Summary of our November 2022 meeting

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

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

Notes from the July Community Meeting

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

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

Other key points include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting recording:

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

Access Passcode: S%xpaa2h

Belconnen Community Council – Chair’s Report July 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Glen Hyde

Chair

Belconnen Community Council

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Notes from June Community Meeting

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

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

A link to the meeting recording is below.

Other updates were:

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

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

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

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

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

Broader consultation processes mentioned:

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

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

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

View the meeting recording here.

Belconnen Community Council Chair’s Report June 2022

The federal election has been run and won and congratulations to those who were successful in winning a seat in the 47th Parliament of Australia. I know the BCC Committee is looking forward to contributing to the conversation in the weeks ahead and we look forward to working respectfully and courteously with our federal representatives.

We’ve been busy since our May meeting providing input into the Combined Community Councils of the ACT discussion paper on the proposed changes to the Territory Planning process and the proposed Planning Bill. We’ve put together a Belconnen focussed submission and provided it for consideration to government as part of the broader consultation arrangements. In the main, we have supported the structures and proposals of the Canberra Planning Advisory Group (CPAG) and incorporated many of the features of the NSW Panel structures for the ACT. We are no longer just a city-state with a short term view of our place in the Australian community and it’s time we had a planning model that is designed for Canberra to flourish into the next century, rather than an after thought of self government. We will post the document to our website later this week and please take the time to have a look and provide any additional feedback.

We have updates this month from SLA on Lawson Stage 2 and I’m hoping they will hang around for our first item of General Business relating to the proposed sale of the carpark adjacent to the Service Station at Holt (aka Block 5 Section 53) for approximately 30 dwellings (which will include 5 affordable housing dwellings). Local residents received a letterbox drop last week from the SLA indicating the intention to put this block out for tender by 30 June 2022, consistent with the opportunities outlined in the Kippax Group Centre Master Plan.

With new vision comes new opportunities for us to expand our presence in the community and beyond, and I’m delighted to announce that our most recent addition to the BCC Committee, Mr Lachlan Butler, has expressed his interest in standing for the position of Chair at our next AGM. At a recent Committee meeting, Lachlan was endorsed and supported by committee members to start a buddying role with me to learn the ropes and become more familiar with the functions and responsibilities that go with being Chair of this great Council. I’m looking forward to helping Lachlan become more involved in the weeks ahead and I hope you’ll join me in thanking Lachlan for his commitment to step up to the next level.

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

21 June 2022

 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

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 General Meeting February 2022

15 February 2022, 7pm

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

AGENDA

7pm                Welcome

7.05pm          Chair’s Report

7.15pm          MLA’s update

7.30pm          Lawson development update from Suburban Land Agency 

8pm                Umbagong Bridges upgrade update from Transport Canberra & City Services (TCCS) 

8.30pm          CSG Green Waste Update

8.45pm          General business

9pm                Close

Next meeting:  7pm Tuesday 15 March 2022, online via Zoom 

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.

Proposed new green waste facility for Belconnen

 
The ACT Government has been exploring options for the relocation of the green waste drop off which is currently located on Parkwood Road. Several sites were investigated to determine the most appropriate location for this service to continue in West Belconnen. At the conclusion of this work, a suitable site was identified on Stockdill Drive (location indicated below and attached).   This site offers the ability to establish a long-term solution for processing green waste and could also accommodate the co-location of a landscaping supply business. The proposed site is just over 3km from the existing facility and will offer great access to the residents of Belconnen and North Canberra. An important consideration of any site is the requirement that it be located at least 1km from residential premises and have the appropriate environmental controls in place, which this proposed site would provide. The final location of the facility is subject to further consideration by Government including the outcome of a proposed development application process. Prior to the development application process, we are seeking to engage with the community now to ensure the site can meet the needs of all users. 
 
If you have any feedback please email communityengagement@act.gov.au by Friday 4 February 2022. Please note that any feedback you may wish to provide now does not prevent you making any submissions during the development application process as well. It is expected the development application process will commence in late-February/early March 2022. 
In the meantime, the green waste drop off will continue at the current Parkwood Road location until the new facility is operational.