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

Ian Bushnell 20 September 2020 24

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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24 Responses to Gungahlin’s election wishlist includes MLAs who’ll fight for area’s needs
Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 8:22 pm 24 Sep 20

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

steve2020 steve2020 8:47 am 21 Sep 20

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.

Alex Elliott Alex Elliott 9:50 am 20 Sep 20

Did Labor / Greens give any form of compensation to the businesses that were affected by the building of the light rail? A number of them went bust and / or deeper into debt.

Nudist Nudist 6:43 am 20 Sep 20

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 Carrick Fiona Carrick 11:08 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

Mark Scarborough Mark Scarborough 10:42 pm 19 Sep 20

It is concerning when a community council run by volunteers is more passionate, involved and aware of the issues of the electorate than the elected representatives.

    Mark Scarborough Mark Scarborough 10:46 pm 19 Sep 20

    Where were these representatives when time and cost blow outs on Gundaroo and Mirrabei Drive works? Where were they with the ongoing saga of the cinema development? Where were they when businesses struggled along the light rail alignment?

Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 8:08 pm 19 Sep 20

Gungalin has super roads, super parks, super internet, close to both Belconnen and Civic job hubs, free all day parking, ACT government jobs and have the tram, you have it good so PLEASE stop winging all the time!

    Darron Marks Darron Marks 9:09 pm 19 Sep 20

    You forgot to mention most of the ACT population growth Evan 😏

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 10:02 pm 19 Sep 20

    So I keep hearing. But all the growth moving forward will be in Belconnen and Molonglo, and when all the building finshes in Gungahlin the population will still be less than Tuggeranong.

    Darron Marks Darron Marks 11:09 pm 22 Sep 20

    When the construction moves so will the priorities for Government to build new infastructure. And it would have been the same when the Southside suburbs were built.

    You neglect to factor that into your criticism of infastructure being built in Gungahlin 🙄

    Would you like to compare the size and price per sqr mtr of land vs infastructure spent in a particular region ?

    I would like to see this analysis because in Taylor for example 400sqr mtr blocks are selling for $400,000 and you wish to deny them a dedicated school for example ?

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:27 am 23 Sep 20

    Darron Marks Yep, as the Government has been putting in great infrastructure in Gungahlin they have been downgrading the infrastructure on the southside. They closed down a number of schools and created the worst school in Canberra, they removed all the fun equipment in the adventure playground which use to be one of the best parks on the Southside, and made it worse than the average Gungahlin park. We’ve had lanes taken out of important arterial roads to prioritise northside traffic, we’ve had light sequences changed so they are heavily biased for northside traffic.

    In regards to the cost of land, your Community Council President recons that people are flocking from Tuggeranong to Gungahlin to buy these block, so the price must reflect the demand for the area. Personally because I like a single storey house with a backyard for the kids, I would buy a house on +700m2 block in an area like Tuggeranong for less than $500,000 and then build my dream home. If you don’t like the cost of the blocks in Gungahlin there are cheaper options around. If you want to live in Gungahlin then you pay the going rate and stop whining :)

    Darron Marks Darron Marks 7:05 am 23 Sep 20

    Schools being closed I would assume is a direct reflection of the change from the Southside being the former nappy belt of the region to the North side.

    Meanwhile Amaroo public school is at such high capacity that they are having to expand. The Government is investing in where the capacity issues and growth is, that is their job.

    You sir are the one having the whining attitude. You want funding to remain in schools that obvious don't have enough students to retain funding. And criticise any spending to create new schools where there is a desperate shortage. And the existing schools are at and have been at capacity for years !

    Our arterial roads compared to your south side you don't even want to start on that topic. We have been fighting for years to get even basic duplication on almost all existing routes in and out of Gungahlin.

    Your situation is nothing in comparison and if you spent more time here you would know this.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 1:36 pm 23 Sep 20

    Darron Marks The school closures in the South are not just as simple as 'the area no longer being a nappy belt'. Schools in the 2000s that were going to be shut under the demographic modelling by the Government but got a last second political reprieve are now full of students, whilst areas that did have school closures are now half empty. That tells experts that: If you don't provide quality schools, families won't move into the area. Suburbs with an older average age than say Kambah or Wanniassa have high attendances, those two suburbs with lower performing school performances are experiencing low enrolments. ACT Government needs to focus resources into improving schools to help attract families into the area, NOT just expanding existing schools or putting in temporary classrooms.

