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.

2023 Annual General Meeting

The 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Belconnen Community Council (BCC) will be held via Zoom and in the community room at the Belconnen Library from 7.00 pm Tuesday 19 September 2023.

Agenda and zoom link can be found by clicking here.

All committee positions will be declared vacant and nominations for all positions will be, subject to the constitutional provisions of Clause 5.2, accepted from eligible members up to the close of business Tuesday 12 September 2023.

Nominations to join the BCC Committee must be made using this nomination form.

Role descriptions are listed here – see pages 8-10.

You can submit your nomination form in two ways:

  • by email to hello@belcouncil.org.au, or
  • by mail to: Secretary BCC, PO Box1131 Belconnen ACT 2616.

A copy of the Constitution is here.

Please email hello@belcouncil.org.au if you have any questions.

We hope to see you at the meeting!

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.

Hawker Woolworths

The BCC would like to thank each and every one of you 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 the below submission to the Hawker Woolworths consultation, ensuring that it represents the our diverse community.

Our survey indicates that while there is considerable consensus on several fronts (supporting existing businesses, improved public spaces, and retention of essential services), there are also differences in the community’s vision for the future of Hawker Village, mainly regarding the scale and nature of redevelopment. There is universal consensus among respondents that any redevelopment must be community-focused.

Woolworths and the ACT Government must consider the longer-term future for the entire Hawker Shops precinct to ensure any redevelopment maximises the community benefit.

This submission attempts to capture the varied perspectives of the community members in response to potential redevelopment in Hawker Village, with a pronounced call for thoughtful and community-oriented development. The BCC’s survey, its responses and submission have provided high-level commentary with more specific feedback only possible when more information is available; it is essential for further community consultation to encourage this feedback from the community.

The BCC is optimistic for the future of the Hawker Shops but acknowledges that redevelopment needs to be done right, and put the community first. We look forward to further engaging with relevant stakeholders of this project to promote the best outcome for the community.

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 Butler
Chair

Summary of our July 2023 meeting

We heard updates on Macnamara Neighbourhood 2, Belconnen Village on Walder, and the Hawker Woolworths consultation.

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

View the meeting recording here!
Passcode: EaEa*?8J

Timestamps:

00:00:00 Welcome / Chair’s Report

00:08:00 MLA Updates

00:22:00 Presentation on Macnamara Neighbourhood 2: EDP and Offsite Works.
Presented by Rennae Sillett, Tait Network

00:30:00 Presentation on Belconnen Village on Walder (Block 5, Section 22, Belconnen).
Presented by Marcus Graham and Igor Kochovski, Stewart Architecture

01:03:00 Presentation on Hawker Woolworths consultation.
Presented by Tony Pratt, Woolworths

01:31:00 General Business:

  • Petition to build and maintain Canberra’s cycle network – Pedal Power

Review of Traffic Management at the intersection of Ibbott Lane and Lathlain Street, Belconnen

The Belconnen Community Council wrote to Minister Steel regarding concerns about the traffic management arrangements at the intersection of Ibbott Lane and Lathlain Street in Belconnen. We highlighted safety and traffic flow issues at this highly trafficked intersection and emphasizes the need for short-term and long-term solutions for this intersection and the Belconnen Town Centre more generally.

Minister Steel’s response is below and included the following actions.

Roads ACT is presently reviewing the operation of traffic signals at these intersections to determine if any improvements can be made to traffic conditions in this general area in the short term. I have also asked Roads ACT to conduct a study to determine whether any feasible upgrade options to the road network and these intersections can be identified for future consideration.

We appreciate the Minister requesting this review and study, but we will continue to follow up on the progress of these and advocate for action on effective solutions that alleviate traffic congestion and enhance road safety.

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 Butler
Chair

Belconnen Community Survey

📣 **We Want Your Voice! Take Our Community Survey**

Hey Belconnen community! 🌟 Your opinions matter, and the Belconnen Community Council wants to hear from YOU! We’ve created a survey to gather your valuable insights and perspectives on how we can better serve our community.

🗺️ Share Your Vision: Let us know what you see as the role of the Belconnen Community Council. Your input will shape our future initiatives and guide our decision-making process.

