UPDATED: 11 August 2021 – Further Comments document added
The Minister for Planning referred Draft Variation 364 (DV364) of the ACT Territory Plan to the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning, Transport, and City Services. The Planning committee is conducting an inquiry into DV364 and called for written submissions. All submissions are available online.
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).