Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Community

Experts in Wills, Trusts
& Estate Planning

Public open space land grab on Aranda Oval

By TheObserver - 18 February 2012 16

In a further example of the poor planning and clayton’s consultation that attends such matters regular users have been surprised by a proposal to appropriate part of the Aranda Oval Playing Fields to re-site Fire and Emergency Services facilities in Lathlain Street. Apparently the ESA began consultations in November, but, of course, this appears to be the usual burying it on a website.  Apparently they were to be discussing it with the local community – but large sectors of the local community had no idea until recently that it was being consulted – or had been – the consultation ending just before Christmas – cute.

OK – let us assume a decent effort was made to consult – riddle me this one batman – how come the exact plans have not been released publicly?  Some plans have been shown but largely it is a mystery.  The closest to the new station are 2 primary schools, 1 high school, a senior citizens nursing home and residential apartments.  Others affected are the very large number of users of the playing fields.  It does not appear to have factored into the planning that the proposed land grab will increase congestion, present traffic hazards for a larger proportion of people, mainly youth and children, as well as treat some of the frailest in our community to the prospect of sirens at any hour of the day and night.  Of course the usual noises about increased congestion at the current sites could be raised, but that is a direct result of poor planning decisions in the Belconnen Precinct.  The irony – making more poor planning decisions in response to the result of poor planning.  Genius.  Of course the old sites will probably be flogged off for profit.  Double genius.

A lobby group has started which sets out 6 damn good reasons to protect public open space from poor planning land grabs.  These are as follows:

1.  The plan cuts into the healthy green heart of the district – they are the nearest irrigated public playing fields for Cook, Macquarie, Aranda, South Bruce, Emu Ridge and the Belconnen town centre. The fields are used for organised sports, by the adjacent three schools and by many individuals. The fields help improve public health, and support our public school system.

2.  They will be needed more in the future – The population of this district is planned by government to increase dramatically over the next 40 years. There are already multi-story apartments nearby, including across the road from the playing fields. The new nearby town of Molonglo will need access to playing fields (because it lacks flat ground for its own needs). Once taken away, open space cannot be replaced. At the founding of Belconnen this land was prudently set aside for future sporting and recreations needs, and it should be kept for the future.

3.  It spoils the landscape -The green and open space provides delightful vistas looking into and out from the fields. The proposal will spoil both of these. The effect is particularly strong at these playing fields because it has a short street frontage. This short street frontage landscape would be dominated by emergency facilities and extra traffic lights and warning signs.

4. The long term future of the ovals are at risk – this is a very thin end of a wedge – The proposal makes the smallest district playing fields in Belconnen even smaller. This will make it a less attractive venue for sports codes, and reduce the ability to cater for changing sporting preferences in the future. Fewer players will inevitably mean reduced maintenance. This oval is designed as a stormwater overflow. Building on part of it risks the remainder becoming frequently too boggy for safe play. The Government did not assess the long term impact on sporting needs before making this proposal.

5. Bad planning to fix bad planning is a poor precedent – The government failed to reserve a site for one of our most crucial community services, the ESA. Instead over recent years suitable sites have been sold off. The Government now says they have no option but to raid the playing fields to provide for the ESA. This lets them sell the current ESA site near Belconnen Mall. Bad planning deserves to be exposed, and lessons should be learnt. Bad planning should not be rewarded by windfall profits from property sales. Otherwise the Government will be back in five, ten or twenty years for another slice of the oval to make up for the next planning bungle.

6. Act now or lose these facilities in the future (you could be next) – Once the Government goes down the path of seeking Assembly approval to build on the playing fields it will not want to change. We need to show the Government and Assembly Members now that the community places a high value on the playing fields, to ensure the government finds another site. Indeed, other sites for the ESA facilities may offer a better average response time for emergency services than the playing fields.

OK – I expect the usual suspects will troll out the usual NIMBY comments – (usually made by the intellectually dishonest who, ironically, will not be getting it in their backyard) – however this is an issue of wide ranging effect upon an exceedingly large cross section of the Belconnen Community.  Anyone disparaging as NIMBYISM would need to give themselves an uppercut.  Still, we beat these buggers when it came to the GDE, Belconnen Busway and such other follies.  We can do it again.  Funny – Minister Corbell’s planning decisions always never seem to have the worst effect in his own electorate.  Damn funny, that.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
16 Responses to
Public open space land grab on Aranda Oval
damien haas 4:33 pm 21 Mar 12

Last nights Belconnen Community Council meeting featured this issue for a large component of the evening.

