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Time to learn from planning overreach

By Paul Costigan - 31 August 2015 16

Costigan-Westside5

Two planning announcements have raised a few eyebrows in Canberra recently. 

The first was that the government had taken back the running of the infamous Westside container precinct. This so called ‘experimental’ development was due to open in time for Floriade in 2014. As of August 2015, it was yet to become fully operational, despite the Chief Minister throwing about $1 million dollars at it.

So now the Chief Minister’s own department is in charge of selling pies, coffees, curries and take-aways. I am sure the bureaucrats in charge have already worked out some new propaganda to justify how this is another positive step in the development of Canberra. I am sure we will believe ever word they say!

I would have loved to see something on this site that was architecturally attractive, that provided for on-going entertainments, that was finished and open when it was supposed to be. It did not happen!

Someone has just wasted $1 million dollars on a folly. So now the unanswered question is — how much more money has been allocated to try to make this thing work? And can we have fries with that?

The other announcement was the big change of heart over one of the many inappropriate planning developments presently occupying people’s minds. The announcement appeared in the press that the huge developments around the Brickworks on southern edge of Yarralumla had been scaled back from 1800 new dwellings to around 380.

Master-plan-Feb-2015_

The changes have been welcomed by local residents.

The frustration is that a huge amount of time, resources and money has been dedicated to developing these proposals. There was also the costly time, effort and loss of sleep by residents in trying to bring about a much more sensible approach to the government’s wild ideas.

Surely it is time for the ACT Government to learn from these costly mistakes.

I suggest that on both these projects there has been a very inappropriate overreach in what the bureaucrats have decided was required. Someone within the agency involved needs to get real and/or should be replaced by people who know how to work with the local communities and not against them.

P1100712

We cannot afford to keep allowing the planning and development bureaucrats to be so wasteful with government revenue and other resources. These agencies need a change of culture and to develop a mature and respectful attitude towards the residents of Canberra.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Time to learn from planning overreach
Robauz 1:47 am 04 Sep 15

It’s very disappointing that the NIMBYs have won yet again with the Yarralumla brick works. We all love going to Paris and New York and all the facilities that high density offers, but here we seem to always want three level max apartments. Maybe the ACT government needs to be a bit tougher and not be so worried about vocal whingers and just plan what is good for the city. From 1800 to 300 apartments, is not a scale back but a slaughter.

rubaiyat 10:25 am 03 Sep 15

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

You know that you could just cut and paste the following sentence which would save yourself a heap of typing.

Here you go.

Everything the Liberal Party does is beyond reproach. Nothing anybody else does is worthwhile.

Here’s a shorter version

Libs good – not Libs bad!

Try it and let us know what you do with the spare time it creates.

If you bothered to read my other post in full you would see my reference to an “useless futsal slab” that was built previously where the pop-up now is.
I was expecting you to nominate this as a Liberal failure but you have completely missed it so I will remind everyone else that this was a blunder of the Carnell Liberal government.
I give credit where it is due and vice-versa.
Happy now?

You didn’t need to tell us, we already knew.

But nice to see this first for you. An acknowledgement that even your sacred cows drop cow pats.

dungfungus 9:53 am 03 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

The idea of pop ups is spontaneity location and moving on.

This failed on all levels.

It lacked purpose intimacy and timeliness. The architects, I was surprised there were any, came up with nothing, and the location is nice sort of, but totally wrong for this.

I hope everybody has learnt from this and has another shot somewhere more relevant to the idea of popup and next time keeps the budget down and pulls their finger out getting it done.

The ACT Government continues to be hip and cool by moving from Twitter-Periscope (whatever that is) to pop-up cabinet meetings.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-02/act-government-pop-up-cabinet-comes-to-woden/6744324
Who do they think they are representing for goodness sake?
Hopefully, whatever pops-up will eventually pop-down.

rubaiyat 9:05 am 03 Sep 15

HiddenDragon said :

“These agencies need a change of culture and to develop a mature and respectful attitude towards the residents of Canberra.”

Indeed, but not just the agencies in question – the “shut up (unless you agree with us), pay up, and do what you’re told” mentality is all-too-common.

Having yet another go at the Liberals?

In this case the Abbott government.

rubaiyat 6:30 am 03 Sep 15

The idea of pop ups is spontaneity location and moving on.

This failed on all levels.

It lacked purpose intimacy and timeliness. The architects, I was surprised there were any, came up with nothing, and the location is nice sort of, but totally wrong for this.

I hope everybody has learnt from this and has another shot somewhere more relevant to the idea of popup and next time keeps the budget down and pulls their finger out getting it done.

rubaiyat 9:35 pm 02 Sep 15

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

An actual fact is the ACT government planned for $800k and paid $880k. I’ve seen many people there, although not as popular as it probably needs to be. So what do conservatives propose we actually do? Never try anything or try to improve anything? Governments need to spend money on a wide variety of things to satisfy the greater community. Every little thing they do can’t be a benefit to YOU. Now IMO it may not have been the best value, but I also see the total cost as being quite small in the scheme of the ACT budget.

