Meet Minister Mick Gentleman MLA and Minister Meegan Fitzharris MLA on Tuesday 11 April to talk about the future of Gungahlin including building height and character, public spaces, walking, cycling and road transport.
WHEN: TUESDAY 11 APRIL 2017 TIME: 5.30PM TO 7.00PM WHERE: SIREN BAR AND RESTAURANT, 30 ANTHONY ROLFE AVENUE, GUNGHALIN
This is the statement provided by Senator Zed Seselja on 6th March and read out at the GCC public meeting on 8th March, 2017
Dear Members of the Gungahlin Community Council,
I am sorry I am unable to be there with you this evening, but I would like to take this brief opportunity to update you on my election commitment to see a Commonwealth Public Service Department or Agency move their offices to Gungahlin to help boost the local economy.
Last week I met with the office of Minister for Finance and officials from the Department of Finance who are responsible for managing Commonwealth office spaces. They briefed me on the process they are undertaking to make this move happen and updated me on their progress.
The first stage of the process involves auditing all the current departments and agencies to assess which are the most appropriate to be moved based on several factors including number of employees, office space requirements, and current leasing arrangements. The other aspect of this first stage is to identify potential sites in the Gungahlin town centre for a new office space to be constructed to accommodate the selected agency.
The Department of Finance officials informed me that they are nearing completion of this first stage, having narrowed down the number of potential agencies to be moved and identified several potential sites in Gungahlin for the new offices.
While for probity reasons I am unable to provide more detail at present, I understand this first stage should reach completion in the coming months. The Department of Finance informed me that they anticipate formal negotiations with the chosen agency will begin by mid-year, at which point I expect to be able to provide more concrete detail.
I am proud to have secured an election commitment from the Government to move a public service workforce to Gungahlin for the first time to grow the town centre and boost the local economy. I will continue to work hard to see this election promise fulfilled.
Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja Liberal Senator for the ACT Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs
You may be aware that a new mixed-use development proposal for the Gungahlin Town Centre has been announced. Located on the corner of Gungahlin Drive and Gozzard Street with a northerly aspect over Yerrabi Ponds, this landmark development will be a new and exciting destination in Gungahlin.
Key features – Proposal by Empire Global – a local Gungahlin based developer – Architect designed, two 26-storey buildings and one 8-storey building – Public podium on the 26th floor, accessed by a glass elevator, with two restaurants, a function centre and public sky park – 1,500m2 floor area for commercial tenancies on the ground floor – A landscaped accessible public realm including retail, cafes and office space – Around 300 apartments with a mix of studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.
• Many residential skyscrapers are being constructed or proposed in Gungahlin • Planning rules are being circumvented • The Gungahlin Town Centre is at risk of becoming a uncoordinated collection of individual projects without any cohesion
Most Gungahlin residents know about Infinity Towers because they have seen the construction underway at the corner of Gundaroo Drive and Anthony Rolfe Avenue. Many residents will also know that the first two of the three towers that make up the development, at 21 and 20 storeys, will be the tallest buildings in Gungahlin and some of the tallest constructions in Canberra. But …
Infinity Towers is not the only residential tower project approved, proposed or under construction in Gungahlin. In fact, an entire area planned for offices is likely to be transformed into a mass of high rise apartments.
The background to how Infinity Towers was approved is becoming increasingly important because it appears to be setting a precedent for further residential towers in this high visibility area of the Gungahlin Town Centre.
Infinity Towers is located on Blocks 2-4 Section 209 Gungahlin. The ACT territory plan indicates that this block is zoned “CZ2-Business”, for which the purpose is (in part) to:
a) Provide for office and business sites that are accessible to public transport and convenience retailing and and services b) Provide a diverse range of accommodation sizes and locations for offices close to the retail core
ACT Territory Plan (actmapi.act.gov.au accessed 19th November, 2016)
There is no mention of residential accommodation in the CZ2 Zone Objectives.
This site is also located within the Gungahlin Town Centre as defined by the Gungahlin Precinct Code, a document which “provides additional planning, design and environmental controls for specific areas or blocks”, such as building forms, uses, heights, and much more. More specifically, the entire area bounded by Gundaroo Drive, Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Gribble Street, is defined as “Precinct 2b – Office Park”.
