BCC Monthly Public Meeting June 21st 7PM

The monthly public meeting of the Belconnen Community Council will take place at 7PM on June 21 2016 at the Community Room above the Belconnen Library.

This month we have the opportunity to engage in community consultation with three different organisations proposing development in the Belconnen Town Centre.

We will also discuss the Belco50 celebrations commencing on June 23.

Stewart Architecture on behalf of the Rock Development Group will present new plans to fill the giant hole in the ground at the Belconnen Markets, and seek feedback from the community. The proposed buildings will be 6 storeys high, between the Belconnen Markets and Belconnen Way, and have ground level retail space.

The Land Development Agency would like to discuss options for the old Water Police site on Lake Ginninderra. The site is small with room for a retail only building no higher than two storeys. Public access to the jetty and boat ramp must remain. No decisions or plan have been made yet, and public views are now being sought on options and ideas for this site.

Elton Consulting will present plans for the block behind the Belconnen Labor Club (Section 200). Canberra developer GEOCON purchased this block in 2015, and would like to present preliminary plans to the public ahead of lodging a DA. This site is proposed for a 27 storey mixed use building facing the lake.

A brief agenda is:

  • Meeting Opens 7PM
  • Chairs report
  • Belco50
  • Stewart Architects – Belconnen Markets proposal
  • Elton Consulting – Geocon Section 200
  • LDA – Water Police site options
  • Other business
  • Meeting closes 9PM

All residents of Belconnen are invited to attend.

Belconnen and the ACT Budget

The ACT Budget was handed down this week and it appears to be a safe and steady budget, with a focus on services. Investment will be focused on schools, hospitals, roads and parks. Oddly for an election year, little pork barreling seems to have occurred anywhere in Canberra.
The biggest single investment in Belconnen is for the University of Canberra Public Hospital currently being constructed on the corner of Aikman and Ginninderra Drive. The investment in that facility from this budget is $212 million dollars, and will benefit all of Canberra, not just Belconnen residents. As well as much needed health facilities it will provide jobs and become part of the integration of UC with the town centre.
Some budget announcements that directly benefited Belconnen were the announcement of the duplication of Aikman Drive and upgrades to local shopping centres at Charnwood and Spence.Belconnen schools will receive upgrades, such as an early learning space to be built at Maribyrnong Primary in Kaleen and the CIT in Bruce will receive 1.7M dollars  towards upgrades.

Local playgrounds in Florey and Evatt will be also be provided with finds for upgrades and improvements.

The 9.8M dollar Aikman Drive duplication announcement is an important step in smoothing traffic through the town centre, especially with a growing population accessing town centre services, such as the UC Public Hospital that is being built right now. As well as the road duplication, a cycle path and footpath will be constructed.

Other heavily used arterial roads in the area require attention, such as Kuringa Drive and William Slim Drive, and the BCC will continue to lobby for those upgrades.

The ACT Treasury has prepared a Belconnen specific budget breakdown (available from this link). As your community council we would like to ask you:

  • What do you think of this budget?
  • Where can the government invest our money and improve Belconnen?
  • What specific improvements do you think are needed?
Please email us at: hello@belcouncil.org.au

National Capital Plan Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan

The BCC received the following communication from the National Capital Authority on 11 May 2016.

“I am writing in relation to your submissions on both National Capital Plan Draft Amendment 85 – West Belconnen Urban Development and Draft Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan.

On 5 May 2016, the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, approved Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan. Amendment 86 incorporates the changes to the Plan proposed by Draft Amendment 85 – West Belconnen Urban Development, and varies the land use policy for the West Belconnen area from ‘Hills, Ridges and Buffer Spaces’ to ‘Urban Areas’. To simplify the approvals process the National Capital Authority (NCA) elected to combine the two proposals. Amendment 86 took effect on 6 May 2016.

The Minister’s decision to approve the revised Plan introduces a range of changes to the land use planning framework of the ACT. Among these are:

*   Expansion of land available for urban development in West
Belconnen, Mitchell, Kenny and Ginninderra.
*   Removal of Special Requirements for significant portions of

Territory Land (Namadgi National Park and the Murrumbidgee and
Molonglo River Corridors)
*   Adjustment of the Designated Areas to include land between

London Circuit and Coranderrk Street on the northern side of
Constitution Avenue (with the exception of Block 14 Section 65 City
being the National Convention Centre site), the Mint, the Australian
Institute of Sport, and the Defence Housing Authority’s Academy Close site.
*   Changes to land use provisions in a number of designated areas,

including those for East Block, West Block and Anzac Park East and
West.

A copy of the revised National Capital Plan and the Consultation
Report is available on the National Capital Authority’s website at
www.nationalcapital.gov.au


Thank you for your interest in changes to the National Capital Plan.

For further advice regarding the above, please contact Rebecca
Sorensen on 02 6271 2851 or email
Rebecca.Sorensen@natcap.gov.au

May public meeting of the BCC – Minister Fitzharris and Transport Canberra

Minister Meegan Fitzharris will be at the May meeting of the BCC. She will be speaking about Transport Canberra. The new head of Transport Canberra, Emma Thomas, will also attend.

We will also hear from the Retired ACT Transport Employees Club about preserving Canberra’s transport heritage and the role their members have played moving us all around Canberra since the capital was established.

We invite all members of the public to attend our May public meeting on: Tuesday 17 May at 7PM at the Community Room above the Belconnen Library.

