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Simon Corbell calls in the Giralang shops redevelopment

By johnboy - 19 August 2011 31


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Simon Corbell has announced he’s had enough of the whole sorry sham that has been the consultation surrounding Giralang shops which nearby shopping centres have abused the process to try to keep their competition dead.

Mr Corbell called in the development application from the ACT Planning and Land Authority and decided that the redevelopment should proceed and that work start as soon as possible.

“This redevelopment would see a new supermarket and other retail outlets be established at the Giralang centre, which will be a positive outcome for local residents,” Mr Corbell said.

“The application process for this redevelopment has taken some time, and as the responsible minister I decided that it was in the best interest of the local community, to enable this important project to go ahead.”

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31 Responses to
Simon Corbell calls in the Giralang shops redevelopment
Giralangian 9:56 pm 19 Aug 11

Good news.

screaming banshee 8:24 pm 19 Aug 11

Shame it wasn’t called-in years ago with the lease being auctioned off to someone who is actually willing to comply with the lease conditions. Oh well.

aidan 2:48 pm 19 Aug 11

housebound said :

That Flynn call-in was very contentious. It is not a good one to use to try and support your argument. An example of a call-in that was appropriate was the Cotter Dam extension. There’s no doubt that our water supply would meet both the substantial public benefit test and the major policy issue test.

Let me make it clear. My objections are not around the merits of the DA. The law sets out specific criteria for a call-in, and it is obvious that they relate to major developments, not a local suburban shops.

I’m sure you’re right. The only legislation I could find in a quick search didn’t define what constituted ‘substantial public benefit’. My point was that the call-in power seems to be being used in a manner which is not consistent with your interpretation. Absent a legal challenge it seems that this is now the accepted practice.

housebound said :

Calling in a DA like this really does say that either ACTPLA is incompetent and is unable to assess a DA in a way that will withstand legal challenge, or that the politicians just want to get it out of the way because there is an election next year. If they had approved it last year, it would have gone through ACAT and the building pahse started already. So they’ve just lost another year by doing nothing.

I’d just point out that Neil Savery proposed that the development be called in last year because he felt that there was political interference in the process such that it created conditions under which ACTPLA could not operate properly. I’m not sure that is even covered in the legislation, so clearly there is some latitude.

ACTPLA approved the DA before this one, but it was appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, whereupon the DA was withdrawn by the developers and then resubmitted in May.

housebound 1:08 pm 19 Aug 11

aidan said :

According to you. Katy called in the Flynn Primary redevelopment citing substantial public benefit. You may assert that this also fails the test of “substantial”, and I would counter that perhaps this word does not mean what you think it means.

That Flynn call-in was very contentious. It is not a good one to use to try and support your argument. An example of a call-in that was appropriate was the Cotter Dam extension. There’s no doubt that our water supply would meet both the substantial public benefit test and the major policy issue test.

Let me make it clear. My objections are not around the merits of the DA. The law sets out specific criteria for a call-in, and it is obvious that they relate to major developments, not a local suburban shops. Calling in a DA like this really does say that either ACTPLA is incompetent and is unable to assess a DA in a way that will withstand legal challenge, or that the politicians just want to get it out of the way because there is an election next year. If they had approved it last year, it would have gone through ACAT and the building pahse started already. So they’ve just lost another year by doing nothing.

If you think that the criteria are far too narrow, then add another one that says the Minister can do it if he feels like it.

And you are right about one thing: the lessees got away with too much to begin with in letting the shops decline, but it worked for them because they now seem to have got a version of what they want. They should have had their lease terminated and the whole things started from scratch, or the DA for Woolies approved subject to whatever conditions were relevant. This would be hard to appeal if the commercial interests clause was removed from the Act.

niftydog 12:54 pm 19 Aug 11

aidan said :

I know plenty of residents who can’t wait for the development to go ahead.

I’ve heard people say out of desperation that they want something to happen on the site; and I’d agree that anything is better than what’s there. I’m not so sure that they would have picked this, given the choice. Still, we’ve all had our say and this is a lot better than a dozen town houses.

This might provide some competition, but it doesn’t increase the variety of goods and services available. Or at least, I don’t think it will, unless I’m totally wrong about the speciality shops. If I have to eat my hat when it’s all done I’ll do so with glee. 😉

aidan 12:48 pm 19 Aug 11

housebound said :

aidan said :

The provision of shops and the remediation of that disgraceful site is what I call a substantial public benefit.

It might be substantial to Giralang. That’s not the point. ‘Substantial public benefit’ is something the scale of, oh, the Cotter Dam expansion, not a local shops.

According to you. Katy called in the Flynn Primary redevelopment citing substantial public benefit. You may assert that this also fails the test of “substantial”, and I would counter that perhaps this word does not mean what you think it means.

housebound said :

As I’ve said elsewhere, the point of having laws is that they are followed.