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 7:02 pm 23 Sep 20

    Darron Marks Totally agree, there is a need to build more schools in Gungahlin as most of them are at capacity. The reason that most of the public schools in Tuggeranong are below capacity isn’t the demographics, rather most families enroll their kids either in out of area schools, or send them to a private schools which all seem to be at capacity. The government to their credit does appear to be trying to lift the standard of the schools in attempt to try and attract kids back to their local schools. If you want to talk about road congestion, I suggest that you take a look at google live traffic map to see that the traffic in Gungahlin isn’t really that bad anymore compared to other areas. The biggest issue with traffic from Gungahlin appears to be all the crap driver who tailgate and wonder why they run up the back of each other on the GDE/Drakeford drive. It’s interesting to see how much traffic is affected from a single accident. On Chief Minister talkback there were at least two people winging saying that the accidents are due to congestion and that the government needed to prioritize south bound traffic to minimise accidents. These people seem to miss the point that people all over Canberra face similar congestion issues and they aren’t the only ones that need road upgrades.

    Glory Hammer Glory Hammer 7:18 pm 23 Sep 20

    Evan Hawke, your comments appear to have set up a north vs south debate, when this isn't the intent of the article. Peter Elford was merely stating that what is needed are local members of parliament who advocate for their electorate.This is true whether the article was about Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen, Oaks Estate or Gungahlin. Politicians who enter the Assembly on the goodwill of their electorates need to then be seen to act in the best interests of their electorates, as well as the Territory as a whole.

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 8:42 pm 23 Sep 20

    Glory Hammer I totally agree that every area needs politicians who fight for there areas. Most of the politicians in my area only seem to appear around election time and don’t really do much for their area, which is probably the case for most areas of Canberra. Peter seems to be on the radio and in the Riot Act all the time winging how hard done by Gangahlin has it, when in fact Gungalin has it better than most parts of Canberra. The people of Gungahlin need sit back and enjoy how good you have it, instead of winging about everything all the time.

    Darron Marks Darron Marks 7:27 am 24 Sep 20

    The increased spending to duplicate some of our arterial roads has made a difference you are correct.

    But to say there wasn't a need for this spending is something I object to. If you experienced the gridlock of horse park drive before the duplication it was an absolute nightmare at peak time !

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:32 pm 24 Sep 20

    Darron Marks I totally agree that the roads in Gungahlin use to be shocking and roads like horse park drive needed upgrading. There was also a lot of extra pressure on the roads becasue of the construction work around the tram. These days the roads are generally fairly good except for the days when there is an accident on the GDE when everything seems to come to a standstill.

Vicki Herbert Vicki Herbert 6:17 pm 19 Sep 20

Might be good if the candidates standing in Yerrabi remember that the electorate is more than just Gunghalin

    Glory Hammer Glory Hammer 7:21 pm 23 Sep 20

    Vicki Herbert, have you noticed that some of the candidates don't even know how to spell Yerrabi?! Not naming names, but if a person is going to stand for an electorate, it might help if they knew how to spell it correctly on corflutes and posters.

    Vicki Herbert Vicki Herbert 8:38 pm 23 Sep 20

    Glory Hammer haha. Hadn't noticed but will be on the lookout now.

David Pollard - Independent for Yerrabi 2020 David Pollard - Independent for Yerrabi 2020 3:03 pm 19 Sep 20

Roads and traffic, and local sports facilities have been very popular topics raised with me. Growing commercial opportunities in the town centre has also been identified. Local jobs are so important to the prosperity of the whole region.

So many people say they completely avoid the town centre because of how bad the roads and traffic are. That’s not fair on our local business operators. We need to fix the mess and bring people back.

Mark Bowell Mark Bowell 2:21 pm 19 Sep 20

Fix the traffic problems around the centre and people may use it more it’s a joke

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