COMMUNITY COUNCIL VISITS TO SHOPPING CENTRES

As you know the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) receives an annual grant from the ACT Government for the work it does in consulting with the community about ACT government initiatives in Weston Creek and other matters. In return for receiving an annual grant the Community Council undertook to do all it could to attract members and be as representative as possible of our community.

Mr Gary Humphries MLA

Chief Minister

ACT Legislative Assembly

London Circuit

CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear Mr Humphries

COMMUNITY COUNCIL VISITS TO SHOPPING CENTRES

As you know the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) receives an annual grant from the ACT Government for the work it does in consulting with the community about ACT government initiatives in Weston Creek and other matters. In return for receiving an annual grant the Community Council undertook to do all it could to attract members and be as representative as possible of our community.

We have always taken this responsibility very seriously. In the last year an increase in the number of volunteers has enabled us to start two new initiatives to bring our work to the attention of the wider Weston Creek community. The first of these was to establish an electronic newsletter which is proving to be a reliable and cheap way of contacting people. This initiative has already attracted nearly two hundred subscribers.

The second of our initiatives was to meet people in local shopping centres and draw their attention to our existence and to list any problems they may have. The program included visits on Saturday mornings to every shopping centre in Weston Creek with two visits to Cooleman Court. We spoke to 70 people many of whom, despite our best past efforts, confessed that they had not heard of our work. In addition we estimate that around 900 people would have seen our banner and we believe that this is a good way of advertising our work.

I have attached a list of the shopping centres we visited, the people we spoke to and the issues they raised. You may be familiar with many of the issues raised but we pass these on for your information and possible action. Overall, the shopping centre visiting program found that people were generally very content about living in Weston Creek and that they had few real complaints.

We think that our shopping centre visiting program has been a success and we will repeat it again in the warmer weather later this year. This will be timed to avoid the 2001 ACT Legislative Assembly election.

 

Yours sincerely

 

(signed)

Jeffrey Carl

Chairperson, Weston Creek Community Council

11 May 2001

 

 

WCCC CONSULTATIONS AT SHOPPING CENTRES

Saturday 10 February 2001 at the Waramanga Shops.

1. First person was worried by the practice of people taking dogs for walks off-leash in public places. She walks in the early morning from 6:15 am to 7:15 am. She is particularly concerned about two large dogs which roam off-leash at that time. She also raised the issue of noise pollution after 11pm.

2. Second person loves living in Weston Creek.

3. Third person said that the district was looking tired; bridges rarely get a coat of paint. The signs outside the schools are faded and tatty. He believed that security was becoming an increasing problem.

4. Fourth person was concerned about infill. She liked the spaces we have at the moment.

5. Fifth person said that Weston Creek was a great place to live. She was concerned with school buses. She said that ACTION had reversed the route so that her children were the last to leave the bus whereas in the past they were the first.

6. Sixth person congratulated the WCCC on doing a good job. Said that he kept up-to-date by reading the Chronicle. He just wanted a magnet.

**********

Saturday 17 February 2001 at the Fisher Shops.

1. First person was worried about safety. Too many undesirables and no/hopers in the community. Feels unsafe in own home and at the local shops. (lady about 45 years)

2. Second person said that there was too much infill and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. We’ve done nothing. (man about 45 years) (Abusive)

3. Third person came from Ardlethan Street but had no complaints.

4. Fourth person said that the Government should mow near the retirement village. It was difficult for people to walk in the vicinity. The shops need cleaning up and a Chemist was needed. (There are chemists at Chapman and Waramanga.) Fisher shops had doctors. The best thing about the Fisher shops was that they still had a butcher.

5. Fifth person agreed with the comments made by the fourth person. (Interviewed together.)

6. Sixth person merely asked what we were about.

7. Seventh person complained about the state of the park and said it needed mowing.

8. Eighth person was a visitor from Holder. She had a serious complaint to make about de Graaffe St. Apparently it is regularly used by young drivers as a drag strip and some traffic calming devices are needed to dissuade this behaviour. It often takes place at night.

9. Ninth person was an elderly person who arrived on a motorized wheelchair. She was unable to drive it up to the shops and had to hobble on a stick from the kerb to the shop. She confessed she hadn’t seen the small ramp further down the shopping centre and then said that she was a visitor from Dapto NSW. She considered that there could be improvements, including more ramps, for disabled people. In a further confession she admitted that she had, at one time, been a resident of Fisher and it distressed her to see the deterioration in the shopping centre. She was much better off in that regard at Dapto where the local centre catered for all needs.

