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Pierces Creek no go

By Kerces - 25 January 2006 19

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has announced the “forestry development” of Pierces Creek will not be rebuilt. (See the ABC story for the short and sweet version.)

The 13 homes at Pierces Creek were destroyed in the January 2003 bushfires.

In his press release, Mr Stanhope explains that to rebuild a 12 or 13 house settlement would be, in the government’s view, unsustainable. The government originally came up with a plan for a 50 house settlement but the National Capital Authority said this was too big.

“When it became obvious that such a proposal was unacceptable to the Commonwealth, the ACT Government put forward a compromise proposal for a settlement of 25 to 30 houses — far from optimal, in terms of sustainability, but still vastly preferable to a 13-home enclave of public housing,” the Chief Minister said.

“The National Capital Authority has consistently refused to budge from its 13-home ultimatum. At no stage has it offered even the prospect of compromise. It is obvious that the NCA never wanted Pierces Creek to be rebuilt and has put obstacle after obstacle in the path of ACT attempts to find a solution that could see residents return to their beloved settlement and pick up the pieces of their lives. ”

Arthur Kenyon, chairman of the NCA, told The Canberra Times there had been no impediment for the ACT Government to rebuild the homes at Pierces Creek so the residents could return. (Which was not contradicted by Mr Stanhope — he said the NCA didn’t want a bigger development).

Mr Kenyon said, “I am perplexed and confused that if the 13 houses were economically, environmentally and socially sustainable for 30 plus years why are they unsustainable today?”

Mr Stanhope said he wondered “why the NCA takes such a keen interest in an area of the ACT that is 30km from the Parliamentary Triangle and that is invisible from practically anywhere else in the Territory”. (Interestingly whereis.com was unable to enlighten me as to the whereabouts of the settlement).

ACT Liberal housing spokeswoman Jacqui Burke, not wanting to be left out of the bunfight, put out a release demanding that Mr Stanhope tell the public what the government’s plans now are for the site and “what is to happen to the remaining family occupying the only property left standing at Pierces Creek”.

Liberal Senator Gary Humphries, who approached Prime Minister John Howard before Christmas about the plight of the Pierces Creek residents, remains silent on the decision.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Pierces Creek no go
Thumper 12:22 pm 26 Jan 06

Frankly I see this very simply.

Three years ago these people saw their houses burn down. They chose to live in the place, and frankly, it was nice and peaceful so I don’t blame them.

Now, after three years, we have seen no action whatsoever except some bickering between the Comrade and the Federales.

Pull the finger out and bite the bullet. Forget selling off the land and letting the developers go so the government can make a quick buck, just rebuild there homes.

It’s really not that much to ask.

GuruJ 12:54 am 26 Jan 06

By the way bonfire, I see nothing that suggests the NCA ever was prepared to accept 30 houses.

Jon Stanhope repeatedly states on the record that the ACT government would have been have to build 30 houses instead of the 50 the govt wanted. He further claims the NCA has never approved of more than rebuilding the 12 houses that were burnt down.

Can you point me to anything that supports your view on the NCA?

tallian 12:41 am 26 Jan 06

Why would anyone even have contemplated rebuilding Pierce’s Creek settlement? It was out in the boondocks because thats where forestry was done. Stops being used for forestry, no need for a village there. For some reason, bright sparks in public housing get hold of the houses there and start issuing them to their tenants (why anyone would stick public housing tenants in the middle of nowhere is another matter), no doubt running up higher than average costs to maintain, power and water them because of their location.

They burn down. Why rebuild there? Not needed for forestry, no valid argument for public housing to be there. Stick the former tenants in public housing somewhere in the suburbs. Save all the costs of maintaining an isolated batch of old houses. Just let the bush reclaim the site.

por 10:10 pm 25 Jan 06

It seems to me that we are overwhelmed with Non-core John/jons. It must be a political trait.

Indi 9:19 pm 25 Jan 06

For the non-believers, the following may highlight just how much misleading the Minister for de-housing and the CM had committed. Looks like a clever use of legal advice and a fair bit of beating up the feds…these guys knew they couldn’t rebuild and were caught on the run. To come out recently and state it would cost somewhere in the order of $8million just to rebuild the lost properties, finally sheds some light on just how the govt misjudged the reconstruction, let alone trying to factor in a broader redevelopment to include more properties.

Try the following conversations had in the Assembly – they just couldn’t stand the constant badgering by their opponents and just loved playing tag teams:

http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2005/week08/2354.htm

OR

http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2005/week11/3470.htm

seepi 8:43 pm 25 Jan 06

I do feel sorry for the pierces creek people. They have waited for 3 years to go back where they came from, only to be told it can’t happen. Jon S should have decided straight away not to rebuild and the NCA should butt out.

bonfire 5:43 pm 25 Jan 06

its more than just replacing houses.

This has been poorly handled by the gummint. I suspect they expected they could capitalise on this disaster and create a new sattelite town.

some more lovely stamp duty.

the nca did offer a compromise, despite cabbages tiresome spin.

but he wanted 50.

so the original dozen or so people who enjoyed their COMMUNITY now get nothing.

i love the caring labor govt, representing their constituency.

barking toad 4:19 pm 25 Jan 06

If foskey’s house burnt down I’d hope the government wouldn’t just rebuild it because she like living in that area. No different to Pierce’s creek public housing.

Shit happens.

If I rented and the house burnt down could I expect the landlord to build a new one for me to live in?

GuruJ 3:36 pm 25 Jan 06

It’s not an inability to make a tough decision, it’s that the NCA wouldn’t let them make a desirable one.

I don’t see how a remote township 30km from Parliament House has *anything* to do with the NCA.

Indi 2:56 pm 25 Jan 06

If ever there was a gleaming example of the ACT govt displaying an inability to make a tough decision this would be one.

After the fires, it should have been clear – if you can’t build a more sustainable (what does that mean anyway) village just make it clear and move on…how long did it take – 3 years of dithering and an inability to get to a decision that was most likely already known.

Chris 2:09 pm 25 Jan 06

I thought the flag (if we’re talking about the one Jeremy Lasek was rejoicing over return of, this am) was the property of the ACT gummint ?

bonfire 12:58 pm 25 Jan 06

they offered 30 homes as a compromise.

cabbage says no.

ssanta 12:48 pm 25 Jan 06

High fives for the NCA. Yet again just when i thought they becoming a sensible, controlled agency they just open their mouths, mash their keyboards with delight, create an absolute abortion of a decision and make me realise why i stole their flag in the first place.

Maelinar 12:06 pm 25 Jan 06

It’s because living in public housing is an ACT lifestyle choice…

Terds.

RandomGit 12:01 pm 25 Jan 06

ABC News last night said the residents get first option on a couple of other villages getting rebuilt, can’t remember the names. Uriarra and Stromlo?

Anyway, so these were public housing? Not peoples personal houses but public housing? Really, what’s the issue then? Fate ran off with your freebie, did you get to move into another freebie, well then what have you got to complain about?

Well, Deb Foskey, obviously. You still get free reign on her.

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