GCC ACT Election Forum 9 September

The next GCC public meeting will be an ACT Election Forum to be held on Wednesday 9 September starting at 6:30pm. The Forum will be for candidates in the ACT seat of Yerrabi and will be conducted online using Zoom and live streamed on the GCC’s Facebook page. The aim of the Forum is to provide residents of Gungahlin a chance to identify and hear from candidates for the ACT seat of Yerrabi.

To join the the Forum, please REGISTER beforehand to receive the meeting details via email.

All parties registered for the ACT Election have been invited to attend, and all candidates have been asked to provide written answers to simple questions about Gungahlin ahead of the Forum. Candidate responses can be found at ACT Election 2020 Yerrabi Candidates Summary. The aim of this simple Q&A is to provide a succinct, Gungahlin-centric, “upfront” view of all candidates to assist residents in forming questions.

Candidates have also been sent a copy of the GCC’s ACT Election 2020 Expectations  which outlines the GCC’s understanding of what’s important to Gungahlin residents.


  1. Welcome and Introductions, Forum Host, Peter Elford, GCC
  2. Candidate Introductions, Yerrabi Candidates (3-4 minutes each)
  3. Open Question and Answers

If you have pre-prepared questions, please email them to the GCC prior to the event. Questions should be directed to specific candidates, to a specific party, or able to be answered with a show of hands. If a question is directed to a party that is represented by multiple candidates, only one candidate will be asked by the host to respond.

The aim of this Forum structure is to maximise the Q&A time – we are aiming for an hour of candidates speaking, and an hour of Q&A – ending at 8:30pm.



Amended DA for The Establishment Refused

The amended development application for high-rise residential project known as The Establishment (formerly Air Towers) has been refused.

The comprehensive Notice of Decision states that:

  • The application was refused because it was found to not meet the relevant rules and criteria of the Territory Plan. In particular, the application was considered inconsistent with:
  • the relevant codes, being the Draft Variation 364 (DV364), Commercial Zones Development Code (CZDC), Multi Unit Housing Development Code (MUHDC), Parking and Vehicular Access General Code; Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and
  • the advice received from entities, including:
    • Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS)
    • The Tree Protection Unit (TPU) of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna
    • Icon Water
    • Environment Protection Authority (EPA); and
    • Early Childhood Regulatory Policy and Coordination (CECA)

The GCC was opposed to this amendment and therefore welcomes the decision. The issues raised by the GCC on behalf of Gungahlin residents were all explicitly addressed in the DA’s assessment and the GCC applauds the enforcement of the planning rules that are in place. We would also like to acknowledge the strong position the YMCA undertook to ensure the viability and safety of their early childhood centre so that it can continue to provide services to the Gungahlin community.

Gungahlin Cinema and DHA Office Parking Decisions

Gungahlin Cinema and DHA Office Parking Decisions

The Development Applications (DAs) for both the Gungahlin Cinema complex (DA 201936502) and Defence Housing Australia (DHA) office block (DA 201936603) were both recently approved. In both cases the proponent (ie. the developer) included significantly fewer car parking spaces in their plans for each development than required by the ACT Government’s Parking and Vehicle Access Code (PVAC) as summarised below:

Development Description
(Linked to Notice of Decision)
Development Application NumberParking Spaces ProposedParking Spaces Required by PVAC
Gungahlin Cinema Complex
"two storey building, approximately 117 car parking spaces, ground level commercial space, upper level cinema space"
DHA Office Building
"three-storey commercial building comprising of five retail spaces on ground level, office space on the upper levels, ground and basement level car parking, bicycle facilities, an awning encroachment over Hibberson Street verge and Hinder Street verge, landscaping"

The Notices of Decision for these DAs explain why these decisions were made:

Cinema DA

– The PVAC is inequitable in that it requires 1 space per 4 seats for cinemas in town centres and 1 space per 12 seats in the city centre (equal to 136 spaces).
– The proposal is adjacent to a light rail stop and existing car parking spaces. The peak usage of the cinema will be after hours and at the weekend, when demand for parking from surrounding commercial uses will be reduced.
– The Gungahlin community has been anticipating a cinema on this site for a considerable time. The applicant has made it clear the development may not be viable if additional parking is required.

DHA Building DA

… justifiable given the proximity of the site to public transport networks including a light rail stop directly adjacent to the development

Mark Scarborough (MyGungahlin) and the GCC approached the Minister for Planning and the Planning Directorate as we were concerned these decisions were not consistent with published policy (PVAC), would set a precedent for other developnments, and unfairly impact existing developments that have provided parking.

We received a response from the Minister for Planning and a response from the Dircector-General of Planning – the major points from this second letter are:

  • the PVAC is not a rules-based code. Section 1.4 of the PVAC “provides the flexibility to enable a proposal to be supported when the proponent can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Territory that the objectives can be met by either the provision of a lesser on-site rate or by utilising spare capacity in publicly available on-street or off-street parking”
  • the Directorate’s analysis indicates there are approximately 4,100 parking spaces within the town centre available comprising both public and private spaces. A weekday survey of undertaken in late 2019 indicated was a 65% utilisation of short-stay places and a 57% utilisation of long-stay places.

The GCC has sought more information about this parking survey and hope to faciliate a further update from EPSDD at our October meeting regarding parking and traffic flow in the town centre.

