Bus Services in Gungahlin – May 2018 Update

The GCC has been pursuing the issue of poor bus services in most of the new (and some not so new) suburbs of Gungahlin. We have written to the minister, received her reply and recently had a meeting with Transport Canberra staff on May 7 to get an update on the promised community consultation on the new bus network in conjunction with the introduction of light rail. A summary of what we covered in the meeting, provided by Transport Canberra is below.

For more information check out the results of the Phase 1 consultation:

Building a Better, Seven Day Bus Network for Our Community

Update for Gungahlin Community Council, May 2018

Top issues raised by GCC in Stage 1 consultation

Strong response from Gungahlin residents during consultation on the new bus network in
late 2017.

  • The main issue raised was the provision of public transport services to new suburbs and the growing importance of the Casey Group Centre as a destination for local residents. Both these points will be addressed in the proposed network.
  • A high proportion of responses from Moncrieff and the adjacent suburb of Ngunnawal indicate a desire for more or improved services to and from these areas.

Where is the project up to?

Transport Canberra is working on a proposed new bus network, building on the community’s desire for a more frequent bus network with services running more often, seven days a week. Key features of the new bus network will include:

Simplicity

  • All-day, seven day network with the same route numbers all week.
  • Routes designed to be used all week, not just during Monday to Friday peak periods.
  • Fewer specialised services, such as dedicated school services and peak express service

Coverage

  • Ensuring that over 95% of the population can access public transport, based on distance of 500m to a local service stop and 800m to a Rapid stop.
  • Expanded bus service hours
  • Clear distinction between Rapids (between town centres) local services (for local trips and connections to Rapids)

Better integration with emerging service models

  • New service models to compliment the bus network, such as in isolated areas and late at
    night when regular route services are not a good fit
  • Introduction of new technology including autonomous vehicles

TCCS is working with the Education Directorate to better understand school catchments and better understand how the new bus network can serve student needs. In response to the matters raised consistently by the GCC, the new network will also include:

  • Planning for new routes in new suburbs (Moncrieff/Taylor/Throsby)
  • A new link between Crace and Palmerston Primary School
  • A new regional bus network, with services to the town centre including connections to the
  • City via Light Rail or to Belconnen via the proposed Black Rapid
  • Exploring options to link Gungahlin with other centres
  • A new school bus network for the region, building on the more frequent local and Rapid
    route network
  • Consideration of how bus layover and interchanging at Gungahlin will work with the new
    network and start of light rail.

When will TCCS tell us more?

More detail is coming in mid-2018. We will be in touch with the GCC as soon as we have more to share about the detail of the new network.

How can Gungahlin residents provide feedback in the meantime?

The YourSay website includes a summary of what we have heard from the community so far (https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/rapid-network-2018). Further information on phase 2 will be coming soon. Any questions? Please contact us at TCCS.TCNetwork2018@act.gov.au.

Air Towers Development Application Update

The GCC has been concerned about the impact of the large number of high-rise residential mixed use towers at the Western edge of the Gungahlin Town Centre (Precinct 2b), since 2016. Our concerns about traffic density, reduction of solar access, lack of green space for a much larger population than expected in this location, and lack of cycling/walking access to/from/through the precinct are detailed in Gunsmoke 143 and Gunsmoke 144 .

We had particular concerns about the Air Towers development because of it’s size and location, as it is adjacent to one and two story residences and businesses on (effectively) three sides, at the corner of Gozzard Street and Gundaroo Drive. The Development Application (DA) for this two tower development, one of 18 storeys tapering to 12 storeys, and one of 8 storeys, closed in November, 2017 and was strongly opposed by the majority of the Gungahlin community and the GCC.

The current status is that:

  • 118 representations (ie. submissions) were made in response to the DA
  • No decision has yet been made on the DA
  • The proponent has submitted an amendment to the proposal, following discussion with the planning and land authority
  • It is understood the amendment includes a reduction in the maximum height (to 15 storeys) and the scale of the proposal
  • The government (ESPDD) have chosen not to publicly notify this change, as the “amendment provides a reduction in impact and no additional issues would be anticipated to be identified”. The GCC does not agree with this position as questions still remain about what portions of the  two towers that make up the development are what height in what location.
  • It is not known how long it will take to assess the amended DA proposal
  • The GCC remain opposed to the DA, even in it’s amended form (although without having any details it’s hard to take an informed position, eg. regarding any tapering)
  • The GCC is particularly concerned that a development of this scale is in stark conflict to the proposed changes to the Gungahlin Town Centre precinct code presented at the GCC meeting in April, 2018 as an outcome from the Town Centre Planning Refresh (which recommended a maximum height of 8 storeys along Gozzard Street).

