The development of the suburb of Kenny was briefly covered in Gungahlin Land Releases 2020-21 but due to the development of the Kenny High School, Gungahlin residents have recently shown renewed interest in what’s happening with Kenny. In response to questions from the GCC at the Environment and Planning Forum, EPSDD have provided this summary.
KENNY – FUTURE URBAN AREA (FUA)
The identified future urban area of Kenny comprises a total area of approximately 170ha.
In May 2020, the Government approved a site of 7.2ha in the western portion of this area for an education precinct, allowing a high school to be planned, designed and constructed to open at the start of the 2023 calendar year.
A development application has been lodged for the high school project
The site servicing and associated works at Well Station Drive are subject to concurrent development approvals.
The 7.2ha site is intended to accommodate the future high school as well as a separate primary school that would open at a later date determined by Government.
The remaining area of the Kenny future urban area (FUA) (once the education precinct is discounted) is about 163ha and is shown on the Kenny Basic Layout plan.
Kenny Basic Layout plan
Under the Gungahlin Strategic Assessment (2013), the Government is required to establish the Kenny Nature Reserve prior to any urban development in the area commencing. This requirement was met through Territory Plan Variation 379, which established the Kenny Nature Reserve. The Reserve bounds Kenny to the south and west, reducing the remaining future developable area of Kenny. This includes the loss of a group centre and some residential development. Despite this, it is expected that around 1,200 to 1,500 dwellings across a range of dwelling types, can still be delivered.
Road access to Kenny will be from Horse Park Drive with two intersections, and Well Station Drive with a further two intersections, aligning with existing intersections adjacent to Harrison.
Kenny, while smaller in comparison to other Gungahlin suburbs, will accommodate residential, commercial (local centre), limited community facilities and public open space.
Prior to any land releases in Kenny, all statutory planning process and required technical studies will need to be completed.
The conclusion of the required statutory process may result in a Territory Plan variation and possibly an amendment to the National Capital Plan. This would contemplate the requirement for the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan to reflect the outcomes of the Gungahlin Strategic Assessment (2013).
The first release of land in Kenny was forecast to occur in 2020-21 with subsequent releases in the following years.
The 2021-22 to 2025-26 Indicative Land Release Program is currently before Government for consideration prior to publication with the 2021-22 ACT Budget.
For reference, this is the existing Territory Plan for the suburb of Kenny:
The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 11 August 2021 starting at 6:30pm. We will be running both a face to face meeting at the Gungahlin Club 51 Hinder St, Gungahlin and a Zoom session. As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.
If you wish to attend using Zoom please REGISTER HERE and you will be emailed the link needed to join the Zoom meeting.
CORE development recently acquired two blocks on the eastern side of the Gungahlin Town Centre at the corner of Camilleri Way and Manning Clark Crescent. This site is zoned for mixed-use (CZ5) and the conditions of sale requires 331 dwellings to be constructed, of which 57 must be affordable and 8 are allocated to public housing.
Sites sold recently in East Gungahlin – two sites purchased by CORE Developments highlighted in green (two sites purchased by the Canberra Business and Technology College highlighted in blue)
Below you will find the Executive Summary of the GCC Submission, links to the videos of the Public Hearings conducted on 29 July 2021, and the complete GCC submission.
After the hearings, the GCC provided some additional comments in writing to the Committee – this is also included below.
GCC Submission Executive Summary
The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) believes that Draft Variation 364 (DV364) should be abandoned. It includes changes to the Gungahlin town centre precinct code that are strongly opposed by most Gungahlin residents that will adversely impact the viability of the town centre and the Gungahlin district. The changes to building height, although welcomed, are mute as most blocks of concern to the community already have developments approved that exceed the proposed height limits.
The Refresh experience further undermined the already low level of trust that Gungahlin residents have with the planning system and processes. The Refresh took too long, the feedback from the community was selectively picked at, feedback was ignored, and the final conclusions and proposed actions were at odds with what the community had expressed. Moreover, the late introduction of new proposals (reducing the amount of commercial space, more mixed-use, new mechanisms for handling community space, etc.) which were not exposed to the community for discussion, came as a complete shock and appear not to be evidence based.
The GCC further recommends:
The existing reservation of 100,000m2 for commercial space be retained.