Precinct areas within the Gungahlin Town Centre (Figure 12, Gungahlin Precinct Plan)
The key elements of the Office Park specified in the precinct code are limits on usage and height, ie.
Element 17: Use
R44 A minimum of one (1) of the following uses is provided at the ground floor level abutting the street or main building entry for buildings of 2,000 (aq m) or greater: a) Business agency b) Drink establishment c) Health facility d) Public agency e) Restaurant f) SHOP
C44 Buildings abutting the street or main building entry incorporate uses that generate activity at the ground level in the public space.400
Element 18: Height
R45 Maximum height of buildings is 23 metres above the datum ground level.For leases granted before 30 November 2010, this provision will not apply until five (5) years from that date, being 30 November 2015.
C45 Maximum height of buildings comply with all of the following: a) are compatible with adjacent development b) are appropriate to scale and function of use c) minimise detrimental impacts, including overshadowing and excessive scale d) contribute to the desired planning outcomes
NOTE: A building floor is typically 2.7-2.8m high, so 23m is about 8 floors.
The company that acquired this site, Geocon, originally proposed, and had plans approved for, an office park which were presented to the GCC at a public meeting and were approved in July, 2012. However, they were unable to secure a tenant for the proposed offices, and in 2015 presented an alternative proposal for a series of residential towers, which later became refined into Infinity Towers. These were approved through the normal development application (DA) process in November, 2015 somewhat to the GCC’s concern. There were effectively no height restrictions on this development because of the exemption in Rule R45, but certainly the lease use had to be changed to include residential. Concerns raised at the time included the impact on traffic, and whether sufficient allowance had been made for parking.
Geocon proposal for Business Park (from slides presented to GCC).
Subsequent to the approval of Infinity Towers, several other proposals and development applications have been received for other blocks within the “office park”. These are summarised below based on artists impressions of the developments (more details in the table at the end of the article):
Clearly this will not create an office park. The development applications for the additional towers that have followed Infinity Towers, are not addressing the “rule” of the Precinct’s Code’s Element 18 (max height 23m), they are instead arguing that additional towers meet the “criteria” (eg. “compatible with adjacent development”, “appropriate to scale and function”). If this trend is allowed to continue, over 1,000 units with as many as 2,500 residents and 1,600 cars could be located in this area.
The issues are that:
1. This trend makes a mockery of the precinct code. Either the rules need to be followed, or the precinct code needs to be amended with strong community input immediately. In particular, care needs to be taken to transition the larger buildings into both the existing housing, and into the landform.
Each development undertakes their own analysis on traffic impact and solar over-shadowing, which are evaluated on a development by development basis. This ignores the aggregate impact on traffic and overshadowing of all the developments which is likely to be very significant. The developments must be assessed as a complete precinct.
2. Because this was never intended to be a residential area, there has been no provision for open space to accommodate this density of residents. This is in part mitigated by the adjacent Yerrabi Park, but pedestrian and cycle access to this area is very poor and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, perhaps as part of the duplication of the remainder of Gundaroo Drive between Mirrabei Drive and Horse Park Drive. Minimally, an underpass or overpass to get across Gundaroo Drive is required, but the overall permeability of the location needs to also be considered.
3. Each development makes a point of highlighting their nearness to the Light Rail station, but thepedestrian and cycle access to the town centre needs to be much better planned in conjunction with the other developments in the main part of the town centre including the Light Rail, bus interchange and other commercial and residential projects.
4. Much has changed and continues to change in the Gungahlin Town Centre but there is no overall town centre plan or strategy. The GCC is seeking an immediate response from the ACT Government regarding a more cohesive approach to the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre.
5. In the GCC’s 2014 Have Your Say survey, in response to the question “What should be the maximum height of buildings in the Gungahlin Town Centre?”, more than 80% of residents indicated it should be 10 stories or less (1-4 stories 42.5%, 5-10 stories 38.1%).
The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) has organised an ACT Election 2016 Meet the Candidates Forum to be held in place of the normal GCC public meeting on the evening of Wednesday 14th September, 6:30-8:30pm
We have invited all candidates that have announced they are seeking election in the seat of Yerrabi (which includes all of Gungahlin and few suburbs in Belconnen).
