YWCA Canberra has lodged a development application for its contentious single-storey, 10-unit supportive housing project in Ainslie that has faced opposition from nearby residents.
Some Rutherford Crescent residents have argued the Community Facility-zoned 1,828 square metre site next to Bill Pye Park, which YWCA Canberra has long owned, is not suitable for such a development, threatened the park and would create traffic problems.
They also say community consultation has been inadequate.
But YWCA Canberra has rejected the arguments and says some residents have made spurious claims about the project, including that the community would lose use of Bill Pye Park.
The project vision is to provide housing for older and younger women, some with children, who may have experienced domestic violence, and the site is conveniently located near public transport, local shops and the public park and playground.
YWCA Canberra says the project offers a significant public benefit and will sit comfortably in the residential context, offering a place of safety and refuge.
The DA shows that the project is confined to the site – currently occupied by three buildings that have been used for child care, youth services, and more recently a base for outreach community activities.
It will not encroach on the park and the site itself will be screened by trees.
The project consists of eight studio-size dwellings and two two-bedroom units, all accessible and adaptable, 10 car parking spaces and landscaping.
The dwellings have been designed and sited to maximise sunshine and allow cross ventilation.
The proposal was scaled back from a 16-unit development, some double-storey, after consultation with residents.
All structures on the site, except for a timber and pitched metal roof shed, will be demolished and current driveways and pedestrian paths will also need to be removed.
Out of 18 trees on the site, 15 are slated to go, six of which are regulated but the project will also include extensive landscaping and new plantings of trees.
The site will be accessed via a new three-metre wide driveway from Rutherford Crescent. Seven of the 10 parking spaces will be carports, two will be for people with a disability and there will also be three offsite spaces, which the traffic reports says meets requirements.
The DA says the rest of the site is dedicated to private open spaces, communal open spaces, including a barbecue area and communal garden, and pedestrian paths.
The traffic report says the daily trips to and from the site will increase from 14 to 60, with Rutherford Crescent currently generating 96 daily trips. The existing traffic only consists of 110 trips or 11 per cent of the allowable traffic generation (1000 trips) under the ACT Estate Development Code.
The proposed development will increase this to 156 trips or 15.6 per cent of the allowable street usage under the Code, and the report says this will have a negligible impact on the surrounding area.
The project is an initiative of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund established last year but YWCA Canberra will be funding its construction and continue to own and manage the site.