Chair’s Report – October 2023

It has been a busy month, and it looks like it isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

With the shift in meeting location from the Belconnen Library to the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, the original technical issues were solved but a new one took its place making the online audio difficult to hear. Your council continues to work hard at refining the meeting format to enable a great experience for all.

Last month marked the release of the new territory plan, alongside associated documents, with the new planning system anticipated to be operational starting November 27th. The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) is offering training sessions ranging from introductory courses to sessions focusing on specific documents. These can be found here.

There remain significant concerns and unanswered questions regarding the new system. These include the lack of clarity on the timeline and scope of the independent governance review, the absence of an evaluation framework to assess the system’s effectiveness, and the oversight of additional infrastructure required to support the influx of new residents in Belconnen. In particular, we assert that the areas of Lake Ginninderra East and West should be entirely exempt from redevelopment considerations.

An inquiry led by Jo Clay MLA is forthcoming, and we welcome the opportunity to submit an EOI to present further evidence at this inquiry.

We were invited to partake in a walkthrough of the ongoing upgrades at the Florey School Oval. Once complete, the facilities will be partially open to the public, providing an opportunity for the community to use and benefit from the enhanced amenities. We look forward to hearing the experience of the community when it is finished.

The Pre-DA consultation for the school in Ginninderry has commenced, with consultation sessions held earlier this month. This marks a significant milestone in the Ginninderry development and we know how keen the community is for educational facilities to serve the growing community.

The consultation report for the Hawker shops was released at the end of the last month. Woolworths has expressed its intention to approach the government for a direct land sale and plans to submit a direct sale application in the forthcoming months. This development will be closely monitored to ensure that it aligns with the community’s interests and needs. The consultation report can be found here.

The Integrated Energy Plan listening report, released earlier this month, underscores the importance of addressing complex buildings in our transition to sustainable energy solutions. The report highlights the administrative, economic, and technical challenges that must be overcome to ensure an equitable transition. It is imperative that we tackle these complexities proactively, especially for our local businesses and apartment complexes, to facilitate a smoother transition to sustainable energy practices. The listening report can be found here.

There was quite a bit of media coverage regarding the University of Canberra’s sale of land for housing development. This development brings to the fore the longstanding need for improved connectivity between the Belconnen Town Centre and the University of Canberra. We must learn from previous developments to ensure adequate parking, green space, and public transport are incorporated into future plans. Enhancing infrastructure, services, and amenities is paramount to accommodating the needs of our growing community.

In terms of infrastructure improvements, GInninderry aim to complete the Spofforth St intersection upgrade before the end of the year, weather and agency performance permitting. Messaging boards will be installed at each approach to the intersection to provide the latest updates, and residents in the vicinity will be informed via letterbox drops, ensuring that the community is kept abreast of the developments.

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.

Lachlan.

 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

Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report March 2022

2022 continues to throw challenges at us; not just here in our district, but right across the world. The horrors of a war in the Ukraine, soaring fuel costs and the humanitarian wave that will follow are sure to touch us here in the weeks ahead. As always, we will do our bit to accommodate families who are fortunate enough to escape and find their way to our shores, but in the interim there are many different ways you can help.

Then there’s the devastation to our north from the floods. Our thanks go out to all the volunteers and recovery workers who are pulling some incredible hours to help with the clean up; a big shout out to our ACT SES team who are up in Lismore as part of our contribution to their recovery.

The ACT Legislative Assembly is holding an inquiry into the January 3 storm that devastated areas of our district and surrounding areas of the territory. I spoke to Anna Vidot from 666 ABC Canberra about the state of the recovery effort, what people have told us and where we think the service offering can be better tailored to meet community expectation. The constant theme from those affected has been the framing of the response and the settings for the recovery; many of us who were around in the 1990s and 2000s remember weather events that took a similar time to recover from. It would appear that we still have those calibrations in place in 2022, so there is scope for the agencies involved to shift the dial closer to community expectations. You can contribute to the inquiry through us (our Environment Sub Committee will develop a submission) or directly here:

https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/parliamentary-business/in-committees/committees/hcw/inquiry-into-the-west-belconnen-supercell-thunderstorm

It’s an interesting construct that so many politicians are referring to our current round of disasters as “one in xxxx year events”; but they are sadly missing the point. The model that they refer to is one based on risk and likelihood in predicting an event; it is not based on historical data or occurrence. No one in living or recorded memory has seen an inundation of rain, wind and hail with such destructive force as we have seen so far this century. Sure we’ve had more water or fire damage in years past, but it is the intensity with which they are happening that makes the science of prediction modelling look quite inept, so perhaps it’s time we all looked at a different way to cope. Planning for recovery should start with planning not to be in high risk areas and mitigating for life rather than profit. That starts with design for the interface between the natural and built environments and as a city state that has seen natural disasters on a huge scale, perhaps we can start to lead the way through this inquiry.

