Weston Creek Community Council

your local voice

Postal Address: PO Box 3701 Weston Creek ACT 2611

Phone: 6288 8975

Fax: 6288 9179

Email: wccc@dynamite.com.au

Web site: http://www2.dynamite.com.au/wccc

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting

Wednesday 28 June 2000


Jeff Carl, the new Chairperson, welcomed the committee, members of the public and the special guest speaker, Minister for Urban Services, Brendan Smyth. Mr Carl also thanked the Royals Football Club for the use of the auditorium.


Rob Biggin, Bob Sutherland

Business Arising

The business arising from the previous monthly meeting was a request for action of the ACT Police. Detective Superintendent Chris Lines reported on two issues. Firstly the Woden police patrol had increased its patrols around the Arawang Netball Courts carpark and reported a decline in the number of youths in cars and the amount of burnouts. This patrol had been operating for 3 weeks as a deterrent. If the problem recurs the patrol would be re-instated. Thirteen traffic infringements had been issued in the period in Weston Creek. On Hindmarsh Drive from Fyshwick to Weston Creek the total in the period was 24.

The second issue concerned the declaration of the Weston Creek Recreational Park (Skate Park) as an alcohol-free zone. It appears that the regulations allow such a declaration to be made by Gary Humphries, as Minister for Police. This process is continuing to be followed through.

Minister Brendan Smyth

Mr Carl welcomed Brendan Smyth to the meeting and indicated that the Minister would make a brief introduction and would welcome questions. The Minister opened his discussion by example through his family’s connection with the Fisher newsagency and later the Cooleman Court newsagency. The Minister addressed a number of issues which were reported in the recent WCCC flyer delivered throughout Weston Creek.

In respect of the Stirling netball carpark, line marking will be provided. This will increase the number of cars able to park in the designated carpark. The Minister discussed the Stirling skateboard ramp, and as was suspected by the WCCC, it will be very difficult to secure funding to improve the site given the funds expended at the Weston site. The lack of water at the Weston Creek Recreational Park is a matter for the Bureau of Sport and Recreation although the asset was the responsibility of Urban Services - the Minister expected a response from the Bureau shortly. The issue of broken footpaths and over-grown nature strips was definitely a concern and responsibility of Urban Services. If residents had concerns the easiest contact number is 6207 2500.

The Minister also covered the issue of the roundabout on Cotter Road (into the Defence Forces College) and the duplication of Cotter Road between Streeton Drive and the Tuggeranong Parkway. The roundabout was expected to be completed in several months and is being designed and constructed to accommodate the 4 lanes of the Cotter Road duplication. The engineering design of the duplication would be in 00-01 and the completion of construction later in 2001.

The Minister suggested that the meeting be opened for questions to allow him to focus on issues of concern to residents. Jeff Carl began with three questions that were in response to the Minister’s opening comments. With regard to the line marking in the netball courts; this action alone would not solve the problem of insufficient off-street parking to accommodate the number of vehicles using the facility. An increase in traffic pressure is expected with the proposed DHA development; the WCCC would continue discussions on this issue. As regards the drinking water fountain at the Weston Creek Recreational Park we would hope for an early response given the amount of time since our first representations. The timing of the completion of the duplication of the Cotter Road, which is not scheduled for completion until 2001 is a concern and we would be seeking a tighter timetable for its construction.


Questions from the floor

Emergency Services Levy - a question was asked regarding the imposition of the emergency services levy on only those householders who had an insurance policy; the question related to the unfairness of this practice; the Minister responded by indicating that the levy would be dropped from 1 July 2001.

Car park entry - Cooleman Court: The poor state of affairs of the entry/exit and the problem of insufficient lighting was a concern. The Minister indicated that stage 2 of the Cooleman Court precinct upgrade could address the issue. Joe Stellar from Canberra Urban Parks and Places advised that the entry/exit to both the northern and southern carparks of Cooleman Court is addressed in the refurbishment work.

Concrete structures and metal signs on median strips; the question related to McCulloch Street Curtin but was becoming apparent in other streets in Weston Creek. The signs indicating KEEP LEFT and KEEP RIGHT were a hazard to traffic; The Minister indicated that the signs were in locations where cars should not be, i.e. on traffic islands. The action in McCulloch Street was taken to discourage logging trucks using a street that was not designed to take such vehicles.

