23 November 2020

YWCA Canberra lodges plans for women's housing project in Ainslie

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
YWCA Canberra

An artist’s impression of the supportive housing project. Images: AMC Architecture.

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.

READ MORE As social housing projects roll out, beware an attack of the NIMBYs

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.

READ ALSO Speed limits up for review as government moves to make roads safer

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.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

This had been happening for a while now. It isn’t about who lives there but about the dwindling parklands. It could be your local green space next. Put people in public housing in housing areas not community parkland.

Shocked by the lack of sock-puppet activity on this one.

This is a continuation of the YWCA’s rip-off the local community. Got the facilities cheap because they were going to provide a childcare centre and community activity centre. After a few years decided they didn’t want to deliver this service for the community on community facilities land. Became a landlord renting the site to another organisation. Now because of a change in planning rules the YWCA is going to exclude the community by demolishing the existing community facility and building a multi-unit social housing development on a small site.

Look at the site plan this is 10 units around a car park surrounded by a fence. 8 of the ten 50 sqm units lined up In a row. The fake renderings and realestate marketing was putting lipstick on a pig of last century’s congregate living model. Good for the YWCA bad for everybody else. Spend the money and build something decent on residential land. Give community facilities back to the community! Deliver a childcare centre and community activity centre as prescribed in your current lease.

For those interested in more facts and information, please head to the Ainslie Community Association (ACA) website: http://www.ainsliecommunityassociation.com [ainslie community association DOT com].

Ainslie (and this area in particular) has among the highest rates of supportive housing. It also has one of the largest stocks (over 400) of public houses which should be better utilised to support this very important issue.
This proposal goes against the Territory Plan. It creates medium to high density housing at the edge of a park rather than dispersing (salt and pepper) supportive housing through neighbourhood. YWCA have not upheld the terms of their lease. They neglected the site (which is why they could claim it was ‘under utilised’) and they have not properly consulted the community. They are exploiting a legal loophole which transforms community zoned land into residential. This proposal will remove local heritage and most of the trees on the site.
This is not my back yard; but it is all of our heritage.

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.