The GCC remains actively engaged with ESPDD on this issue, and appreciate the information they have shared with us. We have, however,  expressed our concerns regarding the transparency of the process, given that this information has had to be requested rather it being provided, particularly given the large number of representations.

Original DA Proposal

 

 

Gold Creek Homestead Up for Sale

It looks like the final chapter in the history of the Gold Creek Homestead is about to be written. The ACT government’s Suburban Land Agency are selling the block it is located on via tender – the details are summarised in an article on MyGungahlin – it’s described as a “retirement community living opportunity”.

The GCC recently had the chance to visit the site and took the photos below.

In a region that is “all new” retaining our links to our past and history are important. The Gold Creek Homestead site not only provides this, it is also a delightful green space, with huge trees, a pond and the skeleton of a sculptured garden and tennis courts. Gungahlin cannot afford to loose such green space. There is plenty of room around the homestead building for some development which will keep the site in active use. For these reasons, the GCC will be striving to ensure the successful tenderer that buys the site retains this green space and homestead as a public facility for the current and future generations of the Gungahlin residents. 

The National Trust have written written to the CEO of the Suburban Land Agency expressing their concerns (full letter):

The ACT Heritage Council has determined that it does not reach the threshold for Territory significance which is a higher level  than local significance as they consider local significance is not included in the ACT Heritage Act.

The National Trust does not agree with this interpretation and application and there are other examples of local significance already listed on the ACT Register.

Come along to our next public meeting on 9 May if you want to express your concerns about this sale, or contact us.

Public Housing Renewal – Gungahlin Town Centre

As part of the ACT Government’s Public Housing Renewal project, and consistent with the ACT’s long history of distributing public housing throughout the community, a number of public housing projects in Gungahlin have been recently completed in Amaroo, Moncrieff, and Nicholls, and commenced in Taylor and Throsby. Details can be found here.

Planning approval has been completed for two new public housing projects in the Gungahlin Town Centre.  Some details for these developments are shown below

Block 1 Section 248 – Corner of Kate Crace, Ernest Cavanagh and Anthony Rolfe

Block 4 Section 249 – Corner of Manning Clark and Valley Way

Gungahlin Town Centre undergoing transformation ahead of light rail

This is a media release from Meegan Fitzharris, MLA, 9 March 2018

From next week Hibberson Street in the Gungahlin Town Centre will be transformed into a more people-friendly shared zone, with work also beginning on an upgrade to Gungahlin Place Park to add more greenery and play spaces.


Work is already well underway on the construction of the Gungahlin Light Rail Terminus, the Gungahlin Bus Station, and associated traffic lights and pedestrian upgrades. In addition, work has begun on the Gungahlin Walk in Centre.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said Hibberson Street will close for work to begin on Tuesday 13 March, and while there is a lot going on in the Gungahlin Town Centre, the end result will be worth it.

“When I was first elected as an MLA, one of the things I wanted to deliver was a more vibrant and people-friendly Hibberson Street, where more people wanted to shop, meet for a coffee or sit and relax.

“It’s really exciting this work is about to start, and we are turning the Gungahlin Town Centre into a more connected, lively place to shop, eat and play.


“While there will still be on-street parking, pedestrians will be the big winners from the Hibberson Street upgrade, with improved footpaths, a 20 km/h one-way shared zone, and more plants and trees transforming the street into a vibrant, people-friendly precinct.

“Work on the new Gungahlin Bus Station is well underway and will provide easy access between buses and light rail, safe pedestrian access, CCTV cameras and new trees.


“Gungahlin Place Park, between Hibberson Street and Efkarpidis Street, will help beautify the town centre and offer kids more places to play and parents more places to relax. The park will include extended grassed areas, new play equipment, a birds nest style swing for all-abilities, timber walking planks, rain garden and a dry creek bed for kids to explore.”

Work on the Gungahlin Bus Station will be complete at the end of April, with other work on Hibberson Street to finish in the third quarter of 2018. Light rail is on track to finish in late 2018, however businesses and shoppers will start to notice work finishing sooner in the Gungahlin Town Centre.

“I’d like to acknowledge there is a lot of work going on in Gungahlin at the moment, and I really do thank people and local businesses for their patience. In the long term this work will really revitalise the town centre and cater for our growing community.”

Road closures will be required in coming weeks to facilitate the completion of these projects and have been designed to minimise ongoing impacts to the community.

