Infrastructure

Woden Valley ‘s aged care facilities

A few weeks ago our WVCC column drew attention to the ACT’s urgent need to increase the number of aged care beds and highlighted this as one of the most pressing issues for many older citizens in the Woden Valley . We also highlighted the broader community concerns that judicious land use planning should not be compromised to achieve quick-fix siting solutions for aged care facility developments. This, it seems, is also a concern of the ACT Planning and Land Council which was established to provide independent, expert advice to the Planning Minister and ACTPLA.

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In Woden, which has Canberra ‘s most rapidly ageing demographic, we have ACT Housing’s former Burnie Court site close to all amenities. After some years of being empty land, less than one fifth of it is now being used to build 24 older persons units. The balance was destined for 248 private – and undoubtedly expensive – units. The sale of the land, has however not been successful, and the WVCC in a meeting with Minister Wood, 17 March 2004, expressed the Woden Community’s interest in what happens to this land. We were to be included as stakeholders in considering its possible future uses, but unfortunately we have not heard from the Minister since.

In the meantime other sites in Woden which present a number of planning difficulties, are under consideration for potential aged care sites. We look forward to discussing this matter with the Ministers concerned.

WVCC’s AGM is Wednesday 1 Sept 2004, 7.30pm in the Orpheus Room upstairs at the Hellenic Club, Woden. The topic “ Canberra International Airport – proposed developments and implications for Woden” will provide an opportunity for presentations from various stakeholders and discussion and questions. We hope many of you will be able to attend.

David Menzel is Chair of Woden Valley Community Council and can be contacted on 62810096

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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