Indeed. Which is why they should have had the courage to enforce the lease conditions from day one. They didn’t so, here we are.

Interesting that it is only when Stanhope left that this has been resolved.

housebound 12:10 pm 19 Aug 11

aidan said :

The provision of shops and the remediation of that disgraceful site is what I call a substantial public benefit.

It might be substantial to Giralang. That’s not the point. ‘Substantial public benefit’ is something the scale of, oh, the Cotter Dam expansion, not a local shops.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the point of having laws is that they are followed.

aidan 11:53 am 19 Aug 11

niftydog said :

abc.net.au
Corbell – “Giralang residents strongly support this development proposal…”

SOME residents… Just not many that I’ve spoken to, apparently.

Maybe we mix in different crowds. I know plenty of residents who can’t wait for the development to go ahead.

niftydog said :

abc.net.au
Corbell – “…I want to make sure Giralang gets a local shopping centre that allows people to walk and cycle to the shops and get the local services that they need and deserve.”

Well, Simon, I look forward to the day I can walk down to the Giralang shops, browse the newsagent, grab a doughnut from the bakery, have a beer or two at the tavern before picking up some takeaway from the restaurant and stumbling home.

Perhaps you saw it differently, but there was no way the old shops would be reconstituted. The current owners clearly didn’t want it and the Government didn’t have the courage to enforce their lease conditions to make it happen. The current lease holders wanted town houses, it was only the unsolicited entry of Woolworths into the equation that broke the deadlock and made a third solution viable.

niftydog said :

Unfortunately there’ll be nothing but a rip-off supermarket and some empty shoe-box-sized “specialty shops” if the current plan is anything to go by.

What is a rip-off supermarket? I support local IGAs and smaller supermarkets, but there is no way you could say they are price competitive. The old supermarket at Giralang was shabby, poorly stocked and not cheap. Of course it was run by the Nikias family, so they had no great incentive to invest in it once they’d decided to bowl the shops and build town houses.

I would have supported the sale of the shops to a committed leasee at the beginning of this process. Now I don’t think that is viable. In my opinion they are completely derelict and beyond saving at a reasonable cost.

If we can’t have the old shops back the next best alternative is new shops. I don’t think it would be commercially viable to rebuild new shops in the same configuration as they are now. A larger supermarket tenant has the possibility of competing with Supabarn/Coles for the business of Giralang residents, as well as attracting some shoppers from outside the suburb. This can only be a good thing for the long term viability of the shops.

niftydog 10:35 am 19 Aug 11

abc.net.au
Corbell – “Giralang residents strongly support this development proposal…”

SOME residents… Just not many that I’ve spoken to, apparently.

abc.net.au
Corbell – “…I want to make sure Giralang gets a local shopping centre that allows people to walk and cycle to the shops and get the local services that they need and deserve.”

Well, Simon, I look forward to the day I can walk down to the Giralang shops, browse the newsagent, grab a doughnut from the bakery, have a beer or two at the tavern before picking up some takeaway from the restaurant and stumbling home.

Unfortunately there’ll be nothing but a rip-off supermarket and some empty shoe-box-sized “specialty shops” if the current plan is anything to go by.

nsn 10:14 am 19 Aug 11

The Canberra Times reports that with the size of the supermarket limited to 1500sqm under the Minister’s decision, the supermarket is more likely to be an Aldi or IGA than the originally-planned Woolworths. So maybe those local shops that were protesting about the Woolworths have won after all.

aidan 10:07 am 19 Aug 11

The provision of shops and the remediation of that disgraceful site is what I call a substantial public benefit.

wrigbe 10:06 am 19 Aug 11

hmmm interesting. We were just discussing this in the doctors waiting room earlier in the week and saying that Corbell didn’t have the guts to solve the problem… maybe we were wrong. It certainly will have a substantial public benefit to the people of Giralang.

yellowsnow 9:55 am 19 Aug 11

wow, for once a sensible decision from the ACT govt (though i reserve my right to change my mind once i see the details). Interesting that it takes a minister to get things like this done – is there anyone left who has faith in the ACTPLA’s Kafkaesque bureacracy?

johnboy 9:51 am 19 Aug 11

It does seem to indicate the process is broken.

housebound 9:49 am 19 Aug 11

Simon Corbell has an interesting view of call-in powers – the test is that it has to affect the strategic direction of the territory plan, deliver a substantial public benefit, or be a response to a major policy issue.

‘Substantial public benefit’ should not be interpreted to mean ‘getting another long-standing issue off our books before the next election’.

Using call-in powers on small developments like this suggests that ACTPLA couldn’t be trusted to process the DA on its merits or according to law.

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