Further residential (mixed-use) development be minimised (not maximised).
By itself, DV364 does not address the challenge of developing the Gungahlin town centre as a district hub for employment, which in turn underpins a viable town centre. Consequently, the GCC continues to oppose any further sales of land in the Gungahlin Town Centre until:
Alternative or additional interim mechanisms (pending the implementation of the ACT Planning Systems Reform Project) be put in place to ensure the development of the remaining sites in the Gungahlin Town Centre contribute substantially to the viability of the town centre through an increase in employment, retail, entertainment, and community services, and
Incentives, investments or other mechanisms are put in place to attract employment (or employment alternatives) to the Gungahlin Town Centre.
The committee held public hearings on 29 July. There were 3 parts to the hearings – industry, GCC and other residents, and minister/Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD). The committee and other MLAs asked questions of each group – these are listed in the following table extracted from the Assembly on Demand website (Click on Link to watch the video or Download to download a copy of the video to watch the Q&A for each question).
Committee Hearing : Thursday 29th July 2021 9:30 am
Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services – Inquiry into DV 364: Gungahlin Town Centre
The Development Application (DA) for a “mixed use” development of 152 units adjacent to the Gungahlin Club (Blocks 2&3 Section 227) has been partially approved (see below). This development is being marketed and sold as Sierra Gungahlin.
the development is described as a mixed-use, but the quantity and size of non-residential spaces is extremely small, ie. it’s not very mixed
The “lifestyle podium” is only likely to be activated and be a net contribution to the vibrancy of the town centre if there are sufficient commercial/retail tenancies (cafes, restaurants, etc.) to attract residents up onto the podium
varying the lease to allow mixed-use seems unnecessary given how many other sites with the town centre are (or will be as a result of DV364) zoned CZ5 (mixed-use)
the proposed lease variation removes the obligation for a portion of car spaces on the site to be made public, reducing the overall pool of public car spaces in the town centre
many of the recommendations of the Design Review Panel were not actioned
The Notice of Decision indicates the DA is partially approved, because the application to remove the public car parking provisions in the lease was refused. Additional comments included the following:
The key issues with the proposal identified during the assessment included concerns that the development did not provide sufficient active frontage to Efkarpidis and Kate Crace Streets, that the development lacked a suitable address to The Valley Avenue and concerns with the extent of off-form concrete. It is noted that the lessee had previously tried to secure a tenant for a commercial office development on this site but was not successful.
Following a further information request, the applicant lodged an amendment application (S144C and S144E) which reduced the extent of off-form concrete, increased the commercial tenancies fronting onto Efkarpidis Street and improved the presentation to The Valley Avenue. These changes were considered acceptable.
The site constraints, including the level variation, the viability of commercial space at this location and Territory Plan requirements influenced the design outcome, including live/work units opening off public courtyard spaces at the first-floor level. This form of commercial space is not widely offered in the Gungahlin Town Centre and will add to the diversity of commercial space in the area, while providing flexibility of use and satisfying Territory Plan requirements.
The reference to S144C and S144E above is important, as these sections of the Planning Act allow changes to be made by the proponent to the DA as part of the DA’s evaluation which are not publicly notified. The original DA only included two (2) commercial tenancies by the DA as approved now includes six (6) small tenancies (one of 150m2, the rest less then 100m2, ) as indicated in the plans below. Light Blue indicates a commercial tenancy, and the red markings indicate the amendments – click on the images to get a higher resolution PDF.
The ACT Government undertakes a public consultation as part of preparing each ACT budget. The budget for FY21-22 will be announced on 31 August 2021 and the FY21-22 consultation has recently closed. The GCC’s submission reflects the issues we highlighted leading into the 2020 ACT Election, and have been advocating for during 2021 (mostly focussed on the town centre). The GCC also participated in a joint submission regarding community services in Gungahlin with Northside Community Service, Barnardos Australia and Canberra Police Community Youth Club (PCYC).
The reconsidered Development Application (DA) for the high-rise residential project known as The Establishment (formerly Air Towers) has been approved (with a long list of conditions). The GCC does not support this development and is very disappointed with this outcome.
The original decision is amended as above because the revised proposal as provided by the applicant for reconsideration demonstrated that subject to the conditions of approval imposed in Attachment A, the proposal is not inconsistent with the Territory Plan. The decision has been revised as a result of an application for reconsideration in accordance with Section 191 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 (Act).
