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Draft ACT Planning Strategy up for discussion, infill ahoy!

johnboy 17 October 2011 37

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Simon Corbell has unveiled the draft ACT Planning Strategy.

Greater development in and around town and group centres, as well as higher density housing on main transport corridors will play a key role in making Canberra a more sustainable city into the future, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, said today.

Mr Corbell made the comments while launching the draft ACT Planning Strategy at the Legislative Assembly today.

“This new strategy will guide Canberra’s development for the next 30 years by planning a compact and sustainably efficient city,” he said.

“It is vital we review Canberra’s planning strategy to ensure our city can adapt to change and meet similar challenges to other major cities, like climate change and population growth and well as sustainable development.

“By having higher housing density in or close to town and group centres, and along transport corridors, we will see a reduction in the community’s reliance on cars.

The Strategy is now up on the Time to Talk website.


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37 Responses to Draft ACT Planning Strategy up for discussion, infill ahoy!
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Bramina Bramina 3:50 pm 18 Dec 11

Just a note that the timetotalk website says the consultations for this have been extended until the 12th of February.

The consultation website is here: http://timetotalk.act.gov.au/time-to-talk/planning/

damien haas damien haas 7:04 pm 18 Oct 11

akinky said :

A really good rail based public transport system to new and existing outlying suburbs would have the same effect on lowering commute times as building apartments closer to the centre, but without the overcrowding and loss of green spaces.

ACT Light Rail put in a submission to the Molonglo planning process saying that if light rail was constructed before the first houses went up, then this would reduce a significant amount of people choosing to drive to work, and woule provide an incentive for medium and high density housing. If people see a better alternative to driving to work they will use it.

naturally, this has not occurrred.

damien haas damien haas 7:00 pm 18 Oct 11

Hosinator said :

Not sure if it’s mentioned in the report, but a recent article in the Chronicle stated that the Chief Planning Officer for the ACT would look at ways to encourage Federal Government Departments to locate themselves in some of the other town centres.

Effectively following a work where you live strategy. Increasing the number of departments located in Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Woden would encourage residents in those areas to seek employment at those departments. Not all residents would follow this initiative, but decentralising the departments from the Civic/Parliamentary Triangle will go some way to making a difference.
He blamed the old boys club of Department Secretaries locating their offices in the city.

Terry Snow built Brindabella Business park and populated it with government departments, funded by himself.

If the ACT Govt had built two or three similar sized office buildings in Gungahlin, then those Govt departments may have moved there.

peterepete peterepete 6:42 pm 18 Oct 11

akinky said :

shadow boxer said :

Urban infill seems to me to be a solution looking for a problem.

selling infill land generates lots of easy revenue without needing much new infrastructure

We will struggle to raise revenue any other way.

devils_advocate devils_advocate 4:21 pm 18 Oct 11

poetix said :

Dual occupancy, when I looked into it a few years back, required a block of over 800 metres. (I don’t know if this is now still the case, or, if so, that there are plans to change it?)

That’s still the case ie for subdividing existing lots. The main issue is the plot ratio, which dictates the percentage of the block that can be taken up by building. It varies from around 30 per cent (total, mind, not per building) to I think 80 per cent for some particular zones north of wentworth avenue (ie lyneham, oconnor etc).

On one hand it’s pretty restrictive being only able to take up 30 per cent of what is in many cases 1000, 1200 metre blocks. On the other hand, people that bought into kaleen or macquarie etc did so on the basis of a certain aesthetic/traffic level in their street. Rezoning could add paper value for their assets but it is changing the rules of the game halfway through. Sure, it’s still not as bad as Frankline etc but those people knew what they were getting into at the outset.

EvanJames EvanJames 3:06 pm 18 Oct 11

I bet you any money the Property Council or whoever the developers’ peak body is wrote this policy. They were on the radio this morning talking it up. When developers are happy, you can guarantee that the actual people won’t be. It will contribute to developers’ pockets, not quality of life for people.

Fact is, with the population growing so quickly, and in an un-natural way, there are no good solutions as to where to put them. I’m sure many of us would be happy to live in Taralga or Hay, but people need to live near employment. And while they keep clustering employment locations in the middle of cities, then people will flock to cities. The cities will get bigger, and more crowded, like we’re seeing now.

akinky akinky 1:39 pm 18 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

Urban infill seems to me to be a solution looking for a problem.

selling infill land generates lots of easy revenue without needing much new infrastructure

johnboy johnboy 1:04 pm 18 Oct 11

influence is measured in metres to parliament house.

and all the motherhood statements in the world is not going to change that.

Hosinator Hosinator 1:01 pm 18 Oct 11

Not sure if it’s mentioned in the report, but a recent article in the Chronicle stated that the Chief Planning Officer for the ACT would look at ways to encourage Federal Government Departments to locate themselves in some of the other town centres.

