Chair’s Report – November 2023

It has been a busy year, and I appreciate everyone that has interacted with the BCC.

The new deed of grant for community councils has been sent out. It includes changes to the number of meetings, the requirements of those meetings and other activities. The minimum number of meetings has been reduced to four a year, with a requirement for them to be held both in-person and online at a consistent location.

Our September, October and November meetings all trialed different formats and use of technology, and these experiences will inform the technology and venue for meetings moving forward. The BCC has taken this deliberate approach to ensure that we invest our limited funds in the right technology. Additionally, it’s important to recognise the volunteer nature of these meetings, often managed by individuals with full-time jobs, and we do appreciate your patience

The new planning system started on the 27th of November, with the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) providing a range of training sessions. These sessions cover everything from introductory topics to detailed discussions on specific documents. Recordings should be made available on the EPSDD website next month. Further sessions may also be available next year.

The community recently celebrated the commencement of construction of the Belconnen wetlands with a small ceremony. The preparatory work for this project has begun, aiming for completion by the middle of next year. Planting is scheduled for the spring season. The project’s design, significantly improved through community consultation, now promises better ecological benefits and serves as a more valuable community asset.

Your council is undertaking a survey in Lawson to understand residents’ preferences and opinions on improvements and on the proposed mixed-use site. This survey is being distributed to the residents of Lawson in this week, weather dependent. This reflects the council’s commitment to actively including more of the community in its activities. The survey can be access here.

The council was incredibly disappointed to hear that the Strathnairn School has been delayed by one year, opening in term 1 2026 instead of term 1 2025. The letter we received from the Education Directorate is below.

We have been advised that the Development Application was lodged with EPSDD on Friday 10 November. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2024. Please note the construction commencement date is subject to timely DA consideration and approval.

The new school will respond to enrolment demand from Strathnairn and surrounds, in response to residential development in the area. The Priority Enrolment Area for the school will be confirmed early in the new year and published on the Education website. Enrolments for the new school will open in April 2025, ahead of the 2026 school year.

The council was further disappointed to see that a Belconnen Town Centre Primary School has been removed from the education infrastructure plan. This is a step backwards from the ACT government’s 2019 infrastructure plan which included it.

These two issues were both included in our 2023-24 budget submission back in April, which can be found here, also quoted below.

Prioritise resources for school planning and design work, specifically in Strathnairn and the
Belconnen Town Centre.

The BCC notes that design work is underway for Ginninderry’s first P-6 school and early childhood
education centre in Strathnairn for an expected opening in 2025. The necessary resources must be
available to deliver this on time and in a manner that meets community expectations. Additionally,
per the ACT’s Infrastructure Plan, funding should be available to undertake feasibility studies to
inform future school infrastructure needs arising from further urban renewal in the Belconnen
Town Centre. An early and proactive approach will maximise the benefit of infrastructure
investment in the Belconnen Town Centre and allow for more effective integration with public and
active transport networks.

Earlier in the year we wrote to Yvette Berry regarding the status of shops in Ginninderry. Her response is below.

On the topic of shopping centres in West Belconnen, we also wrote to Mick Gentleman in September regarding the status of the Kippax redevelopment but are waiting for a response.

Kippax Fair has recently unveiled their concept plans for an all-new and expanded shopping centre for public comment. This redevelopment is indented to upgrade the Kippax Group Centre by offering modern supermarkets, specialty stores, dining options, parking, community facilities, and parks. 

Check out the model of the plan near the stage area opposite the Woolworths entrance. Kippax Fair has expressed their desire to keep engaging with the local community, and have promised to keep us informed every step of the way. You can find the plans online at www.kippaxfairexpansion.com.au.

The BCC will continue to advocate for West Belconnen to ensure it is getting the infrastructure and services required to support a growing population.

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.

Missed the Urban Forest Act Info Session? Don’t Worry, We’ve Got You Covered!

We understand that briefings during work hours can be difficult for many people to attend so we’ve reached out to TCCS to get the relevant information from the recent Urban Forest Act information session on 8 November 2023.

Valuable Resources Just for You

We’ve compiled a range of valuable resources just for you, including:

But that’s not all! You can catch up by watching a recording of the information session for community groups, ensuring you don’t miss a beat. Find the recording here.

Access More Information

Find these resources and more details about the new laws at www.act.gov.au/treeprotection.