You can read the questions put to ESA staff, and answers at the BCC Facebook page. here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Belconnen-Community-Council/137455593006525

It was a large turnout, and most of the Ginninderra MLA’s made an appearance. i’m hoping that the issues raised by the public are taken up by their MLA’s.

TheObserver 3:18 pm 22 Feb 12

Easy enough to copy paste from the ESA website. Which was very hurriedly updated on 20 February. It appears to put the nicest possible spin on what has been admitted was a poor consultation process. Try not to pee on my leg and tell me it is raining.

One example – when I spoke with the Bandits – they said for them it was a disaster…..

As for ARG comments – that is complete nonesense. I repeat, the nicest possible gloss has been placed on the comments.

I do not wish to be consulted personally, but I do query when a process is commenced that appears to be very narrow. Anyhow, it all has to go through a re-zoning process, with public hearings and the like. Pollayanna consultation processes dont tend to last in that environment.

vg 11:06 pm 20 Feb 12

Try these reasons on Einstein

“Feedback and observations
In general, during the initial formal public consultation period (2 November – 17 December 2011), the local community including residents, schools and Aranda District Playing Field users support the overall community benefit of improved emergency services.

Baseball: The Bandits Baseball Club supports the overall community benefit of improved emergency services to the local area. The Club wants to work with the ESA and ACT Sport and Recreation to maintain the extent of their current facilities and minimise any potential impacts of the proposal on their sporting facilities.
Football: An area next to the site has been historically used by the ACT Australian Football League (ACTAFL) for junior games. ACTAFL representatives have not indicated that the ESA proposal will impact their use of the playing fields. The ACT Government has recently upgraded the AFL fields at the Magpies Club in Holt, Belconnen.
Sport and Rec: There is support from ACT Sport and Recreation to pursue creative solutions to overcoming potential community use issues.
The cycle path in the middle, and the cricket oval on the eastern side, of the playing fields will not be affected by the proposal.
Some residents have requested that consideration be given to widening and upgrading the path adjacent to the oval, as it is used at all times of the day and has become a local thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages from pre-schoolers to senior citizens.
Canberra High School: The Principal of Canberra High School welcomes the proposed ESA development across the road from the school, and the opportunity it will provide for students and teachers to interact with emergency services. He does not believe that the proposed station will adversely impact the school’s use of the playing fields for physical education.
Residents Group: The Chair of the Aranda Residents Group advised there is support for the ESA proposal. Some residents query the impact of the proposal in relation to parking, tree removal, siren noise, and traffic congestion on Bindubi Street. These matters have all been carefully examined by technical experts in the respective fields and will be comprehensively covered in any future application in relation to the Territory Plan.
Trees: Removal of significant trees is of particular concern to representatives of the Friends of Aranda Bushland. The final design will aim to minimise the impact on significant trees and a landscaping buffer including new trees and shrubs will be planted around the perimeter of the proposed station.
The trees in the wide road reserve corridor between Belconnen Way and the playing fields will not be affected by the proposal.
Public safety: The Aranda/Cook Neighbourhood Watch group is pleased that the 24 hour presence of a station may improve public safety and reduce property damage in the vicinity.
Alternative sites: One resident was concerned about incursion into urban open space from insufficient consideration being given to alternate sites for the proposed co-located station. The resident withdrew objections after being provided with a briefing and further details of the rigorous site selection process.
CFU: A member of the local Community Fire Unit enquired as to the proposed station’s capacity for CFU training. These facilities will be available in the new station.”

Now are you unhappy there was no consultation, or you weren’t consulted personally?

TheObserver 4:57 pm 20 Feb 12

…or stimulate discussion. There is no play book on this. Lookit – I would very much doubt there is a directive to run something up the blind side. This is a risk averse strategy, the unfortunate outcome of which is that there is limited coverage – this leads to people, and rightly so, being cynical about processes that appear to be seeking to elicit a minimum response. It takes a brave public servant to take a broad approach if it is likely to be unpopular. No rule against criticizing that.

But acerbic commentary aside – which I make no apology for – the arguments as to why this is a bad proposal are laid out. Feel free to argue. I am happy, more than happy, to be proved wrong. As to support, well, whether you like it or not, and based on whether you like my style or not is immaterial: if you allow bad planning by apathy and don’t give a stuff about the loss of public open space, then when it happens to you – don’t say you were not advised. You could be next.

NoImRight 4:20 pm 20 Feb 12

Interesting way of trying to raise support.

TheObserver 4:17 pm 20 Feb 12

damien haas said :

The ESA are attending the March meeting of the Belconnen Community Council, along with ACTPLA on the pre-DA public consultation on this issue.

