Study to examine Ainslie Avenue development options

Ian Bushnell 4 August 2020 31
Kanandra Court on Ainslie Avenue

Kanandra Court on Ainslie Avenue in Reid occupies a prime corner site. Photos: Michelle Kroll.

The redevelopment of Ainslie Avenue is a step closer with the ACT Government commissioning a feasibility study so it can consider development options for the key city corridor.

Purdon Planning has been contracted until 31 October to assess the five public housing sites sitting on prime city real estate for their highest use and best financial return to the Territory.

This includes weighing whether apartments or townhouses would be best and identifying opportunities for mixed-use development, as well as investigating what is allowable under the current RZ4 medium-density and restricted RZ5 high-density zonings.

Purdon is to look at the scale, height and built form of proposed buildings, taking into account the surrounding streets and dwellings, as well as the appropriate density of the sites.

It will look at the natural, built and social character of the area and its relationship to Civic and surrounding developments, as well as recently approved development applications for nearby sites.

Also to be considered are the heritage values of surrounding areas and the possible registration of all or part of Jerilderie Court and Kanangra Court.

In 2015, the ACT Heritage Council rejected listing Kanangra Court as a heritage site. It is made up of 118 bachelor flats in seven three-story buildings on the key corner of Ainslie Avenue and Limestone Avenue.

Public housing framed by Geocon construction

The rear of public housing on Ainslie Avenue in Reid is framed by the Geocon construction site on Cooyong Street, where public housing has made way for a string of mixed-use developments.

According to the contract, Purdon will also examine site services, road capacity, traffic and parking impacts; pedestrian activity, especially into Civic; design quality and amenity, the spaces between buildings and use of landscaping; and impacts on privacy, solar access and views into neighbouring developments.

It will do a tree assessment and identify any registered and regulated trees, as well as any culturally sensitive areas.

Purdon’s report should show the proposed form of development including height, scale, density, site layout, place and urban amenity and the desired future character of the area.

It will provide an estimate of unit numbers and advice on the type of and mix of dwellings, which will be used to decide whether to proceed with a Territory Plan Variation for all or some of the sites.

Purdon will also work with a financial consultant to develop recommendations on a delivery model for Housing ACT.

The planning context for each site is to be reviewed, covering the Territory and National Capital plans, City and Gateway Framework, Planning Strategy 2018 and heritage controls.

The five sites for investigation include Ainslie Flats (Block 22 Section 14 Ainslie), Braddon Court (Block 1 Section 55 Braddon), Jerilderie Court (Block 1 Section 9 Reid), Kanangra Court (Block 1 Section 9 Reid) and Reid Court (Block 1 Section 10 Reid).

A government spokesperson said any decision about the future of these sites would not be made until options were explored. These investigations were being undertaken with the view of keeping at least the current levels of social housing.

A report to the Minister for Housing, Yvette Berry, and the Minister for Urban Renewal, Mick Gentleman, should be submitted by the end of the year.

”My focus in the housing portfolio is to put tenants first and I asked that future consideration of these sites not occur until the needs of tenants could be sought and understood. I will not consider any redevelopment of the precinct until the government has worked with tenants on their needs,” Ms Berry said.

”The ACT Government is committed to renewing aging public housing through its $600 million Growing and Renewing Public Housing Program. This program is providing modern, energy efficient homes to replace old public housing while continuing to provide public housing options across the ACT, including in the city centre.”

The government has previously suggested that redevelopment could involve subdividing blocks for sale and a mix of private, public and affordable housing.

The Ainslie Avenue sites will be part of the next phase of the government’s public housing renewal program, which has already resulted in the sale of sites on Cooyong Street, Northbourne Avenue and the inner south for private development and the relocation of tenants to new properties in the suburbs.

