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Signs of intrigue within the inner north

By Paul Costigan - 14 March 2018 3

Photos: Paul Costigan.

First an update on the 2016-2017 ACAT appeal about the proposal to remove the carpark in front of Woolworths and to build an apartment and supermarket complex.

The appeal sessions were strung out over the period from August 2016 through to March 2017. And since then? Absolute silence. Not a word. Nothing. It remains a mystery as to what is going on.

Meanwhile, the locals have seen the small street alongside Woolworths and the Library designated as a share zone – with cars having to give way to pedestrians.

And as reported in a former post, the pedestrian crossings and other informal crossings remain dangerous.

Just the other day I spoke up to caution a couple of people about stepping onto the crossing even though the green pedestrian light had come on, as some idiot hoon** was gunning the vehicle to run the lights.

Meanwhile, there were goings-on with the much-heralded consultations on the future of the Dickson Parklands site (Section 72). Anyone who fronted up at the pop-up sessions in and around the shops left feeling as though it was more of a sales session.

Those hosting the stall were keen to sell the government’s proposals for social housing on the site rather than opening up to other ideas that residents were keen to discuss.

There were to be two major workshop sessions on the topic. One was in the Parklands Hotel on Tuesday 27th February. I did not make this one. It was reported that about 15 residents attended along with politicians and minders.

And so I prepared a series of questions for the next session that was due on 7th March. The night before, word came through from the Residents Group that this session had been cancelled.

I have asked for the answers to the questions to be included in the next report that is due out in April.

The Dickson Parklands debate has been fraught with all manner of spin and false starts. This latest effort to engage has seemed a very quiet affair. There have been no notices sent around via letterbox drops or anything equivalent. Most people have not realised that information was being made available online about sessions and when they were being held.

Strangely even the local North Canberra Community Council has not made much noise about this important issue.

Residents are really trying to be optimistic that this latest under-resourced effort can become more transparent, more high profile and maybe deliver something to be welcomed by all those residents who attended the sessions in 2014.

A couple of issues have surfaced that are a bit of a worry. The word is that commitments are being made to a particular group for their project to be housed on the Parklands site – even though this has not been listed anywhere for residents to consider.

If true, you would have thought the lessons being learnt from the secret deals undertaken between the Tradies and the former LDA would mean that no-one would try this again. Apparently not.

Then there are the queries about the future of community-based leases being granted to organisations for housing co-ops or social housing.

Queries have been raised that follow the experiences of the Braddon Bowls club controversy whereby a community lease was passed around and then sold off to a private developer.

So following on from these experiences, could it be that sometime soon we could see the lease holders for Common Ground or another housing co-op pass their leases onto others and then for sale to a private company or developer?

Meanwhile in Braddon, the developer has shut down the bowls site and has asked residents to comment again on the feedback to date.

Given the feedback received, it looks as though residents have opted for:

  • Something sympathetic to the character of the suburb and existing surrounding uses;
  • That development similar to those on Lonsdale Street is not suitable for the site;
  • Development on this site must acknowledge the existing character and history of the suburb and be human-scale residential development;
  • And for any development on the site, noise, traffic, parking and design are key elements that should be explored through the design and development process.

I would add that there should be no commercial outlet and/or restaurant.

Given the experiences from other suburbs, no matter who gets the lease in the first place, someone will sell it on and then the next one will apply for a variation to allow for something bigger and better – that brings in more activities, and will be far noisier.

Anything on this central Braddon site should be residential only, especially as there are many restaurants and cafes just a few minutes walk away. None should be allowed within the core of the residential area.

There are several more issues currently occupying residents in the inner north. For instance, there is an excellent article from Campbell residents about the new ‘housing options’ proposed for that suburb.

This stuff just does not stop – and just for a moment back in late 2016 we thought the new government was going to try to be more resident-friendly. Sadly no.

**Just to check what you thought when I said ‘hoon’ above. Most likely you pictured some young bloke in a hot car. Nope – it was a sixty plus woman in the family Renault (maybe 10 years old). She could easily have easily taken out a pedestrian or two.

If you are interested in commenting about the Dickson Parklands – these first consultations are open till 16th March – click here.

The basic questions are really about enhancing the area for future residents – especially as the place is being filled with many more residents– with may apartments being constructed and many planned – as well as a major shift of families with children moving back into the area.

What do people think about holding onto green spaces here in the inner north?

What’s Your opinion?

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3 Responses to
Signs of intrigue within the inner north
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bringontheevidence 1:01 pm 15 Mar 18

Hi Paul, how does it feel to be the instrument used by one set of big corporate entities to keep out competition from another set of big corporate entities?

The only winners from the delay are Woolies and Charter Hall, who continue to rake in money from their effective monopoly while some residents with a bit too much ‘life experience’ do everything in their power to turn Dickson into a gated community – only for enjoyment of existing residents.

The losers here are the huge bulk of the 50,000+ residents of the Inner North, who currently have less choice in supermarkets than the 6000 residents of Yass.

Maddison Farrawell 10:51 am 14 Mar 18

Why are these people so adamant on ruining the aesthetic of Canberra?

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