All are welcome to attend.

If theObserver cares to contact the BCC to discuss their concerns please email belcouncil@yahoo.com

Thanks for that – will do – and will pass information on re flyers and stuff. Must make sure everyone knows what is going on.

damien haas 4:11 pm 20 Feb 12

The ESA are attending the March meeting of the Belconnen Community Council, along with ACTPLA on the pre-DA public consultation on this issue.

All are welcome to attend.

If theObserver cares to contact the BCC to discuss their concerns please email belcouncil@yahoo.com

TheObserver 3:44 pm 20 Feb 12

Gday

Some good responses. I make no apologies for a certain acerbic writing style – @ the hutch you dont agree anyway so it wouldnt matter how I wrote it so your point is a little wasted.

Yes, I realise it is easy to criticise, but I have put up a series of points as to why the proposal being sited where suggested is a bad move. I am not against a consolidated ES facility at all. As a matter of fact I think that ES issues have been shamefully back-burnered – and let us face it, all that planning a re-development of the Belconnen precinct and the Firies etc were a last priority.

As for a better site – how about closer to the bus lane sources – down near CISAC for a start? But anyhow, it is not for private citizens to enunciate alternatives, it is for the planners to properly assess all possible places – however the Aranda solution is being dressed up as TINA – there is no alternative.

I understand there can be risk averseness inherent to a consultation process where opinions will be polarised, but IMHO a sensible communication strategy would be warts n all – and would be more than a small ad in the Canberra Times directing people to a website. I mean, if there is a community initiative that is good news, the whole darned neighbourhood gets letterboxed.

Indeed, the local ovals, including this one, have ACT Govt noticeboards for information. Nothing on this proposal in there – perhaps that might have helped?

Anyhow, this is a re-zoning issue and there is a long way to go with it – not like it is a call-in power. Hopefully in the process some better alternatives are put together – likely the oval was picked because it would save on site preparation.

As for those who live in the area and approve of it – IMBY – good for you. I don’t agree for the arguments enunciated above. Easy to sledge – but try addressing the points one by one.

And just remember, once green open space is gone, it is gone forever. You do not get it back. And grip your coffee tightly – Simon Corbell actually gets that – and more power to his arm. He deserves better from his planners etc.

Rawhide Kid Part3 3:17 pm 19 Feb 12

Ben_Dover said :

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

What about using the old Jamison Inn site? There’s no shortage of brownfield sites in Canberra. Once green space is gone it rarely or never comes back.

I think you’ll find that this sight is not suitable as its already owned by developers.

Ben_Dover 12:15 pm 19 Feb 12

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

What would you rather? A centralized emergency service facility that can respond in a timely manner to emergencies or a facility in a town center with lots of traffic and traffic congestion? And where else would you suggest they place this facility? Bearing in mind that it has to be centrally located geographically for the Belconnen area.

Its easy to criticize, have you suggested an alternative location?

What about using the old Jamison Inn site? There’s no shortage of brownfield sites in Canberra. Once green space is gone it rarely or never comes back.

Rawhide Kid Part3 10:47 am 19 Feb 12

This refers to the proposed site “TheObserver” is talking about. http://tinyurl.com/84go44x

Rawhide Kid Part3 10:29 am 19 Feb 12

What would you rather? A centralized emergency service facility that can respond in a timely manner to emergencies or a facility in a town center with lots of traffic and traffic congestion? And where else would you suggest they place this facility? Bearing in mind that it has to be centrally located geographically for the Belconnen area. Its easy to criticize, have you suggested an alternative location?

vg 10:08 am 19 Feb 12

Get a grip, its the baseball oval. You’ll still have all the rest of that oval space, plus what’s behind Aranda Primary.

Or perhaps you don’t like having better ambulance or fire service.

And….before you ask, spent my entire childhood playing on said ovals, so it is IMBY. They are taking part, not whole.

Spoiling the landscape is a shark jumping argument as well, bit like arguing the ‘vibe’ of the thing

Ben_Dover 10:01 am 19 Feb 12

Another open space bites the dust.

thehutch 2:18 am 19 Feb 12

You do realise the manner in which you write is likely to turn people off your cause…

In any case, the move to Aranda is a good one in my opinion. With the building of the West Belco Ambulance /fire station moving the current ones to Aranda provides good geographical coverage.The land proposed for this is located between the current large baseball field and bindubi st… assuming the carpark is replaced, the impact by adding a small fire + ambulance
appears largely minimal.
I also recall seeing the ESA put out for community feedback last year.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site