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):
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.