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

15 March 2022

Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report February 2022

2022 has certainly started with a bang and on the back of our Special December meeting, the inclusion of an update on the Umbagong Park Bridges really pushed this issue back into everyone’s conscience. Lots of radio and a front page on the Canberra Times has ensured we aren’t being re-prioritised down and thanks to our Ginninderra MLAs for re-engaging with our community on this critical issue. There’s a further update tonight from the TCCS team and we will keep this issue on the agenda as a standing item until we have an agreed solution.

We have made great strides in harmonising our consultation and communication channels on the major infrastructure projects (William Hovell & Drake-Brockman Drives, Umbagong Park and the proposed replacement green waste site) and in providing submissions on a number of issues. This has been because of your input as community members who want and expect better levels of information on the issues that affect you directly; we thank you for helping us stay on top of things over the last year.

On the back of that, your BCC Committee has formed four important sub committees to target, track and report on issues in more transparent way. The four sub committees are:

  • Roads and Infrastructure
  • Shops
  • Active Works and Future Planning
  • Environment

Initially, the committee will put some structure around these groups but we do intend to call on interested community members to join us to progress matters and use the subject matter experts within our district.

We note that the great work by community members at Melba with the SMILES initiative has failed to secure funding from the ACT Government. While this is disappointing, it’s not the end of the road. We will work with Tim and Hector, our Ginninderra MLAs and the directorates to keep this initiative alive. Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this very important project to date and stay tuned.

We made a submission on Policing Arrangements in January, consistent with previous views expressed to us over the last two years, but now with an important focus on getting a permanent presence at Kippax to reduce wait times for response. There is an increasing reliance on information and data services in a community policing space (this has impacted on some services now being reported online), but also on preventative measures. The ACT Government are partnering with Deloittes to capture the feedback of every community council and I participated in the first workshop last week; I’m confident our concerns were heard and captured appropriately. And on the subject of policing, my family were the recipients of a great act of community policing last Sunday when my granddaughter had an accident on her bike. I’ve been in contact with the local Belconnen Command, Neighbourhood Watch and the Minister’s Office to convey our thanks. We often complain that “police are never around when you need the,” (the last few weeks in chief because of the protest activities), but in our case they were not just there but present in every way. Our thanks to the two constables involved who stayed with us until the ambulance arrived and provided us with safety and comfort throughout; you are certainly our heroes!

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council

15 February 2022

Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report – March 2021

Another month has passed us by in 2021 but finally the work has started on the duplication of Gundaroo Drive. It has taken a number of years to get this important work underway and after almost a decade of constant lobbying through budget submissions and the like, we will see this crucial thoroughfare that links us to Gungahlin deliver better outcomes for those who live, work and play in our district.

The ACT Government has delivered on the traffic controls at Owen Dixon Drive, but more needs to be done with Kuringa Drive to make it a safer connection to West Belconnen. With more people moving into the West Belconnen area over the next decade and beyond, the demand on our roadways will only increase and the northern corridors are just as important as those to the south.

Speaking of growth, we come to this month’s big topic: Kippax Centre expansion. Our efforts to bring the spotlight back onto this important project has produced some interesting results. Media were quick to pick the story up again, as were EPSDD once word got around the community. We had written to them in January and throughout February; the result now being that we have engagement with the Directorate again and some understanding of next steps for the site investigations being undertaken.

While we make no judgement of why this work was to be undertaken without wide consultation and community awareness, the fact that state of play has changed is the important thing.

As is the updated design from the Owners of Kippax Fair and Canberra Town Planning. The BCC Committee have been consulted and involved in the new design which we believe is ready for socialising with our community. There are improvements that bring this version more into alignment with community expectations that have been discussed regularly since 2014; it’s been pleasing to see this embodied in so many of the changes in this design offering.

