This article is a timeline that details the how Draft Variation 364 of the ACT Territory Plan got developed.
28 November 2016
Gungahlin residents are frustrated and confused about the appearance of high rise residential developments in the Gungahlin Town Centre (see The Gungahlin Residential Towers Story). The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) contacts the Deputy Director General of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) (then, Gary Rake) “regarding the transformation of the Office Park precinct into a very high density collection of mixed-use residential towers. It highlights the lack of cohesion there appears to be in how these developments are approved, particularly in the context of the overall town centre plan, and the community’s understanding of what is permitted.”
9 December 2016
Gary Rake proposes “A place-making review of the Gungahlin precinct plan”, a fast and focussed piece of work with an expected completion on June 2016.
17 February 2017
The review becomes the “Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh” and is launched with key issues identified as:
- Building height and character
- Upgrading and enhancing public spaces
- Walking, cycling and road transport
An online survey is made available on Have Your Say website. This surview appears to be “manipulated” by a person/or persons supporting high-rise residential development (multiple responses from the same Internet address).
Timeline is now:
April to May 2017 – Consideration of feedback and formulation of draft variation to the Territory Plan (if required)
Mid 2017 – Community engagement on a revised draft variation to the Territory Plan (if required)
1 March 2017
Minister for Planning, Mick Gentleman issues press release – A renewed vision for the Gungahlin Town Centre:
“We want to continue to make the Gungahlin town centre a place that people want to visit and spend time in, not just for the shops, restaurants and services, but the open spaces and community facilities,” Minister Gentleman said.
“We will be asking how we can improve access to the centre for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as private and public transport.
“Following the community engagement and relevant stakeholder meetings, the Government may propose changes to the Territory Plan that will also go through a community engagement process.
“The Gungahlin town centre is integral to the city’s economic growth and diversification. It has the potential for sustainable growth that provides more housing and lifestyle choice for residents and more travel options. However, the centre needs to meet the aspirations of the existing community.
8 April 2017
Gary Rake presents an overview of the refresh at the GCC public meeting.
4 May 2017
Stakeholder workshop held with community, industry and government representatives. Numerous other engagement mechanisms are also held, including popups, planning in the pub, phone surveys, etc.
After a long delay, the GUNGAHLIN TOWN CENTRE PLANNING REFRESH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT REPORT – STAGE 1 is published.
24 November 2018
After further long delays, EPSDD present an overview of what they propose to include in DV364.
19 December 2018
GCC provides a written response to the Town Centre Planning Refresh regarding Draft Variation 364:
The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) is disappointed with the Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh (the Refresh).
The recommendations that it makes regarding building height and character affirm positions that the GCC has been advocating for several years which are diametrically opposed to development application decisions the government has made in the North West Gungahlin precinct. This is absolutely a case of government taking far too long to change obviously flawed processes, and when it finally makes a recommendation (not even a decision) to change it, it’s far too late, condemning an entire generation of residents to a concentrated example of unconstrained development.
The Refresh makes no firm recommendations on how to address this situation and its likely impact on traffic, pedestrian and cycle access, over shadowing and the absence of green/open space for an unintended population of this size. Other rec ommendations, such as the change to
the space to be reserved for office space, lack an evidence base.
Further, the Refresh moves Gungahlin away from the ACT stated goal of sustainability. Sustainability requires localisation of economic activity. The GCC Town Refresh continues the trend of centralisation of economic activity to Civic and the Northbourne Avenue corridor. It does this by halving the amount of space available for employment in the GCC Town Centre.
This is unacceptable as it is planned that only 14% of paid employment for Gungahlin residents is within the Gungahlin district and that includes home-based businesses and the industrial area of Mitchell.
Employment is a social activity and it is an important part of building Social Capital in a Community. More employment in the Town Centre will also increase the utility of the Light Rail. Rather than reducing the space for Business Activity, the Gungahlin Community Council would
like to see the amount increased to at least the planned levels in Belconnen.
The proposed business zone reductions will severely limit the possible expansion of the Gungahlin central business district. A significant increase in traffic congestion now exists in the CBD having been exacerbated due to recent traffic modifications to incorporate public transport.
Expansion of the Gungahlin CBD is critical to reducing this traffic congestion. Apartment complexes with small business ground floor space is a poor substitute for dedicated business zoning to the Gungahlin community. We would also like to see existing planning regulations enforced and fewer exceptions granted that reduce the level of business space in buildings.
30 September 2019
Draft Variation 364 is published for public comment. A single community consultation is provide as a 2 hour popup in front of Woolworths on 12 October 2019.
New developments are require to comply with the Draft Variation as it has interim effect. The interim effect lapses after 12 months.
9 October 2019
A summary of Draft Variation 364 is presented at the GCC public meeting by EPSDD.