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Self-selected agents of outrage doing the business on a facebook emote

By johnboy - 28 September 2010 35

facebook screenshot

Anyone who operates at all in the public sphere has to put up single issue nuts, blinkered and monomaniacal looking to do, without conscious thought, great evil in pursuit of some small narrow good of interest to them.

On September 23 The Minister for Planning Andrew Barr had a private little vent on his Facebook page, without naming names.

I saw it go up, figured he’d had a bad day, and left it at that.

But the Canberra Times today has the Dickson Residents Group in high dudgeon.

Dickson Residents Group spokeswoman Marie Coleman said yesterday that Mr Barr had misrepresented the views of the group.

”One of the main purposes of the DRG is to start a serious and respectful conversation amongst Dickson residents, the Government, and ACTPLA as well as other groups who have an interest in planning and development across the suburb,” MsColeman said.

This town desperately needs more dwellings. There are huge numbers of people who do want to live in one and two bed units.

I grew up in Dickson and I’m with Andrew Barr on this one.

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Self-selected agents of outrage doing the business on a facebook emote
ns 7:13 pm 28 Sep 10

John Moulis said :

I have to wonder what magical property you need to have in order to be anointed as one of his FB friends.

I think you have to be an actual friend or someone he accepted before setting up his official Andrew Barr FB page. He posted about this back when he first set up his page.

nhand42 6:12 pm 28 Sep 10

Ryoma said :

If we want to attract young people to our service industries (and in general), we have to offer them lifestyle and housing options they can afford, and want to stay here for.
The alternative is turning Canberra into a museum where young people leave, and businesses and society as a whole, suffer.

Utter nonsense. So the only alternative to “attracting young people” is “turning into a museum”? Sophomoric tripe; it paints the world in black and white. There are more alternatives than the two you offer; one where we “suffer” and one where we “attract young people”. What a load of cobblers.

Canberra survived for 80 years without losing its character as the Bush Capital. Only recently have we suffered this curse of suburban in-filling, high-density housing, high-density apartments, and ridiculously over-engineered roads (e.g. multi-lane monster highways, spaghetti junctions, and intersections large enough to land aeroplanes). It’s all the trappings of Sydney and Melbourne being forced onto Canberra.

For 80 years businesses didn’t “suffer” and young people didn’t “leave”. That was at least 3 generations of families. So how exactly does your hypothesis stand even the most casual scrutiny? What makes this generation so damn special that we are at a “crossroads”?

I think it’s no surprise that the wholesale destruction of Canberra occurred at roughly the same time that Local Government was forced upon us. Local governments make money from rates and taxes, which are increased with population and higher density, and politicians measure success by the size of their portfolios. Land developers don’t give a shit if they destroy the city so long as they make fistfuls of money, and politicians are all too eager to facilitate them.

Don’t get me started on the travesty that is Gungahlin.

damien haas 6:07 pm 28 Sep 10

Ryomas post is very well argued. The future of Canberra is increased density, but therein lies the dilemma – increased density but none of the increased facilities or infrastructure this density requires. We see in Molonglo planning a repetition of Gungahlin under-investment in appropriate roads and public transport. Inner Canberra is also groaning at the seams under this requirement to drive everywhere.

The answers are:
1 sound long term planning
2 open transparent planning objectives that all residents can see
3 transit oriented development
4 light rail linking population and employment centres

Freddyp 5:31 pm 28 Sep 10

The Traineediplomat said :

#10 Roma,

I think this is the best, most well balanced post I’ve ever read here. Kudos to you, +1 and other internet forum plaudits.

Seconded. Well said, Ryoma.

The Traineediplomat 4:29 pm 28 Sep 10

#10 Roma,

I think this is the best, most well balanced post I’ve ever read here. Kudos to you, +1 and other internet forum plaudits.

Ryoma 4:11 pm 28 Sep 10

While I’m not pleased at a Minister who is silly enough to put his private opinions up on a social media website, I can understand his frustration. I imagine Mr. Barr is feeling the heat from both sides on many of these issues, and naturally every decision made is going to have people who don’t like it.

I think that essentially there is a clash between 2 groups of people who value different things, and stemming from this, want a different Canberra.

One one side, the various residents groups are often made of people who have lived in their suburbs and houses long-term. They have worked hard to establish gardens, and perhaps lobbied and worked to get local infrastructure built. As a result of their hard work (along with many other people in both public and private sectors), much of Canberra is an attractive place to live.

Understandably, they value the look and feel of the communities that have developed organically over time as a result of these decisions, and feel compelled to defend the investment they have made in time and effort towards these places.

On the flip side is the large number of people who arrive in Canberra annually, attracted by the job opportunities, the strong economy, and the lifestyle offered. Among these are something in the order of 1000 public sector graduates, and similar (larger?) numbers of Defence staff and tertiary students.

This second group is diverse, but are often (not always) young, and from larger cities. While they appreciate the natural beauty of Canberra, they are frustrated at the need to drive everywhere, and the lack of urban culture across much of the city. Because of their exposure to higher density living elsewhere, they don’t regard it with horror, but as a way of life that offers benefits as well as costs. They would like to have housing choices which reflect this, which are within walking distance of services, and with some feeling of “action”.

