Barton Highway Speed Limit Reduction

On 3 April 2020 the GCC were advised via email that:

“the speed limits on the Barton Highway and Pialligo Avenue will be permanently reduced to 80 km/h at the following locations:

    • Barton Highway (between the Gundaroo Drive roundabout and Bellenden Street), Crace”

This information was posted on the GCC Facebook feed, and many residents asked the question … “why” ? We have chased some answers and after being verbally briefed a couple of weeks ago, today received a written explanation from Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS). Please take particular note of the last few points, and also remember that changes in speed limits can be confusing and there is already an 80 km/h section of the Barton Highway adjacent to Gold Creek Village.

“As was discussed with you, the works on the Barton Highway originated from the Federal Government’s Black Spot program and were committed to in 2018. The project was based on five years of reported crashes prior to the study in the midblock section of the Barton Highway between the signalised roundabout at William Slim Drive/Gundaroo Drive and Bellenden Street. It is important to note that the crashes in the study did not include the adjacent intersections (ie. the signalised roundabout). This data met the black spot criteria of three casualty crashes in five years.

As you will be aware, the land adjacent to the Barton Highway has seen a significant increase in urbanisation (particularly with the creation of Crace) as has the whole of Gungahlin. In addition, this section of the Barton Highway is classified as a principal cycle training route and a main on-road cycle route. There is an existing connection to the main community route on the northern side of the road approximately 1.7 kilometres south of the signalised roundabout as well as an equestrian trail crossing the Barton Highway near to the Bellenden Street intersection. The previously posted 100 km/h speed limit was set many years ago and given today’s road environment, traffic volumes, crashes and the national Safe System approach, it no longer reflected the needs of the network.

The works have been completed and as well as the reduction in speed limit they also included upgrades to line marking, signage, guide posts and narrowing of the median lane to shift traffic away from the median’s edge and improve the delineation of the travel route. The following benefits are associated with these works:

    • one speed limit from the urban fringe near Hall, all the way through to Northbourne Avenue
    • smoother and consistent travel speeds, improving the operation of the road network especially during the morning and afternoon peak periods
    • reduction in risks associated with crashes at speeds of 100km/h
    • reduction of traffic noise benefitting those residents in the adjacent suburbs of Kaleen, Giralang and Crace as well as lower emissions generated by traffic.”

From https://www.ozroads.com.au

Amended DA for Establishment High-Rise (formerly Air Towers)

UPDATE 18 August 2020 – The amended DA has been REFUSED.

An amended Development Application (DA) for the mixed use high-rise residential now known as The Establishment (formerly Air Towers) is currently open for public comment until 9 June 2020 (Block6, Section 224,  Gungahlin).

If you want to express your opposition to this DA, read on!

The GCC opposed the original DA when it was submitted in November 2017, but despite 118 representations being made, the DA was approved in September 2018. The Notice of Decision which justifies this decision, and the 3 corrections to this decision that were subsequently issued, can be found here.

The GCC remains opposed to this development for the following (original) reasons:

  • The height and scale are inappropriate for the location (across the road from 2 storey residences, adjacent to a single storey child care centre)
  • It overshadows and overlooks the YMCA child care centre and adjacent residences
  • There has been strong and consistent community opposition to more residential development in the town centre and high-rise developments over 10 stories, based on community surveys, and other feedback
  • It will adversally impact traffic flow
  • It consumes potential commercial (office) space in town centre

The GCC is also opposed to the amended DA for these additional reasons:

  • The original Notice of Decision was largely dismissive of a number of concerns (outlined below) that are not addressed in the new DA
  • The oversight concerns for the YMCA child care centre have not been addressed (arguably have worsened), and the proposed traffic arrangements are likely to force its closure because of the risk of an accident (also outlined below)

If you want to express your opposition to this DA you must lodge a “representation” online as follows:

