Development Applications Inquiry

The ACT Government’s response to the Standing Committee of Inquiry into Engagement with Development Application Processes has been released.  Our submission to this inquiry is quoted many times throughout the report and the final three recommendations (out of a total 66) are particularly encouraging.  The Government Response to all three is: Agreed in principle:

64. The Committee recommends that the Territory Plan Review consider whether the Merit Track should be changed so that Development Applications are not just assessed against minimum standards (tick and flick approach) but are also assessed on the overall outcome of the development.

65. The Committee recommends that the Territory Plan Review consider the role of simple rules versus flexible criteria.

66. The Committee recommends that the Territory Plan Review rectify the disconnect between the Development Application process, as per the Territory Plan, and key design and character elements that are articulated in master plans, planning refreshes and zone objectives.

To clarify, DAs are assessed under one of three tracks: 

  • The Code Track where the rules are applied;
  • The Merit Track where the rules can be overridden by vague criteria;
  • The Impact Track where the impact of the proposal is significant.

Improving the appeal and amenity of our suburbs

A local resident is proposing to improve the small park on Erldunda Circuit between Ambalindum Street and Woolner Circuit. This would involve applying to the ACT Government for a grant to cover costs. She is seeking ideas and expressions of willingness to help. Current suggestions are:
* Non-native deciduous trees along the existing path, around the swing and the bench, plus landscaping and mulching;
* Landscaped interactive playground behind the bench;
* Existing eucalypt groves underplanted with local native shrubs to form windbreaks;
* Additional seating, i.e. benches or picnic tables.
>>> If you are interested, email your responses and ideas to Frances via:

Free Wi-Fi coming

By the end of June next year, about 13 more Canberra group centres will have access to free public Wi-Fi, including the Hawker Group Centre.  As part of this rollout, the download limit is being increased from 250MB to 1GB per day per device to allow people to browse the internet for about 12 hours, stream 200 songs or watch two hours of video. CBRfree public Wi-Fi is already available around the town centres of Belconnen, Gungahlin, Tuggeranong, Civic and Woden, as well as a number of group centres and community locations including the Canberra Theatre, Belconnen Arts Centre, EPIC, Cooleman Court, Botanic Gardens, Kingston Foreshore, Tuggeranong Basketball Stadium and Stromlo Forest Park.

Housing ACT in Weetangera

Neighbours of 67-71 Belconnen Way, Weetangera, have been notified of a new proposal to build eight dwellings on the blocks.  The three blocks have been purchased by ACT Housing with the intent to have them managed by a community housing group, yet to be selected.  The proposed design is similar to the first DA201731297 with a u-shaped driveway.  We repeated our concerns about that given the proximity to a black spot intersection.  Both submissions can be found on our website at  All DAs relevant to the four Hawker Village suburbs are listed on our website at /DAs/.

Road duplication

The ACT Government has released a tender to duplicate 4.5 kilometres of William Hovell Drive between the Pinnacle and Kama nature reserves to improve commute times as new suburbs are developed in the Molonglo Valley and West Belconnen.

Frewin Place redevelopment

The old Scullin Health Centre building, recently occupied by the Alzheimers Association, on the section of land at the corner of Belconnen Way and Chewings Street, has just been demolished. The ACT Government intends selling that portion of land to a community housing organisation, yet to be identified. This area has been subdivided and, in recent years, two blocks were sold for the Cerebral Palsy Association health building and for the Cambodian Buddhist Temple. The intention for two other blocks has not been made public. It is possible that only the block on which Humpy Hall stands will remain in public ownership, along with the car park.

Densification issues

The last few months have been very busy with assessing and responding to development applications relevant to FOHV, where appropriate.  Since March, we have lodged four submissions dealing with overdensification of a site in Weetangera; reconsideration of a 20-bed boarding house in a standard residential area of Giralang (ACTPLA’s original decision to reject this DA has just been confirmed); addition of a second residence in Page with a double carport proposed in the front yard; and three adaptive dwellings (suitable for people with minor disabilities) proposed for corner of Belconnen Way and Springvale Drive, Weetangera.  These submissions are available here.

Kippax expansion

An item of possible relevance to the Hawker Centre is the 4,000 square metre extension of the Kippax Centre to cater for future Ginninderry residents.  Despite being a group centre like Hawker and Jamison, Kippax will have three supermarkets – Aldi, Woolworths and Coles – just like the town centres.  The big question is whether this will have a further adverse effect on the Hawker Centre where Woolworths is only a Metro rather than a full supermarket and several shops are now empty.  What do you think?

Scullin Traders

Congratulations to the group of Scullin residents working to enliven their local shops:

Petition – developments of inappropriate scale

A petition has been raised with the primary aim of demonstrating that the Canberra community at large is opposed to developments of massively inappropriate scale. It is based on the proposed Easty Street redevelopment in Woden but this is also an example of what has already happened elsewhere in Canberra, and will continue to happen in other neighbourhoods unless more and more in the community start telling the government they have different thoughts about what is acceptable and desirable for the future development of the “bush capital”. The online “Easty Street” petition is e-petition number 025-18 listed at