27 April 2024

Steel presses ahead with plans for 1300 new homes in North Curtin on 'Gateway' corridor

| Ian Bushnell
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horses grazing in paddock

The Territory portion of the North Curtin horse paddocks will be the site of more than 1300 homes under an ACT Government plan. Photo: Region.

More than 1300 homes will be built on the Territory portion of the North Curtin horse paddocks under plans being prepared by the ACT Government.

The move to progress planning for the 10-hectare strip of land next to Yarra Glen Drive comes as the government looks to speed up the release of more land to boost the housing supply in the ACT.

It is also preparing for North Curtin and other land along the future light rail route from the City to Woden to be brought under a new planning framework along the same lines developed for Northbourne Avenue.

A community survey now open on the design of what the government is calling the North Curtin Residential Area will also be included in another consultation over the next two years on the development of this new draft Southern Gateway Planning and Design Framework.

The new survey follows a government consultation last year run by consultancy Communication Link to provide a guide to future development.

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Planning Minister Chris Steel said the survey feedback would contribute to the draft Planning Conditions for the North Curtin Residential Area, which would be used to assess future development applications for the site.

He said the North Curtin land had the potential to supply up to 1300 badly needed townhouses and multi-unit dwellings.

“We want to hear from the community about what is important in terms of urban design, landscape design, built form, access and design quality on the site,” Mr Steel said.

“With its location on a major transport corridor, this is a significant opportunity to develop a high-quality residential neighbourhood that is sustainable and vibrant with quality public streets and spaces.”

Mr Steel said the draft Southern Gateway Planning and Design Framework would guide future development along Canberra’s southern transport corridor from the City to Woden where light rail Stage 2B is planned.

This would would be in much the same way as the City and Gateway Design Framework was established in 2018 in Canberra’s north ahead of the completion of light rail Stage 1 from Gungahlin to the City.

“In the future, we will be engaging with the community on the principles of growth and development of more housing, public spaces and infrastructure along the light rail 2B corridor, including Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen Drive,” Mr Steel said.

aerial view of land slated for housing

The strip of ACT land next to Yarra Glen Drive to be developed for housing. Photo: ACT Government.

In a snipe at the Opposition’s public transport policy, Mr Steel said that unlike buses, light rail could unlock significant land-use benefits with opportunities for better connections to public transport, new housing, commercial activity as well as improvements to landscape, streets and public spaces.

“We’ve already seen the land-use benefits along the Northbourne corridor and we want to work with the community to develop design guidance for the Southern corridor so that we can maximise the benefits to the community,” he said.

Mr Steel’s plans depend on the outcome of the October election.

The Canberra Liberals have pledged, if they win power, to ditch Stage 2B in favour of expanding bus services, including an electric fleet and a busway using the existing roads between the City and Woden.

In 2020, the Liberals were scathing about the government’s controversial land deal with the Commonwealth in which it ceded 70 per cent of the horse paddocks for a diplomatic estate in exchange for 2.8 ha of lake bed at West Basin for the Acton Waterfront development.

But the Liberals’ new public transport policy appears to take into account the proposed North Curtin housing estate and other possible housing sites by including possible bus stops at Curtin, Yarralumla and Deakin.

In 2020, the NCA rezoned the horse paddock land for its diplomatic estate, and for housing on the ACT portion, although it retained ultimate planning control.

The government says the feedback from the North Curtin survey will be lodged with the NCA towards the end of the financial year, before final planning controls are determined.

This will build on the principles laid out in the Woden District Strategy released in November 2023.

A referral is also in progress with the Federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to assess potential environmental impacts.

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The government says the new framework will be a part of Mr Steel’s Statement of Planning Priorities bringing transport and land-use planning together to supply more housing close to public transport corridors and improve public places.

It will be developed in consultation with the NCA.

Canberrans can complete the survey on the North Curtin Residential Area on the YourSay website, closing on 11 June.

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ChrisinTurner2:19 pm 30 Apr 24

I hope the sale of the 1300 lots includes the cost of building Stage 2B.

Steel and his mates trying to sell beachfront apartments but no beach. We don’t need this in Canberra. Driving up congestion to make a transport solution effective is a ponzi schme

Tom Worthington4:48 pm 29 Apr 24

Only 1,300 homes is far less than needed to cover the cost of light rail to Woden. This needs to be tens of thousands of new high density homes. Many in Canberra would like to downsize, and what they need are small apartments, but with good shared & public amenities. A two-bedroom apartment, of less than 80 square m, is more than enough for a couple who will be out and about most of the time.