🤝Meeting Preferences: We want to make our meetings as accessible and engaging as possible. Tell us how you would prefer we conduct our meetings. Your feedback will help us create an inclusive environment that encourages participation and collaboration.

🏡 Local Matters: What matters most to you in your local area? We’re eager to understand the issues that are important to our community members. Your responses will help us prioritize and advocate for the matters closest to your hearts.

📋 Take the Survey: Click the link below to access the survey and make your voice heard. It only takes a few minutes, but your impact will be long-lasting!

https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSc4Sq1GaS2…/viewform…

Your opinions are crucial to our community’s growth and development. Let’s work together to create a vibrant and inclusive Belconnen that we can all be proud of! 🤝💚

Community Announcement: Planning Act Amendments and Community Engagement

With the passage of the new Planning Act last week, the Belconnen Community Council was glad to see the inclusion of key amendments that we lobbied for. These amendments addressed our concerns about community consultation and pre-DA consultation. These changes prioritized the voices of our community in the planning process, and we are grateful for this significant step forward compared to the draft bill.

However, while we appreciate the amendments, we acknowledge that concerns remain regarding the outcomes-based system and how it will impact Belconnen residents. In this vein, we support the built-in review mechanism to evaluate the system’s effectiveness and the potential need for further reforms. The government should be proactive and consider a continuous evaluation and review process of the planning system. We believe in ensuring active community participation in shaping the planning outcomes that impact our neighborhoods.

Additionally, we are disappointed that governance arrangements were not prioritized from the beginning. However, we welcome the amendment requiring an independent review of the governance arrangements within 12 months of the Planning Act’s passage. This review should examine the effectiveness of the independent planning body and explore the potential of local design panels, both of which we advocated for in our submission on the draft Bill. These measures will contribute to a more inclusive and community-centric planning framework.

We express our gratitude to the ACT Government, the Opposition and all stakeholders involved for their efforts in addressing our concerns and taking meaningful steps towards creating a more consultative and inclusive planning framework.

However our work is not yet done, we will keep advocating for the best planning outcomes for our community and if you are interested in helping out, we would love to hear from you.

The BCC remains committed to advocating for genuine and transparent community engagement in planning, and for a fit-for-purpose territory plan, district strategy, and design guides that deliver for the Belconnen community while delivering the housing our city needs.

Together, let’s shape the future of our community! 🌍✨

BCC June Public Meeting Recording

Please follow the link below to access the recording of the June BCC public meeting!

https://us06web.zoom.us/rec/share/UCk_dOn7l80sj6lW77y8PgkjAdHQ47rOozZHoUIXrpqYrGUjSiTjWDnliGgPwbxd.PEW-apxrQMfdFhSs
Passcode: 2dBQE6#Q

Agenda

7:00pm Welcome
7:05pmChair’s Report
7:20pmMLA Updates
7:26pmTCCS Presentation on the draft Urban Open Space
Land Management Plan – Daniel Iglesias
7:46pmIcon Water Presentation on the Lower Molonglo Water
Quality Control Centre in Holt – Patty Chier
8:06pmGeneral Business:
– Discussion on the William Hovell Drive Duplication Project
8:30pmMeeting End

There were some questions taken on notice by our presenters and MLAs.

Further information on whether lighting was included in the Lake Ginninderra upgrades was requested.

The ACT Government is upgrading paths around Lake Ginninderra with $3 million invested to fund Stage 1 of works improve connections to the many playgrounds, picnic areas and parks located around the lake edge.

With the path network connecting these facilities, improvements include new connections, wider paths, better drainage, more lighting and seating. The first stage of the works will start near Emu Bank, following feasibility and consultation work which occurred in 2021.

The following questions were asked by Jo Clay MLA to the Minister for Water about the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre in Question Time addressing some of the questions raised in our meeting.

  1. What are the existing water treatment methods in use at the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre?
  2. What is the new water treatment method proposed for use in future?

https://broadcast.parliament.act.gov.au/vod/player/05f5428c210ac2fe327e2325d2178d24?i=f1720a9af55b4900848ef4c5cee93cf9-47