women, families and children.

“A good secure home is fundamental to so many parts of life. Common Ground is about more than just putting a roof over someone’s head, it is about building community and building real support for people in need,” Ms Berry said.

“Common Ground is different from traditional homelessness support services because it locates safe and secure accommodation alongside vital supports and services that help tenants break from the cycle of homelessness.

“The Canberra community has always shown its willingness to give to the greater good and a key to the success of Common Ground Gungahlin was the positive community response. I hope that will be repeated in Dickson.”


Section 72 at Dickson for the Common Ground proposal.

The next steps for Common Ground in Dickson is the release of the pre-development application consultation, the Territory Plan Variation consultation as well as asking for interest in philanthropic partnerships to help deliver this important project.

In order to build Common Ground, and the additional community uses such as a café and social enterprise spaces, a variation to the current zoning under the Territory Plan is required. The ACT Government has started this work and is asking for community feedback through the statutory consultation process.

As with Common Ground Gungahlin, the Common Ground board is asking for local builders, businesses and community groups to support and contribute to the delivery of this important project.

Chair of Common Ground Diane Kargas Bray is delighted that a commitment to a second common ground supported housing model has been agreed for Dickson.

“We know the Gungahlin Common Ground is very successful in providing residents with a home and support to enable them to grow and flourish and build a sense of belonging,” Ms Kargas Bray said.

“I think it is also a commitment of the Gungahlin community which has supported and welcomed the residents. This is a new opportunity for homeless individuals and families as well as low-income earners.”

Minister for Urban Renewal Rachel Stephen-Smith said Common Ground Dickson’s proposed design reflects what the community wants to see in Section 72.

“Common Ground Dickson has been designed to integrate into a broader redevelopment of Section 72, creating a safe and inviting environment, and improving access and amenity for pedestrians and cyclists.”

The ACT Government welcomes community feedback through the consultation process for Common Ground Dickson.

More information on Common Ground Dickson concept designs, engagement opportunities and the Territory Plan Variation consultation process can be found at Your Say.

Common Ground Dickson

An artist’s impression of Common Ground at Dickson. The ACT Government is seeking feedback as part of its consultation process.

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Will the subsidised tenants be expected to maintain the grounds, the way the rest of us have to in our rented houses?

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