Key issues identified in the assessment of the Reconsideration proposal are whether the proposed amendments results in a development that is substantially the same as the approved development as required by S198(6) of the Act, building appearance, amenity of future residents with increased yield, interface with adjoining childcare centre, ease of conversion of adaptable units, landscaping, resident access to on-site communal spaces, bicycle parking, noise mitigation measures, leasing and compliance with relevant entity requirements. The planning and land authority sought further information from the applicant to address these issues.
Consequently, the applicant submitted further information to address the above issues which revised the proposal generally as per the approved development. It is considered that after the amendment, the development approved will be substantially the same as the development for which approval was originally given.
For each theme there are a series of questions of questions to guide your response, and a map to indicate where your comments apply.
You should also review the Gungahlin District Information and the Gungahlin District Maps as they contain some crucial details about current planning policy, including (for example) where increased residential development is targeted (see the consolidated policy map).
The current system does not adequately accommodate consideration of design quality or development appropriateness, putting at risk the valued character of Canberra and its suburbs.
The disconnect between strategic and statutory planning means the system is not well placed to address future planning challenges and aspirations of the long-term Planning Strategy.
These issues, along with the general complexity of the system, is compromising the community’s confidence in the system and their ability to fully participate in planning and development.
One of the proposed elements of the new planning system is the concept of district planning and district plans. The purpose of district plans, as described by EPSDD, is to “fill a gap in the current planning system” that presently exists between city-scale strategic documents (e.g. the ACT Planning Strategy 2018) and suburb-level planning (e.g. precinct codes in the Territory Plan).
The stated benefits of district plans are as follows:
Improves line-of-sight from Planning Strategy through to the Territory Plan.
Fills gaps between higher-level strategies, and their implementation through the statutory controls of the Territory Plan.
Includes current information about districts, including what is proposed in endorsed policy and strategy.
Sets future direction for districts around planning elements in consideration of how change might happen to accommodate the growth of Canberra.
Planning that suits the needs of each district:
growth and change in each district might be different
The Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) of the ACT Government are undertaking an asessement of Community and Recreation Facilities in Gungahlin through an online consultation.
If you represent or are involved with a community or sporting group please let the GCC know and let us know if the Have Your Say Survey enabled you to communicate your needs effectively.
The assessment is focussed on:
developing a community centre for the Gungahlin Town Centre, and
the sale of two sites in the Casey Group Centre which are being released for community, residential and commercial uses.
The GCC is particularly concerned about the plans for the two sites in Casey, and the narrowness and quality of the assessment.
Casey Land Release
The two sites in Casey are large blocks along Kingsland Parade – blocks 12, 13 of section 132 Casey.
Casey Community Sites (Blocks 2 & 3 Section 132) indicated by pink outline
Although zoned as commercial, they are part of an arrangement associated with the development of the Casey group centre, outlined in a MyGungahlin article in 2018. Essentially these two blocks will be serviced by the developer of the Casey group centre and then handed back to the ACT government for community use. EPSDD have indicate that:
The sites have a target of 100 dwellings and a commercial area of 24,000m2 across the two blocks. The sites are zoned as Commercial Zone 1: Core Zone which allows for a mix of community, residential and commercial uses.
100 Dwellings and 24,000 sq metres of commercial hardly seems appropriate for community use. The original Casey Concept Plan makes the intent of the casey group centre and surrounding community-use areas very clear:
Two early consultancies were presented at the GCC February 2020 meeting. Much of the rationale for the conclusions and findings in these consultancies were inconsistent with feedback from the community as reflected in the GCC 2019 survey.
Top 3 additional recreation facilities (2019 GCC survey)
The assessment process is focussed on the town centre and casey sites and what might be appropriate for them. The GCC believes a complete assessment of the DEMAND for community, recreation and sporting facilities and services in Gungahlin needs to be undertaken, then working out how these can be fitted into the remaining footprint of Gungahlin. A focus on the SUPPLY of individual blocks will not ensure that Gungahlin is completed with all the services expected by residents.
If you represent or are involved with a community or sporting group please let the GCC know so that we can build a demand-based approach. We would also be interested to know if the Have Your Say survey enables you to communicate your needs effectively.