AGM 2013-2014 – Chair’s Report

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

Woden and Mawson Master Planning commences – have your say!

The Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate of the ACT government recently announced two separate (but linked) master-planning processes for Woden and Mawson. Master plans aim to set out a framework for the future development of particular areas – and community consultation is a key part of the process.

You can access the ACT government’s discussion document by clicking here  A poster outlining the plans is available here

Chairs Report – AGM 2013

Annual General Meeting 2012-2013 – 6 November 2013 – Chair’s Report

2012-2013 was another busy year for WVCC, in which we have reflected and represented community views on a wide range of issues.

Once again, the committee worked very hard – despite our small numbers we kept up a high work-rate.[teaserbreak]

Our meetings (to November 2013)

Our monthly meetings featured a wide range of presenters and issues.

  • During 2012-2013, Rod Baxter (LDA) presented updates (on a number of occasions) on the redevelopment of the Woden Bus Interchange.
  • We welcomed Minister Shane Rattenbury who spoke on transport issues, both from a portfolio and a Green perspective
  • We welcomed Minister Joy Burch who spoke on her wide-ranging portfolio issues.
  • We initiated a local member’s spot, to which Steve Dozspot and Andrew Wall have contributed.
  • Presentations by the Sport and Recreation Services Directorate on Woden Athletics Track and swimming facilities in Woden Valley. (WVCC voiced its disappointment that the Government’s planning does not extend to the Phillip Pool and Ice-skating rink, which despite its long-term lease, is regarded as a purely private-sector venture).
  • Presentation from ACT Roads on bike path developments along Yamba Drive
  • Presentations on community security from ACT Policing
  • Presentations on developments proposed for the western side of the Town Centre, including the Tradies Club redevelopment and a presentation (by architect Peter Russell) on a proposed multi-storey carpark to the north of the Woden 9 site
  • ACT Health presented plans for the National Capital Private Hospital and for new health facilities in Garran
  • We also featured consultation-related presentations on the proposed Woden/Weston Creek Community Hub


  • WVCC has expressed its concern that the Woden Bus Interchange redevelopment is contingent upon commercial plans of Westfield. Minister Barr indicated (in September 2013) that particular attention will be paid to the need for the Mall-based connection between the Interchange and Bradley Street to remain open for commuters and others.
  • Improved communication and consultation with architects and developers. 
  • Active participation by WVCC in regular meetings of the Combined Community Councils
  • Regular attendance at meetings of the Planning and development Forum.
  • Regular briefing of the Chronicle’s excellent journalists, Meredith Clisby and, later, Emma Kelly – a number of articles were published during the year highlighting WVCC concerns.
  • A mailout advertising the AGM!

Representations and submissions

During the year (late 2012 to November 2013), the Council made submissions to ACTPLA on

  • The Tradies Redevelopment
  • Woden 9 Estate Development Plan (September 2013)
  • The estate development plan for the Woden Bus Interchange
  • The Hellenic Club proposed  car park development

We also wrote to

  • The Southern Cross Club objecting to the closure of Pitch and Putt and urging community consultation as it moved to redevelop the site.  (No response received)
  • Minister Joy Burch on the government’s plans for VET in Woden Valley (which appeared to include plans to close down the Woden site of CIT). We were pleased that Minister Burch has confirmed consultation with the Woden valley community on this issue.

All submissions and letters were posted to the WVCC website.


My thanks go to committee members Shirley Lithgow, Mike Reddy, Henry Hatch, Chris Erett, Martin Miller, Bill O’Brien and to Lance Williamson, our website developer.  It was a pleasure to welcome Ian Trewhella to the committee mid-2013.