While it won’t meet everyone’s expectations, we have taken the view that we can’t wait for a “perfect solution” to materialise. There are concessions that need to be made by all parties to ensure a quality piece of community infrastructure is available to the generations who follow us. I’m reminded of the concerns raised in the 1970s with the design of Benjamin and Eastern Valley Ways that capped and redirected flood plains through the new Town Centre down to Emu Bank. The general opposition was that this would create all kinds of environmental and water movement problems that would last for generations. What did occur was better design options, changes to water disbursement and catchment practices; since then the BTC has flourished and I see no barrier to that in this process.

Glen Hyde

Chair, Belconnen Community Council

15 March 2021

BCC Chair’s Report August 2020

Belconnen Community Council – Chair’s Report August 2020

The Ongoing challenges being faced by Victoria has had an indelible effect on life here in the ACT. Belconnen is not immune: the gateway to our territory from Victoria is via the Barton Highway and we have seen the number of police vehicles monitoring entry increase over recent days as the window to travel home closes. Can I ask you all to stay vigilant, continue the fantastic community effort of the last five or so months and please ensure you are tested at the first sign of symptoms.

Waste Services for the Belconnen District

There’s been a fair amount of talk about the current and future state of waste management services for our district in the lead up to the election. We are not alone in our concern for the management of waste and the ACT Government has implemented a feasibility proposal for all of the territory; the efforts of the Combined Community Councils of the ACT have turned their attention to influencing this process for the best possible outcomes. While political parties of all colours are ramping up the rhetoric, the BCC (as a participating member of the CCC) are actively looking at ways to identify gaps, source solutions and put together a package that can be considered by government to address the community concern. If you have ideas and feedback on this important issue, please get in touch with us so they can be included.

Three years down

This month marks the final time I will lead the BCC as its Chair. Since joining on as a member in 2014 (after being asked to participate in the forum to fight the move of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection away from Belconnen) I have been privileged to watch our district and its people expand and grow. We are now:

  • home to over 100,000 people
  • in the top two apartment dwellers in the territory (in 2017 we were the biggest!)
  • have the best rehabilitation hospital and facilities in the region

When I took over the role in 2018, one of my goals was to help solve the impasse with the proposed expansion of the Kippax Centre. While we are not yet at a point to say we have solved all the problems, we are able to say we have a way forward and at some stage next year (depending on the outcome of the land use tender) plans may be available for the community to peruse. Along with all the other stakeholders, we believe the most recent offering by the current owners will address the bulk of the community concerns raised with us over the last five years and set our West Belconnen area up for facilities that will last them for another 50 years. My thanks to all those who have worked so positively with us on this crucial issue.

I would like to pay tribute to our team of exceptional committee members over the last three years. We have faced many challenges and some which I don’t think any of us had envisaged when we started; but we have weathered them all and kept our dignity intact (except for perhaps that moment at the Florey Fair last year when I took a tumble!). Each of you have contributed to our community in a way few others have and your support for me has been more valued than you can ever know. You are the reason our council exists and may you always be remembered for your time and efforts to keep Belconnen the Jewel in Canberra’s Crown.

And a plea to all of our members to think about stepping up and becoming a committee member. We are in need of new faces to help take us into 2021 so if you have just a couple of hours to spare we would be grateful for your help!

Please visit our Facebook and BCC website pages to keep up with everything that’s happening.

Stay safe and well in these challenging times.

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council

18 August 2020

Chairs Report – AGM 2019

This past year has been full of challenges, expansion and renewal across our district, and for those who live work and play here it’s made the journey somewhat more interesting than we’d have envisaged.

BCC submission on the 2018 revised Kippax Draft Master Plan

The Belconnen Community Council (BCC) thanks EPSDD for the opportunity to contribute to community consultation on the revised Kippax Draft Master Plan.

We attach our original submission (Attachment A) from February 2016, as we still believe it provides informed feedback on the aims of the master plan process to enhance the Kippax Group Centre to cater for increased population, and associated demand for retail and community facilities. Our specific concerns related to the revised draft master plan are in this submission.

We thank the Directorate for including us in the community reference panels during late 2017, when the community consultation process that had concluded in early 2016 was reopened after lobbying by Kippax Fair owners paid consultants, Elton Consulting. We felt that the reopened process had too strong a focus on retail drivers favouring an appropriation of Urban Open Space for retail use, ignoring better options already identified in the draft master plan.

