Gungahlin’s first Youth Centre has officially opened to the public, providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe space for young people at the Gungahlin Marketplace.
Northside Community Services ,Barnardo’s and Multicultural Hub Canberra have collaborated to deliver Gunner’s Place to the Gungahlin region with the support of the Marketplace Gungahlin. They have been engaged and committed to a Youth space for six years after been located at Harrison School, Gungahlin College and now Gungahlin town centre.
The space can take up to 45 people and can be used during the week days for meetings/groups from 8am – 7.45pm Monday to Friday, when not in use by the youth services. The space is available on weekends from 8am – 7.45pm as well, but access is limited to when the last store closes (Big W).
If you care about the future of the Gungahlin Town Centre please make a submission. You don’t have to be a town planning expert – just describe what you want and expect to be part of a completed town centre. More details and background can be found below. Perhaps think about
employment – what creates jobs in a town centre
retail – outlets, experience
commercial spaces – large scale offices, smaller businesses
community facilities – youth, arts, community groups, rooms, spaces, seniors
traffic and parking
active travel – walking, cycling, scooters
parks – places for kids to play, and to sit, eat, drink
entertainment – cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinema, etc.
There are few rules for submissions, only that they must be relevant, written and received before the closing date. Include your name, phone number, and postal and email addresses, before sending your submission in either digital or physical form to one of these addresses:
DV364 is proposing changes to the way land is allocated for use in the Gungahlin Town Centre. It is a proposal to change the Gungahlin Town Centre Pre3cinct Code (see What is the Territory Plan below) as follows:
Opening up all of the Gungahlin East Precinct to “mixed-use” development
Belatedly, introducing more sensible height controls
Reducing the amount of land reserved for commercial office space from 100,000 m2 to 65,000 m2
Rather than reserving land for community facilities, allowing them to be provided through “equivalent floor space within a mixed use development”
Changing the names and boundaries of sub-precincts within the town centre
Relocating nominated public car park from block 2 section 229 to block 2 section 11 (between Ernest Cavanagh Street and Hibberson Street)
Improving requirements for the public domain.
Major changes proposed by Draft Variation 364
The GCC is strongly opposed to the changes proposoed in DV364, and critical of the process by which it was developed. These sort of planning rule have failed Gungahlin for 30 years and are not supporting the development og a viable town centre. Several artuicles on the GCC website provide more information on DV364:
What’s Going on With all the Work Being Done at The Establishment site ?
A substantial temporary road has been constructed parallel to Gundaroo Drive behind the YMCA Early Childhood Centre (to be restored and rehabilitated by August 2022), an access road into the site has been built at the roundabout at the intersection of Gundaroo Drive and Gozzard Street and there’s major excavation going on. All of this, despite there being no decision on the current Development Application (DA) for the site! It’s hard not to assume the developer, Geocon, is so confident the DA will be approved they are pushing ahead … which is not a good look for the ACT government agencies responsible for approving the DA and the other works going on.
Geocon has already chopped down a tree on the site without permission and appears to have gone beyond the limits of the TCCS issued licence for limited development of the unleased Territory Land adjacent to the child care centre. The photos provide evidence of unauthorised, substantial and irreversible development and excavation works on the building site proper.
Temporary carpark/road running SW and parallel to Gundaroo Dv. There are two disabled and at best six other carparks. This road is not open yet and still fenced off.
Significant excavation works (looking across site to Gozzard St).
Significant site development, excavation and drilling/pile driving equipment (looking north to Gundaroo Dr).
Site boundary extends to road edge with excavation appearing to extend past block boundary up to footpath (looking south down Gozzard St).
A number of residents have contacted the GCC with similar concerns, and the GCC has also spoken with the YMCA who are struggling to manage the disruption caused by the vibration and dust created by they excavation and other work. The email response the GCC received from the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) has been:
“The reconsideration of the S197 application for DA201732666 is still underway.
