Chairman’s Report 1999/2000

his year has been an extraordinarily busy year for the Weston Creek Community Council. During the year I have received very able assistance from the Secretary Alan Henderson and deputy Chair Jeff Carl. In fact if it were not for their work hardly anything would have been done. They have both laboured mightily for the Community Council over the year in review.

This year the Community Council made five long written submissions to government on a variety of different matters. We made submissions to the ACT Government on an inquiry into Traffic Warrants (traffic warrants is a system of classifying roads and road accidents to ensure that road works funds are expended on the most worthwhile sites) and on public housing.

We made a submission to the ACT Electoral Commissioner on electoral boundaries for the ACT. Subsequently the Commissioner has recommended that the new electoral boundary be drawn in Gungahlin so that the suburb of Nicholls will join the Ginninderra electorate and Molonglo will remain as the seven-member electorate including the remainder of Gungahlin.

We have made a submission to the consultants on the review of the ACT Land Act. We were asked to specifically comment on the way in which land is released for development. This inquiry is still under way and the report will be prepared in 2000/2001.

We made a submission to the Federal Parliament on the then proposed upgrading of the Defence Force Staff College in Weston. Generally we supported the college expansion but drew attention to possible traffic problems and the possibility of light pollution from the site. As we know the Federal Government has decided to go ahead with the college expansion and, by and large, the community has welcomed this.

Apart from submissions we continued our lobbying on a number of matters. Earlier in the year we lobbied on new bus routes and timetables and ACTION representatives attended one of our meetings to explain the changes. We also lobbied on the situation facing Weston Creek public schools and Minister Bill Stefaniak attended one of our meetings to explain government policy in relation to schools in the ACT.

We offered what support we could give on the Weston Creek Group Centre (Cooleman Court) precinct upgrade. The first stage of the upgrade is now complete and I was pleased to be able to attend the official opening. The second stage of the precinct works should begin in the new financial year.

We also lobbied on traffic conditions in Liardet Street in Weston where cars had been taking the corner too fast in the vicinity of Royals Rugby Club. New road marking has been provided and we will continue to monitor the situation to see whether this measure has been effective.

A recent lobbying activity was over the noise coming from special promotions at our new recreational park (Skateboard Park) in Weston. In future promoters will be asked by government officials to keep the noise to within the skateboard park boundaries and again we will continue to monitor this situation.

As I write this report we are continuing to lobby the ACT Government over traffic conditions in Streeton Drive near the proposed Defence Housing Authority subdivision and on the housing proposal itself. This has been done at the request of neighbouring residents. We have also lobbied for some years now to have the Cotter Road upgraded in the vicinity of the Defence Staff College at Kirkpatrick Street. New road works have commenced and we have asked that the road be four lanes from the new roundabout to the Tuggeranong Parkway.

During the year I was pleased to attend the official opening of the new recreational facility or Skateboard Park. Despite the noise problems this is a wonderful facility which is greatly appreciated in our community.

I also prepared a paper on the role of community councils in the ACT system of government. This paper is still being considered by the other community councils and has been heavily criticised by them. The ACT government is keen to have some kind of model that community councils follow and this may be the first step in the process. During the year I also publicly criticised the push by Local Area Planning Advisory Committees for statutory powers. This is an important reason why there should be a statement on the role that community councils should play.

On a more mundane note we have had to prepare for GST from 1 July. Part of this process has been our successful bid to be given an ABN.

Other issues, which have yet to be resolved, and which are likely to continue in 2000/2001 are the derelict petrol stations and the storage of large numbers of cars (some in poor condition) on private blocks.

During the year I continued to write regular columns on local matters for the Valley View and Southside Chronicle newspapers.

John Logue also helped out during the year by attending and reporting on a seminar on water drainage in the ACT. Gary Caitcheon helped again by being our public officer a role he is happy to continue this year. Thanks to you both.

As usual I offer my resignation as Chairman – a role I have now done for seven years or so. I believe that this is too long for one person to have the job and we would benefit from the infusion of new ideas and greater energy. However, I am willing to keep working for the Community Council in some lower capacity

Bob Sutherland

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