A very wet week

Following the hailstorm on the evening of 3 January, many households in this area lost electricity supply and damage from tree falls. A community hub was set up at Molonglo ACT Rural Fire Service Brigade on Drake Brockman Drive near Higgins to service the worst-impacted surrounding region. The hub is open from 11am to 7pm until Sunday, and offers three showers, three washers and dryers for use, as well as charging stations for devices, ice, food waste disposal and ongoing incident information and advice. An additional green bin collection has been implemented for Saturday 8 January for Charnwood, Dunlop, Florey, Hawker, Holt, Latham and Macgregor.

ACT Planning Review

Self-styled progressives fail on social housing

Paul Costigan in City News discusses the issues around public housing – relevant to 67-71 Belconnen Way, Weetangera, 6-9 Smith Street, Weetangera and 34-36 Alexandria Street Hawker.

ACT Housing signs in Aranda… the government has built walls of secrecy around when and what it is doing. Photo: Paul Costigan

ACT Planning Review

The Inner South Canberra Community Council has produced its own District Planning Strategy

Petition on densification on Hawker RZ1 blocks

Residents near two Housing ACT properties in Alexandria St, Hawker, have organised a petition objecting to plans released in this Christmas-New Year period to replace two single houses with five (see above under DAs). The plans would result in significant loss of green space and trees in contradiction of the recent changes accepted by the ACT Government under Variation 369 to reduce the heat island effect of hard surfaces that absorb heat. The petition can be signed online or submitted on paper. Consultation on this DA closes on 17 January 2022.

Blocks 21 and 22 are scheduled for densification in an ordinary residential zone not designated for such.

Consultation on WHD duplication

The Belconnen Community Council had a presentation on 14 November and are ready to run a special meeting on December 14, prior to consultation closing on the William Hovell Drive duplication on 19 December, if there’s enough interest. TCCS have offered to update on progress at that time. If you’d like BCC to run this event, please get in touch by 7 December at hello@belcouncil.org.au. The current information on WHD is at https://yoursayconversations.act.gov.au/WHDupgrade.

Lanes of William Hovell Drive

DV369 – greener suburbs

Vandalising public DA signs

Unreadable DA signs behind Kurundi Place, Hawker

These signs possibly illustrate the frustration of local residents about the poor consultation carried out for the development application relating to the duplication of William Hovell Drive. Apparently, normal practice is to place signs on the relevant block. In this case, the only block near William Hovell Drive is Approved Rural Block 1368, which runs from William Hovell Drive opposite Whitlam up to Springvale Drive and the back of Hawker. Notices were sent to all residents backing onto this block but not to the 33 blocks backing directly onto William Hovell Drive near the intersection with Drake Brockman Drive. These blocks were specifically named in the Noise Management Report as being most affected by increased noise levels from the road. Apparently, the DA documents are not read before the DA is publicised.

Canberra Times 22 Nov 2010

ACT Planning Consultation

ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman announced in June 2021 that a new ACT Planning Act is in the making. What input from the local community will there be in this process? Will there be genuine consultation? These are particularly important questions since research from the ANU suggests public trust in government has fallen to an all time low.

In this article, it is argued that public consultation, as practised by the ACT government, is flawed because it is an end-of-pipe exercise undertaken after all policy development has taken place behind closed doors. 

This flawed character arises in part from a conception of governance which sees the delivery of public goods as best achieved through the ‘market’: Government provides its services through so structuring competition that market actors realise these public goods for government. Government thus becomes a de facto agent for the private sector. The role of the public service also changes: its job is now to work with private interests in order to secure Government policy goals. So, in any consultation around a new Planning Act, government and its bureaucracy will be de facto representatives of market actors, in this case, developers and the construction industry. 

Alternative conceptions of governance and consultation exist. There are a variety of approaches, ranging from those which give real power to the community (collaboration) to cynical manipulation.