Capital Retro1:20 pm 30 Apr 24

Most downsizers are our senior citizens and “small, 2 bedroom apartments” are the last thing we want. And contrary to what the ads about retirement homes with professional models sipping chardonnay show you, most of us can’t get “out and about” anymore.

For a start, the door access needs to accommodate an ambulance gurney and this is only available in purpose built places in retirement/nursing homes.

I hope when you turn 65 Tom that you recall this thread. With amnesia prevalent at this age there is a 50/50 chance you won’t.

Tom Worthington4:34 pm 30 Apr 24

There is a range of accommodation needed for different requirements, tastes and budgets. Having turned 65 some years ago, but still in good health, I don’t need a nursing home just yet. However, designing Canberra’s homes for accessibility would be a good idea.

Agree grandpa. The options for people wanting to downsize are pretty crappy. Trying to find a one level townhouse with 3 bedrooms & a double lock up garage is very difficult.

GrumpyGrandpa2:00 pm 29 Apr 24

We would like to downsize to something smaller and more manageable, but all we ever hear about is apartments.

Maybe an apartment would be OK, but in all of the developments I’ve seen, the vast majority are 1 or 2 bedrooms and frankly, a 75m2 two-beddy is too small for a couple who have been married for 40 years. We’ve seen a few with bedrooms as small as 2.6m wide!

We even saw a 3 beddy, that had angled walls; ie not a square shaped room. None if the bedrooms could fit a queen size bed in them and allow you to get out of the side of the bed.

The poor smucks who buy these shoeboxes, do so because the 70/30 gives them no options.

Capital Retro4:37 pm 29 Apr 24

Same problem here GG.

The government cheer-leads the building industry to provide for downsizers but all that is offered is multi story apartments or townhouses with 3m x 3m rooms and stairs everywhere. The government hasn’t got a clue what old people need and it doesn’t care either.

And you don’t want to be in a multi-story apartment block when the lift fails or an EV catches fire in the basement car park!

The best options are single level townhouses or dual occupancy cottages in the 20 year old suburbs. Some are ready for superficial renovation which is OK because the aids that oldies need can be fitted at the same time. Most have compact, established gardens too and friendly, like minded neighbours.

Expect to pay about $900K + and don’t expect any concessions on stamp duty. They are only available for young people buying their first shoebox.

You could always access this concession CR.


Although I’m not sure exactly why you think older, wealthier people should be receiving concessions for in the first place?

But regardless, the government’s tax reform moving away from stamp duty to a broad based land tax also increases housing mobility for older people, lowering the stamp duty hurdle to relocate to more appropriate dwellings.

Based on your statements, you should be a big supporter.

Jenny Graves11:03 am 30 Apr 24

Not all older people are cash wealthy! Some have capital tied up in their current homes, for sure, but the point of downsizing is usually to release capital. If the government wants to encourage downsizing, which it clearly does, this is a sensible move. (And I’m not usually a Barr supporter!)

Capital Retro11:48 am 30 Apr 24

I was aware of that but thanks. Anyway, that is only for “off the plan” type stuff which as I have explained doesn’t suit most retired people. And the price range is about 5 years out of date.

As to you understanding that older (sometimes wealthier) people should be receiving concessions, please explain why young people get them.

Capital Retro,
you didn’t actually explain why it doesn’t suit most retired people’s “needs”. You provided an opinion of what your specific wants and preferences.

There’s no restriction on the specific type or layout of the dwellings that can receive the concession I’ve linked and as the concession is designed to promote new builds, it is never going to take into account the individual preferences for things like location or your fear of lifts and EV’s.

“As to you understanding that older (sometimes wealthier) people should be receiving concessions, please explain why young people get them.”

I’m unaware of any concessions that have age restrictions limiting them to young people? Perhaps you can list them?

Although if you are referring to first home owner grants and the like, they are accessible by any first home owner regardless of age and are designed to facilitate entry into the housing market.

Personally, I think they are a bad idea as they drive increased demand and really only assist existing home owners by propping up property prices.

Once again, why do you think older, wealthier people need concessions?

Capital Retro2:41 pm 30 Apr 24

You really don’t have a clue what happens in the real world, do you.

You really can’t answer basic questions can you?

“real world”, LOL. Another failed attempt to excuse your inability to back up your opinions with even the slightest form of evidence.

Fair to say that the ovals on the opposite side of the development will also become housing if/when light rail makes it way to Woden as it’s all about the land-use benefits!

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