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If the NIMBYs had their way, Canberra would be a ghost town

John Hargreaves 16 January 2017 62

Northbourne Ave

I have broken one New Year’s resolution already.  That was not to get upset at those selfish middle aged and old NIMBYs who object to anything and everything progressive around their street or shopping centre.

They really give me the irrits.  If they had their way, we would be living in a town with the architecture of the 1930s to 1950s, would have aged infrastructure and no vibrancy at all.  We would be in a ghost town.

In 2016, hardly a week went by without some group or retired academic objecting about something in their street or area, be it a group of townhouses popping up in their street to address the housing shortage and to allow old folks to age in place or a multi-storeyed building in the local or town centre.

What do you think about Canberrans who protest about development in their local area?

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They objected to the removal of hideous old public housing buildings along Northbourne Ave even though the tenants were to be housed in up to date housing properties, with state of the art facilities and fittings, environmentally friendly window treatments and modern appliances.  When shown these new properties, the tenants thought their Christmasses had all come at once. But still the NIMBYs weren’t happy.

Why do they object?  Any number of spurious reasons.  Their property values would plummet! Really?  Get real! In almost every case property values go up when a suburb is modernised.

The ambience of the suburb and its intrinsic beauty will be compromised.  Who says so?  When they pop their clogs, the houses will be occupied by people who were born generations after them and have a different attitude to ambience.  They want ambience with the mod cons of modern architecture and solar power.  They want neighbourhoods with amenities for their kids.  The NIMBYs would outlaw the kids if they could!

They say that the developments will increase the traffic in their streets. What a load of rot! Sure the traffic will increase as more people move in but the same can be said for dual occupancies and granny flats, but then the complainers would object to those being built.

What part of more people in an area increases personal safety and security for properties don’t they get?  What part of having more people often generates more jobs in the service industries don’t they get?

These are the same complainers who mourn the old days.  Well the old days are gone.  We need to have employment opportunities and housing opportunities for the increasing population of this city. This means more office space in the town centres and going up is the only way that can happen.  They complain about the roads we are resurfacing in their suburbs, they complain about the construction of new highway size roads and overpasses or roundabouts.  But they still complain about how long it takes to go to work.  I don’t reckon many of them actually do go to work and I reckon hardly any of them have ever travelled by bus even though they complain about the inadequacy of public transport.

They complain about the multi-storeyed apartment blocks even though the occupants of said apartments want to be close to work and away from the commuting traffic. The Newbies don’t want to own a car and don’t have to if they live in an apartment on a public transport route.

The NIMBYs complain about traffic on the Parkway yet complain about increased bus services and the light rail proposal. They complain about the cutting down of trees even though the trees are inappropriate for the area and are nearing the end of their life expectancy. We live in an urban forest and they complain about not being able to cut down trees on their nature strips.

When I came to Canberra in 1968, it was a lovely place. It was growing at a rate which was fascinating.  I lived in Belconnen and saw it explode.  Everyone was young and everyone was excited.  No-one that I knew was over protective of their way of life and their understanding of how the world should be in their little pocket of it.  NIMBYs were assumed to inhabit the inner south, particularly Red Hill, Forrest, Yarralumla and Deakin. Reid and Braddon had a few (which morphed into the Residents Rally later on!)

But now the disease of selfishness has spread to the burbs.  The only consistency about these complainers is their inconsistency.

These are the same people who bag the Labor Club Group for a so-called dependence on problem gambling, even though the Vikings Group has more pokies, they claim that the Labor Club Group is owned by the Labor Party, even though clubs are not allowed to be privately owned, according to the law. They ignored the fact that the Labor Party distanced itself from the poker machine revenue by creating another revenue stream based on investment in childcare and now watch for the objections to the Labor Club development in Belconnen, which creates a hotel on its own piece of real estate.  I await the objections with bated breath.

I’m happy that the town is booming.  I’m happy with the forest of cranes on the skyline. I’m happy about the light rail and all it promises.  I’m happy to see hideous monstrosities torn down and replaced by modern steel and glass buildings with interesting architecture.  I’m happy to see old public housing stock (the ACT has the oldest public housing stock in the country) demolished and replaced with modern homes with modern amenities. I’m happy about developments to our road network and our public transport system. I’m happy about the proliferation of outdoor cafes and eateries. I’m happy about the live music scene in Canberra. I’m happy about the way Canberra has grown up with me.

I just wish these stuck-in-the-past NIMBYs would just grow up instead of just growing old!

On to my next resolution.  Not to rant too much in 2017.  Mmmmmm!


