Summary of our November 2022 meeting

Last night was our final meeting for 2022. We heard about the plans for the Westfield Belconnen redevelopment, as well as the community consultation process for the draft Belconnen District Plan and the new draft Territory Plan.

Below are links to all the ways you can provide input into these significant changes, as well as links to the meeting recording and the ACT Government’s presentation slides…

Notes from the July Community Meeting

Missed our community meeting on Tuesday night? Catch up on all the news via the recording – link below.

The meeting included presentations outlining plans for a new high-rise residential development at Swanson Street Belconnen, as well as a new aged care facility at 1 Bindel Street Aranda.

Other key points include:

– Funding for the new Umbagong Park bridges was confirmed in the pre-budget announcements last week. Plans have also been upgraded to include a new lookout and seat, changes to the balustrade height and the width of the bridges to allow for cyclists. New signage will be explored.

– Significant upgrades to Charnwood shops have also been funded, particularly outside Woolies.

– The DA finder app and DA website have been greatly enhanced. They now provide access to the past 5 years of development applications.

– A forward program of major playground upgrades planned for this term of government has been released. Within the Belconnen district there are Aranda and Kaleen.

– The Active Travel Plan has been released. A good proportion of improvements are in the Belconnen region.

– Florey Oval consultation should be opening soon. We will pass on that information when it is available.

– Peter Cain provided a link to the appearance by Glen Hyde and Matt Watts from Belcouncil to the ACT Government Inquiry into the West Belconnen Supercell Thunderstorm. Start at 33:30 of the following video: https://vimeo.com/725950289

Meeting recording:

https://us06web.zoom.us/…/nRqKLsmtJBb684k7n3T7iPqP3lusL…

Access Passcode: S%xpaa2h

Belconnen Community Council – Chair’s Report July 2022

While the recent announcement of funding under the ACT Government’s latest budget is very welcome, there are some significant gaps that we see aren’t consistent with us being the largest and most populous district. It is good to see the promised spending on upgrades to Umbagong Park are now enshrined; this community resource and biodiverse environment should always be a high priority and the lessons learned from over a quarter of a century of data from the Jarramlee Project should help us keep the balance right.

We also have the funding confirmed for the proposed new Green Waste facility at Strathnairn, but I am disappointed by some in our community who have taken the “Not In My Back Yard” approach to this important community resource. Some of the stories that have been doing the rounds are extremely uninformed and in some cases, deliberately misleading; those who attended our meetings at the end of last year and beginning of this one will know what was being proposed and some of the early considerations. The question I have for everyone is: if not here, then where? Values of properties don’t generally go down because a government funded service is being provided nearby, but enjoyment due to environmental effect (smell) is real and the planning around location, prevailing winds and amelioration are things that can be better explored through consultation processes. Please keep an open mind about how we all as a community play a part in providing broader comfort to other parts of our district and beyond; a small amount of sacrifice often delivers the best result for everyone if we do it right!

The ongoing loss of an inclusive play space for our district continues to grate at me. We’ve had the SMILES initiative in Melba on the burner for two years but the support we garnered for a space in our district has been pushed further back, and as the largest district by volume it seems totally inconceivable that we wouldn’t be at the top of that list. No disrespect to our Inner North friends, but how do they qualify above us for this priority? I’ll write to Minister Steel and see what answers we can get by way of his office and the TCCS Directorate.

There are plenty of other issues doing the rounds as well: William Hovell Drive Duplication works, Drake-Brockman Drive/Pro Hart Avenue works, schools and play spaces, the enduring story that is Kippax Group Centre (and the upgrade to this area), as well as Giralang Shops and the proposed facility for Aranda. All are on our radar, but the one issue from the recent Federal election campaign that has fallen off is the Ginninderra Field Station site. There needs to be a process where this land can be re-purposed correctly to provide a safe environment for people, flora and fauna and that’s where we need the focus to be. Not on politics or popularity, but good outcomes for everyone.

