This fiscal year 1998/1999 has seen a full quota of issues being raised. Some of these were new and some were perennial issues which arise again and again.
Our biggest meeting for the year was the ordinary meeting which discussed the possible replacement of the present Woden police station with a “shopfront” station located within the new Woden Plaza shopping centre. Over a hundred people turned up to express an opinion and there was considerable opposition to the plan to replace the police station with a shopfront. In the end the Government could not reach agreement with the shopping centre owners and now the Government is considering co-locating all the emergency services in one new building in Woden.
Another important meeting was the ordinary meeting which discussed the future of the Phillip swimming pool complex. Despite extensive publicity only 20 people turned up which may indicate that this issue is no longer a high priority for Weston Creek people. Evidence given at the meeting was contradictory with some people saying that the pool is not well maintained and others saying that they are happy with the situation as it is. The Minister attending the meeting offered to have the Government consider making some capital expenditure to improve the pool at Phillip but it is my view that such expenditure is not warranted and would not be in the best interests of Weston Creek. I have written to Gary Humphries MLA and Brendan Smyth MLA from the Government and Ted Quinlan MLA from the Opposition with these views. We should get some replies to these letters shortly.
reports and submissions
At the invitation of the ACT Government the Community Council made a submission on the ACT Budget. Among the items raised was a request for continued funding of the Community Council (granted); the decision to build a new library in Gungahlin and the a request to replace mercury vapour street lighting with sodium vapour street lighting. The Government replies were in Budget paper No 3. As far as the library in Gungahlin was concerned the reply was that the ACT Library would be expanding its Internet service and introducing a book pick-up service for a fee. In other words Gungahlin, even at its present stage of development, is a much higher priority than Weston Creek. My failure to make any impression on the Government on this issue is more than a sufficient reason that I should resign from my position as Chairman.
The reply on the lighting issue was that people preferred mercury vapour street lighting to sodium vapour (probably true) and that mercury lighting was cheaper than sodium (probably not true). This reply lacks the needed detail and is wrong in one particular and I believe the Community Council should point this out to the Government. I am currently seeking input from Mt Stromlo Observatory to help find all the facts and prepare a correct reply.
During the year we also made submissions on the Inquiry into ACT Shops; the location of a proposed ACT prison; and on ACT Land and Planning Advisory Committees (LAPACS).
In conjunction with other Community Councils we assisted with deliberations on a Planning the ACT Together (PACTS) new guidelines for future development in the ACT; with a deputation to the Minister for Urban Services on the location of the proposed Gungahlin Drive; and with regular meetings with the Chief Minister’s Department.
During the year we maintained our regular columns in the Valley View and Southside Chronicle newspapers. This publicity helps us keep in touch with our members. We also maintained our regular schedule of letter box drops to keep residents of Weston Creek informed of our activities. To publicise the Annual General Meeting we sent out nearly 400 letters to people who have indicated in the past that they are interested in our activities.
capital works projects in 1998/1999
During the year substantial progress was made with three projects on which the Community Council had some input. These were the current re-development of Trenerry Street (which is nearly finished) and the Sukyo Mahikari headquarters in Holder (to be officially opened in July) and the Duffy stormwater augmentation works. Another project on which we made little input this past year but which has now nearly reached completion is the Grant Cameron Centre which has turned out to be a great asset for our district.
current and future capital works projects
Current development projects include the Weston Creek Youth facility and further improvements to the car parks in the Group Centre. The ACT Government has promised further progress on these works in 1999/2000.
During the next year we have been asked to request the ACT Government for an on-road bike path for Streeton Drive between Hindmarsh Drive and the Cotter Road; to remind the Government of the need to further improve the Cotter Road between the Parkway and Streeton Drive; and the need to air condition the premises of the Weston Creek Community Service.
current and unfinished submissions
Current issues before the Community Council include a submission that we made to the Federal Government Inquiry into the establishment of the Co-located Defence Force Staff College. This inquiry is being conducted in June and we should know the result of our submission reasonably soon.
We will need to make a submission soon to the Electoral Commissioner requesting keeping Weston Creek as one area in any proposed change to ACT electoral boundaries.
Although it is still some time away before the next ACT election it is likely that there will have to be new boundaries. This will have to be decided sometime in the year 2000 so that it is possible that the Electoral Commission will begin calling for submissions in late 1999. It will pay us to be early. My understanding is that to balance numbers properly Weston Creek may need to go to Brindabella away from Molonglo and that part of Woden which is currently in Brindabella may be returned to Molonglo. So long as Weston Creek remains as one area this won’t be a problem. In fact there might even be some advantages to that move. We should consider this problem at this meeting.
No doubt there have been some matters that I have left out and for this I apologise. I think that it is fair to say that while it seems as if there is nothing going on the reality is that there is a great deal going on.
Our special thanks are due to the management and staff of Royals Rugby Club who have gone out of their way as usual to accommodate our widely different meetings. Our association with Royals has been very valuable to us over the years and we hope that this will continue in the forthcoming and future years. My thanks are due to the people who have supported the Community Council during the year especially those who have turned up regularly and helped in other ways including going to meetings I could not attend.
MOTION: Accept the Chairmanâ€™s Report Moved Bob Sutherland; seconded Jeff Carl.