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UPDATED: Air Towers Development Application

UPDATED 26/11/2017 – Responses to the Development Application must be lodged before 29 November 2017 (details below)

A Development Application (DA) has been lodged for two new apartment towers on the corner of Gundaroo Drive and Gozzard Street. If approved, these towers will stand up to 18 storeys or 58 metres tall. The Gungahlin Community Council has a number of serious concerns about the proposal including:

  • The height of 58 metres is more than double the 23 metres height limit specified in the planning rules, and does not align with community expectations for building heights in the Gungahlin Town Centre;
  • The fact that previous developments were able to exploit planning loopholes to obtain height exemptions does not justify the building of yet another high rise tower;
  • At 18 storeys, the towers will overshadow and overlook the YMCA, Yerrabi Ponds, and Lavender Lane Early Learning Centres; as well as nearby residential areas, removing winter sun and privacy;
  • The survey conducted by the proponents, referenced in the DA’s statement against criteria, was primary an online competition to name the development with a cash prize for the winner. Any data collected through this online competition regarding entrant/competitors views on the development are, at the very least, likely to be skewed towards support for the project. The GCC does not believe the proponent’s survey data accurately reflects the views of the Gungahlin community overall;
  • Following community concern about the exploitation of planning loopholes, the ACT Government initiated the Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh to tighten the planning rules and address these loopholes. The preliminary findings of the Refresh, presented at the GCC public meeting on September 13, 2017 identified community support for “building heights up to 10 storeys for newly released blocks (Gungahlin East) [and] lower building heights in the retail core and at the edges of the town centre”. The Air Towers DA is not consistent with these findings;
  • The GCC’s Have Your Say survey conducted in 2014 showed a strong preference (80% of respondents) for buildings in the town centre of 10 stories or less;
  • The impact to traffic in the surrounding areas arising from an additional 296 apartments;
  • The GCC acknowledges the DA proponents have made substantial changes to the proposal originally presented to the GCC in November, 2016, eg. From 26/26/8 stories to 18/12/8 stories, but the development remains an extremely large development and it is adjacent on three sides to one and two storey developments, much of which is residential. The only development larger than this on the precinct is Infinity Towers which does not have the same neighbour issues;
  • The proponents argue that the development “steps down” to neighbour properties on the site, but this ignores the overall scale of the development within the precinct, and the very high frontage presented to the YMCA site, and to the precinct’s view from the West. Other developments in the precinct have “stepped down” from the high point established by Infinity Towers, towards the residential areas – the proposed development is clearly inconsistent with this approach in the context of the other proposed and existing developments, ie. Looking from Yerrabi Pond towards the east, the height in stories of the developments are (from right to left) 20, 22, 16 (Infinity), 14, 7 (Lumi), 1, (YMCA), and then 18/12/8 (Air Towers). This shows how inappropriate the proposed development is for this location (noting that this is not to scale horizontally);
  • The continued development of an excessive number of apartments. What Gungahlin requires is more office space so that Gungahlin residents do not need to commute out of Gungahlin every day to work.
  • A lack of consideration about infrastructure to support the increasing number of residents in this section of Gungahlin. For example schools, green spaces, pedestrian access etc.

We are encouraging Gungahlin residents to make sure your views on the development are heard. You can do this very quickly on-line by clicking on this link (or entering it into your browser):

https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/landing.htm?formCode=1251 .

You can copy and paste the arguments above or add your own views if you wish. You will just need the following information to fill out the form:

  • Development Application: 201732666
  • Suburb: Gungahlin
  • Block: 4
  • Section: 224

Further details on the proposed development can be found here.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Gungahlin Community Council via Facebook, our webpage or email secretary@gcc.asn.au

11 Comments
  1. Why do we need more apartments in this area? What are the main benefits of doing so? Why can’t we use these spaces for more needed amenities? We also need roads to be able to sustain the population we already have in the area. Gungahlin is starting to become a mess.