  1. [optional] Review the Amended DA Documention and Plans. This is a massive amount of material (over 82MB). Document #81 – SUPP-201732666-S197D-AMENDMENTS-01.pdf – one of the Supporting Documents, summarises the changes.
  2. Click on Click Here to Lodge a Representation
    1. Enter your details (name, email, phone) on the first screen (“Requestor Details”)
    2. Enter the site details on the next screen (“Development Details”)
      • The DA number is 201732666
      • Suburb GUNGAHLIN
      • Section 224
      • Block 6 (The DA listing says block 4 … Block 6 was created by merging blocks 4 & 5 … both should work)
    3. Enter your feedback on the third (and last screen) (“Representation”) . You can use your own words, or copy and paste any of the material provided above or below, or upload other documents to support your point of view.
    4. Click on SUBMIT

Original Reasons (Updated)

Additional details can be found on the GCC website UPDATED: Air Towers Development Application (some of which is now dated of course).

  • The 15 storey height does not align with community expectations for building heights in the Gungahlin Town Centre.
  • The GCC’s Have Your Say surveys conducted in 2014 and 2019 showed a strong preference for buildings in the town centre of 10 stories or less (2014: 80% of respondents) and for no further residential developmnent in the town centre (2019: 57% of respondents.
  • The buldings will overshadow and overlook the YMCA Early Learning Centres; as well as nearby residential areas, removing winter sun and privacy;
  • The impact to traffic in the surrounding areas arising from an additional 290 apartments;
  • The continued development of an excessive number of residential apartments at the expense of any other potential commercial office development.
  • 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.

Concerns Regarding the Notice of Decision

The GCC would like to highlight the following additional concerns and aspects of the original Notice of Decision (2018) that the GCC believes should be adressed in the amended DA (2020). Note that there were numerous (39) conditions attached to the decision, some of which have been corrected.

  • “Any future applications to amend this development proposal will require assessment involving greater scrutiny” (Condition E9, p. 9)
  • Changes were made to the original DA (2018) by the proponent after it’s submission (from 18 stories to 16). These were not publicly notified because “the authority considered the amended design will reduce the potential impacts of the bulding height and mass, and that the revised proposal will decrease the potential environmental impact” (p. 10). These changes are not considered by the GCC to be adequate as the development is still very significant in scale and will have signiifcant environmental impact.
  • The privary concerns of the YMCA child care centre are claimed to be addressed by requiring screening on the Western windows of the first four floors of the development, but this hardly seems adequate when 15 storeys of units (over 100 in total) will face the child care centre. The decisions suggests that the “interface distance and vistas enjoyed by residents will offer for protection for the privacy of the children” (p. 11)
  • Further, any requirements to comply with the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Child regardign privacy are dismissed as the development “is not unlawful because the development meets the requirements, including the requirements related to privacy, of the Terriorry Plan and the Planning and Development Act (p. 11)
  • Regarding overshadowing, the decision simply indicates the “overshadowing impact is reduced from the orginal proposal” (p. 11) yet the impacts are still very significant as the childcare centre playground will be overshadowed until 10:30am, and that the overshadowing of existing residential units is “inveitable” (p. 11) (it’s obviously only inevitable if the development is built).
  • The ACT Conservator of Flora anf Fauna could not support the proposal on the basis that it proposed to remove a high quality regulated tree on the development site” (p. 12). The authority indicates this advice was “considered” yet the DA was approved.
  • In the final asessement the authority echoes the arguments of the proponents in very subjective terms, inconsistent with community views (p. 12)
    • “There are existing developments and developnments to be constructed within the surrounding area of varying height, mass and scale”
    • “The height and scale of the development is compatible with the locality”
    • “The setback … and transition … is considered an acceptable outcome”
  • The Notice of Decision has been corrected three times since its release (mostly applying to the conditions)
    • 24 October 2018
    • 14 March 2019
    • 22 August 2019

Note: A DA Notice of Decision can only be formerly challenged within 28 days of it’s release.

Additional Concerns Relating to YMCA Child Care Centre

The YMCA Early Learning Centre (ELC) has identified the following concerns with the development and provided the text below:

Example text 

This is my formal objection to the amended Development Application of Geocon and Empire Global relating to the land at Block 4, Section 224, Gungahlin.

