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.

7 Smith Street gets the mechanical digger treatment

The demolition team moved in to knock down the Edlington Farmhouse on Smith Street in Weetangera on Wednesday evening. Until 60 or so years ago, the building was part of a large dairy farm but gradually the city suburban sprawl has surrounded it. It’s not a particularly old building – just a working farmhouse – but it is significant, and it gives a glimpse of the area before Canberra spread. When the couple who ran the historic, pre-Canberra Duntroon dairy farm found that much of their grazing land was about to be inundated with the water that would become Lake Burley Griffin, they decided to seek pastures new. The pair – Bill and May Edlington – found those new pastures where the doomed farmhouse now stands. Six decades ago, it was farmland where race horses were raised but today it is classic Canberra suburbia. The Edlingtons’ farm extended northeast to include the area around the present Lathlain and Josephson Streets, Belconnen and northwest into the current suburb of Latham. Canberra Times 16/9/2021

Canberra’s planning not fit for purpose

Image

Consultation near markets

The block in question is the gravel carpark between the motel and Belconnen Way.

Crumbling memories of the abandoned Hawker Tennis Centre

The Riot Act

Ambalindum Park

A design for the first stage of landscaping around the existing playground in Ambalindum Park has been put together, see the current concept plan below. This plan could possibly be broken into stages – depending on how many people are available to help out. All planting areas will be mulched, edges will be defined inside the design but not on the outside of the design where the plantings merge with the existing park areas. Comments/suggestions are welcome: hawkercommunitygardens@gmail.com

Schools attracting home buyers

For families house-hunting in Canberra’s north, the fastest growing school catchment this year was Belconnen High School’s, which includes the suburbs of Florey, Hawker, Page, Scullin and Weetangera. The next highest performing catchment was Hawker Primary School’s, which includes Hawker, Page and Scullin. Hawker has proven to be a suburb that people reside in for a long period of time. (Allhomes, 28 Nov 2020)

Alroy Circuit in Hawker reflects this popularity. It abuts the school grounds of Hawker Primary and has become an alternative drop-off point as the main entrance on Erldunda Circuit is quite busy at peak times. Local residents have expressed concern for the safety of children walking to school along the road as there is no footpath on Alroy Circuit and many nature strips are covered with shrubs or parked cars, leaving no room for walking along the verge, despite the requirement to leave 1.5 m clear for pedestrians. Children tend to walk along the left-hand side of the road so that they cannot see vehicles approaching from the rear on the same side.