  2. The height of 58 metres is more than double the 23 metres height limit specified in the planning rules, and does not align with community expectations for building heights in the Gungahlin Town Centre;
    The fact that previous developments were able to exploit planning loopholes to obtain height exemptions does not justify the building of yet another high rise tower;
    At 18 storeys, the towers will overshadow and overlook the YMCA, Yerrabi Ponds, and Lavender Lane Early Learning Centres; as well as nearby residential areas, removing winter sun and privacy;
    Following community concern about the exploitation of planning loopholes, the ACT Government is currently examining how to tighten the planning rules and address these loopholes. The same loopholes that this development seeks to exploit by seeking approval under the current and inadequate rules.
    The impact to traffic in the surrounding areas arising from an additional 296 apartments;
    The continued development of an excessive number of apartments. What Gungahlin requires is more office space so that Gungahlin residents do not need to commute out of Gungahlin every day to work.
    A lack of consideration about infrastructure to support the increasing number of residents in this section of Gungahlin. For example schools, green spaces, pedestrian access etc

    • Agree, but unfortunately the developers focus is to maximise the building’s yield, $ per m2. The ACT Government also benefits from increase revenue from developer, stamp duties and higher rates. ACT Planning simply rubber stamps the DA’s. We are being duped, unless there is outrage things will not change.

      Take action, submit a representation via the ACT Government Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate – Planning website, write to the newspaper, write to and visit your local MLA and tell them they work for you not the developers.

  3. Love it and the “Infinity Towers”. Before you blow up – I have no association with any of these or other developments, future developments or business interests in the Gungahlin area.

    The vista these buildings will have as they look back over Canberra and the Brindabella’s will be magnificent. The people living in these apartments will demand services and subsequently grow and secure employment in the Gungahlin area. Road congestion will be an issue but that hasn’t stopped the expanse of housing estates in Throsby, Forde, Bonner and the backside of Ngunnawal and Amaroo – I’m not convinced our urban design of wide and flat eases congestion, quite the opposite. This development is within walking distance to Gungahlin shops and the light rail, so arguably will have less impact on road congestion than our expanse of housing estates.

    Yerrabi Ponds is jewel. Take a walk around the pond in the early morning light, magnificent. These developments will allow more people to take advantage of this public space – without getting in a car.

    Yes, build more office suites, improve pedestrian access, build another school, build an entertainment precinct, improve our road infrastructure, improve the public transport (make parking at transport hubs available without charging for it), host community events and markets.

    Finally, where’s the bar?? Hopefully we will have a quality drinking hole included somewhere in this micro-suburb!

    • Thanks for your feedback Adam. The GCC accepts the fact that this area (precinct 2b) of the town centre will be mostly high rise residential (over 1000 units under construction or approved). The GCC also agrees with your comments about development in general – the residential towers are mixed-use so there will be many new retail outlets and hopefully bars. We are opposed to this particular development because of its size and form *in the location proposed* – if it was in the middle of the town centre it would be terrific.

    • There is no micro-suburb about these developments – It is a suburb in one precinct, not in the town centre but right next to standard house blocks. It probably appears great to you but I suspect you don’t live adjacent or near this new ghetto. The huge increase in people and the increase in traffic will destroy the investment and lifestyle of those people have settled in the immediate area.

      The developments exploited loopholes but worse possibly influenced the government through political donations and in turn influenced ACT Planning to simply ignore the 23 metre height limit and ignore representations against the developments.

      People need to wake up!

  4. you see, you don’t need apartments like that in gungahlin, because we need the public housing block, which would benefit the poorer end of town more apartments shows that gungahlin values the rich more, just my opinion

  5. Adam, move to Sydney, plenty of apartments there… this is Gungahlin, stop trying to mess it up and no we do not need a bar. Yerrabi Pond is a jewel without needing towering apartments and hordes of extra users crammed into it.

  6. According to a recent report by the ANU there is a glut of appartments in the ACT. Has a study been done to confirm this? Blocking out sunlight and creating wind tunnels is not my idea of an ideal Town Centre. We don’t look after what we have now. Ugly unmowed grass verges full of weeds. It’s depressing.

  7. It is difficult to see how the revised proposal is an improvement on the original taller towers. The original development would have been more of a draw card to Gungahlin and included a roof-top restaurant that would have been asset to all of Gungahlin. This scaled back development seems much more mediocre. I wonder if the efforts of GCC would have been better focused on ensuring supporting infrastructure is built rather than fighting the scale of the development? The result of current efforts appears to be a worse outcome than the original development proposal.

    • Hi Simon – late reply, but hopefully you’ve see our position on the density of the high-rise being developments where we raise exactly this point, ie. “A lack of consideration about infrastructure to support the increasing number of residents in this section of Gungahlin. For example schools, green spaces, pedestrian access etc.”. For what it’s worth, the original development would have been fine (in the GCC’s opinion) if it was located in the centre of the town centre rather tan on the residential edge … Peter

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