Community

Canberra Spatial Plan 2003

By the time this article appears, the Minister for Planning will have launched the Canberra Draft Spatial Plan. Woden Community Council hopes that Woden – and the other satellite town centres – get fair treatment, and are not left to wither on the vine as Civic gets all the attention; or there is some other digression.

Of all the satellite town centres, Gungahlin has certainly been the most shabbily treated. We look to the ACT government to give emphasis to completing the general “Y” plan upon which Canberra is based. No plan is ever set in concrete, but chopping and changing for no particular reason does not allow for well-planned infrastructure or community or business development.

Woden Town Centre has a lot going for it. It is centrally located, its buildings make a bold statement in a beautiful valley, it has good inter-town transport links, it has good business and shopping facilities, office buildings are being upgraded or renewed, sporting grounds and amenities are mostly good, the general landscape architecture and surrounding parks are pleasing, and residential development in the town centre will, we hope, bring even more pluses.

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Its community and cultural facilities are however very wanting. We have no Cultural and Arts Centre? We have no Town Hall? We have no large conference or community meeting rooms? (The Clubs go part of the way in filling this gap, and they are to be complemented.) Our Community Service is struggling in an inappropriate building, hidden behind other buildings, with two parking spots for some 170 staff.

With some emphasis on the satellite towns in the Spatial Plan it is possible that some of these deficiencies can be addressed. Our Council is hosting an information and feedback evening on the Draft Spatial Plan 13 November, 6 – 8.00pm at the Woden Community Service in Corinna St . All are welcome.

Woden Town Centre Master Planning Process

Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) is about to have it’s second AGM.

Over the last two years much has happened both in Canberra and in Woden. A change of Territory Government brought with it a very ambitious agenda for change and community consultation. There have been Neighbourhood Plans, Spatial Plans, Social Plans, Economic Plans, Cultural Plans, Electoral Boundaries Review, MLA Terms of Office Review, Rates and Land Tax Review, ACT Greenhouse Strategy Review, DV 200 Review, HQSD Review, Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, Non-Urban Study, Population Studies, Transport Study, Housing Affordability Study, Community Planning Forums, Environment ACT Forums, McLeod Report, change from PALM to ACTPLA and new AAT arrangements to name a few.[teaserbreak]

At our local level a review of the Woden Town Centre Master Plan has also involved WVCC in extensive consultations on issues relating to demographic, employment, community facilities, public transport, traffic, pedestrian and bicycle, parking, residential infill, sport, recreation, landscape design and street layout matters.

These ACT and local issues have involved WVCC in hundreds of requests for consultation and submissions on a very broad range of issues. We have been fortunate in having an executive with a broad range of interests and who collectively have volunteered many thousands of hours in responding to ACT Government requests and in attempting to be effective advocates of community concerns.

At our AGM on Wednesday 1 October 2003 7.30pm at the Hellenic Club (Orpheus Room) Woden we hope many of you will join us in a relaxed atmosphere to reflect on the year past and the challenges facing Woden in the one ahead. Betsy Gallagher, Director of Woden Community Service, will, as our guest speaker, talk about some of these challenges.

Please come, maybe join our executive and help us continue to be effective advocates of community concerns.

Non-urban Study 2003

Woden Valley Community Council expresses it’s appreciation to the representatives of the various bodies and associations that contributed so much to our community consultation on the Non-Urban study. To the Bushfire Recovery Task Force for briefing us; and to ACT Forests, the community associations from Pierces Creek, Stromlo and Uriarra, the Rural Lessees Association and the Sustainable Rural Lands Group for sharing their perspectives and concerns with all those present. Thank you also to the Woden community for attending and contributing.[teaserbreak]

As a Community Council we have been much thanked and congratulated for this consultation – but we are very conscious of merely being the forum and conduit for giving ‘air’ to community issues.

Much of the content and sentiment of this consultation has already been relayed to ACT Government Ministers via a number of those present at the meeting; and we hope we can continue to be effective advocates of community concerns.

