Inner South residents have found themselves in the midst of one of the ACT election’s hottest issues as battle lines are drawn over waste recycling proposals in Fyshwick.
Residents have been letterboxed and leafleted on all sides and on Sunday they’ll have a chance to probe the pollies at the Inner South Community Council’s Politics in the Pub-style election forum, co-presented by Region Media.
RiotACT will live stream the debate on our Facebook page from 4:30 pm on Sunday with representatives from major and minor parties and independents. There’s also limited seating at the debate venue, the Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah.
The ISCC had already surveyed residents about critical planning issues before the COVID-19 lockdown, asking in the context of the ACT Government’s Planning Review what they valued about where they live, what they would like to protect and what they wanted to change to make it a better place to live.
Over 500 responses gave them a clear sense of the pressure points around compliance with building codes, protecting green space, zoning, high-density development, heritage and transport.
But then, according to ISCC chair Marea Fatseas, the government threw them a curveball on waste management.
“We learned that the government had accepted the EIS for the CRS waste facility in Ipswich Street after we’d heard nothing for two years,” she says.
“We also saw the EIS submitted for the much larger Hi-Quality waste facility in Tennant Street, Fyshwick. Plus there is the current DA assessment for the metal fragmentiser for Access Recycling in Lithgow Street, and the approved rail freight terminal will also be there.”
Fatseas describes this election as a critical juncture for the Inner South with two completely different visions for the future of Fyshwick.
“One would continue its current evolution as a light industrial and bulk retail hub adjacent to high-density residential in Eastlake and residential/mixed-use in Dairy Road.
“The other would lead Fyshwick towards a more heavy industrial and more polluted suburb adjacent to high-density residential in Eastlake and residential/mixed-use in Dairy Road.
“Our community is not prepared to accept the second vision of placing more polluting industry near high-density population centres and our waterways.”
Sunday’s debate will undoubtedly draw plenty of questions around the waste recycling stoush but also the broader context of planning and development and whether residents have a meaningful say in development outcomes.
“People really want to have a say about what is being built near them, they want it to be genuine and meaningful engagement and not rubber-stamp consultation,” Ms Fatseas says.
“They value the character of their suburbs and want that to guide planning instead of ad hoc development that is often not compliant with the government’s own planning rules.”
Maintenance and renewal of key community amenities, including urban forest and street trees, verges, open spaces, parks and reserves, footpaths and shared paths, and street lighting are also key priorities.
Kurrajong members including Labor’s Rachel Stephen-Smith; Greens Shane Rattenbury and Rebecca Vassarotti; Canberra Liberals Elizabeth Lee, Candace Burch and Patrick Pentony; Canberra Progressives’ Peta Swarbrick; Independent Bruce Paine; and Community Action candidates Alvin Hopper and Robyn Williams will be in attendance.
The event begins at 4:30 pm at the Harmonie Club with a COVID-safe chance to talk to candidates at outdoor stands. Only confirmed guests will be admitted to the club for the debate, and numbers are strictly limited, so bookings are essential.
Residents of the Inner South will receive priority if numbers registering exceed the number of spaces. To book, you’ll need to email Kathie at email@example.com with your name, suburb and phone number, and the details of every person in your group.
To watch the live stream, visit RiotACT on Facebook. The live stream starts at 4:30 pm on Sunday, 20 September.