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31 Responses to Study to examine Ainslie Avenue development options
O L O L 3:05 pm 16 Aug 20

We moved from the south coast to Canberra as the public housing wait time there was too long. Still don’t have a job but at least we have a nice house cheap

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 8:00 pm 07 Aug 20

I see the so-called progressives are out in force to demand that the poor and presumably welfare-dependent have full and equal access to expensive real estate on Ainslie Avenue. Why exactly? Plenty of young couples work hard, go without and save assiduously for the great reward of eventually being able to buy something in far flung areas including Molonglo. The land in Ainslie is not only expensive but presumably would reap large rates revenues for the ACT Government to lavish on the welfare-dependent and others about whom the bleeding hearts of the left profess such heartfelt concern. Mind you, it doesn’t matter where you choose to build and/or buy in Canberra, Barr will ensure it’s as expensive as humanly possible, both to buy, build on and, eventually, pay rates on. He’s really got to go.

Barbara Newbery Barbara Newbery 3:21 pm 07 Aug 20

Best financial return to themselves!

realist realist 11:58 pm 06 Aug 20

Yes, there should be public housing in the city. Some of these people have lived in the city for years and don’t want to go anywhere else. Yes, the land may be expensive, but so is the land on Lake Tuggeranong where another public housing development is to be built. Public Housing is suppose to be evenly distributed through all suburbs (including the city) so tenants can assimilate with the rest of the community. Why should the developers get their hands on the land to put up more high rises little boxes and make a fortune. Lets hope Ms Berry can keep her focus on putting the tenants first.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:41 pm 06 Aug 20

Will the ABC Flats demolition be the example there mostly two-bedroom air-conditioned public housing apartments are replaced by mostly one-bedroom expensive apartments, which will probably leak.

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 3:22 pm 04 Aug 20

Good stuff 👍

ssek ssek 10:15 am 04 Aug 20

Plenty of people who work for a living can’t afford to live in the city.
Public housing should not be on prime real estate.

    ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:46 pm 06 Aug 20

    You assume that public housing is only for people who don’t work. In Singapore 80% of the population live in public housing.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:09 pm 07 Aug 20

    Well it’s good that we don’t live in Singapore then.

    Public housing should be reserved for those who are truly incapable of existing in the private rental market.

    Other people who need assistance can be subsidised through rental assistance payments.

    The government owning a significant amount of public housing us a massive misallocation of resources in an unproductive area.

    They should own much closer to zero.

Melanie Wisefisherman Melanie Wisefisherman 6:30 am 04 Aug 20

Hopefully won’t be replaced by another huge apartment complex of shoebox shaped apartments destroying Canberra’s character and if they do hopefully retaining some of the apartments for public housing

Ray Young Ray Young 9:52 pm 03 Aug 20

Knew it... I lived there once for a short time and... yep, knew it would happen.

Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 9:15 pm 03 Aug 20

Another waste of taxpayers money and displacing those who need to be placed close to the city. Look after the vulnerable not the rich developers

Robert Knight - Canberra Progressives Robert Knight - Canberra Progressives 8:56 pm 03 Aug 20

If these units are to be replaced by a glitzy new development, I’d be expecting each of the existing residents to be provided new public housing as a part of the new development. It’s should be a condition of the acquisition, and the government should work with the developer to ensure everyone gains benefit.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 8:35 pm 03 Aug 20

So decision after the election then?

chewy14 chewy14 8:22 pm 03 Aug 20

There’s no way these sites should remain public housing and it makes sense for the ACT to get the best return on these prime inner city sites which are ideal for much higher densities.

Deborah Gale Deborah Gale 6:55 pm 03 Aug 20

‘Best financial return’ means multi story apartments. Just watch.

Jess Aan Jess Aan 6:42 pm 03 Aug 20

Yet another housing complex destroyed for profit with no info for current tenants as to what happens to them! Come on! This is a Labor Government!

Andy Miles Andy Miles 6:37 pm 03 Aug 20

More great ideas from the “Geocon” government.

Margaret Dudley Margaret Dudley 6:29 pm 03 Aug 20

“Best financial return for the Territory” 😂

Peter Bee Peter Bee 6:24 pm 03 Aug 20


Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 6:11 pm 03 Aug 20

If this is the way we find out that we are to be kicked out of our homes, it’s deplorable.

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 6:04 pm 03 Aug 20

Looks like more public housing residents to be kicked out. Way to go Mr Barr

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