Attend Future Drop-in Sessions

TCCS have stated that they are committed to working hand-in-hand with Canberra community groups to ensure the successful implementation of the Urban Forest Act 2023. If you have any questions or want to chat with them in person, you can attend their future drop-in sessions:

  • Tuesday 21 November, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, Gungahlin Enclosed Oval
  • Wednesday 22 November, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Woden Library
  • Thursday 23 November, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, Weston Park, near Pescott Lane carpark.

Stay informed, stay engaged, and let’s nurture our urban forests together! 🌲🏙️

Chair’s Report – September 2023

Congratulations to all the re-elected and newly elected members of the BCC committee for the next 12 months. You can find the list of the new committee here.

Our September meeting trialled a hybrid meeting format. The meeting recording, minutes and presentation slides can be found here. The committee will take the lessons learnt and look at how these can be applied to future meetings.

The BCC would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in our recent survey on the Hawker Village. Your insights, experiences, and opinions have been invaluable to us, providing us with a clearer understanding of what matters most to our community. Your feedback played an instrumental role in shaping our submission to the Hawker Woolworths consultation, which can be found here.

The survey on Hawker Village indicated a significant consensus on several fronts, such as supporting existing businesses, improving public spaces, and retaining essential services. However, differences were noted in the community’s vision regarding the scale and nature of redevelopment. There was universal agreement that any redevelopment must prioritise community interests. Both Woolworths and the ACT Government are urged to consider the long-term future of the Hawker Shops precinct to maximise community benefit. The BCC remains optimistic about the Hawker Shops’ future, emphasising the need for redevelopment to be community-focused and diligently executed.

A meeting with Minister Berry earlier this month provided an opportunity to discuss education in the Belconnen Town Centre (BTC). The dialogue focused on the demand for a primary school in BTC, the impacts on priority areas for other schools, and parental preferences. Several unsuitable locations were discussed, details of which are included in the below letter. The discussions underscored the importance of early and proactive planning to ensure the long-term prosperity of BTC and maximise infrastructure investment benefits. The BCC is committed to ongoing dialogue with the community and government to advocate for the children of Belconnen.

The Estimates Committee for the ACT Budget 2023-24 made several Belconnen-specific recommendations. These included recommendations that the government undertake collaborative efforts to determine the future of Winchester Police Station, planning a school for the Belconnen Town Centre, and a commitment to delivering a fourth fully-electric bus depot in northside Canberra to improve services.

Our last meeting had a presentation by PTCBR on the Belconnen Transitway proposal. There is agreement across all three political parties on the need for improvement, yet more action from the government is awaited, not only on this transit route but across all of Belconnen.

Since the last meeting, the BCC has made submissions on the Evatt shops upgrades, supporting improvement initiatives and recommending the inclusion of public toilets for community inclusivity. For the Urban Open Space Land Management Plan, the BCC highlighted the need for a clear framework for effective ongoing collaboration across the ACT Government. Cooperation, and clarity on government responsibility for specific outcomes is crucial to getting the best out of our urban open spaces.

Summary of our August 2023 meeting

We heard updates on the Indicative Land Release Program and SLA projects, as well as Linq Stage.

Chair’s Report
The BCC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is drawing near, scheduled for the 19th of September.  This meeting will trial the introduction of a hybrid format, accommodating both in-person and online participants. All essential details will soon be finalized and disseminated as per the AGM’s regulations. For those members who are eager to play a more active role in the BCC’s future, I encourage you to reach out and discuss potential positions. I’ll be putting my hat in the ring again for the role of Chair. However, I wholeheartedly believe in the principles of democracy and would gladly welcome competition and fresh perspectives.

A significant update concerns the Hawker Woolworths consultation. The BCC conduct a letterbox survey, and despite the hurdles of limited notice and challenging conditions, we’ve successfully managed to garner 150 responses, providing invaluable insights. The resulting submission can be found here.

Regarding the temporary West Belconnen green waste facility, the development application for this facility has been given the green light, with stipulations that emphasize its temporary status, alongside requirements for site remediation and environmental safeguards. This approval is for a span of three years. While this is seen by the government as a grace period for devising a lasting solution, my personal conviction is that we should proactively start the dialogue around a permanent answer now rather than later.