A brief agenda is as follows:

7.00PM – Meeting opens – Apologies, Chairs report

7.10PM – Retired ACT Transport Employees Club

7.40PM – Minister Meegan Fitzharris and Emma Thomas

9.00PM – Meeting closes

Further information can be found on our Facebook page and website: www.belcouncil.org.au

Belconnen retains its 4000 strong workforce at Immigration

belco immigration

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection today announced that the 4000 Immigration employees working in the Town Centre will remain in Belconnen. Office accommodation arrangements have now been finalised, and although its Civic workforce will be relocating to the Airport, its Belconnen employees will remain in the Town Centre.

Some will relocate to the underutilised ABS Building on Benjamin Way, across the road from their main Belconnen building.

This is a tremendous result that the BCC, under former Chair Tara Cheyne, worked hard to achieve, with strong bipartisan political efforts at local and federal levels.

Todays announcement provides certainty to the workers and their families that faced enormous dislocation, and to the many small businesses that relied on the 4000 workers. The department employs around one third of the full time workforce located in the Town Centre and remains Belconnens largest employer.

This decision was almost certain following last years decision by the Finance Department to take local factors into consideration when contemplating relocation of departments.

The decision was advised to all staff via an email on 5 May 2016:

Belconnen retains its Immigration workforce

Belconnen retains its Immigration workforce

The media covered the decision here and here.

Senator Zed Seselja commented on the decision by saying:

“Along with the Belconnen community I fought to ensure the [department] remained in its current location with the same staffing footprint, and I’m pleased that we won that fight,”

“Our government is the first ever to take into consideration local impacts on Canberra before making a decision regarding departmental accommodation and today’s announcement shows just how important this was.

“We now have certainty for businesses and staff located at the Belconnen town centre.

“We all know that the presence of government departments in our town centres is critical to maintaining the viability of many local small businesses. This is how Canberra was designed and we need to protect that.

“A move of the DIBP from Belconnen town centre would not have been in the best interest of the Belconnen community. It was vital to ensure this did not happen.

NCA Amendments allow development in West Belconnen and CSIRO Ginninderra Field Site

The National Capital Authority today announced amendments to the National Capital Plan, permitting residential development at the large CSIRO Ginninderra Field site alongside the Barton Highway. The amendments also permit the Riverview development in West Belconnen to proceed.

The BCC continue to consult with both the CSIRO and Riverview to bring about good planning outcomes for existing and future Belconnen residents.

We are mindful of local concerns around loss of open space. The large volume of residents moving in over the coming decades also warrant revisiting the light rail master plan to look at whether light rail along the Barton Highway is feasible.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr responded to the announcement by the NCA by saying:

“The approval of the amendment will now allow the ACT Government, in a joint venture with the Riverview Group, to proceed with development in West Belconnen that will extend into NSW and include up to 11,500 dwellings, of which 6,500 will be in the ACT,” Andrew said.

“Planning and consultation on this development has been underway since 2007 – which has involved environmental studies and discussions with the community on the proposed development. The development is an important part of the ACT Government’s land release program and it will include a number of key planning elements that are required for a new development such as shops, bus stops, community facilities and schools.

“While the ACT Government is supportive of further housing development in the Tuggeranong area, we remain deeply concerned about any proposed expansion across the Murrumbidgee River.

“The ACT Government is unable to support this proposal as it would require significant infrastructure expenditure to facilitate housing development in the area. There are also major environmental concerns with any development that would require crossing the river.

“The ACT Government is currently in consultation with the Tuggeranong community on the possibility of a significantly more modest development in West Tuggeranong which wouldn’t require crossing the river. There is some demand for new property in Tuggeranong, but new developments must be prepared in consultation with the community and must also consider the environmental impacts on the river corridor.

“The Government is also concerned to see that land at Ginninderra Farm, currently owned by the CSIRO, has been zoned in the National Capital Plan as Urban Development. We would have preferred it to be designated future urban development – to enable more consultation with the community. The Government is concerned about the lack of community consultation and environmental planning on the proposed development with a potential for up to 6,500 dwellings at this site.

“The ACT Government will continue to press for the remaining processes for Ginninderra Farm to be undertaken within the ACT Government controlled framework and in a manner consistent with all our normal land release processes.

“We would also like to have a fresh discussion with the Commonwealth about a truly meaningful simplification and clarification of the planning system in Canberra.”

The media covered the announcement here and here.

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

Are you still enrolled to vote in Belconnen?

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

In 2015 the Australian Electoral Commission changed the boundaries for Canberra’s Assembly seats. The ACT went from three seats and 17 MLA’s to five seats and 25 MLA’s, from the 2016 Assembly election.

How does this affect you?

Prior to 2016 all residents of Belconnen were in the Assembly seat of Ginninderra.  You may now live in Belconnen, but now vote in the predominantly Gungahlin seat of Yerrabi. The map above shows where the electoral boundaries of Ginninderra are in 2016.

The changed boundaries affect the voters of Evatt, Mackellar, Lawson, Giralang and Kaleen.

If you are enrolled to vote you will not have to do anything except be aware of which seat you are now in. If you were keen on a particular candidate, you may no longer be able to vote for them!

Be mindful of where you are enrolled and ensure the policies you are voting are ones you support, ask your local candidates questions about issues that matter to you. Although much of Belconnen is in Ginninderra, the residents of Belconnen in Yerrabi deserve the same priority as Gungahlin residents.

Voting and ensuring you are enrolled

If you are over 18 and an Australian citizen you must enroll to vote. You can ensure your details are up to date by checking with the Australian Electoral commission at this link.

If you are not enrolled you can download a form here or visit the AEC site here.

You can change your enrollment details and update your address here.

Voting is important and keeps our democracy strong and relevant.