24 September 2006

Say goodbye to the parkland

| johnboy
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A lot of what we think of as parkland in Canberra isn’t technically a park. Some of it is school grounds a third of which is about to disappear. The Government is not at all interested that you and your mates play a pickup game of footy on the weekend and would probably like to charge you for the amenity if you pushed the point.

Today the Canberra Times details a bit of a cleaning up exercise whereby the ACT Planning and Land Authority is clearly signposting chunks of open space that they intend to flog off to developers as soon as possible.

Needless to say this is a bit of a shock to the locals who’ve been walking their dogs over it and throwing a frisbee on it for years.

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People have to make up their minds – we either have a housing shortage and high property prices or less land that is under-utilised.

(Disclaimer: That sounded a lot more opinionated & grumpy than it should have. I’m tired)

Gee those maps do not make for easy reading, first look at map then guess which colour matches, because the sensible idea of using pop-ups to be able to work out the codes is not used, then trawl through the new pdf document to find the same code and find out what it means. A10 was well known but some of the others were a bit hard to find. If you were using IE it would be really a challenge without tabbed browsing.

Nothing like a bit of transparency.

I particularly like the planner-speak: “…sites that resembled open space but whose permitted land use was not open space.”

So before everyone starts going off half-cocked, here’s the list of sites: http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/plandev/futuresigns/sitelist.pdf
If you go to http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/tplan/index.htm and hit Maps, then pick the suburb you’re interested in, you can usually find the exact are in question. A few things I’d note:
* Some of the areas I’ve looked at aren’t exactly what you’d call “parkland” in the sense of it being used by anyone – the area opposite charnwood shops, for example, is more of a kind of drainage area. I’ve rarely, if ever, seen anyone using it for anything.
* Many of these areas have been earmarked for development since back in the NCDC days before self government (indeed, I know at least one even sported an NCDC sign, back in the day). The zoning has been available publicly for donkey’s years, and you can look it up on the web any time (see site above). Anyone to whom this all comes as a shock clearly hasn’t taken any kind of inerest in where they live thus far.
* Most of them aren’t earmarked for residential or commercial use – they’re mostly for Community Facilities, which suggests to me that deveopers won’t exactly be queuing up to build yuppie townhouses on them.

Having said all that, the loss of any open space is a bit of a shame, but chances are the house you’re now living in was once open land near someone else’s house.

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