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62 Responses to If the NIMBYs had their way, Canberra would be a ghost town
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Futureproof Futureproof 11:50 am 29 Jan 17

Back in the day, people complained about pay being auto deposited into the bank instead of receiving it in a paypacket. There will always be whingers. NIMBYs will always be around.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 4:35 pm 25 Jan 17

Further Information on my response to Pink Little Birdy on School zones and why Kambah students can’t just decide to go to Garran, Torrens or Farrer etc can be found here: http://www.education.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school/priority_placement_areas

And details that show that Kambah wasn’t built in the late 60s but in the mid 1970s is from trusty Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambah,_Australian_Capital_Territory

Namadgi Superschool’s tale of woe ‘performance wise’ can be found on any of the ratings web pages such as YourSchool or Better Education. Or to see through the less informative government sites how badly Namadgi compares against all schools across Australia and also how badly it performs against Students from a similar Socio Economic scale. https://myschool.edu.au/ResultsInGraphs/Index/102344/NamadgiSchool/50244/2015

bj_ACT bj_ACT 4:32 pm 24 Jan 17

pink little birdie said :

bj_ACT said :

JC & Pink Little Birdie can argue that due to Demographics it was the correct thing for ACT Labor to close an incredible three primary schools, two pre schools and a High School in the single large suburb of Kambah.
The issue I have with people who quote demographics, is that they don’t seem to follow the rules from when I studied demography, that demographics is generally a statistical study of human beings and that you actually have to do the numbers before making generalised demographic claims.

You can’t just use your gut instinct and claim it’s demographics (unless you’re Donald Trump of course).

A demographic study of ABS data shows that Kambah has the ‘most’ primary school attending residents in all of Canberra (1231 kids – or 8% of the suburbs population). Ngunnawal has the second highest (881 kids – 10% of the population). The suburb with the highest proportion of kids in Primary School is Amaroo with 14%.

The problem with the closure of the Kambah schools was that it wasn’t made on a demographic basis but on a political basis. Schools were kept open in inner Canberra suburbs due to political pressure by the Greens and vocal residents groups who are far more influential and skilful than the average Kambah resident. Plenty of suburbs with less primary school aged kids stayed open after being identified for closure.
The closure of the schools in Kambah has been a disaster for families in Kambah. The closures have affected education quality (the Namadgi Superschool in Kambah has proven to be a catastrophe) and the closures ensured richer and better educated families will not move to Kambah due to the worsening performances of the public schools in the area. This process just makes the education cycle get worse and worse (then the cycle repeats itself).
Kambah with its relatively cheap housing and big blocks is exactly the kind of suburb that attracts young families, the ACT government providing inadequate educational resources for the suburb should be something that any Canberran’s with a sense of fairness should be rallying against. This is another example where the people with the skills and influence in Canberra to complain about development proposals or suburb changes they don’t like win out over the people of Kambah, Macgregor, Banks or Fraser etc who seem to lose out.

I also did a double take on Bruce’s claim that the physical size of Kambah being roughly the same as Queanbeyan and looking at Google Maps at the same zoom level, he is on the money. My old suburb of Kambah has been really short changed by both sides of politics since self government.

Kambah was built in the late 60’s early 70’s so when I was finishing school the majority of people in Kambah had finished raising their kids. In my age group the majority of them were the youngest of their families (if that) there was a significant drop off in children attending primary schools in Kambah. I think when I was finishing Mt neighbour and Taylor were beginning to struggle for numbers. It may be the point is reached where the parents of the first couple of generations (kids now aged 30-45) are downsizing out of their family houses and young families are moving in.

(ABS Census data – community profiles – Suburb of Kambah)
1996 primary aged kids 1976, 1212 in government, 631 catholic, 133 other
2001 primary aged kids 1634 -986 government, 519 catholic, 129 other,
2006 primary aged kids 1,331 – 788 government, 417 Catholic, 126 Other
2011 primary aged kids – 1,231 – 714 in Government schools 383 catholic and 134 elsewhere (grammars, trinity, steiner etc).

That’s a drop across all sectors of primary schools. I guess you would include the Athlon side of Greenway in Kambah but then you also lose the top east corner of Kambah to Farrer and Torrens and possibly Waniassa and St Anthonys.
There is still one high school, 2 public primaries and one catholic primary school. Maybe there was room for one more primary to stay open (like I said Mt Neighbour due to location)

Where do I start with your response???

1. Kambah was not built in the late 60s early 70s. First houses were 1974 and my old house was one of the last built in 1979.

2. By any demographic measure Kambah currently has and also had at the time of the school closures a greater number of primary aged Children than other suburbs in Canberra that won the fight to keep their Primary Schools despite being flagged for closure. This is the key point of my argument. The school closures were not determined by pure demographic and budgetary data, Schools with lower enrolments and lower potential enrolments stayed open due to political pressure and due to the complaints of people with influence. These decisions helped the education of higher socio economic families in inner Canberra and hurt education performances for lower socio economic families in outer suburbs where many schools were closed. The high costs of keeping open inner Canberra schools with low enrolments has meant that the Government doesn’t have the money to properly target funds to low performing schools like the Kambah Namadgi super school. Yes there needed to be fine tuning and thoughtful closures of some of the various schools in Kambah, but closing 6 schools within five years and not properly resourcing Namadgi with the best available teachers, support staff and infrastructure has been a proven disaster.