The BCC recently received media attention due to our stance on the Belconnen Town Centre Primary School, an initiative stemming from the ACT government’s 2019 infrastructure plan. This school project found a mention in our budget proposal. However, a recent ambiguity arose during estimates, hinting at the possibility of this plan not coming to fruition. Given this, we are advocating for immediate planning, especially given the broader choice in land selection currently available. There are currently (conservatively) over 300 primary school aged children in the Belconnen Town Centre, and the ACT Government population predictions have this hitting more than 500 students by the 2026.

An update on William Hovell Drive (WHDD) has been provided. Our communications with Chris Steel have been around tracking the progression of WHDD and ensuring transparent communication. We have been advised that the 2023-24 ACT Budget has allocated additional funds to fast-track this project with the objective of ensuring a seamless transition into the construction phase immediately after all requisite approvals. As of now, it is still in the environmental approvals stage. The pace might seem slow but is a consequence of the sensitive nature of the area, nestled between two nature reserves and close to residential homes. The anticipated timeline for releasing the construction tender is the fourth quarter of 2023. For our members keen on staying updated, I’d recommend bookmarking the project page on the City Services website which will be reviewed monthly.

Lastly, in our efforts to keep communication clear and engaging, we’ve changed our meeting notice email. This revamped format will include a more detailed message from me and incorporate relevant ‘yoursay’ links. This change is a direct result of the invaluable feedback we’ve received from our members a few months back. I’m always eager to hear from our members, so if there are any thoughts, suggestions, or topics you’d like to see addressed, please reach out.

In closing, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our members for their unwavering support and active participation. Looking ahead, I’m optimistic about the milestones the BCC can achieve together in the coming year.

Lachlan.


Below is a link to the meeting recording, with timestamps for each agenda item.

View the meeting recording here!
Passcode: jc5.L=sZ

Timestamps and notes:

00:00:00 Welcome / Chair’s Report

00:08:00 MLA Updates
00:24:00 Update on the Indicative Land Release Program and Suburban Land Agency projects
00:44:00 Presentation of Linq Stage 2 Redevelopment – Block 14 Section 45 Belconnen
01:11:45 General business

Questions taken on notice:

  1. Regarding the former Water Police site: While SLA has completed the second stage of the land release process and evaluated submitted tenders, this is an on-going sales process and SLA will be able to announce the successful tenderer after performance negotiations are concluded. For more details, please visit: https://suburbanland.act.gov.au/en/belconnen.
  2. Regarding timelines for Lawson Stage 2B: Community engagement is being planned for October/November this year and we would be delighted to come back with an update in September/October.

 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 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 Community Consultation Survey – Development 34 Alexandria Street Hawker DA202139464

We need your opinions to feed into the consultation process with ACT Government on this important change in the Hawker community. You can find our survey here and we will keep it open until Friday 4 February 2022. There are links in the survey to all the information on the proposed DA and if you have any questions please use the link in the survey to contact us.

BCC Special General Meeting – William Hovell Drive Duplication Update – Tuesday 14 December at 7pm

Belconnen Community Council Inc.

Special General Meeting

via Zoom

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81386396514

14 December 2021

7pm

AGENDA

7pm                 Welcome and COVID-19 Update from ACT

7.05pm            Chair’s Report

7.15pm            MLAs update

7.25pm            William Hovell Drive Duplication Update – TCCS

8.30pm            Close

Next meeting:  7pm Tuesday 15 February 2022

In person: Holy Cross Church Emu Bank Belconnen

Online: via Zoom

No in face meeting tonight – please join us via Zoom

We’ve had some technical issues over the last few days and based on the advice from the vendors, we will only be running a Zoom meeting tonight:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83109118569

Our apologies for those who were looking to join us in the flesh tonight, but we will have us back in face for our first meeting of 2022, February 15 at 7pm.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council.

Belconnen Community Council Inc.

General Meeting

In person: Holy Cross Church Emu Bank Belconnen

Online: via Zoom

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83109118569

16 November 2021

7pm

AGENDA

7pm                 Welcome and COVID-19 Update from ACT

7.05pm            Chair’s Report

7.15pm            MLAs update

7.25pm            Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) trial

8pm                 Ginninderry update

8.30pm            General business

9pm                 Close

Next meeting:  7pm Tuesday 15 February 2022

In person: Holy Cross Church Emu Bank Belconnen

Online: via Zoom