The amendment:

  • Increases the concerns raised against the original Development Application around the scale, density and composition of the proposed development, and how incompatible it is with the established local area, for example it is just a few meters from the 2 story homes on Gozzard St. This means residents and their children will be across the road from the commercial tenancies that the amendment has moved to the ground floor which could include a bar and restaurant.  This is very concerning due to the increase in noise and reduction to the amenity and safety to the established residents and area.
  • It also increases the safety risks to child and adult pedestrians moving around the development and ELC due to the shared driveway which allows virtually no space between the two-way traffic and users of the ELC car parks, and provides no footpath for people to move safely around the new residents ground floor carpark that the amendment has proposed. This is particularly concerning because of the large number of disabled car parking spots in this car park, whose drivers wishing to walk anywhere including to the town centre and tram, will need to do so in the path of significant entering and exiting traffic and cars pulling in and out of the car parks in the residents car park and the ELCs car parks. Any accidents could be witnessed by children in the playground and being picked-up and dropped-off which could result in significant trauma
  • The amendment also reduces the privacy afforded the children in the ELC from the development, with windows in the design having no treatment and looking directly into outdoor and indoor play spaces, rest areas and nappy change areas. This creates a significant risk to the privacy and safety of children and is in contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Additionally, the previous notice of decision stated levels 1 to 4 of the development must have ‘no visibility’ into the ELC which this amendment fails to meet.
  • The amendment means more residents and cars will be moving around the development and area.  The traffic report fails to address the impact of possibly over 300 cars leaving and returning to the development in the morning and evening, and parents dropping off and picking up their children (up to 84 children each day) at the ELC, on both the driveway as well as Swain St, Gozzard St and Gundaroo Rd. It states it expects most residents to use public transport so only 98 cars would be using the driveway in peak time. This is highly unrealistic, especially with the research done by GCC about the large number of people who drive in and out of Gungahlin for their jobs.The actual driveway entrance to the ELC and development is narrow and currently is rarely used as a two way entry and exit. Instead cars often que along Swain St waiting until they can enter through the middle of the driveway. The traffic report fails to address this and how having up to 300 residents exiting could make it impossible for parents of the ELC to access the driveway let alone safely park, do drop off or pick up, and then reverse and exit again.All of these streets and roads are narrow and already heavily congested. The local residents are very concerned about this congestion and how they will be able to retain quiet enjoyment of their properties with the noise, movement and increase traffic to contend with when coming and going from their homes. This is exacerbated by all the developments that have been completed, or are nearly completed on Swain St and in the local area. In addition, any traffic incidents resulting from this increased congestion, will have significant impact on the development’s residents, ELC families and local residents as the narrow driveway and roads could be easily blocked and people will not be able to get to work or their other destinations.
  • The ELC has been running for a number of years and is a valued part of the local community. It seems unfair that their children and staff can be so badly impacted by a new development that the community has fought so hard against, and that everyone will lose their quiet enjoyment of their site and home.

I strenuously object to the amendment to the DA in its current form and think the addition of more units and car parks and the façade changes are entirely inappropriate and will negatively affect the ELC and the local community.

End of example text

Gungahlin Cycling Infrastructure Requirements (Projects)

Last updated 26 May 2020

  • Town Centre end/start of ride facilities – secure cage for bikes immediately adjacent to Light Rail stop as part of a genuine commuting hub
  • Improve infrastructure between Mixed Use West precinct (high rise residential towers) and Town Centre proper; better separation and amenity
  • Improved access to/around Mitchell
  • Provide separated bike path along Barton Highway between Federal Highway and Ellenborough St
  • Improve bike path crossing of Gungahlin Drive between Wells Station Dr and Sandford St (two crossings of Gungahlin Dr are needed for those joining the Gungahlin Dr bike path from East)
  • Include bike path, ideally separated, along proposed upgrade to Morisset St
  • Construct a direct path between Horse Park Drive to corner Anthill St and Federal Highway to avoid the hill into Majura valley, making North Canberra/Civic more accessible from Northern Gungahlin.
  • Develop an MTB park in Gungahlin region at a scale similar to Majura Pines, Bruce Ridge,  etc. Perhaps through plantation Eucalypts in North adjacent to Centennial Trail.

