Last night when shopping for a few items at the Kippax centre, I noticed a display at the entrance which I initially thought was a competition, as they had a red spinning barrel like you see in most competitions.
Upon taking a closer look, I discovered it was actually another government [see comments below, the writer has since been corrected, this proposal and related consultation come from Kippax Fair, not the government] “consultation” on the redevelopment of the Kippax area. Now the second stage of consultations had already taken place and the government is now developing their master plan. But one thing that really irked me was that in this final “consultation”, the plan has drastically changed. On top of the multi-story buildings and relocation of parks, addition of cycling infrastructure and so forth, the ovals to the east of Kippax shops are now going to become a supermarket and terrace style housing. This has never before been mentioned in the discussions and has been snuck in during the final phases of planning.
Of course many people have placed their objections to this last minute addition, but I wonder if they will be taken seriously at all. The ovals are supposed to be relocated to the south, incorporated into the other sports areas. Once this has happened, there will be no open spaces specifically for community use apart from the token few square metres for which the government are asking what the public wants included. We only recently started using these ovals for flying kites as most other open areas have trees and power lines nearby. Once this oval is closed down, there won’t be any other suitable open spaces to go flying in, not ones that have been properly maintained anyway [Holt and Macgregor ovals are usually always knee high in semi-mowed grass].
I have included my letter to the government in response to this new addition to their plans and my disappointment that they are releasing it so late into the proposals.
“To the ACT Planning Department,
I am writing this to have my say about the Kippax Master Plan which in its current format I am opposed to.
Earlier this year during public consultations, I wrote in response to the Kippax Master Plan through the ACT Government’s “Have Your Say” forum. I had concerns about quite a number of the changes presented for consideration. The most important of these was a lack of transport infrastructure to cater for the population increases due to the condensed housing arrangements and construction of the new West Belconnen suburbs, meaning the existing roadways from West Belconnen to the City [where employment opportunities are obviously located] would not cope with the increased traffic. The plans presented in stage 2 of consultations also had multi-story buildings looming over the street, which would block the sunlight from the westward facing external shops, which the government was selling as outdoor “alfresco” dining areas. These would become dark places, affected by a wind tunnel effect as happens in Garema Place in Civic. The positives of promoting these areas for dining would be negated by the overshadowing of adjacent multi-story carparking.
I had many more objections but none of those concerns have been taken into consideration in the final draft master plan which is now being presented at the Kippax Shops for comment.
Most importantly, the current presentation for comment by the ACT Government includes what looks to be a supermarket and more high density housing, to be built on top of the sports ovals to the east of the Kippax shops. Up to this point in time, there were no plans for these ovals to be used for any other purpose. I noticed at the display outside the entrance to the Kippax shopping centre that there are many people opposed to the development of the oval, as it will also remove public space for dog walking and other activities that can not be done in the other open spaces to the south of the Kippax Centre, as they will be designated sporting fields and not necessarily unoccupied for the general public to use.
Sneaking in a variation like this, so far into the process, is not how consultation works. I object to the plan and believe the ACT Government has pulled the wool over the eyes of the public, in order to please its developer mates and offer them public land to make financial gains.
Leave the ovals behind the Kippax Centre for public use as they are now, do not propose or commit to re-zoning it for more unsightly high density housing in an area that does not need it and does not want it.”