Effectively following a work where you live strategy. Increasing the number of departments located in Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Woden would encourage residents in those areas to seek employment at those departments. Not all residents would follow this initiative, but decentralising the departments from the Civic/Parliamentary Triangle will go some way to making a difference.
He blamed the old boys club of Department Secretaries locating their offices in the city.

tidalik tidalik 11:47 am 18 Oct 11

dpm said :

Anyway, Simon Corbell on 666 inthe arvo was mentioning Adelaide Ave as an example. As it is the same speed as the GDE it seems strange that one is a ‘transit way’ and the other a ‘transport corridor’ (and they both have about the same about of on/off ramps)….?

I don’t think this distinction is strange. Adelaide Avenue has built up suburbs on both sides, is a major public transport corridor, and is built ‘level’ with the land around (meaning in theory pedestrians could cross it quite easily). The GDE goes mainly through bushland, has very few – if any – bus routes going along it, and in many places is built up above the surrounding land (so not very easy for a pedestrian to scramble up the embankments in order to cross).

dpm said :

Personally, I like the drive from Woden to Civic on Adelaide ave as there are plenty of tree and views to mountains in the middle of the city! I think it would suck if it was a 8 storey corridor of concrete apartments.
Also, surely buses (or light rail) stopping every 200m along it to pick up all the apartment dwellers would kind of negate the ‘transit way’ aspect a bit? Of course, they could even make it like Northbourne, and put intersections and sets of lights evey 200m! Awesome transit way!! I look forrward to this bold new future of easy communting around Canberra. 🙂

I on the other hand hate the empty spaces along Yarra Glen and Adelaide Ave. To me it just seems like a waste of land where people could be happily living, much closer to their places of work and leisure. Instead there are horses running about in fields! I think it would look a lot nicer if it were a bustling tree-lined avenue like Northbourne. I’m not trying to argue with you specifically, just pointing out that not everyone feels the same way about Canberra’s open spaces.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 11:39 am 18 Oct 11

Urban infill seems to me to be a solution looking for a problem.

poetix poetix 11:28 am 18 Oct 11

I feel that it is strange that the alternatives currently seem to be only massive towers of flats or tiny blocks with houses or townhouses taking up the whole area in far flung places like Crace. In O’Connor, Lyneham etc. there are already a large number of studio flats (aka granny flats), which is a de facto recognition of the need for a greater density of housing. Dual occupancy, when I looked into it a few years back, required a block of over 800 metres. (I don’t know if this is now still the case, or, if so, that there are plans to change it?) This sort of small scale development, if done sensitively, can bring more people into an area without destroying its character, maintain gardens and provide housing in areas with easy access to public transport and bike paths/walking options. Such developments are often less destructive of the character of an area than huge houses being built, which are usually occupied by just one small family anyway, as was the small house that was replaced.

housebound housebound 10:15 am 18 Oct 11

As a planning document, this has to be one of the worst I’ve seen for years. There are a lot of general statements that say very little, and the maps are almost useless because of their scale.

As a planning document, it lacks enough detail to be helpful: e.g. How much development are they looking at around Tuggers? What are those two little blobs in western Beclonnen (I think one might be Kippax).

As a strategic document: it doesn’t really offer a strategy. It outlines various iterations of infill in established areas, using (as another poster pointed out) sustainability and transport as excuses. No mention of options and the consequences. For example, what are the implications for transport, water, sewerage, education, food supply etc infrastructure of the proposed changes because of the likely resulting increase in population and population density.

Interestingly, Canberra goes from being the ‘bush capital’ to ‘the capital in the bush’.

akinky akinky 9:23 am 18 Oct 11

dpm said :

Personally, I like the drive from Woden to Civic on Adelaide ave as there are plenty of tree and views to mountains in the middle of the city! I think it would suck if it was a 8 storey corridor of concrete apartments.

I agree that although it takes a central path, adelaide avenue is more of a parkway in terms of its design (overpasses etc) and it would anyway be a shame to infill this scenic area.

There doesn’t seem to be much work planned on the canberra avenue corridor to qbn it still seems like canberra is insulating itself with light industry wasteland against the qbn influence.

So hard to get through the greenwash of this document. Some infill is inevitable as canberra expandss but i can’t help but feel cynical that the tone of the document is preparing us for some unpopular decisions.

A really good rail based public transport system to new and existing outlying suburbs would have the same effect on lowering commute times as building apartments closer to the centre, but without the overcrowding and loss of green spaces.

dpm dpm 8:05 am 18 Oct 11

arescarti42 said :

dpm said :

“By having higher housing density in or close to town and group centres, and along transport corridors, we will see a reduction in the community’s reliance on cars.”

So, are they planning on putting up a wall of apartments on both sides of the Tugg aprkway and GDE? Hahaha!

No. The plan makes the distinction between transit ways and parkways. Transit ways go through places and are what public transport would run along, and along which urban dense developments will occur. E.g. Northbourne Avenue and Yarra Glen. Parkways provide high speed routes around the city. E.g. Tuggeranong Parkway, GDE, Majura Road.