Image of DHA and Cinema development (from DA 201936603)

GCC Public Meeting 12 August

The August public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held online at 6.30pm on Wednesday 12 August 2020. There will be a virtual meeting room running on the Zoom application, and this will be live streamed on Facebook on the GCC Facebook pages. Attendess are strongly encouraged to join the Zoom virtual room meeting. Please REGISTER HERE and you will be emailed the link needed to join the Zoom meeting.


  • Current GCC Activities, Peter Elford, GCC
  • Community Services in Gungahlin, Suzanne Orr, Yerrabi MLA, Minister for Community Services
  • Gungahlin Tennis Facilities, Kim Kachel, Tennis ACT CEO
  • Rotary Gungahlin Initiatives, Sandra GoldStraw, President, Rotary Club of Gungahlin
  • The DESIGN Canberra Festival in Gungahlin, Kate Nixon, Program Director, Craft ACT

Potential Gungahlin Fast Track Projects

The Fast Tracks program is one of the ACT government’s economic stimulus responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of Fast Tracks projects in Gungahlin have already been announced.

Thise table is a summary of other projects that the Gungahlin community has identified which the GCC will pass onto the ACT government for consideration.

Please leave a comment, or email the GCC with details of projects that you think should be added to this list! Projects need to be able to be started immediately and be delivered by local businesses and include “infrastructure and maintenance work on government-owned community buildings, schools and other facilities across the city”. This means they cannot be complex or require products to be ordered, etc. Look at these for examples – Fast Tracks projects in Gungahlin

Project DescriptionMap
Connect path across Yerrabi Pond dam at Western end to existing footpath
Seal dirt path to complete concrete path behind houses along Bunduluk Street
Repair the erosion along this segment of the Centennial Trail and remedy the boggy section at the Northern end of the marked section (which is causing trail spread)
Construct a path between Lester Street and the bus stop on Crackerjack Way
Complete Nurdurr Drive as a road
Extend the existing Fast Track project to build a multi-use path behind Palmerston all the way through to Gungahlin Drive (could just be a gravel path)
Provide pedestrian crossings across Gribble Street to/from Bunnings and Hibberson Street to/from Library (perhaps lights at this intersection)
Install traffic lights at intersection of Gozzard St and Valley Way
Complete the duplication of Anthony Rolfe Ave between Gundaroo Drive and Gozzard St
Improve the quality and accessibility of the Old Wells Station Road behind Harrison and Mother Theresa schools. Seal a path to avoid flooding, and allow access for mobility scooters and strollers over cattle grid
A pedestrian bridge over Gundaroo Drive between Anthony Rolfe Ave and Gribble Street to better and more safely connect the town centre to Yerrabi Pond Park.
Seal dirt track at intersection of Newlop Street and Horse Park Drive

GCC Public Meeting 8 July

The July public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held online at 6.30pm on Wednesday 8 July 2020. There will be a virtual meeting room running on the Zoom application, and this will be live streamed on Facebook on the GCC Facebook pages. Attendess are strongly encouraged to join the Zoom virtual room meeting. Please REGISTER HERE and you will be emailed the link needed to join the Zoom meeting.


  • Current GCC Activities, Peter Elford, GCC
  • Update on DHA Office Building and Cinema, Kieran Fordham, Lockbridge (short)
  • Update on Gungahlin Crematorium, Alannah Gibbon, Marketing and Communications Officer (short)
  • Gold Creek Homestead Sale Process, Throsby Community Garden & other Mingle updates in Gungahlin, Natalie Bishop, Suburban Land Agency
  • Bus Network 19 Update, Peter Steele, Transport Canberra

Pre-DA Consultation for Commercial Accommodation Development – Gungahlin Block 3 Section 227

[ Posted on behalf of Canberra Town Planning for GlavCorp No 5 Pty Ltd ]

As part of the preparation of a Development Application for a Commercial Accommodation Development on Gungahlin Block 3 Section 227, GlavCorp No 5 Pty limited is undertaking a program of community consultation to engage with the neighbouring community and key stakeholders.

GlavCorp No 5 Pty limited invites interested members of the community to attend a virtual information drop-in session to discuss and provide comments on its proposal for the site prior to the submission of a Development Application.

The virtual information session will be held on Thursday the 2nd of July from 5:30pm to 7pm.

To register for the information session, send your name, surname and email address to admin@canberratownplanning.com.au.

The link to the meeting will be sent to you by the 30th of June 2020. On the day, use the link and follow the prompts to the meeting.

For further information and to provide feedback on the proposed design, please visit http://ctpprojectpages.wixsite.com/gungahlin or contact Canberra Town Planning at admin@canberratownplanning.com.au or (02) 6262 5091.

[ The site is just to the East of the Gungahlin Club – see map at the end ]

GCC Public Meeting 10 June

The June public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held online at 6.30pm on Wednesday 10 June 2020. There will be a virtual meeting room running on the Zoom application, and this will be live streamed on Facebook on the 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.


  • The COVID-19 Pandemic and Small Businesses – An Overview of  What Assistance is Available, Graham Catt, CEO, Canberra Business Chamber
  • Results from GCC Survey 2019, Peter Elford, GCC President
  • ACT Election Focus Areas, Peter Elford, GCC President

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