Cycling Infrastructure Working Group

The GCC is developing a list of cycling infrastructure needs (projects) for Gungahlin. Please particpipate by email, through online forums scheduled for Monday 11 May (7:30pm) and Thursday 14 May (7:30pm)  (email us to get meeting details), or by just leaving a comment below.

We’ll be aligning this work to the advocacy of Pedal Power and their infrastructure projects and types:

Project Type 
Missing Cycling Network LinksDevelop main routes by filling missing links, ideally by constructing separated cycleways/shared paths within the road/park corridor.
Upgrade Crossings where principal routes intersect with roadsConstruct priority crossings, including raised crossings where appropriate, and redesigning to ensure waiting vehicles do not block paths.
Active Travel StreetsConverting side streets into cycle friendly routes using cost-effective techniques such as traffic calming and traffic diverting to create a low speed environment.
Path UpgradesThis category relates to small scale projects.
Separation Projects (to improve safety)Construct cycleways to separate bikes from fast moving traffic, provide more direct commuter routes and separate bikes from pedestrians on congested routes
ACT Country RoadsImprove road and associated infrastructure to provide safer cycling on ACT country roads.
Group and Service CentresThe major town centres have been funded for improvements in cycling. However, the smaller and outlying group and service centres have been neglected and need attention.

GCC Public Meeting May 13

The May public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held online at 6.30pm on Wednesday 13 May 2020. There will be a virtual meeting room running on the Zoom application, and this will be live streamed on Facebook on both the MyGungahlin Facebook and GCC Facebook pages. Attendess are strongly encouraged to join the Zoom virtual room meeting – please email us (info@gcc.asn.au) and we will send you the link needed to join the meeting.

Agenda

  • Sport and Recreation Facilities in Gungahlin, Yvette Berry, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Deputy Chief Minister
  • New Retail Options in Gungahlin – The Transformation of the Home Hardware Site, Richard Swinburne, Argus Property
  • New Development Application for The Establishment (formerly Air Towers), Peter Elford, GCC President

GCC Public Meeting April 8

The April public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held online at 6.30pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020. There will be a virtual meeting room running on the Zoom application, and this will be live streamed on Facebook on both the MyGungahlin Facebook and GCC Facebook pages. If you wish to join the Zoom virtual room meeting, please email us (info@gcc.asn.au) and we will send you the link needed to join the meeting.

Agenda

  • Gungahlin Policing, Troy Roberts, Australian Federal Police Association
  • ACT Government Response to COVID-19, Dr. Paul Dugdale, Public Health Physician (Duty Chief Health Officer)
  • Coping with COVID-19: The Lifeline Experience, Tracey McMahon, Lifeline

CANBERRA IS GROWING, BUT HOW SHOULD WE ACCOMMODATE THIS GROWTH?

UPDATE 21/3/2020

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

 

[ Posted on behalf of the Canberra Planning Action Group (CPAG) ]

Join us on Monday 23 March 2020 at the Albert Hall, 100 Commonwealth Ave Yarralumla from 6.00pm to 8.00pm for a public forum on the implications of Canberra’s planning decisions for the bush capital.

This forum is co-organised by the Canberra Planning Action Group (CPAG) and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA). It is vital to revive debate and discussion about what Canberra was supposed to be, what it has become, and where it should be heading. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, the Chief Minister’s claims for Canberra cannot remain untested.

CPAG was formed in early 2019 in response to discontent by community groups and many individuals. with the ACT Government on planning matters, including urban densification, transport, affordable housing, green infrastructure, approvals processes – the list goes on and on. This discontent is not new but it is widespread and growing, as the very things that make Canberra a uniquely liveable city are being destroyed at an alarming rate.

CPAG seeks a Canberra-wide perspective and a more united voice by all who want to see a more considered, people and nature-friendly approach to a growing Canberra.

REGISTER ONLINE

Download (PDF, 266KB)

 

 

Development opportunities in Gungahlin Town Centre

On 21 February 2020 the ACT Government’s Suburban Land Agency (SLA) announced the sale of a number of blocks of land in the town centres of Woden, Belconnen and Gungahlin.

