2013-2014 was another busy year for WVCC, in which we have reflected and represented community views on a wide range of issues. The problems of the Town Centre (at least some of which are related to its continuing neglect by government) resulted in a high degree of media interest in September-October 2014. I was interviewed half a dozen times during this period, stressing on each occasion that WVCC was not against high-rise per se, but only inappropriate, poorly thought-through high-rise, and reiterating the case for coordinated planning. I also restated WVCC?s position regarding the bus interchange ? it should be developed by the public sector in the public interest.[teaserbreak]
Once again, the committee worked very hard ? despite our small numbers we kept up a high work-rate. My special thanks to Deputy-Chair Mike Reddy for organising a number of the year?s meetings and to Martin Miller for his work on WVCC?s social media.
Our meetings (to August 2014)
Our monthly meetings featured a wide range of presenters and issues, including
- Woden SEE-Change (October 2013)
- Presentations from ACAT Members Bill Stefaniak and Linda Crebbin (February 2014) and Chief Planner Dorte Eklund (March 2014)
- Presentation from Lydia Frommer on ?how to think about high rise? (April 2014)
- Update on consultation results for the Woden and Mawson Master Planning exercises Ben Riches ACTPLA (May 2014)
- Kip Tanner, George Arena and Scott Marston on Westfield Mall extension (June 2014)
- Professor Barbara Norman on climate change (June 2014)
- Major presentation by Capital Metro on plans for ACT Light Rail (July 2014)
- ACT Policing update Sgt Louise Denley (August 2014)
- Nicole Lawder (MLA for Brindabella) made regular contributions to our local members? spot.
- WVCC has continued to express its concern about the lack of coordinated planning for the Town centre and areas around it. Despite the effects of the economic downturn, we continue to believe Woden has a bright future, given sufficient vision and good will. This message may be starting to get through!
- Withdrawal of the Project Facilitation Bill was a victory for community common sense
- Improved communication and consultation is occurring with some architects and developers.
- Active participation by WVCC in regular meetings of the Combined Community Councils
- Participation in the Airport Consultative Group, and ESDD?s Project Advisory Group for the Basin Priority Project (part of Commonwealth-funded Murrumbidgee Water Quality Improvement Project)
- Regular attendance at meetings of the Planning and development Forum.
- Regular briefing of the Chronicle?s excellent journalist, Emma Kelly ? a number of articles were published during the year highlighting WVCC concerns.
- A special postcard mailout advertising our meeting on Canberra?s light rail, held on 2 July 2014. This was one of our most successful meetings ever in terms of the numbers coming along!
Representations and submissions
During the year (late 2013 to November 2014), the Council made submissions on the following matters:
- Redevelopment of Strathgordon Court (to ACT Community Services Directorate)
- Changes to the ACT Electoral Act (to Legislative Assembly Select Committee): support for new electorates and expanded assembly; reiteration of need to align electorate boundaries to ACT?s ?communities? (eg Woden/Weston; Tuggeranong etc)
- Master Plan consultation regarding WTC and Mawson Group Centre (to ACTPLA)
- Planning and development (Project Facilitation) Amendment Bill (to Legislative Assembly Planning Committee): WVCC objected to plans to over-ride normal application of planning rules
- Street re-alignments related to Woden 9 (to ACTPLA): still no coherent plan for this area ? Woden community hub apparently not considered.
We also wrote to
- The Chief Minister (on behalf of the Combined Community Councils) regarding a lack of planning for future employment opportunities in Canberra?s Town Centres? the CM?s reply (November 2013) endorsed govt?s planning approach.
- The Chief Minister (with the Chair of Belconnen Community Council) regarding the lack of rationale for effectively no restriction on building Heights in the Belconnen and Woden Centres and the need for ?desired character? to be spelled out in Master Plans ? CM?s reply (December 2013) endorsed govt?s approach; did not address the issues raised
- Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch regarding proposed redevelopment of the Woden CIT site ? reply (July 2013) indicated that recommendations would go from CIT to Govt after completion of feasibility study
All submissions were posted to the WVCC website.
This will be my last AGM as Chair of WVCC. After 4 years as Chair and 2 as an active Deputy Chair, it?s time to hand over to someone with fresh energy and vision.
My thanks go to Deputy Chair Mike Reddy, Treasurer Henry Hatch, Secretary Archana Boniface; and committee members Chris Erett, Martin Miller, Bill O?Brien, Ian Trewhella; Scott Humphries, Minutes Secretary Timoshenko Aslanides and to Lance Williamson, our website manager.
Dr Jenny Stewart
1 October 2014