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

Belconnen Community Council General Meeting

19 April 2022, 7pm

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87862117953

AGENDA

7pm Welcome

7.05pm Chair’s Report

7.15pm MLA’s update

7.30pm PEET University of Canberra Estate – For information

  • Glen Frew (PEET)
  • Dan Stewart (Purdon)

8pm Belconnen Premier Inn Redevelopment – Part of pre-DA community consultation

  • Marcus Graham (Stewart Architecture) 
  • Dan Stewart (Purdon)

8.30pm General business

  • Umbagong Bridges update from TCCS

9pm Close

Next meeting:  7pm Tuesday 17 May 2022, online via Zoom 

 Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report April 2022

April has presented us with some interesting options based on the calling of the Federal election. Senator Seselja’s two major announcements for this district while welcome, aren’t front and centre of people’s thinking at the moment. The first announcement about removing blockers for release of more land to be made available for housing centred on the Ginninderra Project (formerly the Ginninderra Field Station), in our view misses the mark about availability and affordability. The major blocker is the lack of progress to bring together the parties (CSIRO, ACT Government and the National Capital Authority) to develop agreements on how the project moves forward from a plan on a page to a going concern. Once this occurs (and it won’t happen until after the Federal Government comes out of caretaker mode) then CSIRO should be able to secure a development partner to progress the project to a basic development application footing.

The second announcement was the long awaited upgrade to the AIS. We wrote to the Federal Sports Minister in 2020 and were assured the money would be forthcoming once the review was completed. Unfortunately, those assurances ran into blockages of their own with the Federal Government blaming the ACT Government for not coming to the party with a share of the upgrades. In our view, that’s akin to a landlord asking their tenant to paint the walls, fix the leaks, plumb the new pipes and make their home liveable under local and national standards; all while asking them to pay additional rent to ensure the landlord doesn’t incur any costs. Similarly, the less than $12m will barely cover the costs of upgrading seating and fire/emergency systems; at this point that money is restricted to the AIS Arena and nowhere else.

I’ve been asked why we aren’t running a candidates forum for this election and I can say our Committee has been consistent for a number of years on this. We are funded by the ACT Government under terms that provide us with some flexibility around political activities, but no money flows to us from the Commonwealth to conduct any activities on their behalf. While we welcome the Member for Fenner and our two ACT Senators to our monthly meetings to provide updates on how they are working with the ACT Government to deliver infrastructure and services, there is no remit to provide an election forum for them and other candidates to promote themselves and their policies. But what we have done this time is offer incumbents and candidates 30 minute briefings on what is important to our community; for those who live, work and play in our district. There are plenty of opportunities for the candidates and community members  to interact, and our monthly meetings have always been targeted to meet those expectations; we don’t want to encourage one off forums every three years. What we do want is for that conversation to happen every month at our meetings, to see and hear from our federal representatives every four weeks from February to November each year; to make their efforts felt across the whole electoral cycle. With that in mind, we have started the conversation with our ACT MLAs in Ginninderra on a three monthly basis, meeting online to keep abreast of issues and matters of importance to our community. The first meeting happened just before our March meeting (and our thanks to Jo Clay and her office for making it happen), our next will be in early June once the Federal election circus has moved on.

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

19 April 2022