For more information about the GCC’s position on this sale see GCC Submission to Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh.

The SLA web site describes these as Unique opportunities in Canberra’s major town centres. writing:

These blocks offer an opportunity to secure one of Canberra’s highly sought after commercial sites. Woden, Belconnen and Gungahlin are three of Canberra’s fastest growing town centres and major employment hubs, all within walking distance to desirable amenities.

Shopping centres, hospitals, bars, restaurants and public transport are all a short distance away – including the future light rail interchange in Woden connecting to the City and Gungahlin. All are zoned for a variety of uses including – multi units, hotel, serviced apartments and shops.

Don’t miss your opportunity to make your mark in Canberra today.

and goes on to describe the Development opportunities in Gungahlin Town Centre:

Don’t miss your opportunity to secure on of four Mixed Use sites and one Core site positioned in the heart of Gungahlin Town Centre.

This is your opportunity to build in a central location close to all the action. Each site is walking distance to the Gungahlin Market Place, Gungahlin Village, bars, restaurants, local offices and the Light Rail station.

    • Flexible Mixed Use residential development opportunities
    • Central location, surrounded by key amenities
    • Walking distance to the Light Rail station

SectionBlockZoningSize (m2)Total DwellingsAffordable
2292CZ511,79615425
2497CZ58,99516028
2483CZ55,0057013
2484CZ54,9957714
112CZ116,34135052

Additional material provided by the appointed sales agents (Colliers) includes (downloaded 1/3/2020):

  1. Draft Contract
  2. Crown Lease Block 2 Section 11
  3. Crown Lease Block 2 Section 229
  4. Crown Lease Block 3 Section 248
  5. Crown Lease Block 4 Section 248
  6. Crown Lease Block 7 Section 249
  7. Project Delivery Deed CZ1 Block 2 Section 11
  8. Project Deliver Deed CZ5
  9. Sales Plan GTC
  10. General Sales Information -Gungahlin –
  11. PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS block 2 section 11
  12. PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS block 2 section 229
  13. PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS block 3 section 248
  14. PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS block 4 section 248
  15. PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS block 7 section 249
  16. Clearance Certificate – SLA – 2019 (A20241285)
  17. Dv364 (A24859709) background docs
  18. Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Snapshot background doc

 

GCC Public Meeting March 11

The next GCC public meeting will be held in the Gungahlin Club commencing at 6.30pm on Wednesday 12 March 2019.

Agenda

  • GCC Update, Peter Elford, President, GCC
  • Canberra Cemeteries Developments, Shane Kelly, Executive Director
  • The Future of the Gungahlin Town Centre … A Dormitory ?, Peter Elford, President, GCC

GCC Submission to Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh (DV364)

The GCC has major concerns about changes proposed to the planning and development rules for the Gungahlin Town Centre.

Late in 2019 the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) released Draft Variation (DV) 364 to the Territory Plan to implement the outcomes of the Town Centre Planning Refresh, a process initiated by the GCC in 2016. A period of community consultation was undertaken through the Have Your Say website.

The GCC submission in response to this Town Centre Planning Refresh (DV364) consultation raised the following concerns (HTML Version below):

  • The town centre planning refresh was initiated by the GCC in November 2016 in response to community concerns the GCC raised with ESPDD (this was not acknowledged in your joint press release 30/9/19 [1])
  • Although we believe the issues of building height have been largely addressed, we have serious concerns about other aspects of DV364 as “they entrench the notion of Gungahlin as a dormitory district with a small employment base and limited services”.
  • For example, DV364 proposes that the following paragraph be deleted from the Town Centre Precinct Code:
    • Gungahlin Town Centre is the major hub for employment, shopping, social activities and public transport particularly serving suburbs within the Gungahlin district.

The GCC interprets this as a statement that the ACT government, through EPSDD, is abandoning their efforts to develop the Gungahlin Town Centre as a major hub and is pursing the development of Gungahlin as a dormitory district with a small employment base and limited services.

