10 December 2019

Survey finds preserving green spaces top list of Inner South concerns

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Oak trees in Griffith

Oak trees in Griffith. Inner South residents value their streetscapes. Photo: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

Streetscape and open spaces top the list of what Inner South residents value most, according to the preliminary results of an online survey being conducted by the local community council.

Inner South Canberra Community Council chair Marea Fatseas says the responses reveal what inner south residents value about where they live, and what they would like to change and to be protected, to make it a better place to live.

More than 300 residents responded in the survey’s first month and the council is keen to reach 1000 to provide it with a good evidence base for its advocacy to government.

Residents’ top three concerns are the maintenance of parks, street trees and verges; and planning, development and building issues; followed by rates and charges.

“Overwhelmingly, inner south residents want a say on building construction occurring next door or nearby,” Ms Fatseas said.

“They want a say on most aspects of development; in particular, on anything that will impact on their access to sunlight and natural light, on building height, on zoning changes leading to a change in building type or purpose, and on the amount of green space.”

Most residents still expected to live in a detached house in five to 10 years (57 per cent), with only small rises in those looking to live in a townhouse/duplex/terrace (3 per cent), dual occupancy (1.5 per cent) or an apartment (just under 1 per cent).

The percentage expecting to live in an aged care facility in five to 10 years jumps to 3.3 per cent from 0.66 per cent now.

The top three reasons given for changing the type of housing they will live in are quality (well built, solid), downsizing (due to children moving out and no longer needing as much space) and design (looks good, works well).

Inner South Canberra Community Council survey

More than 300 residents responded in the survey’s first month but the council is keen to reach 1000.

More than 70 per cent of respondents use their private motor vehicle as their main form of transport, with only 9.2 per cent using the bus, about 8.9 per cent using a bicycle or other non-motorised vehicle, and over 7 per cent walking, running or jogging.

Equal numbers of residents are satisfied and dissatisfied (about 41 per cent each) with public transport.

Of the dissatisfied, about 42 per cent consider their public transport needs could be met in future by expanding the bus network, 18 per cent by the light rail Stage 2 link between Civic and Woden, and 34 per cent by the combination of bus and light rail.

For those travelling by bus, only about 8 per cent have reduced their travel time since the new bus network was introduced in April 2019, with 32 per cent saying it hasn’t changed, and 20 per cent indicating it has increased.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) say that they no longer take the bus since the introduction of the new network, and only 4 per cent have started using the bus since the changes.

Ms Fatseas said the council would like to hear from more younger residents with most respondents to date being aged 45 and older.

The 45 to 64 age group (40 per cent) was the biggest, followed by 65 years and over (35 per cent) and 25 to 44 year age group (24 per cent).

The under-24 age group provided only about 1 per cent of the survey responses.

Complete the survey at https://surveymonkey.com/r/ISCCC2019.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Nice when your amazing green space 300sqm nature strips of the inner South are excluded from your annual rates calculations.

Marea Fatseas5:53 pm 11 Dec 19

I’d be interested to know how you arrived at that calculation, because that is several times the size of my nature strip! I guess you’d have some interesting responses from all Canberrans if you suggested including nature strips in rates calculations, as it would need to apply across Canberra.

Wide nature strips allow for deep rooted canopy trees, which reduce temperature by several degrees in summer, and hence reduce the heat island effect. If anything, we should be arguing that all new suburbs should have nature strips wide enough to allow for growth of mature canopy trees to make suburbs more resilient in the face of global warming. It’s pretty clear that many housing blocks in new suburbs don’t have enough room for mature canopy trees, so the street trees on nature strips will have to do more of the heavy lifting.

Use Actmapi and measure the size of inner South nature strips. Or rely as I did on land and planning experts.

Marea Fatseas10:21 am 12 Dec 19

I just went into ACTMapi and could only find information in the Basic Map on residential blocks, not on nature strips. Which part of ACTMapi are you referring to? In any case, a 300 square metre nature strip would be rare as a proportion of the total. Also, don’t forget that 45 percent of dwellings in the inner south are high density, and 13 percent are medium density (Planning Strategy 2018, page 95), so often there are many residents benefiting from one nature strip. I would also point out that the canopy cover in the inner south is 20 percent compared to a target in the ACT Government’s Living Infrastructure Plan of 30 percent, so we should look after the street trees and nature strips that make it possible for them to survive. That will be critical also in new suburbs.

You just need to go to Actmapi, turn on the Cadastre and the aerial photography and use the area tool to measure the sum between the road and the actual bounding of the property block.

Obviously apartments and townhouses aren’t what I’m talking about. No one talks about the nature strip of an apartment or high density dwellings.

Whilst the obvious locations like Mugga Way commonly have 600sqm nature strips, plenty of other blocks have between 250 and 350sqm nature strips. I’m surprised you’re trying to twist this argument and introduce loopholes to counter my claim that the inner South have very large nature strips that are not included in the rates calculations.

Nature strips as pieces of public land are implicitly included in rates calculations because they impact on the unimproved value of land in those areas.

I hope though, you aren’t suggesting that people should pay rates explicitly for land they don’t own and can’t really utilise?

What’s your point bj? That people who choose to pay higher prices to buy into an established area should be penalised for the nature strips that they can’t park on, grow anything on, but just enjoy?

How do nature strips impact the unimproved value of land?

Two neighbouring blocks of the same property size will pay the same rates yet one can have a huge nature strip and the other property a small nature strip.

It might be theoretical that people can’t park on or grow things on their nature strip, but that’s not the case in reality.

Take my street of Strickland Cres Deakin. Almost every house on my eastern end has the garden extend onto the nature strip and people regularly park cars there.

Lucky for me to have free land, tough for the guy who has a tiny nature strip in Gungahlin.

Nature Strips increase the unimproved value of land for the exact reasons you’re claiming people benefit from them.

Because it improves the amenity in those areas which means houses sell for more, increasing the value of the land they sit on.

But you can’t actually utilise those nature strips for anything productive so it’s ridiculous to suggest people should pay rates on them.

Try to build a structure on a nature strip and see how you go.

Should people pay rates on their local playground too?

That’s not even close to what I’m saying. But keep building your straw man.

You keep saying the rates model is amazing, but it has a ton of flaws.

What Straw man?

You said Nature Strips are excluded from rates calculations.

I’ve shown you how they are included through their effect on land values and why you could never explicitly include them because people can’t actually use that land to do anything productive on.

So I’m not really sure what your point is?

That people should pay rates on land they can’t utilise?


This survey is so loaded to get an outcome they want that it’s ridiculous. Anybody using the outcomes from this for any type of planning is doing so in EXTREMELY bad faith.

Marea Fatseas12:21 pm 11 Dec 19

Actually, we used some of the questions from previous ACT governed surveys so we could compare responses over time. For example, the question about what people value in their suburb cane from a survey done by the Government in 2003-4 in developing neighbourhood plans. The questions about people’s current and future housing intentions came from the Government-funded Winton survey in 2014.

Marea Fatseas12:23 pm 11 Dec 19

Sorry about typos. Meant to say “previous ACT Government surveys”.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.