Each candidate will be given an opportunity to speak (briefly), to be followed by questions from the host of the event (the GCC), and then questions from the audience will be taken. We ask that questions be kept to under 60 seconds, and that they be directed to specific candidates and or parties. Each question will only be answered once. Questioners will also be given the option of asking for a show of hands from the candidates indicating their support for a particular position. If you wish to send in a question for the host to consider, please email it to email@example.com.
St John Paul II College Campus and Recommended Parking
Drive in along the red path (keep to the LEFT of the sign saying “Performing Arts Centre”), and park around the back. Walk along the yellow path to the side of the road and into the Performing Arts Centre Theatre.
Gunsmoke 141 introduced the “Tour de Gungahlin”, a series of articles highlighting the great opportunities to get out and about on a bicycle in Gungahlin. This page provides online links to much more detailed maps than those provided with the ride descriptions in Gunsmoke.
There will be a temporary road closure on Manning Clark Crescent between Flemington Road and Barbara Jefferis Street from next Wednesday 15 June 2016 until late September 2016.
The closure is to enable the construction of kerbs, traffic islands and the upgrade of traffic signals at the intersection of Manning Clark Crescent and Flemington Road as part of the work to extend Manning Clark Crescent to Anthony Rolfe Avenue. Pedestrian access will remain open along Manning Clark Crescent and through the Flemington Road intersection but, to maintain safety for pedestrians, people may be detoured via a temporary footpath. Cyclists may use the footpath or on-road cyclists will be detoured via Elizabeth Jolley Crescent.
This letter has been distributed to 4,500 Harrison, Franklin and Gungahlin residents.
Thursday 16 June 2016 7.00 pm Albert Hall Commonwealth Avenue, Parkes
Hear the Candidates’ views about: – what should be the national responsibilities for planning in the ACT; and
– preserving the unique characteristics of Canberra as the nation’s capital.
Questions could cover: – location of Federal departments in relation to impacts on town centres, employment, transport and parking;
– impact of recent changes to the National Capital Plan; – heritage listing of Canberra in its overall design concept; – ACT government projects that affect areas under NCA responsibility such as City to the Lake, Manuka Oval and West Tuggeranong.
Please show this to others who may have an interest (PDF Flyer)
Flemington Road will be temporarily closed between Wizard Street and Kate Crace Street in Gungahlin from 7am to 5pm on Saturday 28 May and Sunday 29 May 2016.
The road closures will allow for traffic light conduits to be installed (involving digging trenches) across the Flemington Road intersection, as part of the work to extend Manning Clark Crescent from Flemington Road to Anthony Rolfe Avenue. The upgrade will create convenient alternative routes and better traffic flow around the Gungahlin town centre when completed in September 2016.
Flemington Road will be closed from 7am to 5pm on Saturday 28 May and Sunday 29 May 2016. In the event of bad weather the work will be delayed to the following weekend. Alternative routes during the road closure are via Kate Crace Street, Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Wizard Street, as shown on the map below. Detour signs will be in place to direct traffic. Access via Flemington Road service roads will remain open for local residents.
We remind motorists to drive carefully, obey the speed limits and follow traffic management signs and instructions. We thank residents and road users for their patience.
Meegan Fitzharris MLA, Minister for Transport and Municipal Services
Horse Park Drive is one of the main arterial roads in Gungahlin. As our region grows, more and more people are using this road every day, which links our suburbs to the city and the Majura Parkway.
Work has already started on the duplication of Horse Park Drive between Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Well Station Drive. Since this work started, many people have asked when the rest of Horse Park Drive will be duplicated. I have said that as your local MLA and now Minister for Transport and Municipal Services this is my Number 1 priority.
I am very pleased to let you know that we will be upgrading all of Horse Park Drive from the Federal Highway to Mulligans Flat Road, and this work will be funded in this year’s ACT Budget!
As a Gungahlin resident, and since January 2015 your local Gungahlin MLA, I have spoken with many people about Gungahlin’s roads. Like you, I know they need upgrading.
I advocated strongly for the duplication of Gundaroo Drive in my first weeks in the Assembly and that work is now underway. And now Horse Park Drive will be fully duplicated.
I’m pleased to say that we will begin consultation immediately on the design of that work so that construction can get underway later in the year. You will receive further information soon, so please keep an eye out for our regular Gungahlin roads updates.
Finally, thank you for your patience during the current road works around our region. I will continue working hard to make sure our road and transport network works for our community.