10. Tenth person said that chairs and seating were needed at the Fisher shops. (NB we noted that the unique nature of the shopping centre at Waramanga had allowed seating to be provided and this was considered to be a very good feature of that shopping centre.)

She also considered that there was very little for young people to do. Further questioning revealed that she meant children in their teen-age years.

11. Eleventh person made a complaint about the Canberra Hospital. She said that her husband was currently a patient there and yesterday and the day before that the Hospital had neglected to feed her husband. Complaints to the nursing staff did bring some snack food. She was thinking of taking this complaint further. She also criticised the kitchen facilities made available to make coffee and tea. She said it was filthy.

12 and 13. Interviewed two other people who had no comment to make.

14 and 15. Two boys aged about 12 to 14 complained about the lack of a skateboard park at Fisher. They had tried the skateboard park at Weston and said it was too difficult for their skill level. They would have liked to have seen “an intermediate standard” facility at Weston which was continuous with the more advanced facility and part of it. If they were to improve they no choice but to practise on gutters and and other areas of this kind. They were unaware of the facility near the net ball courts in Stirling.

The Chairperson of WCCC also interviewed two business people and he kept notes of their comments which included the need for a revamp of the shopping centre making it more user friendly for older people.

**********

Saturday 24 February at Chapman Shops

1. First person took a magnet and did not want to stop.

2. Second person complained about vandalism. He said that after ringing the police on one occasion about a possible break-in at his house it took 7 and a half hours for them to arrive. Does not approve of the Defence Force Housing on Streeton Drive – wants to preserve the open space. He did approve of the cutting down of the low-level foliage and there were a lot of pot-holes and depressions in the roads.

3. Like living in Weston Creek very much. Didn’t like the service at the Duffy Petrol Station. “but wouldn’t live anywhere else” (I think he came originally from Victoria)

4 and 5. (Man and Wife) Could we please slow the traffic in Perry Drive. Apparently noisy motorcycles are a problem.

6. Lady from Lincoln Close. While she appreciated the occasional clearing of the bush at the back of her house she said it should be done more often. Especially in the Fire season. Appreciated the upgrading of Cooleman Court.

7. Woman made inquiries. She would like the footpaths to be fixed especially in Perry Drive. She suffers with osteoporosis. She also inquired whether it was legal to run a car repair business from home. (Answer in a nutshell No)

8. Urban Services don’t clean up when asked. Skateboard riders are a nuisance at the Chapman Primary School after hours.

9. Like living here. Do up the footpaths on Perry Drive.

10. Lighting behind the Chapman shops. The path was not lit for a while and at the back of the Shopping Centre.

11. Guy from Rivett. He’s very sad at what has happened at the Rivett Shops. Says he reads the Chronicle and knows a little about what we do.

12. Biggest issue facing the district is policing. There have been issues such as burglaries, vandalism, traffic, and more road work needs to be done. Should support our local shops (this was a comment made as he left).

**********

Saturday 3 March at Rivett Shops

1. Man said we needed more housing in Weston Creek. The green areas need to be mowed and maintained. Schools should be told that you don’t just clean up on one day of the year.

2. Lady accompanying – ditto.

3. Man said he had no problems living in Weston Creek.

4. Path from Darwinia Terrace to the Primary School needed repair. He was against any development on this area of park. He said we should consider publicizing our activities through Radio 1 RPH. All we had to do was to fax the information through to the station.

5. Shopkeeper from Rivett says that the cleaning of the open area around the shops could be better. The hedge at the back of the shops needed trimming. He thought that at least one petrol tank at the former Rivett petrol station should be left as a storage for the man who operates the “lubitorium”.

6. Lady said she liked living in Rivett. She appreciated the upgrading of the Rivett shops. Her only criticism was the rear of the shops which faces Bangalay Crescent could be improved possibly by more landscaping.

7. Another lady said that it was her impression that the maintenance of the open areas in Weston Creek had deteriorated recently. She said there seems to be a lot of rubbish around.

8. Man said we needed more shops.

9. Man said that crime was a problem. He mentioned the bag snatching that had occurred at Cooleman Court. We said that the police had visited the last meeting of the WCCC and said that an offender had been arrested for these crimes. He then complained that while we hear about the crimes we never hear about the people being apprehended. We said that this point had been raised at the recent meeting. The police were doing all they could to make sure that the fact that crimes were being solved gets adequate media coverage.