This second consultation process and its focus on Kippax Fair owners commercial ambitions, seems to be at odds with the aims of the initial consultation process and the support that the draft master plan had from the community for a sensible mix of open space (and better access to it), community facilities, and the use of older buildings and government owned carparks for future retail use.

Summary

In this submission, the BCC set out the argument for rejecting the commercial appropriation of urban open space to the east of Kippax Fair, retaining Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 for commercial use, and urging the government to reject the pressure of paid consultants whose views are at odds with the community over the future of the Kippax group centre.

We also urge the ACT Government to ensure that any decision about rezoning urban open space conforms with its own policies on active living, urban heat islands, climate change adaptation and uses a triple bottom line assessment.

Incorporating the Kippax Fair owner’s private proposal in lieu of the recommendations of the initial draft Kippax master plan will see a considerable reduction in green space in the Kippax precinct. The new rezoning proposals serve only Kippax Fair owners and not the precinct as a whole; a pocket community park is not a fair trade. Enhancing services, access and facilities in the Kippax Precinct are not dealt with in any meaningful way.

Businesses in Kippax not associated with Kippax Fair will be disadvantaged and become less viable if this private proposal is accepted as is. The commercial centre of the Kippax Group Centre will shift away from its hub in the Hardwick Crescent area, with a mix of viable street frontage and community facilities, to a controlled closed retail environment similar to a mini Belconnen Mall. The resulting drop in patronage of the surrounding shops and businesses could lead to under investment by the owners of those shops.

This could lead to a death spiral where these small businesses close due to a drop in trade, or moving to other locations due to pressure to upgrade or the creation of an undesirable location. The worst case is the street level retail not associated with Kippax Fair could end up dotted with empty shops and a loss of a mixture of businesses and services from the Kippax Group Centre. This is contrary to the aims of the Master Plan.

Future public transport options could also be impacted. By appropriating the playing fields, future options and opportunities to establish a light rail terminal in the Kippax precinct would also be affected if the private proposal were accepted.

The BCC suggest that the best outcome for the Kippax Group Centre would be the adoption of the recommendations from the 2016 Kippax Draft Master Plan.

Background

The master plan process for Kippax has been ongoing since 2013 and in 2018 should have been concluded, with a new precinct code enacted through a Territory Plan Variation. It is important that this precinct is upgraded with new retail and community facilities to cater to the increased population that West Belconnen will receive, especially as the Ginninderry residential development has already started to sell residential blocks and housing.

The BCC support the addition of extra retail space, including new supermarket offerings. This upgrade must be in sympathy with the existing feel of the Kippax Group Centre, a combination of walkable street front retail and an enclosed shopping centre similar in scale to other group centres.

The BCC have significant concerns about this master planning process, and it’s reopening to include a drastically rapacious land grab of urban open space, well after community consultation had concluded (and a draft master plan issued).

Kippax Fair owners have created the delay in the process after the draft master plan released in early 2016 failed to include their designs on the Kippax playing fields for retail purposes. The 2016 draft master plan did address the objectives for the precinct and was a result of community consultation and strong support from government, community and sporting groups, and local residents.

Following the October 2016 election, the consultants engaged by Kippax Fair owners (Elton consulting) lobbied government to have the master plan process reopened. In November 2016 they issued a revised ‘private master plan’ that created confusion in the community (see RiotAct posts Shock shift in Kippax plan replaces oval with development and Kippax Fair defends plans to build supermarket on playing fields).

This paid lobbying effort was successful with the government reopening the consultation process to discuss at length the Kippax Fair owner’s plans to appropriate urban open space. These new commercial ideas from Kippax Fair owners could have been included in the 2013-2016 consultation process initially, and their failure to do so has created an impost on the wider community and significant expense in the planning area of EPSDD.

Kippax Fair owner Anastasia Stramarkos observed in the RiotAct post that:

“The owners disagree with the government’s master plan proposal for a supermarket over a car park. This would leave four blank brick walls and issues with a loading dock, Ms Stramarcos said. Instead the family wants the substantial redevelopment to expand to the rear of the shopping centre, where two ovals stand. “We want to address the negativity of developing over green space, we want to develop it, we cannot deny it,’’ Ms Stramarcos said.”

