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West Belconnen needs infrastructure before housing expansion

By Vanessa Jones - 19 May 2015 13

kippax 2

Reading this Sydney Morning Herald article about central Sydney, I wonder what the exact plans are for expanding housing in West Belconnen.

It would be good if the ACT government upgraded infrastructure before 11,000 new homes are built in the Macgregor-Holt area.

A 50m indoor pool at Kippax, a third supermarket at Kippax (Coles or Costco), an ACT government shop front at Kippax, a privately built radiology centre in West Belconnen and a bike track on the Kippax ovals would all add to the community’s quality of life and help cope with the increase in population. (You can share your thoughts for infrastructure in Kippax and West Belconnen on the Kippax Ideas Facebook page.)

But governments so rarely plan ahead. It’s all about mega bucks for the inner north tram line, and all the ALP do out here is try and sell off Higgins oval in 2014, and open an asbestos tip in 2014. Huh. Sell West Belconnen’s green space to fund an eco tram line. Funny “green” logic, that one. Who in politics is sticking up for the people and the green spaces in average areas such as West Belconnen?

West Belconnen currently has a population of between 45,000 to 55,000 people, depending on which suburbs you include. With 11,000 plus new homes to be built, that’s at least 22,000 new residents (assuming an average of two people per dwelling). The new population will be roughly 67,000 to 77,000 people, and increasing, as it’s an area for young families.

Shane Rattenbury replied on April 17, 2015 to my 2015 letter requesting a 50m indoor pool for West Belconnen. I wrote to Katy Gallagher and local West Belconnen politicians about a pool in 2014. This year, I wrote to Shane Rattenbury, after he put in the My Way machine at Kippax, after I wrote to him about it. In his reply to me in April 2015, Shane Rattenbury recognised that West Belconnen is projected to experience significant growth in the near future.

Our leading politicians are fully aware of the future growth of West Belconnen. The government is very welcoming of the huge rate revenue coming their way, from all the new housing to be built in West Belconnen. But what will all those new rates be spent on? Will the money be spent on infrastructure for West Belconnen? What are they doing to plan ahead for the area, so we have the best quality of life possible, out here in West Belconnen?

The inner north will get a fancy tram line, footy stadium, pool centre, a heated lakeside pool and all sorts of nice glitzy things, but what will West Belconnen get from all the new rates which will be paid? Or will our rates go to fancy, nice things for the inner north? Will the people of West Belconnen get nothing, and the residents of wealthier areas get it all?

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
West Belconnen needs infrastructure before housing expansion
JC 6:35 pm 25 May 15

mrs1948 said :

Further to Genie’s comments, in actual fact the pool/gym/squash courts closed because the owner of the complex refused to maintain the building. The owner, a very wealthy woman with properties and businesses in Canberra, was leasing the complex to someone who was really trying to make the business succeed. Pigeons got into the roof of the pool area and their droppings ended up in the pool – the pool was closed by the Government, due to the health concerns. From memory, the owner still refused to do any maintenance as she wanted to pull the building down and redevelop it – the Government refused to rezone the land and the complex closed and went into further decline. Many years later the land was rezoned; the building was demolished; and apartments were built on the land.

Whilst your right the centre was shutdown due to maintenance issues, but the rot with lack of patronage set in well before the 2001 closure. The centre had its heyday in its first 10 years, read the 80’s and started to go down hill from about 1990 onwards. Maybe the lack of patronage had an impact on the level of maintenance the owner was prepared to make.

mrs1948 4:05 pm 25 May 15

Further to Genie’s comments, in actual fact the pool/gym/squash courts closed because the owner of the complex refused to maintain the building. The owner, a very wealthy woman with properties and businesses in Canberra, was leasing the complex to someone who was really trying to make the business succeed. Pigeons got into the roof of the pool area and their droppings ended up in the pool – the pool was closed by the Government, due to the health concerns. From memory, the owner still refused to do any maintenance as she wanted to pull the building down and redevelop it – the Government refused to rezone the land and the complex closed and went into further decline. Many years later the land was rezoned; the building was demolished; and apartments were built on the land.

Genie 11:55 am 25 May 15

Up until a few years ago I lived near Kippax for 25 years. My parents even ran a family business there until they sold up shop back in 1999. My mother still lives nearby and I frequent Kippax at least once a week.

Kippax used to have a swimming pool – no one used it so they closed down and now I belive it’s either Aldi or the apartments were built on the site.

I have no issues with Aldi or Woolworths. They’re never overly busy I can always duck in and out quite quickly, I don’t see any need for another supermarket when Charnwood is just as close.

As for the doctors, until recently I was a patient at the West Belconnen Co-Op. I never waited more than a day to get an appointment, usually at Kippax. If not Charnwood was only 5 mins up the road, or a 10 minute drive to Evatt. Or you could try Florey Medical Centre (although they don’t bulk bill) or head to Belconnen to the Ginninderra Medical Centre if you don’t want to pay.

