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Beyond the expected

Developers and light rail

By Pandy - 4 September 2008 25

I am not one to think for the moment that building company’s want to feather their own nest and have a mouth piece act for them. But the following makes me think otherwise:

The Village Building Company wants to develop the WATSON Heritage Village site for 300 houses (why not apartments?).

Then comes in today’s CT a report that says “Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter president David Flannery said a Civic-to- Canberra Airport link had been proposed but he thought a route linking Civic and Watson’s residential area was preferable.”

Like why?

Let me think the Village Building Company was the group in the mid nineties that was pushing for light rail to Gungahlin. It also proposed linking it’s Tralee building site via light rail to Civic and the Defence (but Defence said they were not going to prop it up) site at Bungendore via the old rail network. As we have been repeatedly told, properties along light rail routes provide a windfall profits to sellers and an increase in stamp duty to government coffers.

So is David being paid by Bob to back VBC?

Why does not the VBC if it has any real green credentials (or is it only profit motivated?) not place their own money in to a consortium to build these light routes for bragging rights? Never heard that they would do so and I guess unlikely to ever do so, why should they when governments and gullible community organisations will help them to line their pockets.

Thoughts?

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
Developers and light rail
peterh 10:56 am 05 Sep 08

mdme workalot said :

Agree with that, sounds like a good system. Would be good to see a similar idea in one of the party’s long term plans for the ACT.

A little OT, but does anyone recall when they introduced pay parking to the Hospital? The idea was because apparently people were parking there and getting buses into the city for work, so they thought they’d introduce it to discourage this. Funnily enough, the pay parking times encompassed all hospital visiting hours which I thought was an absolute disgrace. Does anyone know if that’s changed now?

no pay parking there now. there are time limits, which are a bit of a pain if you are waiting in the ED (no pun intended)

Aurelius 10:55 am 05 Sep 08

Holden’s right. If you can’t run a bus service (with its built-in flexibility about routes etc) then a rail system wont work.
These light rail proposals are always coming up when a developer wants to gain a premium for their latest development plan. The rail lobby’s been suckered time and time again. Nothing’s changed.

Holden Caulfield 9:44 am 05 Sep 08

Light rail won’t do jack if there’s crap timetables. And if there’s crap timetables there’ll be crap patronage.

It’s not the big orange limos that people don’t like about ACTION, it’s the timetables!

mdme workalot 9:15 am 05 Sep 08

Agree with that, sounds like a good system. Would be good to see a similar idea in one of the party’s long term plans for the ACT.

A little OT, but does anyone recall when they introduced pay parking to the Hospital? The idea was because apparently people were parking there and getting buses into the city for work, so they thought they’d introduce it to discourage this. Funnily enough, the pay parking times encompassed all hospital visiting hours which I thought was an absolute disgrace. Does anyone know if that’s changed now?

Tempestas 9:01 am 05 Sep 08

The out of Public Transport range can be solved with a large secure carpark and a tram/train/bus every 3 minutes in peak every 20 outside that. Drive to nearest Public Trasnport node, park. Get where you are going faster.

As for paid parking, surely it can’t be too hard to create a system where all day parking is penalised and short term parking is not. Give every parent dropping off children a free 4 hour parking voucher then they pay the extra 2 hours before picking up the kids. It might be a bugger to set up but its not impossible surely.

mdme workalot 8:55 am 05 Sep 08

“Don’t build a bus lane, take one of the lanes for cars away and run busses every three minutes to make the message clear. Where we don’t have a bus lane make the right lane T2 all commuting times. Force people to hate driving a car by themselves to from work.”

Yes, Tempestas, what a fabulous idea – except for the fact that due to Canberra’s geological spread and the fact that a large number of people commute from regional areas, this will be disadvantaging a significant amount of people.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for encouraging those who have access to public transport to use it, and that is why I will always support reasonable concessions being granted to them. However, when they start increasing the cost of car parking, access to car parking and road and lane closures under the guise of forcing people to use public transport, where does that leave those of us who have no choice but to drive?

And before anyone says ‘you make the choice to live in a place not serviced by public transport’ in some ways you’re right – I refuse to pay three times as much so I can live in a concrete box next to some govvie slums. And because of the increase in rent, I couldn’t afford to eat.