The following road closures will come into effect in the coming months:
• Gungahlin Place will be closed northbound between Efkarpidis Street and Ernest Cavanagh Street from 13 March to late-April 2018 for construction of the Gungahlin Bus Station
• Hibberson Street will be closed between Gozzard Street and Gungahlin Place from 13 March to the third quarter of 2018 for construction of the Hibberson Street shared zone.

Full pedestrian access will be maintained while these works are underway.

The ACT Government is working to finish these projects as quickly as possible. We thank everyone for their patience whilst this important work continues.

For more information on these projects and others in the area, visit www.tccs.act.gov.au or contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

 

Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre Twilight Concert 2018

 

The Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre is again presenting a Twilight Concert on 25 March at 4pm.

Hall’s annual brass band twilight concert has been a popular part of Canberra’s autumn calendar for 10 years.  The concert, hosted by local David Kilby and held on the lawns of the Hall School, gives people an opportunity to experience a traditional “band in the park” concert.

The concert featuring the Canberra Brass band under director Kevin Knapp, with Victoria Street Brass and Canberra Youth Brass and a local guest vocal soloist

Katie de Veau, will provide music with a theme of Musical Reflections – celebrating a decade in the life of Hall village

Refreshments will be available or BYO picnic.

The nationally significant Hall School Museum & Heritage Centre will also be open from 2.30pm.

Next Public Meeting 9 May 2018

  1. Gungahlin Roads Update – Ben McHugh
    Pre-ReadingGungahlin Road Projects Status
  2. Gold Creek Homestead Sale – What Does the Community Want ? – GCC
    Pre-Reading – Gold Creek Homestead, is it worth saving?
  3. Air Towers Development Update – GCC
    Pre-ReadingAir Towers Development Application Update
  4. New Bus Network Update – GCC
    Pre-ReadingTransport Canberra Phase 1 Consultation
  5. Implementing Active Living Principles in Canberra through Territory Plan Variation 348, Dr Anthony Burton and Annie Kentwell, Heart Foundation ACT

Canberra’s first Light Rail Vehicle is here!

Canberra’s first light rail vehicle (LRV) arrived just before Christmas marking a major step towards an integrated public transport network.

The new LRV is the first of 14 vehicles which will be arriving over the coming months.

ABOUT THE LIGHT RAIL VEHICLES (LRV):

   

Each LRV is made up of two modules with a driving cab at each end. Inside there is room to carry 207 passengers per tram, 66 seated and 141 standing.

The LRVs are state-of-the-art and have been designed to provide on-board safety and comfort. They are equipped with on-board Wi-Fi as well as air conditioning and dedicated spaces for wheelchairs and bicycles, making it an accessible, practical and comfortable transport solution.

The light rail vehicle is powered by electricity, which it draws from an overhead wire. The driver controls the vehicle’s speed and braking as the light rail vehicle is steered along its path by rails, in the same way that trains are on train tracks.

The light rail system has its own dedicated corridor and does not share the road with other vehicles. This will help to assure the speed and reliability of the service leading to better journey times.

Canberra’s light rail is fast approaching, keep in mind:

Safety Tips:

  • The overhead wire is LIVE and carries 750 volts of power. Always keep a safe distance from the overhead wire and never come into contact with it.
  • The overhead wire is more than 6 metres above road level. Be aware and make sure that your vehicle/load does not come into close contact with the overhead wire.
  • It is safe to walk on the tracks. It is safe to ride across the tracks.
  • Pedestrians should only cross the track at designated crossings.

For more information about Stage 1 of Canberra’s Light Rail, Gungahlin to City, visit www.canberra-metro.com.au

Article provide by Canberra Metro. 

Minister’s Response: Gungahlin Bus Services and Public Transport:

On 22 August, 2017 the GCC wrote (via email) to the Minister for Transport highlighting our long-held concerns about the lag in the provision of bus services to new suburbs, particularly Jacka stage 1 and Moncrieff.

The GCC received a response to this email on 3 January 2018 (included below). Consistent with what Transport Canberra reported at the GCC meeting in November, 2017 this issue is not going to be addressed until the rollout of the new bus network introduction with the changes associated with Light Rail’s introduction. The response includes quote a bit of additional detail, including a summary of major road projects.

If you have any feedback on this update, please let us know.