 

The confusing competing ‘master plans’ has led to significant difficulties discussing any planning in the Kippax precinct with members of the public – as one first has to establish which ‘master plan’ they are referring to.

Of greater community concern is that this second consultation process seemed to be solely about the expanding the Kippax Fair owners retail centre over the playing fields, and has veered away from the other requirements the initial master plan process had identified for the entire Kippax precinct (outside the private interests of Kippax Fairs owners).

The community reference group meetings in late 2017 had a strong emphasis on presentations supporting the Kippax Fair owners private proposal. The wholesale adoption of reports provided by Kippax Fair owner’s consultants relating to the impacts on other businesses in the Group Centre was startling. This conflicted with the draft master plan that discussed using the government owned carparks for the location of a new supermarket and other retail space.

While presentations from school students and community groups were made, much of the discussion was focussed on retail outcomes and commercial priorities. An implication that future community facilities and their upgrading or replacement in the group centre (such as the old health building now used by the Belconnen Community Services) were solely dependent upon Kippax Fair owner’s proposal being successful, appears to have become accepted by some community members.

The concern of the BCC Committee on the approach being taken in the community reference panel was so great, that we sought permission to make a presentation. The BCC feel that the retail imperatives being used to drive the rezoning of the Kippax playing fields ignore other ACT Government policies on active living, climate change adaptation, the urban heat island effect and more disturbingly, that any assessment be based on the ACT Governments own triple bottom line framework.

Response to revisions to the Kippax draft master plan

The draft Kippax master plan has been revised to include the following:

  1. Recommending rezoning of part of the playing fields from open space to retail uses to allow for retail expansion to the east of Kippax Fair;
  2. Recommending that part of the surface car park to the west of Woolworths (south of the Kippax Library and the proposed new community facilities building) be rezoned to open space to allow for a small ‘people’s park’; and
  3. Recommendations that the lost playing fields lost as part of any eastern retail expansion be relocated to the currently disused Higgins Ovals to the south of Starke Street.

 

  1. The BCC oppose the first point unless it is made more specific as to which parts of the Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 playing fields will be rezoned.

As identified in the original community consultation process, using a small section of the Kippax playing fields that would assist in aggregating the underused parts and older buildings at the rear of the Kippax retail centre, and providing better access (pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle) to the Kippax retail centre would be sensible and are supported by the BCC.

Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 are zoned as Urban Open Space. The two proposals by Kippax Fair owners for increasingly larger parts of the Kippax green space, which would be built over with retail, commercial and some residential development cannot be supported when better options exist. These better options, primarily building extra retail space in an ACT Government carpark, are supported by the BCC.

  1. The BCC support this proposal with some reservations and concerns.

In the community reference group the proposal made by Elton Consulting on behalf of the Kippax Fair owners was to convert the surface carpark (Section 89, block 1 and 2) to the west of Woolworths to green space, with community facilities around it. Between that session and the draft master plan revisions, that proposal has become a ‘small peoples park’ on Section 89, Block 1 only.

This idea arose because of concerns raised by many members of the community that green space would be lost if the Kippax playing fields were rezoned for commercial, and built over by commercial buildings. This would impact upon the total area of green space in Kippax, and contribute to the urban heat island effect.

Until this issue is resolved, the BCC are hesitant in supporting it, especially as confusion exists between what was proposed at the community reference group meeting and what has been reported in the revised draft master plan. Is it a square meter for square meter swap of green space to the east of Kippax Fair, replaced by the car park being converted to green space? Section 89, Block 1 is less than 1/10th the size of the green space in Section 51 that would be surrendered for retail use. Clarification is required urgently.

The idea has merit if delivered in line with community expectations.

  1. The BCC support reactivating the Higgins Oval, but not at the expense of losing the Kippax playing fields.

This proposal is from the Kippax Fair owner’s private master plan prepared by Elton Consulting. It intends to equate the reactivation of an under utilised oval, with the loss of an under utilised oval at Section 51, blocks 47 and 35.

Reactivating the Higgins oval is a good idea that should occur regardless of the fate of the Kippax playing fields. The two should not be linked; losing green space is not compensated by better use of existing green space. That green space at Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 no longer exists.

Despite being asked several times for a commitment in writing from Kippax Fair owners to fund the reactivation of the Higgins Oval, this has not been received. The government planners have captured in community reference group minutes that the reactivation should not be a cost borne by the community.