The coming year …

  • We note our disappointment that ESDD seems to have deferred (indefinitely?) its master planning exercise incorporating Woden Town Centre, Athllon Drive corridor and Mawson Group Centre. We will continue to urge sensible planning of the WTC and the area to the south – including retaining and extending urban open space to the east of Athllon Drive.
  • We have continuing reservations about aspects of the Bus Interchange redevelopment – including the location of the bus layover, and the lack of Park and Ride facilities.
  • We desperately need new blood on the committee. At times during 2013, we were down to two or three people available to do the work.  Committee renewal will have to be one of our priorities for 2014.  WVCC will cease to exist without more volunteers.

Dr Jenny Stewart


6 November 2013

Interested in Joining the Committee?

If you are interested in Woden Valley community issues, why not join the WVCC committee? The nomination form is here.

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual General Meeting on 6 November, 7:30pm at the Hellenic Club.

Combined Community Councils and PlanWise ACT Pre-election Planning Forum Report – Forum summary: more work needed on ACT Planning!

The forum, sponsored by the ACT’s Combined Community Councils and PlanWiseACT PlanWise, focused on the question ‘Is the ACT’s planning system in good shape?’. Speakers were Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell and Greens planning spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur, who spoke of their respective parties’ vision for Canberra’s future. (The Canberra Liberals were invited to take part in the forum, but did not do so).


In introducing the forum, Jane Goffman, the founder of PlanWiseACT, said that non-compliance was rife, and often not picked up by the ACT Planning and Land Authority in its consideration of development applications. Draft Variation No. 306 to the Territory Plan, if enacted, would trigger a range of impacts that were neither properly tested nor well understood. 

In their presentations, both Minister Corbell and Ms Le Couteur emphasised their commitment to a more compact and denser city, with heightened use of public transport, including light rail.

Minister Corbell, acknowledging widespread concern at poor quality development in the city, said that if re-elected, Labor would institute design competitions for major developments proposed to be constructed on land released by the ACT Government.  Labor would also re-invigorate the Planning and Development Forum, an important venue for discussion between developers, ACTPLA and the community.

Ms Le Couteur said the Greens would commit $300,000 over four years for better regulation and enforcement of building quality in the ACT and $800,000 over four years to support community input into planning and development policy.

‘Amidst the hype of the election build-up, it was pleasing to be able to discuss Canberra’s planning problems in a reasoned and reasonable way’, said Ewan Brown, Convenor of the Combined Community Councils. However, there were still many issues that needed attention.

Issues identified at the forum included:

  • Problems with inner-city development, including insufficient parking, poor use of available land, and a lack of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units;
  • A planning system that promoted confrontation rather than collaboration;
  • A planning strategy intensifying development along the length of transport corridors rather than at designated transport ‘hubs’;
  • The need for a ‘plain English’ layperson’s guide to decode the Territory Plan’s development Codes;
  • Improved consultative processes across government, as the activities of many agencies impacted citizens through building and development;
  • Better coordination between the Economic Development Directorate and the

    Environment and Sustainability Directorate.

hever party forms government after the election on 20 October, the Combined Community Councils and PlanWise are keen to keep the debate going. Please let us have your feedback via your Community Council website, or via PlanWise!

Ewan Brown, Convenor, Combined Community Councils; Jane Goffman, PlanWise ACT

27 September 2012

Combined Community Councils of the ACT and PlanWise ACT
Pre-election Planning Forum for 2012

Legislative Assembly Reception Room 2-4pm 22 September


  • Simon Corbell, MLA, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Caroline Le Couteur, MLA, planning spokesperson for the ACT Greens

Is the ACT’s planning system in good shape?

Come along and hear our speakers, there will be plenty of time for Q and A.
Chaired by Dr Jenny Stewart Further info 0420 529 747 or

WVCC views put to Planning Committee

Chair of Woden Valley Community Council, Dr Jenny Stewart, argued strongly for a new approach to planning in the ACT when she gave evidence to the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Planning Committee recently. The occasion was the Committee’s inquiry into Draft Variation 306 to the Territory Plan. You can read the transcript of Jenny’s comments at pages 157-162 of the Committee Hansard, at

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