The AGM of our Community Council is on 1 October, 7.30pm, Orpheus Room, Hellenic Club, Woden. We hope many of you will join us in a relaxed atmosphere to reflect on the year past and the challenges facing Woden in the one ahead. We are also particularly keen to have new comers on our Council Executive. With so much happening around Woden, and with so many exciting things on the horizon, our current executive of seven is rather stretched. Please come and join in.

Woden Valley ‘s Phillip Oval

The Woden Valley Community Council welcomes Planning Minister Simon Corbell’s announcement that Football Park – Phillip Oval – will remain as a full-size Australian Rules playing surface. We have reflected community opinion that ACTAFL not be permitted to profiteer by ‘selling’ the concessional lease – which they have enjoyed for many years – to private interests. Rather, if they wish to relinquish the lease, it must be returned to the ACT Government with an objective assessment of fair and reasonable compensation for the value of the improvements.

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•  the Oval provides a good central location which is readily accessible from any part of the city by both private and public transport.

•  residential infill occuring around Woden will also increase walking patronage to this oval; while it’s night lighting can be retained.

•  it has very good vehicle parking availability – especially on weekends.

•  it has good provision for bus layover facilities for private buses. (In this context it is noted that the ACT government and the ACT tourism industry are actively encouraging bus loads of people from interstate to attend ACT events.)

•  it has extensive supporting infrastructure, being part of the Woden Town Centre.

•  it is close to major club and motel facilities.

•  Woden is geographically central in Canberra , and with possible infill occurring in some of the fire-affected areas, this centrality would increase. (In Melbourne , three major AFL facilities are within walking distance of the CBD.)

•  Phillip Oval is clearly the best located sporting venue in the ACT.

We accept that there is room for improvement and development and believe this should be in the context of a sub-Master Plan for this northern Entertainment and Recreation area of the Woden Town Centre, and not on any ad hoc basis.

The Woden Valley Community Council will be hosting a public meeting upstairs at the Hellenic Club Woden, starting at 7.30pm on Wednesday 3 rd of September 2003 on the recently released report by the Non-Urban Study Team chaired by Sandy Holloway. Issues to be discussed will include ACT Forests and Plantation Industry; Tourism Opportunities; Rural Settlements and Villages; and Reducing Fire Risk. All welcome.

Canberra Water Issues 2003

Water is an issue on many of our minds in this region. Many possibly believe that we currently have a water shortage in Canberra ; but with three full dams in the mountains and a half-full Googong there is no water shortage. There is however concern about the amount of clean water that is available. This is a land management issue resulting from the very hot recent fires. Any new dams in the mountains will not remedy these land management issues.

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This is no argument for us not to change our ways with water.

From statistics recently published in reports by Environment ACT we can deduce, with some calculation – and checking of ABS stats, that we use overall some 570 litres per capita per day. It also seems that we use in excess of 400 litres per detached house per day on our gardens; 68.4 litres per person per day in our bathrooms; 61.6 litres per person per day in our toilets. If these figures are any where near accurate, should we be proud of them.

It would be good to have some comparative statistics from comparable cities in Australia and overseas in the Environment ACT reports. I understand that Sydney people use overall 300 – 400 litres per capita per day.

There must be many ways for us to do better.

In the past Canberra householders were encouraged to plant water hungry gardens to enhance the garden city environment.

Public agencies need to make smarter use of water without compromising the quality of our urban environment. This is particularly so with respect to our public parks, playing fields and roadside plantings.

The ACT Government does not require a water efficiency audit in the buildings it leases. This policy should change.

Consideration should be given to raising the kl price with rising demand. Currently, with the front loading of the water and sewerage supply charge on water and sewerage accounts, those residents who are low water users pay a higher net kl price than heavier users.

The impartiality of ACTEW in contributing to our water policy debate should be questioned. It is a corporation which has a monopoly on Canberra ‘s water storage and supply and, logically, an interest in increasing revenue from the sale of water.

WVCC will be hosting a public meeting at the Hellenic Club, Orpheus Room, 7.30pm Wed 3 rd March 2004 re Woden roads, cycle paths, road signs, stop lights etc. All welcome.

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