And herein lies the rub. The Government is trying to encourage infill development and higher density without having a clear aim of where and how it wants to achieve a balance between these 2 different Canberras. One side is made up of many wealthy older Canberrans who live in the same areas most suited to infill, and one which is politically savvy and united.

On the other hand is a largely transient workforce (again, not all) who often leave Canberra because they get fed up with waiting for their type of city lifestyle to appear here (among other reasons). Many of this group are frustrated by the status quo, but beyond complaining to each other, are not united, and so remain largely silent.

But the ACT Government realises how important much of this workforce is, which is part of why there is a “Live in Canberra” campaign. These transient workers and students provide Canberra with many of the staff to our service industries: from hospitality, the casino, hotel staff, office cleaners,aged care workers, retail…the list goes on. Given that such people often do not want to live out in the sticks, and definitely not to buy out there (in large part because even new housing estates are beyond their financial reach), they need to be accomodated somewhere.

So the city is at a crossroads. In the next few years, many Baby Boomers will retire, requiring more people to fill their vacant jobs. At present we already have skills shortages in some fields, and part of this is due to people not feeling the daily commute is worth getting poorly paid for. Our public transport is struggling, with the argument being that our population is not high enough to support it (despite Edinburgh, with 400,000 people, not much bigger, bringing back trams and light rail).

We need, as a city, to have this conversation. Canberra cannot remain the bush capital in all suburbs – some places are going to have to get much higher density to take the pressure off our remaining green spaces and leafy streets. This does mean that the city’s character will change, with both positive and negative effects flowing from that (and such effects being viewed subjectively, depending upon one’s point of view).

If we want to attract young people to our service industries (and in general), we have to offer them lifestyle and housing options they can afford, and want to stay here for.
The alternative is turning Canberra into a museum where young people leave, and businesses and society as a whole, suffer. Not to mention that everyday life will get harder without them – how many APS5’s or above would want to work in (for example) aged care, no matter what it paid?

To what extent do we sacrifice the future to satisfy the present, or vice-versa?

Gerry-Built 2:38 pm 28 Sep 10

Nice Title 😀

PM 2:21 pm 28 Sep 10

bd84 said :

I’m outraged at a half wit by the name of Andrew Barr continually misusing his power to approve developments without addressing legitimate concerns of the public. Take a look at the ANU project that he approved ignoring community groups and the major traffic and parking issues. While I understand the need to ignore some peoples continued baseless objections, he seems to use the powers with no rhyme or reason. By the way I’m still waiting for the official response from ACTPLA, but I guess they’re not allowed to write “the minister is a moron” in an email.

Was that ANU project approved by Barr or Corbell? Of course it was approved – it improved the value of nearby property owned by the Labor Club!

nhand42 2:11 pm 28 Sep 10

“This town desperately needs more dwellings. “

No it doesn’t. It needs fewer people. There are too many people, too many roads, and too much sprawl.

The people who want inner-city living can fark off back to Sydney and Melbourne.

bd84 1:56 pm 28 Sep 10

I’m outraged at a half wit by the name of Andrew Barr continually misusing his power to approve developments without addressing legitimate concerns of the public. Take a look at the ANU project that he approved ignoring community groups and the major traffic and parking issues. While I understand the need to ignore some peoples continued baseless objections, he seems to use the powers with no rhyme or reason. By the way I’m still waiting for the official response from ACTPLA, but I guess they’re not allowed to write “the minister is a moron” in an email.

feeonar 1:39 pm 28 Sep 10

On the planning issue – Strangely enough I know of four separate families (with 2 or more children) who live in Kingston and Braddon, in appartments / townhouses. Whereas my fiance and I have to live in a house because we have a 13year old dog, and no children.

Canberra needs to wipe their planning slate clean and start again.

Yes we do need more dwellings – of all sizes and shapes and prices – and in ALL areas!

p1 12:56 pm 28 Sep 10

I sure am glad the Canberra Times doesn’t report every halfwit drunken rant I post on Facebook.

KB1971 12:53 pm 28 Sep 10

John Moulis said :

Barr’s musings on Facebook are starting to make him look foolish.

He doesnt need to be on FB to look foolish, a few years ago when the Rally of Canberra was in financial trouble & were looking to the ACT Government for help he slammed them but a few days later he was handing out money hand & foot to the AFL to host games here without even a thought that the ROC also brings money into the ACT community.

He lost all credibility for me that day.

PM 11:59 am 28 Sep 10

I’m generation X/Y, have no children AND I actually want a yard. He can’t speak for me.

On the other hand, the ACT Government believes we need urban infill. Call a spade a spade; don’t attack the existing community.

John Moulis 11:17 am 28 Sep 10

Barr’s musings on Facebook are starting to make him look foolish. This is the second time the CT has printed an uncomplimentary article about his postings. And what was that bizarre follow-up post consisting of the long word from Mary Poppins supposed to mean? I have to wonder what magical property you need to have in order to be anointed as one of his FB friends. I’ve applied twice and been knocked back both times. Simon Corbell and Mark Parton approved me straight away.

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