3. Are you aware of the School catchment areas in the ACT? It’s not easy for a family in Kambah to just decide to go to Farrer and Torrens Primary to ensure a better education for their children. Even if they could, the lack of school Bus services and the distances involved make it impractical for most people.

The school closures in Kambah had a huge and negative impact on education performance, house values, public transport and social equality in the Suburb. I just can’t understand why you can’t see this.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 2:11 pm 24 Jan 17

bj_ACT said :

JC & Pink Little Birdie can argue that due to Demographics it was the correct thing for ACT Labor to close an incredible three primary schools, two pre schools and a High School in the single large suburb of Kambah.
The issue I have with people who quote demographics, is that they don’t seem to follow the rules from when I studied demography, that demographics is generally a statistical study of human beings and that you actually have to do the numbers before making generalised demographic claims.

You can’t just use your gut instinct and claim it’s demographics (unless you’re Donald Trump of course).

A demographic study of ABS data shows that Kambah has the ‘most’ primary school attending residents in all of Canberra (1231 kids – or 8% of the suburbs population). Ngunnawal has the second highest (881 kids – 10% of the population). The suburb with the highest proportion of kids in Primary School is Amaroo with 14%.

The problem with the closure of the Kambah schools was that it wasn’t made on a demographic basis but on a political basis. Schools were kept open in inner Canberra suburbs due to political pressure by the Greens and vocal residents groups who are far more influential and skilful than the average Kambah resident. Plenty of suburbs with less primary school aged kids stayed open after being identified for closure.
The closure of the schools in Kambah has been a disaster for families in Kambah. The closures have affected education quality (the Namadgi Superschool in Kambah has proven to be a catastrophe) and the closures ensured richer and better educated families will not move to Kambah due to the worsening performances of the public schools in the area. This process just makes the education cycle get worse and worse (then the cycle repeats itself).
Kambah with its relatively cheap housing and big blocks is exactly the kind of suburb that attracts young families, the ACT government providing inadequate educational resources for the suburb should be something that any Canberran’s with a sense of fairness should be rallying against. This is another example where the people with the skills and influence in Canberra to complain about development proposals or suburb changes they don’t like win out over the people of Kambah, Macgregor, Banks or Fraser etc who seem to lose out.

I also did a double take on Bruce’s claim that the physical size of Kambah being roughly the same as Queanbeyan and looking at Google Maps at the same zoom level, he is on the money. My old suburb of Kambah has been really short changed by both sides of politics since self government.

Kambah was built in the late 60’s early 70’s so when I was finishing school the majority of people in Kambah had finished raising their kids. In my age group the majority of them were the youngest of their families (if that) there was a significant drop off in children attending primary schools in Kambah. I think when I was finishing Mt neighbour and Taylor were beginning to struggle for numbers. It may be the point is reached where the parents of the first couple of generations (kids now aged 30-45) are downsizing out of their family houses and young families are moving in.

(ABS Census data – community profiles – Suburb of Kambah)
1996 primary aged kids 1976, 1212 in government, 631 catholic, 133 other
2001 primary aged kids 1634 -986 government, 519 catholic, 129 other,
2006 primary aged kids 1,331 – 788 government, 417 Catholic, 126 Other
2011 primary aged kids – 1,231 – 714 in Government schools 383 catholic and 134 elsewhere (grammars, trinity, steiner etc).

That’s a drop across all sectors of primary schools. I guess you would include the Athlon side of Greenway in Kambah but then you also lose the top east corner of Kambah to Farrer and Torrens and possibly Waniassa and St Anthonys.
There is still one high school, 2 public primaries and one catholic primary school. Maybe there was room for one more primary to stay open (like I said Mt Neighbour due to location)

bj_ACT bj_ACT 5:41 pm 23 Jan 17

JC & Pink Little Birdie can argue that due to Demographics it was the correct thing for ACT Labor to close an incredible three primary schools, two pre schools and a High School in the single large suburb of Kambah.
The issue I have with people who quote demographics, is that they don’t seem to follow the rules from when I studied demography, that demographics is generally a statistical study of human beings and that you actually have to do the numbers before making generalised demographic claims. You can’t just use your gut instinct and claim it’s demographics (unless you’re Donald Trump of course).

A demographic study of ABS data shows that Kambah has the ‘most’ primary school attending residents in all of Canberra (1231 kids – or 8% of the suburbs population). Ngunnawal has the second highest (881 kids – 10% of the population). The suburb with the highest proportion of kids in Primary School is Amaroo with 14%.

