I’ve had a baptism of fire this year. The Executive Committee has been kept extraordinarily busy dealing with a wide range of issues. I would like to thank the Secretary, Alan Henderson, and the deputy Chair, Bob Sutherland, for their able assistance and guidance. I would also like to thank Bob for continuing to write regular columns on local matters for the Valley View and Southside Chronicle newspapers. Their selfless support has made the execution of my duties a lot easier.
Three issues have consumed a majority of the Council’s resources over the past year; these being Defence Housing, Urban Infill, and Forestry operations on Narrabundah Hill behind Duffy. Unfortunately, none of these issues has been fully resolved.
Regarding Defence Housing, the Council made a lengthy submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and officials from the Council gave evidence before this Committee at a public hearing held at Parliament House. Other submissions were sent to PALM and the Applications Secretariat commenting on various aspects of the development proposals. The development was an agenda item for many of our regular monthly meetings, and the Minister for Urban Services, Mr. Brendan Smyth discussed this development at our June 2000 meeting.
The biggest meeting of the year was our November meeting, where over 90 people attended to hear our guest speaker, Mr. Simon Corbell MLA, discuss urban infill and the Government land audit. The Chief Minister, Mr. Gary Humphries, and the Minister for Urban Services, Mr. Brendan Smyth also attended this meeting. Urban infill will continue to be an important issue in the coming years as development proposals are projected for north Holder/north Duffy.
Forestry operations on Narrabundah Hill have caused much community interest from last August, and were the focus of our October meeting when representatives from ACT Forests spoke on the projected logging and replanting operations. Part of the replanting operation involves very low-level aerial spraying of herbicides from a helicopter. Since our October meeting a group of concerned local residents have organised themselves to protest against the aerial spraying. Officials from the Council addressed a meeting of this group last February, and a representative from the group spoke about their concerns at our March meeting.
Other well-attended meetings were our June meeting on planning issues when the Minister for Urban Services, Mr. Brendan Smyth, was our guest speaker; our February meeting that discussed community safety with the ACT Fire Brigade and the Australian Federal Police; and our March meeting that discussed the new residential development code (ACTCODE 2) and the new tree preservation policies.
The Council also welcomes the relaunch of Neighbourhood Watch in Weston Creek.
Other issues attended to by the Council are as follows (in no order of priority):
- Traffic problems on Cotter Road between Streeton Drive and the Tuggeranong Parkway (addressed in the ACT Government’s 2001-2002 Budget);
- Traffic calming measures on Streeton Drive near the Defence Housing development;
- Attendance at the relaunch of Neighbourhood Watch in Weston/Holder areas;
- Off-street parking for patrons of Arawang Netball Association;
- Lyons Local Area Traffic Measures which proposed speed humps for Devonport Street and extra traffic lights on Hindmarsh Drive (proposals being developed);
- Voluntary Workers Personal Accident Insurance for our Committee members;
- Lobbying for a drinking fountain at the Recreation Park;
- The official opening of Stage 2 of the upgrade to the Cooleman Court Precinct;
- Submission supporting Mirinjani Retirement Village plans to acquire more land;
- Participation in a university research project on Community Councils in Canberra;
- Attendance of all Community Council Forums;
- Submissions on tree preservation and dual occupancy developments; and
- Submission on the draft ACT Government 2001-2002 Budget.
The past year has also seen the launch of a number of new initiatives by the Council. The most important of these was the Taking-it-to-the-Streets program wherein Executive Committee members visited each of Weston Creek’s shopping centres on different Saturday mornings and talked to local residents. The banners that are displayed inside and outside this room were obtained to support this program. The Executive was able to speak to people who could not attend our regular meetings. Also we increased our public profile around the community since many hundreds of residents saw our banners. This successful program was Bob’s idea and I would like to thank him for his initiative.
Another new initiative was the creation of a regular electronic newsletter. The newsletter has been very well received and we have broadened our coverage of Weston Creek residents to include some of those who don’t receive our flyers or the local newspapers. This initiative partially addresses publication concerns raised by some local residents and is proving to be a lot cheaper to prepare and distribute than our flyers. I would like to thank Alan for his efforts in getting this initiative up and running.
Our Internet Service Provider (Dynamite) ceases business at the end of this month and I thank them for their assistance over the past few years. The Executive has reviewed our electronic needs and the Council is now the legal owner of the domain name “www.wccc.com.au”. This will be our new Internet address. Our new Internet Service Provider (Netspeed) has advised the Community Council that we will have the first webpages on the TransACT server.
On behalf of the Community Council, I would like to extend special thanks to the management and staff of Royals Rugby Club who have gone out of their way as usual to accommodate our widely different meetings.
Lastly, I would like to thank our Public Officer, Gary Caitcheon and other Council members who assisted the Executive Committee throughout the year.
The coming year includes the Tenth Anniversary of the formation of the Weston Creek Community Council. This is an important milestone for the Council and the Weston Creek community.