 


 

Meegan Fitzharris MLA

Member for Yerrabi

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Minister for Transport and City Services Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research

Mr Andrew Braddock

Secretary, GCC

 

Dear Mr Braddock

Thank you for your email of 22 August 2017 regarding the provision of public transport to newly established suburbs in the Gungahlin area. Due to the complexity of the issues you have raised it took longer than anticipated to provide you with a response, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay,

Following the release of land and development of new suburbs, the ACT Government aims to introduce a public transport offering at the earliest possible time to provide public transport into these areas. The Government ensures that public transport infrastructure including an appropriate road network, bus stops and supporting infrastructure including footpaths, lighting and seating are included in the design and commissioning of new suburbs/regions.

In regards to introducing a service to a new area service planners must consider how resources are prioritised to meet demand across the city. This also means ensuring current services are not degraded (e.g. lengthened to increase travel times or reduced service frequency), in a way that makes them less attractive for current users.

Social inclusion and access is also very important and to help provide access to public transport services for vulnerable users the ACT Government also provides a Flexible Bus Service for eligible Canberra residents who are unable to walk to their nearest bus stop.

The public transport network in Canberra will be changing in 2018 with the introduction of more Rapid routes across the city and the introduction of a better seven-day network. I am pleased to advise the ACT Government will introduce eight new rapid routes a year earlier than originally committed, and we look forward to the benefits the Rapid Network will provide as part of an integrated transport network.

Transport Canberra is currently undertaking Community consultation on local and connecting services that will complement the Rapid Network. I understand that Transport Canberra officials have also recently provided a briefing to the Gungahlin Community Council.

Transport Canberra acknowledges there are key challenges in the Gungahlin area and feedback during the consultation period has highlighted the following issues for Consideration:

  • access to the Casey Local Centre – bus stops have been built at the local Centre and we want to ensure we introduce the right service into the area without disadvantaging current passengers;
  • access to John Paul College and the Grove in Ngunnawal (retirement community) along Gungahlin Drive, making it easier for school students to get to school and providing links between the Grove retirement community, local shops and the town Centre;
  • ensuring service for new suburbs (bus stops have been provisioned in new suburbs, including Moncrieff, Throsby and Taylor through the estate development plan);
  • improved public transport access for residents of Jacka; and
  • future proofing the design so that it can grow progressively into Taylor.

It is our intention with the introduction of the new Rapid Network in 2018 to improve the bus Services for all of Gungahlin, including Jacka Stage 1 and newer suburbs such as Moncrieff, whilst also being able to provide clear service intent for future growth areas including Taylor and Jacka Stage 2.

The new network will commence in 2018, with bus services running between Gungahlin and the City until the introduction of Light Rail Stage 1 services in late 2018.

The improvements to services in Gungahlin will be possible through the redesign of the complete bus network, ensuring that a greater range of services can be made with the available fleet as well as the ACT Government commitment to reinvest the over 1 million bus kilometres that will be made available through the introduction of Light Rail.

The ACT Government has also committed to construction of a new bus depot in Phillip and the purchase of 80 vehicles for the Transport Canberra fleet to grow public transport services across the city.

Phase Two of consultation will take place in early 2018 and Transport Canberra officials will present an indicative route structure and timetable to the Gungahlin Community Council, as well as a range of other information sessions in the local area.

The ACT Government is making significant investment into the Gungahlin area to Support the growth and expansion of the region, including:

  • Stage One Light Rail services between Gungahlin and the city;
  • Construction of a new bus station in Gungahlin Place and supporting infrastructure including traffic signals in the town centre (scheduled for completion in early 2018);
  • Gundaroo Drive Stage 1 duplication (Scheduled for completion in mid-2018);
  • Gundaroo Drive Stage 2 duplication (scheduled to commence in early 2018);
  • Horse Park Drive duplication (works underway);
  • Ernest Cavanagh Street Extension;
  • Construction of a new road south of the Valley Avenue; and
  • Hibberson Street shared zone (scheduled to commence in early 2018)

In October 2017, the Transport Canberra timetable update for the region included:

  • the introduction of the Black Rapid service, providing high frequency public transport connectivity between the Gungahlin and Belconnen Town Centres during the week and connections to the University of Canberra Public Hospital; and
  • the introduction of Red Rapid 200 services on weekends between Gungahlin and the City, doubling the frequency of previous weekend services along Flemington Road (Route 950) in order to meet increasing public transport demand along the corridor.

Thank you for raising these matters. I trust the information provided is of assistance.


Yours sincerely

 

Meegan Fitzharris MLA Minister for Transport and City Services

3/1/18

CC to:

MS Suzanne Orr MLA

Mr Michael Pettersson MLA

UPDATED: Air Towers Development Application

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):

https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/landing.htm?formCode=1251 .

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.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Gungahlin Community Council via Facebook, our webpage or email secretary@gcc.asn.au