  • We also have concerns, detailed in the submission, about the
    • Reduction of the Total Space Reserved for Commercial Development
    • Repurposing of precinct 2a from “Office Core” to “Mixed Use East”
    • Removal of the road network hierarchy and pedestrian and cycle network from the precinct plan
    • Aspects of the outcomes from the refresh that have not been actioned
    • Plans to implements Community Facilities as “Equivalent Floor Space”

These are NOT changes that will happen a long time in the future! Large blocks in the town centre have just been listed for sale including a “core” site along Hibberson Street that have an obvious and clear focus on residential units. This is completely at odds with the community’s feedback in the Gungahlin Community Survey 2019 which revealed that over 50% of residents want no more residential in the town centre (1506 responses):

We have raised these concerns with the government MLA’s for Yerrabi and continue to work towards ensuring Gungahlin does not end up a dormitory district. Please do let us know if you have any opinions on this important topic!


Submission in Response to ACT Territory Plan Draft Variation 364 (Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh)

Introduction

The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) welcomes the opportunity to provide a response to Draft Variation (DV) 364[1] as part of the Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh[2] (the TC Refresh).

The GCC approached the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) in November 2016 regarding issues documented in “Getting Development Right for the Town Centre – The Gungahlin Residential Towers Story” available from the GCC website[3] and published in edition #143 of the GCC newsletter[4]. Although, building height in West Gungahlin (precinct 2b) was the major issue identified in this correspondence, there were concerns with the aggregate impact of multiple developments( particularly related to traffic and solar access), the provision of open space, pedestrian and cycle access to and through the town centre, and the apparent lack of a cohesive strategy to develop the Gungahlin town centre consistent with the published master plan.

EPSDD initiated the TC Refresh in response to the concerns raised by the GCC, with a focus on three key issues:

→ building height and character;

→ upgrading and enhancing public spaces; and

→ walking, cycling and road transport.

Executive Summary

The GCC believes the concerns regarding the height of development within the Gungahlin Town Centre have been (belatedly) addressed in DV364 and therefore supports the proposed changes related to building height and form (notably the proposed rules R45, R46 and R61).

Other changes proposed in DV364 do not have the support of the GCC as they entrench the notion of Gungahlin as a dormitory district with a small employment base and limited services as detailed below.

Deletion of the Description of the Gungahlin Town Centre

DV364 proposes deleting the description of the Gungahlin Town Centre, ie. Removing this paragraph

Gungahlin Town Centre is the major hub for employment, shopping, social activities and public transport particularly serving suburbs within the Gungahlin district.

The GCC interprets this as a statement that the ACT government, through EPSDD, is abandoning their efforts to develop the Gungahlin Town Centre as a major hub and is pursing the development of Gungahlin as a dormitory district with a small employment base and limited services.

The GCC strongly recommends that the following description be retained:

“Gungahlin Town Centre is the major hub for employment, shopping, social activities and public transport particularly serving suburbs within the Gungahlin district”.

Reduction of the Total Space Reserved for Commercial Development

The significant reduction of the total space reserved for commercial development (from 100,000m2 to 65,000m2) proposed in DV364 are of great concern to the GCC. Further, the very short period of time over which this space is reserved reinforces a perceived lack of commitment to the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre as a major hub. The proposed Rule 41 states (in part):

“Block 3 and 5 Section 231 will be exclusively for the development of commercial office and ancillary use”.

And the proposed Rule 42 states:

“Rule 41 applies until 1 January 2023 or, until such time as nominated in writing by the relevant authority”.

The GCC shares the concerns of the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) which noted in the Consultation Notice[5]:

“The SLA are interested to understand what commercial and retail studies have been undertaken that would show a change to Gungahlin Town Centre operating as a commercial/retail hub over the next twenty years that would water down this provision”.

The EPSDD response to the SLA’s concern indicates the decision to reduce the amount of space reserved for commercial use was based simply on “the historical trend of commercial supply in the town centre”. The commercial reality of the lack of demand for new office space, particularly from the Commonwealth Government, and the competition provide by other town centres and the airport, means that for the Gungahlin Town Centre to be developed as true town centre the ACT government must take a much more proactive role to promote commercial development. This would reduce commuter travel, build the capacity of Gungahlin businesses, enhance the retail sector and provide a greater return on investment on major infrastructure investments such as Light Rail.

