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.
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!