The problem with the closure of the Kambah schools was that it wasn’t made on a demographic basis but on a political basis. Schools were kept open in inner Canberra suburbs due to political pressure by the Greens and vocal residents groups who are far more influential and skilful than the average Kambah resident. Plenty of suburbs with less primary school aged kids stayed open after being identified for closure.
The closure of the schools in Kambah has been a disaster for families in Kambah. The closures have affected education quality (the Namadgi Superschool in Kambah has proven to be a catastrophe) and the closures ensured richer and better educated families will not move to Kambah due to the worsening performances of the public schools in the area. This process just makes the education cycle get worse and worse (then the cycle repeats itself).
Kambah with its relatively cheap housing and big blocks is exactly the kind of suburb that attracts young families, the ACT government providing inadequate educational resources for the suburb should be something that any Canberran’s with a sense of fairness should be rallying against. This is another example where the people with the skills and influence in Canberra to complain about development proposals or suburb changes they don’t like win out over the people of Kambah, Macgregor, Banks or Fraser etc who seem to lose out.

I also did a double take on Bruce’s claim that the physical size of Kambah being roughly the same as Queanbeyan and looking at Google Maps at the same zoom level, he is on the money. My old suburb of Kambah has been really short changed by both sides of politics since self government.

JC JC 4:24 pm 23 Jan 17

Maryan said :

The only thing that will get people out of their cars, is the same as the thing that got them into them – a faster, more convenient & more comfortable option.

Search “Architectureau Sky Way” & you will see the option that is being looked at, not only for Adelaide, but also being mooted for Perth I believe.

‘Solutions’ like that might be fine for niche markets, but are not really scalable to mainstream situations.

Indeed look to London. They have a cable car that crosses the river, it is integrated into the public transport system (including ticketing) but is hardly a threat to more traditional forms of public transport.

Also a look to Adelaide shows that sometimes it is maybe best not to be too adventurous too soon. Their O-bahn, whilst having served them well is pretty much an orphan world wide. It would have actually been better off being built as light rail. And oddly that was the prefered solution, it was meant to have been an extension of the Glenelg line, but the NIMBY’s objected to the route it was to take through the city, so the decided to go underground, but NIMBY’s objected to noise and it got canned. Ironic now the current line goes through the city and the O-bahn is being extended to the city too. So clearly attitudes change.

Plus it was mooted that it would be changed to light rail a few years back, when the original Mercedes Benz buses needed to be replaced. The problem was O-bahn was a Mercedes Benz proprietary system and by then MB has more or less abandoned O-bahn so had no suitable replacement. So Adelaide went through a string of trials other other brands to find one that worked, fitting the old guide wheels and hardware to the new buses. Believe since then MB has essentially give the IP to the SA government (being now the only operator) so they can use what ever supplier they want and to continue building new parts. So really an orphan system that came about because of NIMBY’s and ironically was originally designed so buses could run through the same tunnels as trams.

Chris Mordd Richards Chris Mordd Richards 8:18 am 23 Jan 17

BlowMeDown said :

Hmm. Then why is it that young people prefer to find a home in old, mature and established areas?

People choose where they live and develop their environment over decades and much work, then some opportunist comes in after all the work has been done to profit from the old, mature and established surroundings. People don’t want it because it’s new, they want it because of the ready-made surroundings.

Growth is the lazy and least creative solution to managing a city or an economy. Growth is ultimately a dead end.

FYI, you don’t speak for this young person of most of my friends.

Chris Mordd Richards Chris Mordd Richards 8:17 am 23 Jan 17

dungfungus said :

Chris Mordd Richards said :

I will re-read the RA, CT and other other pieces about the Karralika proposal again. That said I know most of the current and former staff very well there, inc. the current and former CEO’s, and the story the staff at Karralika tell paints a very different picture to the comments on here. Will see if anyone willing to speak on the record and consider doing another look at what happened and if it’s worth publishing a piece to factually examine what was and wasn’t true regarding that proposal and how it was put forward and ultimately denied.

You are like the people who can’t believe Trump won the election for US presidency.

Why can’t you just accept that the Karrilika expansion in Macarthur was not approved and move on?

There is no need for a Royal Commission.

I am more interested in why the expansion at Fadden was not allowed, as to why a new development in a new site altogether was not allowed, I am more familiar with the former than the latter atm and it appears I and others have confused some aspects between the 2 different proposals, which is why I am interested now to get to the bottom of what actually went on overall regarding this. Who said anything about a Royal Commission. If i want to look into a matter to see if I can find anything of interest not reported to date or worth clarifying, why do you care?

For the record, I still can’t believe Trump won the presidency. That has nothing at all to do with this though, and we are going to need a new term for when ppl do this now, just like Godwin’s law, for ppl who invoke Trump as an argument purely because they know it will inflate the discussion way beyond it’s original point and are just doing it to be outlandish and incendiary in their approach to the original topic.

