20 September 2020

Gungahlin's election wishlist includes MLAs who'll fight for area's needs

| Ian Bushnell
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More employers and businesses in the Town Centre is top of mind for the Gungahlin Community Council. Photo: File.

Wanted in Gungahlin: MLAs who will be fierce advocates for the area and be accountable for their decisions.

That’s what’s missing from the current bunch, according to a frustrated Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford, who has been calling in vain for answers to issues and a plan for how and when the growing district will be completed.

The council has released its election wishlist and Mr Elford has launched into local MLAs for not doing enough for the people they represent and spouting the party line.

”The last time we saw obvious and genuine advocacy around getting Gungahlin’s needs ahead of other random projects was Meegan Fitzharris lobbying for road infrastructure,” he said.

”The MLAs don’t really care, particularly the Opposition’s. They don’t really care about what’s happening locally.”

He also blasted the government and its bureaucracy for its inability to act cohesively.

Mr Elford said the Town Centre needed jobs and more commerce, and the district needed to know where the rest of its community and sporting facilities will be sited, including playing fields, aged care and retirement homes.

“We’re just trying to point out that for a standard Canberra district, we’re not done. We are nowhere near done,” he said.

”And a lot of it is nothing to do with releasing more land, it’s where are you going to put all the things that are left?”

Mr Elford said he can’t get a cohesive plan from any of the agencies involved.

”If I ask any one of them, ‘who’s got the plan for when Gungahlin’s going to be finished and what’s going to go where?’ they all stare at the floor,” he said.

The council believed the government should be providing incentives or ”tilting the floor” for big employers to go to Gungahlin, much like the peppercorn rent the ACT Government is charging UNSW Canberra so it can develop a new campus in Reid.

”It [employment] clearly has a huge impact on everyone in Gungahlin, the amount of people moving out of Gungahlin every day to go to work, the vibrancy of businesses and the attractiveness of Gungahlin as a commercial centre,” he said.

Poor traffic flow and chaotic parking also bedevil the Town Centre, he said.

The council was also concerned about the rezoning of half the Town Centre for mixed-use residential development which begged the question about where the needed green space would go.

Mr Elford lashed Labor’s community centre announcement as nothing more than the re-announcement of an idea, with no site identified.

”Apparently, they have initiated a consultation inside EPSDD [the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate] to look at the needs, which is a desktop exercise and doesn’t involve talking to the community, which is an interesting way of approaching a community site,” he said.

Draft Variation 364 to the Territory Plan also talks about alternatives to allocating 6 ha of land for community facilities such as providing equivalent space in other buildings.

”How does that work?” Mr Elford asked.

He said transport and road congestion remain issues.

No major road projects had been started for two-and-a-half years, the last one being the duplication of Gundaroo Drive.

But space has been left for many roads to be duplicated. ”Why haven’t we started the planning?”

Despite Gungahlin’s growth, police resources were not keeping up.

”There has been no increase in the number of police or upgrades to the station for two decades and that just flies in the face of common sense,” he said.

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Queanbeyanite8:22 pm 24 Sep 20

They got a billion dollar tram, what more do they want.

What I think is sorely required in the Gungahlin Town Centre are provisions for traffic and vehicles, wider lanes, more parking and more space to navigate parking areas, as well as more loading and delivery zone provisions and all-round accessibility. Gungahlin is very cramped at the moment with both high density commercial and residential and it creates stress and inconvenience for people to go about work and business when there is inconvenience. It’s an example of how profitability can affect livability and not a good example of good town planning and business or property regulations. But at the same time, overly spacious places can give a feeling of emptiness, such as Canberra City (Civic) pedestrian malls without median food and other stalls.

Otherwise, Gungahlin is a nice place with great people. It is also a major centre for people from New South Wales, with people coming in daily from places like Murrumbateman, Gundaroo, Sutton, Yass etc. for shopping and services, and often the first place of call for people coming in from interstate by road for people looking for something to eat and accommodation after long journeys, therefore should also have more accommodation options.

L an excellent summation of the current state of play in the Gungarlin electorate. I’ve had involvement with Peter on at least one m local project and I’m very impressed with his commitment to the local community. if Peter chose to ever stand as an independent I would certainly vote for him and encourage my friends to do likewise

Fiona Carrick11:08 pm 19 Sep 20

Hi Peter
We are singing from the same song sheet. It is time the Government looked after our Town Centres!
The Woden Town Centre is the major commercial hub for the south (with the hospital), it is the CBD of the south.
However, it is now likely that Woden will lose its ice rink and pool. This is in addition to the basketball stadium, bowling greens, tennis courts and the pitch n putt – effectively the ACT Government is overseeing the dismantling of Woden’s recreation precinct in favour of high-rise development.
I have been calling for a land use plan for the Woden Town Centre for 4 years.
There is no balance between homes, jobs, public spaces and community facilities, just towers from 12 to 28 storeys around our Town Square.
We are going backwards in community facilities yet no one has listened to our concerns about the lack of planning for our Town Centre.
We are getting a CIT in the bus interchange however there was no consultation and no one can explain why the bus interchange is the best site.
Fiona Carrick
Independent candidate for Murrumbidgee

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