In regard to the works underway adjacent to Gundaroo Drive, a licence was issued by TCCS to Geocon to permit the use of this area of unleased Territory Land for a temporary road access, parking area and an outdoor play space for use by the YWCA childcare centre during the construction of the adjacent development. This licence commenced on 18 March 2021 and will expire on 1 August 2022. I understand the access road will be on the same alignment of the old Gundaroo Road, to minimise disturbance to the trees.”
The “reconsideration” mentioned above is the third attempt to get a development application approved for ths site.
The first DA was lodged by Empire Global in 2017 when the development was known as Air Towers. Despite broad community and GCC opposition this DA was approved in 2018. You can read more about the GCC’s concerns in these articles:
The Notice of Decision for this original DA was very subjective and raised numerous further concerns about the DA approval process as detailed in this article.
The second DA for the site was lodged in May 2020 by Geocon (who had entered into an agreement with Empire Global) and sought to make a number of relatively minor amendments to the approved DA. The GCC again strongly opposed this amended DA, and in a much more rigourous assessment by the planning authority, the amended DA was rejected:
“The documentation provided with the reconsideration contains numerous changes to the amended DA and/or original DA and reads as a further amendment and does not appear to challenge the validity of the Notice of Decision for the Amended DA.”
Further background on how the Gungahlin “Office Park” turned into residential towers can be found in this article:
The Development Application (DA) for the Kenny High School is open for public comment until 1 July 2021. The DA is for the
“Construction of a new high school in the future suburb of Kenny. The development is for a two storey educational facility, single storey gym, landscaping, outdoor learning areas, playing fields, external courts, bicycle storage, waste centre, fencing, parking, driveway, signage, offsite and associated works.”
Over the last ten years there has been significant population growth in Gungahlin through urban intensification within the Town Centre and Flemington Road corridor, as well as the establishment of several new suburbs. The resulting forecast is that by 2023 the existing school facilities within Gungahlin will reach capacity.
In order to address the demographic changes in Gungahlin, ACT Education Directorate (EDU) has undertaken several interventions from installing temporary transportable structures and building new learning communities within existing schools, to purpose—built schools in new suburbs. This project will deliver a second high school in East Gungahlin as part of this strategy in delivering high quality school facilities to the Territory.
When completed East Gungahlin High School is to accommodate in Permanent construction 800 students and up to 90 teaching and ancillary staff. At peak enrolment, the School is to accommodate up to 1000 students, with the additional capacity achieved through the Provision of temporary accommodation.
In the wider context the site is located in the east of Gungahlin, having good vehicle connectivity via Well Drive to arterial roads of Flemington Road and Horse Park Drive to connect to the Harrison School 7-10 catchment area which includes the suburbs of Forde, Throsby, Gungahlin, Harrison, Mitchell and Franklin.
Although located on edge of the new suburb of Kenny, the proposed scope of works for the Estate Development Plan of Site includes pedestrian access to the light rail corridor, connecting to the Town Centre.
There is Potential to have good pedestrian and cycle pathway to the adjacent suburbs of Harrisons, Franklin and Kenny, to promote safe travel as well as after hours community use of the school facilities
This development application is to be read in association with the New Kenny Road DA and Well Station Drive Upgrade, which include provision for bus sit-downs, emergency vehicle access, signalised intersection and pedestrian footpaths.
The School site Estate Development Plan has provisions for incoming services to the site; water ties, sewer tie, stormwater,gas tie, Telstra, NBN and government fibre and substation.
The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 9 June 2021 at the Gungahlin Club, 51 Hinder St, Gungahlin at 6.30pm. The meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.
One of the key proposed improvements is a new level of strategic planning in the system – District Planning – which is intended to “improve the line of sight from the Planning Strategy to the Territory Plan”.
A series of workshops across Canberra on the topic of district planning have been announced and community members are invited to have a say on planning for the future of their district.