Maryan Maryan 10:59 pm 22 Jan 17

JC said :

Maryan said :

5. There were & are better, faster, cheaper transport options (Now being taken up & trialled in Adelaide which is obviously more innovative, creative & courageous than Canberra).

Such as?

Only public transport projects I know of in Adelaide are the extension of the O-Bahn into the CBD, extension of the light rail line and electrification of the suburban rail network.

With the O-Bahn, can say with certainty if they hadn’t built the first stage in the 1980’s they wouldn’t be extending it or building one now. Gudied busways have not been that successful. Indeed only two cities ever used O-Bahn, Adelaide and Essen, and the Essen one is now closed. And most guided busways now are basically short ones to allow buses to navigate through more difficult areas (such as sharing a tram line), or to better position at stops on high platform busways. Bangkok for example.

The light rail extension has been successful and another short extension is planned.

They also intended light rail to take over some lighter used train tracks, this has been delayed (along with electrification of some lines) due to changing budget priorities.

And the last project just mentioned above is electrification of the suburban network and new trains. Very good idea, but budget issues mean not happening as planned.

So really not sure what these innovations are that will encourage such a change in PT usage.

Oh and light rail, every city that has installed one has seen patronage growth over buses they replaced. So must be something there to attract a change in use. Weather it is a sufficient change to justify the cost is another matter, likewise another matter to do nothing either.

The only thing that will get people out of their cars, is the same as the thing that got them into them – a faster, more convenient & more comfortable option.

Search “Architectureau Sky Way” & you will see the option that is being looked at, not only for Adelaide, but also being mooted for Perth I believe.

A different brand of magnetic levitation transport was suggested for Canberra – Sky Tran. It would have provided efficient, flexible transport for almost all the city’s residents, at literally about half the cost of the so-called light rail.
It would not have required the removal of hundreds of trees. Nor would it have required the digging up of the underground services along the median strips.
It had the capacity to provide safe public transport for young adults getting home from a night out. It also had the capacity to be use by parents needing to get smaller children safely to school & themselves to work somewhere else, because it was a “pod” system. Each little two seater “pod” could be called up individually or in pairs (rather like calling a lift – no driver or timetable required) & then directed to the point of destination. It then automatically takes the fastest route.

If our government had been a little more adventurous, instead of so totally risk averse, it could have been us running a test track from say around the ANU & then on to Civic. Or perhaps between Calvary Hospital, around the Canberra Uni, then on to Belconnen.
Then we would know if this new option really would work.
But, as our forebears took a chance & tried out the new-fangled trams in 1893 in Hobart, we have not been brave enough to take a chance on our new technology.
What will that tell the following generations about their forebears? Nothing very good I think!

JC JC 1:05 pm 21 Jan 17

BlowMeDown said :

Hmm. Then why is it that young people prefer to find a home in old, mature and established areas?

People choose where they live and develop their environment over decades and much work, then some opportunist comes in after all the work has been done to profit from the old, mature and established surroundings. People don’t want it because it’s new, they want it because of the ready-made surroundings.

Growth is the lazy and least creative solution to managing a city or an economy. Growth is ultimately a dead end.

Where is your evidence of this?

My experience is a bit different. I finished year 12 in Canberra but over 25 years ago having grown up in Macregor.

Of my friends who purchased homes in the years after finishing school/Uni (back in the days when people could afford to buy in their early 20’s) a good 75% brought brand new in either Gungahlin or Dunlop, many smaller townhouses or like me smaller 2/3 besides. The rest generally brought established in the west Belconnen area.

In the years that have passed maybe half my friends have moved into what would have been established areas. But they could only do that by using the equity the built in their new builds on the fringe. And the other half are either in their homes they brought 20 odd years ago or like me have upsides but still in newer areas.

So guess my experience is a bit different to what you are saying. And indeed school entitlements and the like kind of reflect new suburbs attract disproportionate numbers with younger families leaving older suburbs to an older population.

JC JC 11:53 am 21 Jan 17

dungfungus said :

Chris Mordd Richards said :

I will re-read the RA, CT and other other pieces about the Karralika proposal again. That said I know most of the current and former staff very well there, inc. the current and former CEO’s, and the story the staff at Karralika tell paints a very different picture to the comments on here. Will see if anyone willing to speak on the record and consider doing another look at what happened and if it’s worth publishing a piece to factually examine what was and wasn’t true regarding that proposal and how it was put forward and ultimately denied.

You are like the people who can’t believe Trump won the election for US presidency.

Why can’t you just accept that the Karrilika expansion in Macarthur was not approved and move on?

There is no need for a Royal Commission.

Good advice. May I ask in fairness when will you accept that Labor/greens won the last election with light rail as a major policy platform and move on?