At the second community reference group EPSDD advised “Exactly how sporting facilities will be replaced in the future and who would pay for the facilities is a matter that will be negotiated between the ACT Government and the purchaser of land at the time of sale. It is dependent on many factors that we don’t know at this time such as the value of land. “

How can the community have faith in the delivery of this if negotiations are made in private at the point of sale? This is an issue that must be resolved, in a transparent fashion with community input, before it can be properly considered.

Response to specific rezoning revisions

The ACT Government webpage at https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/kippax-group-centre-master-plan-2 contains several graphical representations of revisions from the initial draft, to the revised draft. The BCC response to the revisions are:

Spatial framework

This 2018 revision is the worst outcome and recommendation arising from the reopening of the consultation process. The ACT Government owned carparks at Section 89, Block 1 and 2 are ideal for use as commercial sites. They are empty and used for surface carparking. Under the 2018 revision, both blocks are removed from consideration for commercial zoning and use as future retail space. They are now possibly a community space (Block 1), and a carpark (Block 2).

This revision is counter to all consultation feedback during the initial consultation phase, and counter to ACT Government plans presented to the community during the 2013-2016 consultation process. It is a direct result of pressure applied by Kippax Fair owners to the ACT Government.

Throughout the 2017 community reference group process, several intimations to an ACT Government commissioned retail research report from 2016 were made alluding that this site was not suitable to retail use, as it would not be economically viable. The BCC asked that this report be made publicly available, but this was denied.

The opportunity for the BCC to read the 2016 Macro Plan Dimasi report (but not make a copy) was made available. The report did not state that the site was unsuitable for commercial use. The researchers assessed Options 1,2,3 of the draft master plan proposals (the carparks fronting Kippax Fair) and 4 (initial Kippax Fair owners proposal). They concluded that:

  • “A new supermarket with a potential depth of 45 metres, as would be possible on carpark Site 3 for example is a realistic outcome, which a tenant with a real interest in locating at Kippax would be prepared to lease”
  • “The Kippax Fair proposal however, will not likely advance the urban design objective of activating Hardwick crescent east, and also encroaches upon some areas of the adjoining sports field, which is not consistent with the Kippax group Centre draft Master Plan.”
  • The analysis recommends Scenario 4 (Kippax Fair private proposal) solely on the cost of providing replacement carparking in Scenarios 1, 2 and 3. Specifically the high cost of constructing basement/deck parking on a retail building in Section 89, Block 1 and 2. It assessed at grade surface parking at $2,678 per space and basement parking from $25,000 to $55,000 per space.

The research assumes that parking will remain free in the Kippax group centre. This is an assumption with no basis, and defies a trend across Canberra to introduce paid parking where demand for parking exceeds supply.

The analysis also notes market concerns on the ability of Kippax Fair owners to deliver the proposal, and advises of greatly reduced appetite for new supermarket sites in the ACT. As a retail analysis report it totally ignores social and environmental factors and does not apply them against the objectives from the Kippax master Plan.

Further information on the Macro Plan Dimasi research can be found on pages 15 and 16 of Attachment B (Kippax green Space and Urban Heat Island effects presentation). The BCC urge the ACT Government to release this report.

Land Use Zones

As already noted above, The BCC have concerns about Section 89, Block 1 being swapped for Section 51 and used for community use. In the revision, Section 89, Block 1 is PRZ1 zoned, however it is likely that pressure could be applied to use this for community use under CFZ zoning between the draft master plan process and a precinct code appearing.

Building Heights

Proposed new height limits would enable retail expansion on the existing Kippax Fair footprint up to a height of six storeys. The BCC would prefer to see medium rise heights in the Kippax Group centre of three to six storeys. We have no objections to the heights proposed around Hardwick Crescent.

 

We do not support the proposed building heights on Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 and as noted above, urge that this remain zoned as Urban Open Space, and not built over.

 

Pedestrian and Cyclist Connections

The 2018 revision simply assumes that the Kippax Fair owner’s private proposal will occur, and that this will allow people to walk from Moyes Crescent into the Kippax centre.

The BCC continue to support a new road connection from Moyes Crescent to Hardwick Crescent to enhance vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian access, and improve future public transport options.

Recommendations

The master plan process has become derailed and confusion over the outcomes sought for the Kippax Group Centre has been created.

