A clear majority of RiotACT readers who participated in our poll last week on the Curtin Place development application for Curtin shops held the view that six storeys was too high for the site overlooking the main square.
Approximately two thirds of voters (227 of 344) felt six storeys was too high “whichever way you look at it”, while just over a third (34% at 117) were of the view that the developer had taken appropriate steps to ensure the new building would fit in with its surroundings.
Several hundred turned out to the protest against the six-storey development held the day we ran our article and poll.
Organisers from the Curtin Residents Association say around 800 people attended the rally with 700 adding their signatures to their petition (many at the rally had previously signed with around 1600 having signed by the end of the rally).
Co-organiser Nick Isaacson also noted that while all Ministers and southside MLAs were notified of the event a few days beforehand, no representatives from either of the two major parties attended (Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur did attend).
“A sub-plot to the rally is that the major parties are losing touch with communities, especially when it comes to development applications (as if we didn’t know that),” he told the RiotACT in an email.
Speakers at the event discussed the charm and village atmosphere of the shopping centre and the development’s potential impacts on this as well as parking, shadowing, traffic, access and amenity.
Following the formal speeches, about half a dozen members of the crowd, of various ages (one aged 24), approached the microphone and made impromptu statements, all opposing the development. One new issue raised was the potential threat of having residents living around the village square (in the five upper stories of the proposed building) as this could limit future live evening music performances in the square.
The developers behind the proposal said after the rally that the owners of the site (the Haridemos family) “have heard all the views expressed”.
“They have made an assessment that the current building is uneconomical to continue operation and that it would not be a commercially viable development if the scale was changed,” a spokeswoman said.
“In response to community feedback other than scale, the owners have included:
– an additional basement level of car parking
– more off site landscaping on the ground level
– installation of a new awning above the ground floor for the privacy of courtyard users
– lightweight aluminum screening to the building façade to improve the aesthetic and for natural temperature control within units
– improvements to current infrastructure by installing a new substation in the Strangways Street verge
– commercial space for the existing traders and a few more shops as well. Note: The leases for the existing businesses expire in September 2017 apart from one lease that has a longer period with a clause that takes account of redevelopment.”
They said an access road to the dentist and doctor would remain open throughout the construction period, and that they were working with adjacent property owners to ensure the chemist would also remain open within the precinct.
The next most popular poll this week asked what Australia Day meant to you. Almost a third viewed it as being just like any other public holiday (32% and 86 votes). The same number viewed it as an important day for celebrating our nation. As for whether the date should be changed, 22% (59 votes) were for a replacement date given the symbolism of the current date of atrocities committed against the first peoples of this country. Fifty of you (19%) see it as marking the last of the summer holidays and offering a chance to relax over a BBQ, by the pool or at the beach.
John Thistleton’s exclusive story on the deaths of several rare eastern bettongs in the Lower Cotter catchment inspired a mix of results in our poll. A quarter of respondents (41 votes) felt they weren’t equipped to pass judgement on the ACT Government’s decision to release bettongs in the area. Thirty per cent (49 votes) felt the trial was always going to end with many of the marsupials dying at the hands of foxes. But a majority at 44% (71 votes) were of the opinion that the trial would help the Government come up with strategies for the future.
The result of our poll on whether Australians should have to opt out rather than opt in when it comes to organ donation was clear cut. Almost 70% of you (68% at 80 votes) felt ensuring we were donors unless we opted out would save lives. There were a few voters (22% or 26 votes) concerned that those who felt strongly about the issue might not get around to de-registering themselves. Four voters would prefer compulsory donation given the savings on administration, and eight would rather focus efforts on growing/manufacturing organs.
While the sample size is very small, it is worrying that according to our poll more than a third of you don’t have a will. Almost half do have a will set up for them by a solicitor with 17% (12 votes) having a basic will they’ve put together using a template online or a form from the newsagent.