It is unacceptable to simply convert commercial space into residential as this provides a short-term financial return to the government, and no little or no benefit (short or long term) to the community. It is strongly opposed by Gungahlin residents as indicated by initial responses to the GCC’s 2019 Community Survey[6] – from 385 responses as of 28 November 2019:

  • 49% of respondents want “No more residential in the Town Centre”
  • 29% of respondents want “25% residential and 75% business and community services in the Town Centre”

The GCC strongly recommends that the existing reservation of 100,000m2 for commercial space be retained and the ACT government explore mechanisms to develop/attract more commercial interest in Gungahlin.

Repurposing of precinct 2a from “Office Core” to “Mixed Use East”

The repurposing of precinct 2a from “Office Core” to “Mixed Use East”, opens the door to further residential development in the town centre at the expense of other facilities including commercial, business, retail, entertainment and community use. The unexpected transition of precinct 2b from “Office Park” (as originally scoped in the precinct code) to “Mixed Use North West” (as proposed by DV364) has not enjoyed broad support from Gungahlin residents. Residents are justifiably concerned that a similarly poor-quality outcome may result from applying similar “mixed use” criteria to the Gungahlin Town Centre East precinct (2b) and the weak enforcement of the intent of these criteria.

It is acknowledged that DV364 improves the design criteria for precinct 2b more in line with community expectations, however many of these are unlikely to be applied in the next few decades given that most of the blocks within this precinct have had Development Applications approved under the existing precinct code.

Moreover, GCC is concerned that DV364 appears to have been no attempt to modify the Gungahlin Town Centre precinct code to accommodate the very significant increase in population density as a result of the high-rise residential towers constructed and under construction in precinct 2b. This include provisions for improved road infrastructure, access to green space and improved walking and cycling access to/from and through precinct 2b.

“Walking, cycling and road transport“ is one of the three focus areas of the TC Refresh, and DV364 includes very little change to improve any of these aspects in the Gungahlin Town Centre. In fact, DV364 proposes that the road network hierarchy and pedestrian and cycle network be removed from the precinct plan (currently Elements 1 and 2) despite specific message from the community identified in the TC Refresh consultation report[7] that speak to the importance of these to the overall experience of the town centre , ie.

  • There was significant concern about increasing traffic congestion as a result of the continuing growth of the town centre. Traffic flow and intersections also need to be improved.
  • There are concerns that parking supply is not meeting short and long term demand.
  • Safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorist needs to be improved.
  • There is strong support to improve the pedestrian and cycling network both within and into the town centre

The GCC recommends that the further residential (mixed-use) development be minimised (not maximised) as part of DV364 in precinct 2a.

The GCC recommends that DV364 incorporate provision for improved road infrastructure, better access to green space and improved walking and cycling access to/from and through precinct 2b.

The GCC recommends that the road network hierarchy and pedestrian and cycle network elements of the precinct code be retained as part of DV364 to reflect the recommendation above and updated to address the community feedback from the TC Refresh.

Community Facilities as Equivalent Floor Space

The concept of providing community facilities within a “community facility zone” as “equivalent floor space within a mixed use development” as proposed by DV364 requires further explanation. It is unclear to the GCC how the proposed 3.8 hectares will be distributed, guaranteed, sustained and preserved over time, how this community space will be balanced with community space outside the town centre to ensure the needs of Gungahlin residents are met, and what the Community Need Assessment process will encompass.

The GCC recommends that additional explanation be included in DV364, or referenced by DV364, that outlines the mechanism that will enforce the equivalent floor space/community zone concept.

[1] https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2019-641

[2] https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/gungahlin-town-centre-planning-refresh

[3] https://gcc.asn.au/getting-development-right-for-the-town-centre-the-gungahlin-residential-towers-story/

[4] https://gcc.asn.au/Gunsmoke/GCC_Gunsmoke_143_(Online)%20(1).pdf

[5] https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/View/ni/2019-641/current/PDF/2019-641.PDF

[6] https://gcc.asn.au/survey2019/

[7]https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/download_file/2936/612