The initial draft master plan from 2016 has the support of the BCC. The submission made by the BCC in 2016 was the result of an enormous community effort comprised of extensive community consultation, several public meetings hosted by the BCC for ACT Government Planners (and Kippax Fair) to present ideas, and feedback received by the BCC from members and residents.

The Kippax Fair owner’s private proposal is not the best option. In addition to the extra space made available to Kippax Fair through the proposed additional height provisions, they have the ability to make better use of the space at the immediate rear of their building currently used for parking and service access.

Commercial space can also be found by rezoning the government owned carparks of Section 86 (5000 sqm), Section 88 (3850 sqm) and (3830 sqm) Section 22, the old health centre. That is substantial area that can be both multilevel parking and/or commercial space.

To ensure that the community retains confidence in ACT Government planning processes, the BCC recommend the following:

  1. That the urban open space at Section 51, blocks 47 and 35 not be rezoned for commercial use and remain zoned for Urban Open Space.
  2. That the government owned carparks at Section 89, blocks 1 and 2 be made available for commercial use with increased parking provided in a basement or on the roof of a commercial building with street frontage retail.
  3. That the government owned carparks at Section 89, blocks 1 and 2 be provided to the market for commercial use through the auction process instead of a direct sale process.
  4. The recommendations from the 2016 draft master plan are adopted.
  5. That future master planning processes, or precinct code processes be open and transparent and not able to be reopened when subjected to lobbying pressure by paid consultants and commercial interests.
  6. That the ACT Government adhere to existing ACT policies in Climate Change Adaptation, Active living and the use of the triple bottom line assessment framework when considering the future of group centres.
  7. That the future use of urban green space has defined value as urban residential space grows, especially as residential densification reduces individual access to private green space.

The BCC are available to discuss any aspect of this submission.

Glen Hyde

Chair, Belconnen Community Council

16 March 2018

Attachments

2016 BCC submission to Kippax draft Master Plan

BCC Kippax green Space and Urban Heat Island effects presentation

Belconnen Community Council submission for the 2017-18 ACT Budget

In December 2016 the BCC provided  a  comprehensive submission to  the  ACT  Government  covering  short  and long-­‐term  budget  items  it  has  identified  that  can  best serve  Belconnen  residents,  workers  and  visitors.  
 
The  BCC  submission  has  a  distinct  concentration  on the capital  infrastructure  priorities  the  Government  should consider  implementing  in  the  next  four  years.  
 
While  the  BCC  submission  should be viewed  through  a Belconnen community  lens, a  number  of  our  suggestions apply across  the ACT.    
 
As  the  Belconnen  area  straddles the electorates of Ginninderra  and  Yerrabi,  the  items suggested  by  the  BCC  are  of  benefit  to  residents  of  both electorates,  and  those  who  visit  for  work,  education  or recreation.

These items represent the focus of our lobbying activities for 2017/18.

The full BCC Budget Submission can be read at this link

BCC  2017/18  BUDGET  SUBMISSION  HIGHLIGHTS  

  • Enhancing  community  consultation  with  representative  reference  groups
  • Updating  the  Belconnen  Town  Centre  Precinct  Code
  • Improving  parking  payment  at  Calvary  Hospital
  • Mobile  Coffee  carts  around  Lake  Ginninderra
  • Enhancing  public  transport  linkages  from  West  Belconnen  to  prepare  for  growth
  • Increasing  bus  services  to  reflect  current  and  future  need
  • Park  &  Ride improvements
  • Light  Rail  engineering  study  from Civic to Belconnen
  • Improving  bus  stops  on  arterial  roads
  • Construction  of  a  multi-­‐level  car-­‐park  in  the  Belconnen  Town  Centre.
  • Smart  parking  technology  in  the  Belconnen  Town  Centre
  • Completing  the  Belconnen  Arts  Centre
  • Temporary  use  of  the  Remand  Centre  site  on  Lathlain  Street
  • Increasing  amenity  in  Margaret  Timpson  Park  and  around  Lake  Ginninderra
  • Constructing a Margaret  Timpson  Park public  toilet  facility
  • Beautification  of  Benjamin  Way
  • Dog  waste  bag  dispenser  at  Lake Ginninderra
  • William  Slim  Drive  duplication
  • Upgrade Kuringa  Drive  intersections  in  West  Belconnen
  • New  cycleway  linking  Lawson  to  the  Town  Centre