10. Man said that boys practising their skateboarding skills on street furniture was a problem. We pointed out that some boys had complained that the standard of skateboard skills needed on the skateboard park at Weston was too difficult for them and they needed an area where such a high level of skill was not needed. Man said that there was a suitable area on the walkway in Rivett not far from the shops. He suggested moving some items of street furniture to the barriers to make it less attractive to skateboard riders. He also complained about graffiti. He believed that the recent outbreak in Rivett was the work of one person and it had only become a problem in the last few weeks. We pointed out that it has been suggested that people buying paint spray cans should be required to show proof of correct name and address and have their names recorded in a register before being allowed to purchase this otherwise very useful product.

**********

Saturday 17 March 2001 at Duffy Shops

Special Note: A cold blustery day. The executive of WCCC had previously agreed to meet Lisa Skelly about community councils in the ACT.

1. We were interviewed by Lisa Skelly from the University of Canberra and the record of that interview is held elsewhere.

2. We spoke to only one other lady who was concerned about break-ins and burglaries. Lady spoke about problems with young lads in Mirool Street.

**********

Saturday 24 March 2001 at Holder Shops.

1. Resident from Hyndes Crescent questioned why Williamson Street currently had a speed limit of 60 km/h while Hyndes Crescent only had a 50 km/h limit. Resident was happy with the present 50 km/h limit on Hyndes Crescent and is really asking that Williamson Street be brought into line with Hyndes Crescent.

2. Group of residents commented on the work of the Cooleman Ridge Land Care group. This work ensured that value was put on houses facing park land. Also commented on horse trail on Cooleman Ridge. (Three people in the group.)

3. Seven people wanted to know what is happening with the former Holder petrol station site. They were referred to Minister for Urban Services, Mr Brendan Smyth MLA.

4. Four people pointed out that here is some criticism in the community that the Holder petrol station site has been reserved for commercial use. It may be difficult to find an alternative commercial use. At the same time interest has been expressed in re-developing the site for residential use.

5. Three people put the view that the former Holder Primary school site should be re-developed as a retirement village.

6. There were complaints about the state of de Graafe Street. It was claimed that three houses were in a mess. There was a large shipping type container on the nature strip. Complaints to Urban Services have not brought any relief to this problem. There are numbers of old cars parked more or less permanently in the street and some householders have not mown their yards or nature strips.

7. There should be signs for the one-way distribution system in the shopping centre at Holder. (1 person) NOTE the layout already makes it clear that there is a one-way operation in force but most visitors to the shops ignore this.

8. Planning Commissioner was needed. This view was put by 2 people.

Total of 13 people spoke to WCCC and more than 20 others walked by.

**********

Saturday 31 March 2001 – First visit to Cooleman Court.

Stood near the entrance from the Community Centre.

1. First person agreed that Weston Creek was a great place to live. Go ahead with the Defence Housing Authority housing. (Rents might drop if it proceeds.)

2. Second person said that it was good to put a face to the group.

3. Third person lived in Fisher. Agreed that Weston Creek a good place to live. Knew of WCCC and follows our newspaper columns. Worried about vandalism.

4. Shopkeeper from Cooleman Court complex. Was also worried about vandalism. WCCC doing a great job – goes to our meetings.

5. Fifth person had heard of WCCC. Wants to know more about Neighbourhood Watch. Prepared to become a “Safe House”. Reads columns in papers.

Only 5 people spoke to volunteers but 20 times this number walked past and looked at the banners.

**********

Saturday 7 April 2001 – Second visit to Cooleman Court

Stood on the Trenerry Street traffic island.

Note: Early in the session there was little interest. Volunteers noted that more bollards were needed to guard against further burn-outs and “wheelies” on this small park area. The garden needed urgent maintenance.

1. First person complained about kids taking over Brierly Street on Fridays and Saturdays well into the early hours of the morning. Sometimes up to 2 am and 3 am. Same person would also like to see the buses removed from Brierly Street.

2. Second person said that there were still traffic problems near the take-away restaurant (near MacNally Street). The problems were caused by people ignoring traffic control signs.

3. Third person asked if Neighbourhood Watch can put their advertising in “No junk mail” letterboxes why can’t we? (ANSWER: The decision not to put our advertising in “No junk mail” letter boxes was taken to avoid complaints being received and to conserve the limited supply of pamphlets which we had in the early days. We naively hoped that the neighbours would pass on the pamphlets. If we revert to using the Post Office to deliver our pamphlets we will get much better coverage.)

4. Three people stopped by to say that ACT Housing policies are disastrous – people who were happy and who had been good tenants were being asked to leave because their incomes had improved. Not a good example. Was concerned about graffiti. And also complained about the relaxation on lighted advertising signs.

5. We received a complaint about graffiti on the skate board park. The claim was that this decorative work had been done quite openly without challenge. The work had been pencilled in and then painted over and had taken some time to do. The area was lit until 11 pm.

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