July 2022 Newsletter

Council invites the Weston Creek community to the 27 July 2022 public meeting which will focus on the Transport and City Services portfolio activities in Weston Creek, with Minister Chris Steel attending. He will be followed by a presentation on the Brierly Street upgrade project by Sophie Clement and Jeremy Smith from the TCCS Infrastructure Delivery area. Michael Lee and Pieter Van Der Walt from Canberra Town Planning will be attending to consult on the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed expansion of the Veterinary Hospital on Dixon Drive, Holder.

EVENT: JULY PUBLIC MEETING.

DATE: WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2022. TIME: 7:30 PM

LOCATION: WESTON CREEK COMMUNITY CENTRE, off PARKINSON STREET

MASK WEARING IS ENCOURAGED

The meeting will be webcast live via our Facebook pages. Questions that we receive will be presented to the speakers. Please let us know your question in advance by email or the Facebook pages.

The Committee intends to hold the 2022 Annual General Meeting in October. The accounts will have been audited and a consolidated annual report will be available. We have organised for the Chair of another Council to officiate.  If you would like to nominate for a position of the 2022-23 Committee, please feel free to contact a committee member and discuss eligibility and what is involved. New, community focussed people will always be welcome. Alternatively, volunteering to assist with a specific task would always be warmly welcomed.

PLEASE NOTE: Council will not be holding a public meeting in August, due to both the forecast Covid trajectory and the number of external pressures on our already stretched and busy volunteers.  

CHAIR’S REPORT

 It is always pleasing for Council’s Committee when someone contacts us and provides us with a piece of feedback. We received some feedback about the running of the June Public Meeting that aligned with our own thinking and have decided to try a few changes to ensure fairness. We request that people asking a question during the meeting identify themselves and use one of the available microphones to ensure people viewing remotely can understand the full context of discussions. Please be concise and avoid asking a question that has been asked previously. From the July meeting one question will be accepted from each participant, and questions from people not using a microphone will not be acknowledged by the Chair. This is not about denying people a right to comment, it is about ensuring all reasonable views are ventilated.

So, what has been going on? The ACT Government has been steadily rolling out 2022-23 Budget announcements and we are trying to keep stock of them. So far, the key announcements for Weston Creek have been the announcements that Streeton Dr will receive new traffic lights at the intersections with Heysen St and Namatjira Dr. There is no argument that these intersections have high injury crash rates and are overdue for some treatment, but Council may have been able to suggest some less disruptive design features. We are asking why there has been no announcements on much needed upgrades to Rivett Oval or provision of public toilets for Featherston Gardens. We are also looking out for an announcement about localised air quality measurement. Minister Steel is attending our July meeting and we expect answers to these questions.

Council will continue its involvement in the consultations on the draft Planning Bill and anticipate we will receive an updated version of the draft in the coming weeks. We expect to meet with key MLAs to discuss the draft over the next month or so and hope a few attend our Public Meetings to assess the mood, as we note MLA Jo Clay did recently. Ideally, Minister Gentleman would attend one of our Public Meetings to discuss the proposals but his record of accepting our invitations is not good. However, in the interest of fairness he will be invited again. Any members of the Community are welcome to supply us with any thoughts they have about the proposals at any time. We will make sure their views are known to the relevant people.

Pleasingly, the draft plans/concepts for the Brierly Street upgrade project will be presented at the July Public Meeting. Council representatives have attended two meetings with the design team, and we hope our comments have been incorporated.

Separately, some proposed upgrades to the parking arrangements around Coolamon Court will be presented at the September Public Meeting. We are told that the proposals take into account Council’s submissions that there is an opportunity to better utilise the available space.

We are also preparing Submissions on the Government’s draft Active Travel Plan and the proposed amendment to the Human Rights Act to include a right to a healthy environment. We are considering making a short submission to the Legislative Assembly enquiry into EV adoption in the ACT. You may like to make your own short submission into these engagements or provide Council with any reasonable views we could incorporate in a submission.

Over recent months, I have been speaking about Fix my Street. Council continues to hear about matters that remain unaddressed. We also note that former MLA, Michael Moore wrote about his own experiences with Fix my Street in his weekly column in a local free magazine.

In recent weeks two incredibly significant reports have been released that are of great interest and relevance to the Weston Creek area. These being:

  • The Western Edge Investigation released on 27 June 2022. For this the ACT Government engaged consultants to complete preliminary environmental and planning studies into potential sites for new residential development along the western edge. The research provides initial insights on air quality, site contamination, cultural heritage, bushfire risk, ecological and environmental factors across the 9,800-hectare area. The area is bordered by the Murrumbidgee River and Weston Creek including Chapman, Duffy, and Rivett. Options for development in the area is outlined and can be found at planning.act.gov.au
  • The State of the Environment Report released on 19 July 2022. This is a five-yearly health check on the natural ecosystems in Australia and the news was not good. Between 2000 and 2017, 7.7 million hectares of habitat for land-based threatened species was cleared. Council notes that the western edge of Canberra contains a number of high value threatened ecological communities and protected species, particularly but not limited to places such as Bluett’s Block. Also, according to the Report, destruction of Indigenous heritage is occurring at an unacceptable rate. Council notes that both Aboriginal and heritage artifacts are to be found within the Study Area of the Western Edge.

Council would love to hear your views on this investigation, and we will be monitoring these issues closely.

Don’t forget to save the date for the family focussed garden party event in Fetherston Gardens on Sunday, 30 October 2022. More information will be available on this soon.

CELEBRATING WORKING TOGETHER AND ACHIEVING.

The Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) continues to be a forum for residents to meet, share ideas and to convey concerns to government. We are non-partisan, advocating for the best services and facilities for the people of Weston Creek. To continue to function successfully we need community input and feedback. Feel free to let us know what we have done well, or not so well. We are currently running a short survey on our website and Facebook pages – please take 2 minutes to let us know your views!

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