The only thing Kippax needs is better parking (seriously can the ACT government PLEASE repaint the lines and add a few more disabled spots down near Magpies) and some road improvements.

mrs1948 10:58 am 25 May 15

What concerns me most about the West Belconnen area is the traffic congestion on Coulter Drive. Travelling into Civic/Woden/Tuggeranong in the early morning, from the outer suburbs is an absolute nightmare. I’m retired, and when I need to go to an appointment in Woden, I need to leave very early in the morning to get there, as the traffic is very congested early in the morning. As I drive along, all I can think of is the poor people who have to travel this road EVERY day – they must get so frustrated. Now the ACT Government has announced that they want to open up the area around Ginninderra Falls for housing – I can’t imagine what that’s going to do to travel time in the morning for the poor folks who use it every day.

JC 2:52 pm 20 May 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

JC said :

Vanessa Jones said :

@gazget
The pool at Macgregor is only for learn to swim classes, it is not a publicly available pool.

An area the size of that around Kippax even with 10,000 extra people does not require a swimming pool when there is a perfectly good one in the town centre. You don’t see Weston Creek with one do you?

As for your other wish list items like supermarkets and doctors they are all privatly build facilities that will come if business deems there is demand and zoning allows it. At present what is at Kippax is sufficient even with extra growth.

Did you read the article completely? “as I understand that the medical centre at Kippax usually has a long waiting time.” This and the fact the Ginninderra bulk billed clinic has awfully long wait times means there is indeed a need for more out west. It isn’t sufficient now and will be worse after another 22,000 show up.

I did actually but it doesn’t change the fact that the ACT government does not provide GP services. They are private businesses. If business deemed there was suffice to demand to open or expand practices they would.

Ps I have lived in the area since 1978 save for 7 years through this period where I have been interstate or overseas. My GP is in the area and have no issues getting in even on same day, but then again I don’t expect my GP to be free which is what I suspect the core issue is. But again not a local government issue except for providing land and zoning to enable a practice to open.

wildturkeycanoe 1:29 pm 20 May 15

JC said :

Vanessa Jones said :

@gazget
The pool at Macgregor is only for learn to swim classes, it is not a publicly available pool.

An area the size of that around Kippax even with 10,000 extra people does not require a swimming pool when there is a perfectly good one in the town centre. You don’t see Weston Creek with one do you?

As for your other wish list items like supermarkets and doctors they are all privatly build facilities that will come if business deems there is demand and zoning allows it. At present what is at Kippax is sufficient even with extra growth.

Did you read the article completely? “as I understand that the medical centre at Kippax usually has a long waiting time.” This and the fact the Ginninderra bulk billed clinic has awfully long wait times means there is indeed a need for more out west. It isn’t sufficient now and will be worse after another 22,000 show up.

JC 11:54 am 20 May 15

Vanessa Jones said :

@gazget
The pool at Macgregor is only for learn to swim classes, it is not a publicly available pool.

An area the size of that around Kippax even with 10,000 extra people does not require a swimming pool when there is a perfectly good one in the town centre. You don’t see Weston Creek with one do you?

As for your other wish list items like supermarkets and doctors they are all privatly build facilities that will come if business deems there is demand and zoning allows it. At present what is at Kippax is sufficient even with extra growth.

Vanessa Jones 10:44 am 20 May 15

@gazget
The pool at Macgregor is only for learn to swim classes, it is not a publicly available pool.

gazket 11:53 pm 19 May 15

a pool really…..is there not a pool at Macgregor ?

West Belconnen is run down and hasn’t got too much in the way of infrastructure I don’t think a token 50m indoor pool is needed .

rubaiyat 9:38 pm 19 May 15

Just how much money did the government pour into the Canberra International Sports & Aquatic Centre?

Every time I pass that place I take off my hat and place it over my heart in memory of the dear departed Palm Trees sent to their deaths in Canberra, planted in the shade of a typically badly oriented building.

wildturkeycanoe 8:54 pm 19 May 15

“The inner north will get a fancy tram line, footy stadium, pool centre, a heated lakeside pool and all sorts of nice glitzy things, but what will West Belconnen get from all the new rates which will be paid?”

We will get the joy of repaying the tram line for the next twenty years to get the budget back into positive figures, nothing more.

As for your proposals to add all these wonderful things to Kippax, are they not dedicating a certain amount of space in the new area for retail as well, thus providing the local community with an alternative to traveling into Holt for groceries?

Thanks for the tip about the Myway machine, it is about time they got that one sorted. If it is in the mall though, it doesn’t help for topping up after hours. A great step forward nonetheless.

JC 6:02 pm 19 May 15

Most of what you want is not government provided it is all private and demand driven. What is government provided is already amply provided in the town centre where it belongs. West Belconnen is just one part of the wider town.

So not quite sure what your on about and the relevance to light rail to Gungahlin.

What is needed for further development to go ahead are improvements to Southern Cross drive and Drake Brockman drive.

Ps this coming from someone who grew up in Macgrgeor and has lived on and off in the area since 1978.

damien haas 4:32 pm 19 May 15

Big Splash and CISAC are five minutes from Kippax. Have you tried those two pools?

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