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In ACTPLA we trust

By Paul Costigan - 5 May 2016 3

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With the NCA moving to hand over significant planning powers to the ACT Government, the focus now shifts to how the ACT Government handles such an increase in responsibility for national aspects of this capital city.

I have long held the view that the ACT Government should have far more control over much of the land now zoned to be under the auspices of the National Capital Authority (NCA) – on behalf of the Commonwealth.

As the NCA makes the right moves in having areas re-designated, the onus moves to the people of Canberra to require their government to work out how to handle these extra responsibilities that will have national as well as local significance.

But before I progress, a comment about press statements from our local senator. Senator Seselja is quoted as having linked this to opportunities for affordable housing and the future of the town centres.

Housing affordability remains an urgent matter that is not getting anywhere near the real attention it deserves by his government – the Commonwealth Government. To link this planning change to that slogan is just spin. Canberra used to provide for many and very diverse housing options – what went wrong? Maybe the senator could spend more time exploring that question.

As to the future of the town centres, especially Tuggeranong, it will take many more changes than the possible release of land west of the centre for the Tuggeranong Town Centre to be given a new lease of life. For one, it would help if the Commonwealth (his government) stopped cutting jobs in the public sector – it would help if the ACT Government actually took some positive initiatives to place tertiary institutions in and around the Town Centre as well as to initiate other cultural and community activities in the area.

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And it would help if the government, with or without the help of the senator, ensured that the housing being built close to the centre was not more bland boxes but were aesthetically pleasing and were linked to a high standard community facilities and parklands.

I digress – so back to the NCA’s announcement.

There are real opportunities here for the ACT Government to change its planning regimes and to mature into a government that cares for the future amenities of this capital city –  a city where people are passionate about the quality of our urban areas – and about safe-guarding our urban forests – all those fabulous trees.

These changes could see the ACT government recognise the achievements of former successful local and national planning ideas and marry them with a new vision for a capital city of the 21st Century.

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It would be timely exercise for ACTPLA to publish a visionary planning document on how the government is to embrace these new responsibilities. This vision should enhance the many aspects of the bush capital with new styles of architecture, an approach to redevelopment that addresses climate change and one that delivers a range of housing options and more parklands and open spaces. That is, a vision that includes many of those things that could make Canberra different from the other major cities.

I would implore the government to avoid the infamous international models of development now being plonked into some of our other cities, whereby the skylines become filled with star-architect towers and residents have to move further and further away from the centres of the townships due to rising costs in the costs of housing.

In particular I look forward to see what ideas the ACT Government comes up with to redevelop those two buildings at the foot of Anzac Avenue. Their redevelopment is well overdue – and this government’s solutions will signal, will be a litmus test, to just how they make use of creative thinkers on this one.

Those two buildings have been neglected for too long and are in danger of becoming an eyesore. The challenge is not just what they end up being used for – but how they are revamped or redeveloped (or whatever) to become attractive and aesthetically pleasing structures that will add to the views up and down Anzac Parade. And please do not chop down more trees – plant even more!

Let’s be positive – for the moment at least – and wait to see how the ACT Government handles these all new planning opportunities.

In ACTPLA we trust? Well – maybe.

What’s Your opinion?


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3 Responses to
In ACTPLA we trust
dungfungus 8:38 am 08 May 16

Tenpoints said :

The single biggest problem we face in improving Canberra, in fact all our major cities, is not planning, it is funding.

The point missed by all major parties is that heavy reliance on unsustainable, rapid population growth to “develop” our city places a huge demand on our infrastructure. Revenues received, coupled with rates hikes & austerity measures still fall well short of the mark needed to maintain, let alone improve urban amenity and the wider services expected in a modern, successful, egalitarian society. Hence we see growing deficits & quality of life/economic efficiency decline.

This is in part due to the diseconomies of scale associated with ‘retro-fitting’ a city (eg. the huge cost of light rail). Rapid population growth is also a key driver of house prices thus reducing the availability of affordable and desirable housing (not just the ever smaller dog boxes in the sky which developers attempt to market as affordable housing).

The sooner we recognise what’s going on, and who is really benefitting from this population Ponzi, the better. We need to slow down & hopefully stabilise our population at an economically & environmentally sustainable level. We need to switch our focus from getting bigger to getting better.

Martin Tye, Senate candidate, ACT, Sustainable Australia.

You have won my vote.

martinrev21 6:41 am 08 May 16

The single biggest problem we face in improving Canberra, in fact all our major cities, is not planning, it is funding.

The point missed by all major parties is that heavy reliance on unsustainable, rapid population growth to “develop” our city places a huge demand on our infrastructure. Revenues received, coupled with rates hikes & austerity measures still fall well short of the mark needed to maintain, let alone improve urban amenity and the wider services expected in a modern, successful, egalitarian society. Hence we see growing deficits & quality of life/economic efficiency decline.

This is in part due to the diseconomies of scale associated with ‘retro-fitting’ a city (eg. the huge cost of light rail). Rapid population growth is also a key driver of house prices thus reducing the availability of affordable and desirable housing (not just the ever smaller dog boxes in the sky which developers attempt to market as affordable housing).

The sooner we recognise what’s going on, and who is really benefitting from this population Ponzi, the better. We need to slow down & hopefully stabilise our population at an economically & environmentally sustainable level. We need to switch our focus from getting bigger to getting better.

Martin Tye, Senate candidate, ACT, Sustainable Australia.

Queanbeyanite 8:27 pm 05 May 16

“In ACTPLA we trust? Well – maybe.”

Good luck with that!

The local council should be just that, abolish the ACT and merge into a NSW mega council covering the Murrumbidgee catchment.

The current Queanbeyan city council could run the lot, just contract a few more garbage trucks.

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