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 8:45 am 21 Jan 17

Hmm. Then why is it that young people prefer to find a home in old, mature and established areas?

People choose where they live and develop their environment over decades and much work, then some opportunist comes in after all the work has been done to profit from the old, mature and established surroundings. People don’t want it because it’s new, they want it because of the ready-made surroundings.

Growth is the lazy and least creative solution to managing a city or an economy. Growth is ultimately a dead end.

SomethingSomethingRubenstein SomethingSomethingRubenstein 11:34 pm 20 Jan 17

rommeldog56 said :

Ana said :

Apparently, they are already convinced that all the new apartments there will be, ‘rentals’. Those rents will be high. Are they worried that a lesser type of person will be there ‘renting’?

Curtin has nowhere for aging in place people to live and a lot of those residents now complaining have been there for many decades. Where do they think they will have to age to?

As I understand it, its the developer who will be renting them out. None will be for sale apparently. Its some sort of new concept I think.

In that location, I doubt that any “lesser type of person” would be able to afford the rent.

I dont think that the proposed development is aimed at retirees anyway, so dont see a connection.

Agree that Canberra badly needs much more affordable retirement accommodation.

Hmmm … I don’t know if Ana has even been to Curtin – maybe she just likes to lend a hand to the plucky, risk-taking, tax break-guzzling rentier. The suburb has PLENTY of units available at low rental/purchase price already. From memory the cheapest units in Canberra in some recent survey or other, so something there to suit most budgets … presumably for both lesser and greater types of person (whatever that means).

And yes – aging in place might appeal to a lot of older locals as that stage in their life comes along, so maybe a nice new unit at the very middle of what’s seen by some as a villagey kind of environment would suit nicely. I can tell you they’ll probably want to buy rather than rent, although personally I’d be worried they might not enjoy any “vibrancy” future developments might inject into a rather humdrum area.

My question is still the same – has anyone seen this kind of thing before locally? A large unit complex exclusively owned and operated for rental by one family? If not, the ACT planners should be taking a huge interest in how it will work, and how the owners intend to ensure it doesn’t just become a dump that no-one who lives there actually has a personal stake in.

After all, if it really is the first of its kind, it won’t be the last.

In the end, the condition and smooth running of any building always comes down to the owners – usually a patchwork of owner/occupiers and individual investors where any other private Canberra apartment block is concerned, acting together through the Body Corporate. The less than exemplary state of the current shop building doesn’t inspire much confidence, and why should locals not keep pushing for the best possible outcome?

JC JC 9:59 pm 20 Jan 17

bruce_lord said :

pink little birdie said :

bruce_lord said :

I have to laugh when John Hargreaves gets on his high horse complaining about Canberra becoming a Ghost Town.

I can tell you it’s a Ghost Town around Urambi Primary School, mt Neighbour Primary School and Village Creek Primary School.

Seeing he was very complicit in closing a lot of these schools in his electorate and his inability to get funding off his own party to develop new infrastructure and building improvements into Tuggeranong, these complaints ring a touch hollow.

Urambi primary is being turned into over 55’s housing. the area still has a primary school as part of Namadgi School. The site also backs on to Kambah Adventure playground which is still popular with families and there was development of the small shops with an IGA going up about K away. That area of Kambah is more busy than when I was in high school in Kambah.
The mount neighbour site has been turned into public housing many years ago now so I’m not sure about that rant.
Village creek Primary got turned into a community health centre.
Very confused.
I don’t think Kambah needed 4 government primary schools.

I don’t know why you say I am having a rant when independent analysts of NAPLAN and other schools data rank the Namadgi school as the worst in canberra. It’s hardly a rant when Urambi school is three and a half kilometres from Namadgi and Kambah has over 15,000 residents to be served in a massive suburb the physical size of Queanbeyan. You might like the new little IGA near the Superschool but I bet Kambah Village hasn’t changed or improved since you lived in Kambah.

I read on the riot act that Kambah was the most mortgage stressed place in Australia. Are you saying that Kambah is better serviced by government now than it used to be when you went to Kambah high?

If you had to choose a school to send your kids to would it be Namadgi Superschool or would you prefer a closer school to home with better performance outcomes?

My niece had a terrible time when Urambi closed in 2010 and she was sent to Namadgi. From what I hear she was far from the only family to experience issues with the four Kambah school closures that John Hargreaves delivered.

Plenty of places where schools are 3.5km from people’s home. The problem is when the kids grow up and move on it is not sustainable to have a school on everyone’s door step.

Closures are not nice but not like the government (including the Liberal government who also closed a number of schools) did that in spite. They did it to better share the finite teacher resource and allocate the staff to growth areas. And of course save in maintenance of under utilised and aging buildings.