A wide range of community members is ecouraged to participate – either online or in person. Details are as follows:
The ACT Government is delivering the road infrastructure to support a new high school to open in 2023. This school is to be located in the new suburb of Kenny.
Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) will deliver this road infrastructure including:
extension of the Albatross Crescent (west) intersection to the south by approximately 200 metres, including a roundabout at the southern end
signalisation of the Well Station Drive/Albatross Crescent (west) intersection
signalisation of the Well Station Drive/Kings Canyon Street intersection
a shared-use path along Well Station Drive from Flemington Road to the proposed school entrance
three bus bays along the Albatross Crescent (west) extension to service the school
reconstruction of existing bus stops along Well Station Drive near the Albatross Crescent (west) intersection
other necessary upgrades to infrastructure triggered by these works, which may include noise mitigation measures.
The TCCS project team is currently working through the designs for these works and as part of this process we are commencing targeted engagement with surrounding residents, the local community and stakeholders.
The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 12 May 2021 at the Gungahlin Club, 51 Hinder St, Gungahlin at 6.30pm. The meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.
Draft Variation 364 has been reviewed by the Standing Committee on Planning, and
the ACT assembly motion on the Gungahlin Town Centre has been actioned.
On 23 March 2021, the GCC invited the Minister for Planning to attend our 14 April public meeting to address a number of planning concerns. The Minister was unable to attend and was represented by senior staff from EPSDD including the Chief Planner, Ben Ponton, Leslie Cameron and Bruce Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, the meeting did not provide the answers we were seeking, and in fact raised more concerns about whether the current planning system will deliver a viable town centre for Gungahlin.
We are therefore asking the Suburban Land Agency and the Minister for Planning to suspend the proposed auction of four mixed use sites scheduled for 12 May 2021, and the sale/auction of any other sites in the town centre, until the open issues noted above are resolved.
On 4 May 2021 the GCC launched an ACT Assembly petition sponsored by Yerrabi MLA Andrew Braddock, to formalise the GCC’s call to action regarding the development of the town centre.
If you have lost confidence in the ACT Government planning system to deliver employment, retail, entertainment and community services for the Gungahlin Town Centre PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION.
Members of the GCC executive met with John Dietz, CEO SLA and other SLA executives on 5 May 2021 to share, on behalf of Gungahlin residents, our frustrations regarding the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre. Importantly, John indicated that our concerns had been heard. He and his team provided useful background and insights regarding the development of the town centre, and the role the SLA might play in improving the processes that are within their control that impact town centre development.
the SLA remains committed to the sale of these sites inaccordance with the ILRP [Indicative Land Use Release Program]
I offer the opportunity to work with the GCC on the place making of future land releases in the GTC [Gungahlin Town Centre]. This would include engagement on how the sale of these blocks are brought to the market, the provision of open space and interface with the linear park and future public realm.
A further meeting was help with the Minister for Urban Planning (Yvette Berry) and John Dietz on Friday 7 May 2021 where we were able to brief the minister directly on some of the history that has led to the GCC taking the action we have. Most of the issues raised relate to issues with the Minister for Planning’s portfolio and the Environment Palnning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD), but the GCC was keen to stress we are seeking a whole-of-government change of approach – as the current systems and processes were not meeting the expectations of Gungahlin residents. The Minister reaffirmed the government’s intention to proceed with the sales of the 4 blocks scheduled for 12 May 2021.
On 11 May the Minister for Planning, Mick Gentleman, delivered a Ministerial Statement on Planning in the Gungahlin Town Centre. The GCC was looking for a new approach from the government to address the issues we’ve raise but this response (if it is a response) indicates the Minister for Planning believes everything is fine. Even the chief planner acknowledges the planning system is broken … and it’s being demonstrated in the Gungahlin town centre. The statement makes numerous assertions that are untrue (it was the GCC that initiated the town centre planning refresh – not the government) and is completely underwhelming in it’s committment to actioning Suzanne Orr’s motion (response “before the lasr sitting day of this year – 2 December).