Minister calls time on Giralang shops saga and approves $19m development

Ian Bushnell 26 July 2018 4
An artist's impression of the proposed Giralang shops development from the DA. Images: Supplied.

An artist’s impression of the proposed Giralang shops development from the DA. Images: Supplied.

The long-running Giralang shops saga appears to have finally come to an end with Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman ‘calling in’ the current development proposal for a new local centre in the Belconnen suburb.

In March, developer Dimitri Nikias proposed a four-storey plus loft, mixed-use development that includes a supermarket, other ground floor retail and 50 apartments.

The $19 million proposal sought to allow residential development and community uses including a childcare centre, community activity centre, community theatre, cultural facility, educational establishment, place of worship and religious associated use.

It also sought to almost double the present permissible floor space from 5,790 square metres to 11,000 square metres.

Mr Gentleman said he had used his call-in powers and approved the development, with conditions, because it was in the public benefit and such a centre was long overdue for the people of Giralang and surrounding suburbs.

“I trust that the use of my ability to ‘call-in’ this new development application will at last signal the end to a long and frustrating journey for the people of Giralang,” he said.

The Minister said that the initial decision to establish a new local centre was made on 17 August 2011 by the then Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell. Since then, the people of Giralang had been denied that facility as a result of a series of prolonged legal challenges that eventually went to the High Court.

He said new parking spaces would be provided on Menkar Close, and the existing car park for Giralang Primary School would be improved to provide a new drop-off arrangement and new parking spaces.

Conditions imposed include requirements for additional accessible parking spaces; improved pedestrian links; additional bicycle parking; protection of existing trees; and verge management and temporary traffic management.

Mr Gentleman said the contemporary mixed-use nature of the facility would benefit the community by combining retail, commercial and living opportunities.

“This new dynamic for Giralang will mean greater variety and choice in housing as well as a local centre that will be better integrated as a place, combining living opportunities with retail and commercial spaces,” he said.

“Off-site works, such as parking, landscaping and greater pedestrian connectivity, will provide additional public benefit to the community – particularly for the adjoining school by providing improvements to the current parking and set down arrangements.

“In granting the approval I have noted and acknowledged concerns raised by members of the community and imposed conditions on the development as part of my decision. I have also noted significant support from members of the Giralang community for this development.”

The proponent undertook community consultation during late 2017 and early 2018 prior to lodging the development application with the planning and land authority on 7 March 2018.

Under Section 159 of the Planning and Development Act 2007, the Minister for Planning and Land Management may consider a development application if he or she considers it will respond to a major policy issue, have a substantial effect on achieving objectives of the Territory Plan and provide a substantial public benefit.

The approval decision cannot be reviewed by a third party in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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4 Responses to Minister calls time on Giralang shops saga and approves $19m development
Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 2:50 pm 31 Jul 18

We lived in Giralang for 10 years and still have 2 kids at the school. And we badly wanted shops the whole time; or the site cleared at the very least. Glad to see it’s hopefully resolved once and for all – but goes to show the developer always wins. It’s a bizarre location to plonk 50 units – the very bottom of the suburb, right on top of the primary school. And I’d question the appeal of living there given the explosion of dwellings around the University of Canberra/Belconnen since the Giralang shops first closed.

    JC JC 9:09 pm 01 Aug 18

    Who did the developer win? What they wanted originally was a supermarket and they like the community have been stuffed around for an awful long time.

    And don’t think next to (on top of) a shop and next to a school is an odd place for home units. In fact would think it the ideal location. And there may well be an explosion of units etc in Belconnen town centre and Lawson one would assume Giralang will be at a lower price being futher away.

Tempestas Tempestas 10:38 am 28 Jul 18

A resolution, but it shows that if you can afford to dig in you will get something close to what you want.
The original DA was for 13 residential units and 3 commercial units that could be easily turned into residential
No doubt the doubling of GFA and over triple the the number of residences will amply compensate the developer. Shame about the cost to the community for the last 13 years.

Still lets hope it can be a viable local shops and maybe it can set the way for increasing density in established suburbs that will improve liveability.

    JC JC 9:06 pm 01 Aug 18

    The cost to the community was as a direct result of competing supermarkets opposing the initial development which as you point out didn’t have as many residential units.

    Competing supermarkets one of whom gained preferential access to new development sites because they were not Coles or Wollies, a competing supermarket who then attempted to sell all their supermarkets bar one to Coles including the supermarket closest to Giralang. I think that maybe the bulk of the blame needs to be pointed that way.

    And now of course the supermarket size needs to be reduced and the original tenant has pulled out. Though that company has sorted out some issues so may well be interested again. What would be ironic though is if the new supermarket tennant is the one who most loudly opposed the initial development seeing as they have now offloaded Kaleen to Coles.

    In either case smaller supermarket means need more units to justify the cost.

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