Tempestas 8:55 am 05 Sep 08

Pandy

Got it in one. I’ve said it before, Canberra’s layout makes any public transport solution something of an unique opportunity, but its not space we need its getting better value out of the space we have. Of course being so close to an election there is no chance anything that will upset the masses or the benefactors getting up.

Of course the NIMBYism in this town will work against any attempt to implement a sane public transport option. *Sigh*

tylersmayhem 8:31 am 05 Sep 08

Don’t build a bus lane, take one of the lanes for cars away and run busses every three minutes to make the message clear. Where we don’t have a bus lane make the right lane T2 all commuting times. Force people to hate driving a car by themselves to from work.

Well said – and I agree completely. Humans unfortunately often cannot make the best decision themselves in matter such as this. It takes force!

Pandy 7:42 am 05 Sep 08

Well Gungahlin Al, I hope you are right.

Tempestas, why has the government not made a T2/priority lane in the centre lanes of Northbourne Ave a reality 7 years ago? If they had, people sitting in cars seeking how buses where getting everywhere so much quicker, would have supported light rail by now.

Tempestas 7:02 am 05 Sep 08

Here’t the thing, apparently in Hong Kong, the Public Transport and Land Development agency were the same organisation, nothing got approval unless it benefited the public transport system.

That and actpla demolishing buildings not meeting the requirements – how many houses in Gungahlin were not built to the relevant energy rating – would be a good start.

Until we have a government willing to take on both the builders/developers and the car lobby in this town its all going to be tinkering at the edges.

Don’t build a bus lane, take one of the lanes for cars away and run busses every three minutes to make the message clear. Where we don’t have a bus lane make the right lane T2 all commuting times. Force people to hate driving a car by themselves to from work.

Gungahlin Al 5:53 am 05 Sep 08

I believe you are right Pandy, and one of the points I’ve been making is that whenever Jon Stanhope trots out his “$1B” mantra, he is making the standard assumption that the only way anything gets built in ACT is for ACT to pay for it. If the original line had been built when proposed in 2001-02, it would have been completely paid for via development by now. But alas – the vision beyond the standard electoral cycle was not there at the time.

But I have a sense that there is a real chance this time around.

Other governments have infrastructure charging regimes in place to ensure that developers contribute to works. Anyone who has visited the Sunshine Coast in recent years may have seen the streetscape works, landscaping and art all along the Mooloolaba frontage. Almost all paid for by adjacent developers. Different scale – same principle.

I would actually support a Civic/Northbourne Ave link travelling past the Flemington Road turn-off towards Watson, and have said as much in talks with Andrew Barr recently (who I believe is becoming a good supporter of light rail). There are a lot of medium density residences along the Federal Highway that would be good to service by such a transport route – even without including anything yet to be built.

The line could then cut across the top of the EPIC overflow carparking to Flemington Road and on to Gungahlin. This EPIC parking area (with addition of lighting, security cameras and an set down area) could be used as a major park and ride (we put this idea *again* to John Hargreaves a couple of weeks ago, and this time he seemed receptive to the idea).

Many Gungahlin commuters who are not prepare to wait for suburban wanderer buses would drive to there and use the train for the city leg. And being adjacent also to the Federal Highway would mean that many of the people from over the border who currently rat-run through Watson, Hackett and Ainslie to Civic, could also park at EPIC.

Sandford Street in Mitchell is to be extended to Federal Hwy (past the new Bimberi) and this would be a logical turn-in point. Antill Street near the abovementioned development is a bit far perhaps, but maybe not.

Deano 12:37 am 05 Sep 08

Well, David Flannery does work for the architect firm Bligh Voller Nield who happen to be the architects for a few Village Building Company projects. BVN and VBC are also members of a number of the same committees in the Property Council of Australia and are both members of the Australian Green Developers Forum.

So its possible their paths may have crossed.

OzChick 12:31 am 05 Sep 08

^ I’m talking about the development at Watson Heritage Village site btw.

OzChick 12:29 am 05 Sep 08

I was told that some of these properties are going to be Affordable House and Land Packages through the ACT Govt.

GottaLoveCanberra 11:11 pm 04 Sep 08

I would truely, truely like to meet a developer who ISN’T profit motivated.
Anyone think they’re doing this for the betterment of Canberrans? HA!

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