Parks and Garden Depot - Waramanga Sports Field - John Logue of the Weston Creek Soccer Club indicated that the disused depot was being used for archives from MacArthur House. The soccer club has on several occasions attempted to lease the building and its compound. Mr Logue asked that negotiations be reopened and that another more appropriate archival location be found. The Minister indicated that this matter would be investigated.

ACT Forests: A question was asked relating to the imposition of a fee of $1 per user by the ACT government; the question related to who imposed the fee? The Minister advised that he was responsible for ACT Forests and was not aware of the fee. He undertook to investigate the issue.

Rivett Parks & Gardens Depot: Jeff Carl asked if the Minister could look into the upkeep of the disused, and apparently abandoned, Rivett Parks and Gardens Depot adjacent to the Rivett Shops. It was understood that there was a lessee who, it appears, is not keeping the site in a clean condition. Mr Carl asked that the lease purpose and conditions be examined to see what action could be taken.

Independent Commissioner for Planning: Michelle Holmes asked the Minister why the Streeton Drive estate issue had not yet been referred from PALM to the Independent Commissioner for Planning. The Minister indicated that this had just happened or was about to happen. Mr Bob Callaghan from PALM advised that it was expected to happen last Friday but this appeared to be delayed until this Friday. The Minister advised the meeting that he had ‘call-in’ powers and these could be used at his discretion if he saw fit.

PALM Processes: Chris Hunter asked the Minister if the material presented by PALM to the Independent Commissioner for Planning could be different to the material presented for public consultation. The Minister indicated that the material submitted by the public was passed to the Commissioner and PALM is required to provide to the commissioner an assessment of the application for his consideration. The Commissioner can make the changes he sees fit.

Territory Plan: A questioner asked regarding the change in the territory plan of public open spaces to residential in 1993. The Minister indicated that a two year consultation process was undertaken by the then Minister Bill Wood over the period 1991-1993 which identified the ‘pink-bits’ in the draft territory plan. The pink bits were undefined land use for later zoning. As there were significant protests regarding the clarity of the intended use of the ‘pink bits’, these were defined in the final territory plan. The Minister indicated that the Council was probably involved in the process. Jeff Carl indicated that the WCCC was involved with the ‘pink bits’ debate in 1992/3.

Selling Ovals: A questioner asked if the Government intended to proceed with selling ovals. The Minister answered that there was no intention to sell ovals. In addition he reminded the audience that a substantial amount had been spent on some ovals, for example Duffy, to use them as flood retention ponds in periods of high stormwater flow and in the 100 year flood.

Ex-Holder High School Ovals: A questioner from Holder asked if the Holder High Ovals would be sold for residential development to DHA. The Minister replied that there was no intention, at this stage, as the land was probably zoned community open space. Due process through the territory plan would be needed if there were any intention to change the designated land use.

Advertising by PALM: Chris Hunter asked why PALM advertising was not limited to Saturday when people had time to read the paper. The Minister indicated that in working within the regulations; as soon as the elapsed time had passed PALM had to advertise the lodged development application. Bob Callaghan advised that for PALM to meet its deliverable’s they did not hold onto a DA just to wait for a Saturday. Many developers had significant funds tied up waiting for DA and there was no legal reason to delay advertising the DA.

ACTION Bus Fares: a questioner asked regarding the 20% increase in ACTION bus fares. The Minister indicated that independent consideration of a pricing application from ACTION is undertaken. The current status is that ACTION has been granted permission to raise prices by 8% for the GST and the other component of the rise is related to costs of provision of the service. The price rise is not a uniform 20% on all types of tickets.

Energy Efficient Rating (EER): A questioner asked the Minister to provide a validation of why such a rating was considered necessary as it was an impost on the seller. The Minister indicated that the EER provided information to a potential buyer regarding the possible costs that would be incurred in heating and cooling the residence.

Wood Fires: The effect of the proposed legislation by Kerrie Tucker MLA was raised: The Minister indicated that it would be very difficult for wood fires in Canberra to be retrospectively inspected or altered. Negotiations regarding the design of new wood fire appliances is an option. The education of users is also being undertaken in regard to firewood burning practices and the use of pine. As Canberra appears to have the largest number of wood fire appliances compared to population, wood-burning protocols and negotiations with firewood suppliers are critical to reduce the wood smoke problem.