New suburbs see demand for primary schools around 5-25 years after a suburb is developed. Kambah is a big suburb but certainly doesn’t have the same number or even close to the same number of students it did in its peak.

Of course urban unfil is a method of bringing in new people to create demand but of course NIMBYs the subject of this thread often complain about that and then of course complain when schools and the like no longer remain viable and need to close.

Related to that is the quality/suitability of the replacement school but that is another discussion.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:48 pm 20 Jan 17

Chris Mordd Richards said :

I will re-read the RA, CT and other other pieces about the Karralika proposal again. That said I know most of the current and former staff very well there, inc. the current and former CEO’s, and the story the staff at Karralika tell paints a very different picture to the comments on here. Will see if anyone willing to speak on the record and consider doing another look at what happened and if it’s worth publishing a piece to factually examine what was and wasn’t true regarding that proposal and how it was put forward and ultimately denied.

You are like the people who can’t believe Trump won the election for US presidency.

Why can’t you just accept that the Karrilika expansion in Macarthur was not approved and move on?

There is no need for a Royal Commission.

rommeldog56 rommeldog56 9:44 pm 20 Jan 17

Chris Mordd Richards said :

I will re-read the RA, CT and other other pieces about the Karralika proposal again. That said I know most of the current and former staff very well there, inc. the current and former CEO’s, and the story the staff at Karralika tell paints a very different picture to the comments on here. Will see if anyone willing to speak on the record and consider doing another look at what happened and if it’s worth publishing a piece to factually examine what was and wasn’t true regarding that proposal and how it was put forward and ultimately denied.

Good – though I dont know hat raking over all this will achieve after so many years. In the interests of a balanced outcome, suggest u contact the residents too and analyse what the ACT LA Committee said.

Chris Mordd Richards Chris Mordd Richards 8:25 pm 20 Jan 17

I will re-read the RA, CT and other other pieces about the Karralika proposal again. That said I know most of the current and former staff very well there, inc. the current and former CEO’s, and the story the staff at Karralika tell paints a very different picture to the comments on here. Will see if anyone willing to speak on the record and consider doing another look at what happened and if it’s worth publishing a piece to factually examine what was and wasn’t true regarding that proposal and how it was put forward and ultimately denied.

JC JC 7:35 pm 20 Jan 17

Maryan said :

5. There were & are better, faster, cheaper transport options (Now being taken up & trialled in Adelaide which is obviously more innovative, creative & courageous than Canberra).

Such as?

Only public transport projects I know of in Adelaide are the extension of the O-Bahn into the CBD, extension of the light rail line and electrification of the suburban rail network.

With the O-Bahn, can say with certainty if they hadn’t built the first stage in the 1980’s they wouldn’t be extending it or building one now. Gudied busways have not been that successful. Indeed only two cities ever used O-Bahn, Adelaide and Essen, and the Essen one is now closed. And most guided busways now are basically short ones to allow buses to navigate through more difficult areas (such as sharing a tram line), or to better position at stops on high platform busways. Bangkok for example.

The light rail extension has been successful and another short extension is planned.

They also intended light rail to take over some lighter used train tracks, this has been delayed (along with electrification of some lines) due to changing budget priorities.

And the last project just mentioned above is electrification of the suburban network and new trains. Very good idea, but budget issues mean not happening as planned.

So really not sure what these innovations are that will encourage such a change in PT usage.

Oh and light rail, every city that has installed one has seen patronage growth over buses they replaced. So must be something there to attract a change in use. Weather it is a sufficient change to justify the cost is another matter, likewise another matter to do nothing either.

Maryan Maryan 6:55 pm 20 Jan 17

DJohn, I don’t agree with you on the development issue either!

As far as I can see, more of us older people know the difference between “progress” & “development” & not too many of the younger generations realise there even is a difference.

I’ll deal with the growing up & growing old issue first. Growing old is just a matter of not dieing. Growing up on the other hand, is a choice. I have no intention of growing up. I intend to become a geriatric delinquent, maintaining my child-like delight in the world to the very end – and please note, I said “child like”, not “childish”.

I am not a stuck in the past NIMBY.

I do however, know the difference between changes that are designed in the public interest, and those that are designed in the interests of the few.

I know which I value of those two choices.

I also know the difference between boring, same-old same-old architecture and exciting, creative, innovative architecture.
I saw more exciting architecture in India than I’ve seen in Canberra in the last 20 years!

Also more old tree preservation in Delhi & Mumbai than in Canberra, which is hanging on doggedly to it’s “Bush Capital” label.

From The Netherlands, we could learn a great deal about building new residential, in keeping with the old as well as about integrating exciting new, with old and with traditional. It can be done well.

The fact that people resist new that is not well done, does not mean that they are resistant to change.

Offer these people you call NIMBY’s creative development, that provides amenity & quality of life, and I am pretty sure the level of resistance will drop dramatically.