As always we rely on you to provide us with information and issues from across the district. We are always looking for help to stay on top of the workload, so if you would like to get involved we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at chair@belcouncil.org.au or hello@belcouncil.org.au for more information.

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Notes from June Community Meeting

We covered a lot of topics in our community meeting on Tuesday night!

Thank you to the team from the Suburban Land Agency who provided a presentation on the current plans for Lawson Stage 2, as well as the developments at Holt near the Caltex service station (Section 53), at Kippax, and at Belconnen Lakeshore.

A link to the meeting recording is below.

Other updates were:

– The William Hovell Drive Upgrade Development Application is now open for comment. Details of the project and links to the DA are here: https://www.cityservices.act.gov.au/…/william-hovell…

– The Umbagong Bridges ‘What We Heard’ Listening Report is out, reflecting key design changes arising from community consultation. More details here: https://drive.google.com/…/1juU8fCJmkyVj…/view…

– There is work currently being done in Emu Bank, Belconnen on drainage and garden beds, near the skate park.

– There is major drainage work being done in the Belconnen dog park.

– The waterfall in John Knight Park has been turned off for maintenance.

Broader consultation processes mentioned:

– Multicultural Recognition Act consultation: https://yoursayconversations.act.gov.au/multicultural… – there is an in-person session on Monday 27 June at 1-3pm at Nature Conservation House on Emu Bank.

– Better Regulation Report (both the long version and short summary version): https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/…/better-regulation…

– Discrimination Law Reform consultation: https://yoursayconversations.act.gov.au/discrimination…

View the meeting recording here.

 Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report May 2022

May has brought some curious federal election promises and some good news for Belconnen folk who use the Bruce Precinct. Additional money for the AIS will hopefully translate to short and long term jobs as the major parties threaten to poor money into this long ignored icon of our district. We still have no further detail on the Ginninderra Project and I’m less confident that we will see any movement in the months after the election to get that land moving. But whoever wins this weekend, I’m looking forward to a better set of conditions for those who live, work and play in our district.

We ran out of time at last month’s meeting to cover off on the Lawson Stage 2 development and the Territory Planning review, but we will get to those this month. Can I let you know that our sub committees are working on these two issues (Active Works & Future Planning and Shops & Sports) and with the Planning Review we are working with the Combined Community Councils to provide direct feedback to Government. The latter provides some troubling proposals, particularly the removal of powers by the Minister and pushing those decisions down to a public servant where community scrutiny and review is limited. The system is complex enough without further restricting mechanisms to make decision making and review transparent; there is much work to be done on this one.

On a brighter note we are about to re-engage with the University of Canberra after the Covid interruption which gives us a chance to strengthen our connection as the improvements to their precinct go through the next stage. As another year starts to accelerate away from us, now is the time to make sure our values continue to align as we welcome back international students to our district; the role they play in our prosperity as a community cannot be undervalued and we are keen to see that relationship continue for many years to come.

The ACT Government has committed around $1.2m to provide upgrading of facilities to group centres, and Kippax will be the recipient of these funds over the next 12 months. Lachlan Butler and I met with Dan Stewart from Purdon Planning (who have been engaged by TCCS to get community feedback) and covered a range of topics, eventually settling on improved lighting and security for the area. With the Shopping Centre likely to commence expansion in the next two years, the long neglected lighting is the best bang for the dollar we can see that will endure past the construction phase. More to come on that.

We also presented our submission to the Assembly Committee Inquiry into the Belconnen Supercell Storm, and today I took the Committee members on a short tour of the Belconnen Magpies Golf Club to see the residual effects of the storm damage. Four months after the event and we still have issues. My thanks to Paul Netting and the team at the BMGC for their assistance in putting this together at short notice.

As always, we look to you for new ideas and thinking. Please reach out if you’d like to help our sub committees in the months ahead as we maintain our Belconnen district as “The Jewel in Canberra’s Crown”.

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council

17 May 2022