You call it an “improvement”?
I know it was built over an equally useless futsal slab but the odd wild animal-free circus has used that slab to provide family entertainment.
I have yet to meet anyone who has visited the place and found it a positive thing for Canberra. At the same time everyone I know from out of Canberra that has seen it thinks it is appalling.
Anyone bothered to ask ACT Tourism their opinion? I am assuming they are still around after the stunningly vibrant and multi-million dollar CBR campaign (another flop).

When Kate Carnell spent all that taxpayers money on a world class futsall slab she really put Canberra on the map.

When I was travelling in Europe strangers would fete me, take me home, feed me and introduce me to their daughters. Just to have me regale them with the story of how a small obscure Australian city took on the world by taking a piece of land that had been dedicated as green lakeside parkland, first covered it with bitumen to create desperately needed car parking and then in a huge leap of imagination again covered that with beautifully engineered concrete.

HiddenDragon 5:45 pm 02 Sep 15

“These agencies need a change of culture and to develop a mature and respectful attitude towards the residents of Canberra.”

Indeed, but not just the agencies in question – the “shut up (unless you agree with us), pay up, and do what you’re told” mentality is all-too-common.

dungfungus 3:45 pm 02 Sep 15

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

You know that you could just cut and paste the following sentence which would save yourself a heap of typing.

Here you go.

Everything the Liberal Party does is beyond reproach. Nothing anybody else does is worthwhile.

Here’s a shorter version

Libs good – not Libs bad!

Try it and let us know what you do with the spare time it creates.

If you bothered to read my other post in full you would see my reference to an “useless futsal slab” that was built previously where the pop-up now is.
I was expecting you to nominate this as a Liberal failure but you have completely missed it so I will remind everyone else that this was a blunder of the Carnell Liberal government.
I give credit where it is due and vice-versa.
Happy now?

rosscoact 2:14 pm 02 Sep 15

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

You know that you could just cut and paste the following sentence which would save yourself a heap of typing.

Here you go.

Everything the Liberal Party does is beyond reproach. Nothing anybody else does is worthwhile.

Here’s a shorter version

Libs good – not Libs bad!

Try it and let us know what you do with the spare time it creates.

dungfungus 1:50 pm 02 Sep 15

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

An actual fact is the ACT government planned for $800k and paid $880k. I’ve seen many people there, although not as popular as it probably needs to be. So what do conservatives propose we actually do? Never try anything or try to improve anything? Governments need to spend money on a wide variety of things to satisfy the greater community. Every little thing they do can’t be a benefit to YOU. Now IMO it may not have been the best value, but I also see the total cost as being quite small in the scheme of the ACT budget.

You call it an “improvement”?
I know it was built over an equally useless futsal slab but the odd wild animal-free circus has used that slab to provide family entertainment.
I have yet to meet anyone who has visited the place and found it a positive thing for Canberra. At the same time everyone I know from out of Canberra that has seen it thinks it is appalling.
Anyone bothered to ask ACT Tourism their opinion? I am assuming they are still around after the stunningly vibrant and multi-million dollar CBR campaign (another flop).

Mysteryman 1:07 pm 02 Sep 15

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

An actual fact is the ACT government planned for $800k and paid $880k. I’ve seen many people there, although not as popular as it probably needs to be. So what do conservatives propose we actually do? Never try anything or try to improve anything? Governments need to spend money on a wide variety of things to satisfy the greater community. Every little thing they do can’t be a benefit to YOU. Now IMO it may not have been the best value, but I also see the total cost as being quite small in the scheme of the ACT budget.

It’s not the best value. It’s not even good value. It was a waste of nearly a million bucks. I too drive past daily, and on weekends, and it appears to be vacant almost every time. I don’t mind the government trying new things – I understand there is risk involved sometimes – but this idea seemed stupid from the get-go. It’s not a surprise that it flopped.

watto23 12:59 pm 02 Sep 15

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

An actual fact is the ACT government planned for $800k and paid $880k. I’ve seen many people there, although not as popular as it probably needs to be. So what do conservatives propose we actually do? Never try anything or try to improve anything? Governments need to spend money on a wide variety of things to satisfy the greater community. Every little thing they do can’t be a benefit to YOU. Now IMO it may not have been the best value, but I also see the total cost as being quite small in the scheme of the ACT budget.

dungfungus 8:44 am 02 Sep 15

Masquara said :

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

Now that’s an inconvenient truth.
I have often criticised the millions of dollars that Barr used to throw at the NGA blockbusters out of his “special events” account but this pop up mentality surpasses all before it.

Masquara 9:26 pm 01 Sep 15

Let’s just be clear: the Westside Container Development was Andrew Barr’s brainchild, and he pushed it and threw our million dollars at it for zero return. I have yet to see one single person there on driving past – daily.

madelini 9:20 am 01 Sep 15

Remembering that people are generally resistant to change, I would rather that they invest in plans that have to be altered after community feedback than not investing in new opportunities at all. Westside hasn’t gone to plan, but there is the potential for it to be made better and for it to become an exciting youth hub.

Regarding the Yarralumla development, and Dickson for that matter, people don’t like change. This is a human trait; people on the whole are resistant to change, especially when they are not the facilitators of this. That doesn’t mean that we can’t build up inner suburbs, but it does mean that the Government has a responsibility to alter plans and compromise with residents. This costs money, but it’s a worthwhile investment in the long run.

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