I have seen quite a bit in my time; seen changes that have worked well & ones that have not; I have seen progress, change & regression; I have seen governments do great things; I have seen governments stuff-up, walk away & let someone else take the blame &/or deal with the consequences (eg. closing ACT primary schools due to lack of student numbers, to find a few years later that the schools are now needed, but the people who made those decisions have moved on – to the Chief Minister’s position in this case; & I’ve seen the results of decisions that seemed reasonable at the time, play out over the long term, to be not good decisions at all & vice versa. (For instance, the removal of the technical stream in the Public Service, which has actually led to the situation where the Public Service has no skill base on which to assess the tenders & contracts which it calls & which are presented to it.)

And to nail my colours clearly to the wall : I am one of those who complain about the “Light Rail”.
Let me tell you why :
1. To start with, there is nothing light about it – 168,000tons of concrete & steel for the first section (that’s just track & does not include carriages or stations etc.
2. Not because it’s new, but because it is NOT new. It is technology that belongs in the 1800’s.
3. Not because it is transport, but because it is not transport.
It is not about getting people efficiently from one place to another, but it is about getting money by selling land.
4. Not because it would get cars off the Parkway, but because it offers NOTHING that will coax people out of their cars to reduce the traffic congestion.
5. There were & are better, faster, cheaper transport options (Now being taken up & trialled in Adelaide which is obviously more innovative, creative & courageous than Canberra).

In this article John you have really disappointed me. I do not find much here that is progressive or informative.

Arthur Davies Arthur Davies 4:44 pm 20 Jan 17

Where to start! Maybe looking at facts & long term planning issues may be a good start.

Whenever I have asked a politician “what is the optimum size for Canberra on a cost per head & on a social basis”, I usually get a “change of subject”, more polyspeak & econobabble, occasionally “I don’t know”. How can anyone want to govern without any information on what is the optimum size for the city? When I asked the often quoted town planner Peter Newman, he told me that for both issues the optimum was around 200,000. Once we passed that point the city has progressively become more expensive PER HEAD, & socially the city does not function as well as it did.

Running a city on a need for endless growth is impossible in the long term & counterproductive in the shorter term. Most of the extra needed infrastructure is only to serve the new incomming people. Without a massively increasing population we would not need to build anywhere near as many new schools, extra roads, sewer & water pipes, power & communication cables etc. We are on the caucus race in “Alice in Wonderland”, most of what we are told is deceptive econobabble (read the book, it is very informative).

The complaints are largely not due to NIMBYism but the result of very poor planning, no long term vision, no imagination. Of us being sick & tired of being told what will happen by those with no courage to try something else other than the trite, the tawdry, the outdated & that demanded by the developers who have by & large no interest in the long term future of the city, usually because they don’t live in it & only see it as a short term “financial opportunity” with no consequences.

As an example, planners in the past built a system of separate town centres connected by major transport corridors, a planning system that led to the unique nature of Canberra. Very importantly all the areas where Canberrans live were kept back from the corridors because even then it was well known the it was very unhealthy to live on a major transport route (physical danger, air pollution, noise etc.). Very recently an article appeared in the Lancet that found that those living close to major traffic routes had significantly higher mental health problems than those back from these routes. This was was widely quoted in most of the press throughout Australia, but interestingly not so far as I know in the Canberra Times or in the RiotACT. Where did the “CBD” come from and the associated strip development? The only places where higher rise residential development is socially successful is where there are green open space AROUND EACH BLOCK to provide space for wild life, open vistas, natural temperature reduction from plants, space for community gardening, wilder area for kids to play in as well as open areas to kick balls etc without parents needing to take them to & fro. If Flemington road is any precedent, absolutely none of this will happen. Without good planning with lots of open spaces, these corridors will become the slums of the future.

As for the antiquated “light rail” 19th century transport mode, this is hardly environmentally benign. Metro’s EIS quoted the amount of steel & concrete for stage 1 as 168,000t, which is a 30t truck every 35 minutes for 2 years, & that does not count the trucks removing spoil or cut down trees! How the Greens can support this is beyond me. In addition, while trams are quite efficient at peak times, they are woefully inefficient when lightly loaded, the majority of the time, worse than a car at times (per person). Please note that the much quoted Gold Coast line closes down at night & reverts to buses according to their time table. As for the comment above that the trams serve the same people in the suburbs as the current buses, this is deceptive at best. Buses move throughout my suburb, I do not have to get to Northbourne Av to catch it. I am too far from the line, as are most people, to be able to catch a tram. Metro’s own figures are that only 2% will be able to use a stage 1 tram, rising to 10% for a fully developed system. Hardly equitable when compared to other transport modes that can move around where people actually live, so that almost all will benefit. “No taxation without transportation” as far as I am concerned, anything else is poor, inequitable, old fashioned, bad planning.

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