Of course! The media release etc talks about ‘transport corridors’ but they really meant ‘transit ways’. Gotta love bureaucratic semantics for the sake of it!
Anyway, Simon Corbell on 666 inthe arvo was mentioning Adelaide Ave as an example. As it is the same speed as the GDE it seems strange that one is a ‘transit way’ and the other a ‘transport corridor’ (and they both have about the same about of on/off ramps)….?
Personally, I like the drive from Woden to Civic on Adelaide ave as there are plenty of tree and views to mountains in the middle of the city! I think it would suck if it was a 8 storey corridor of concrete apartments.
Also, surely buses (or light rail) stopping every 200m along it to pick up all the apartment dwellers would kind of negate the ‘transit way’ aspect a bit? Of course, they could even make it like Northbourne, and put intersections and sets of lights evey 200m! Awesome transit way!! I look forrward to this bold new future of easy communting around Canberra. 🙂

The other strange thing about it all is the story on 666 started by saying Canberra needed another 65k of houses/apartments in the next x years to survive. Calll me stupid, but why is that exactly?

I-filed I-filed 11:08 pm 17 Oct 11

“… just pointing out that your quality of life generally is better in a lower-density suburban environment, where people can rattle around without impinging on other people’s space.”

Planning academic Patrick Troy warned us for years that there’s a sound reason behind people preferring suburban housing. I point out that people who live happily in high-density city housing are often those who have a beach house, a lodge, or a farm or country shack to escape to, or are rich enough to take frequent overseas holiday. Unless they have that regular escape hatch, I doubt whether high-density housing lives up to anything like the spin put up by – presumably suburban dwellers themselves – Simon Corbell, Katie Gallagher etc.
Another point: at one of the ACT Government sham consultation episodes last year, the “consultant demographer” lauded the joys of high-density housing for groovy young people. Um, what happens when they hit their mid-thirties, folks? Answer: as we all know, they compromise on eclat and groove, and head for the burbs to have kids.

2604 2604 8:11 pm 17 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

Far better to spread the employment than squash into the middle.

This is the right idea.

I sometimes wonder whether anyone advocating “higher density housing on main transport corridors” has ever lived in a high-density urban environment abutting an arterial road themselves. I did it for five years and hated four of them. Drunks staggering home at all hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. High crime rates, especially car theft. Endless road noise. Poorly constructed apartments costing more than houses in the ‘burbs.

Also, a large apartment block next to a six-lane road is no place for raising kids.

Not having a whinge, just pointing out that your quality of life generally is better in a lower-density suburban environment, where people can rattle around without impinging on other people’s space. Anyone who feels guilty about living in a suburb and commuting 20 mins to work each day can easily offset his transport CO2.

milkman milkman 7:59 pm 17 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

If you fill it all in it becomes just another crowded smelly noisy crime ridden city that are a dime a dozen anywhere. It’s not how it’s meant to be.

So true. Lots of people live here BECAUSE of the greenery. A Canberra that has been ‘infilled’ will hardly be a ‘bush capital’.

Jethro Jethro 7:46 pm 17 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

1. Because in my experience governments tend to mostly care about the impacts of their decision in the very short term, with little regard to the long term.

2. Because I believe well planned densification will make Canberra more vibrant and potentially more sustainable and affordable. I also believe good densification will allow Canberra to grow without adversely effecting the quality of life and character of the city.

Yeh I kind of disagree, I reckon if you asked people what they like about Canberra and what makes it unique they would say it’s decentralized nature, it’s leafy spacious suburbs, it’s bush like green belts and it’s plethora of open space near the city.

If you fill it all in it becomes just another crowded smelly noisy crime ridden city that are a dime a dozen anywhere. It’s not how it’s meant to be.

Far better to spread the employment than squash into the middle. It’s not like we are running out of land or anything

I completely agree with Shadow Boxer.

arescarti42 arescarti42 7:23 pm 17 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

Yeh I kind of disagree, I reckon if you asked people what they like about Canberra and what makes it unique they would say it’s decentralized nature, it’s leafy spacious suburbs, it’s bush like green belts and it’s plethora of open space near the city.

If you fill it all in it becomes just another crowded smelly noisy crime ridden city that are a dime a dozen anywhere. It’s not how it’s meant to be.

Far better to spread the employment than squash into the middle. It’s not like we are running out of land or anything

I agree with pretty much all your points there, and I don’t think densification ruins any of it. As far as I’m aware no one is pushing to build out Commonwealth park or Black mountain or cut down the urban forest etc.

The thing that concerns me is if the alternative is just continuous suburban expansion then then a lot of the amenity gets ruined because you have to keep building bigger roads so people can get into the central areas or access starts to become poor because the roads are congested, there’s not enough parking, travel distances are long etc.

Dense areas don’t have to be ugly, crowded, noisy, and smelly. The original part of Kingston (i.e. not the part on the lake side of Wentworth Avenue) is one of the densest parts of Canberra (3000 people per km^2+) but it is also one of the most spacious and leafy areas too.

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