More Precinct Groups in Weston Creek. Mr Carl asked the Minister if he could confirm that Fisher and Chapman shops would be targets for the establishment of precinct groups in the new financial year. The Minister advised that there were to be 4 new precincts established but none were in Weston Creek. Bob Callaghan, from PALM, indicated that there was to be some work undertaken at Fishers shops to the value of $80,000 but he believed that this was associated with Eco-Land which includes the cost of the master plan. Otherwise there were no new precinct groups to be established in Weston Creek in the foreseeable future.

Wheelie Bins: A questioner from the Weston Creek Soccer Club, who was a hirer of sports grounds, queried the Minister on the expected clean up of sports grounds. In addition to the $380 per day hire fee the hirer was expected to lift fully laden Wheelie bins (with no handles) and dump the contents into hoppers. There were some occupational health and safety issues in undertaking the task. Why was the cost of emptying the bins not covered by the hire fee? The Minister advised that he would investigate the mater.

Land offered to developers: Michelle Holmes asked the Minister if Defence Housing Authority had been offered other land apart from that in Streeton Drive? The Minister replied that there were a number of parcels of land identified in the territory plan that could be considered by potential developers. The process involved agreement on the land use and other factors adjacent to the land. Mr Tony Beauchamp, from DHA, indicated to the meeting that there were in fact several parcels of land for DHA to consider. The Streeton Drive parcel of land was the one which best met the requirements of DHA.

Speed Cameras: Mr John Logue asked the Minister to justify why speed cameras were consistently (all day for several days a week) located at 60 kph zone in 400 meter strip between traffic lights on Hindmarsh Drive aimed at predominately Weston Creek residents entering Weston Creek: The Minister indicated that the cameras were originally located at high accident/high speed areas. The second stage is to locate them at areas where the potential for accidents was high. The Minister also indicated that there was a proposal to straighten the alignment of Callum Street and Athlon Drive either side of Hindmarsh Drive to improve traffic flow. Mr Logue indicated that that change would not affect traffic already on Hindmarsh Drive heading into Weston Creek and the location of the white van was merely revenue raising as the rest of Hindmarsh Drive was 80kph and this 400 meters was the only 60kph with no cross streets - the validity of the argument about being an accident spot in severely stretched. The Minister indicated that there has been a 38% reduction in speeds recorded in the 27 zones where speed cameras operate.

Yarralumla Woolshed: Jocelyn Murphy asked the Minister to investigate the issue of no running water in the kitchen of the Woolshed. This was a major concern in that the ACT Government hired the building for functions (which included catering) but there were insufficient facilities for catering. The Minister replied that the issue would be investigated.

Community Consultation: Michelle Holmes asked the Minister if the consultation processes of PALM could be improved as a site where it was intended to put 50 townhouses had only 1 small sign; also when she rang PALM regarding how long the process would take she was advised ’it will take ages’. The Minister replied that the processes undertaken by PALM followed the legislation in meeting the requirements for developers and for the community and that consultation had taken place for some time with interested groups prior to the PALM sign on the intended block. Jocelyn Murphy raised the issue of returning to the use of the large signs (NCDC) on blocks designated for development. The Minister indicated that the signs were very expensive and the submissions received regarding development applications were usually received from a small number of local residents. He estimated the figures that 95% of development applications have no submissions from the public. Ms Holmes ventured that developers had the ear of PALM and that it appears to be different to the access available to PALM by the general public. The Minister replied that the infrastructure provided in Canberra in terms of roads and schools was not, in some locations, being used to its financial or physical capacity. The city needs to be financially viable and meet the needs of ratepayers without excessive rates to fund over capacity. In the current situation there is a need to examine the capacity of the infrastructure surrounding the proposed development and an assessment is made as to its ability to integrate the development. These are some of the issues which need to be considered in responding to the development application submitted by DHA who had purchased the land for the purpose it had been zoned, that is residential.



Mr Carl asked the meeting if there were any further questions; given that people had had ample opportunity to question the Minister. Mr Carl thanked the Minister for his attendance and reminded the meeting that the next regular monthly meeting of the WCCC was on the 4th Wednesday of the month, 26th July. Mr Carl closed the meeting.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 26th July 7.45pm

Royals Football Club.