WESTON CREEK COMMUNITY COUNCIL
- Your Local Voice -
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.wccc.com.au
Phone: (02) 6288 8975 Fax: (02) 6288 9179 ABN: 52 841 915 317
PO Box 3701 Weston Creek ACT 2611
Monthly Meeting 24th April 2002
Jeff Carl, Chairperson WCCC, welcomed residents and the committee to the meeting. Mr. Carl introduced the guest speakers Mr. Bruce Fisher, Architect from the Canberra Montessorri School and Mr. Peter Johns from Land and Property in the Department of Urban Services. Mr. Carl also acknowledged the attendance of members of the Sikh Association.
Mr. Carl invited Bruce Fisher to address the meeting. Mr. Fisher provided the meeting with information similar to that provided to the March 2002 meeting (please refer to those minutes for the details).
Mr. Fisher advised that there had been no progress with Planning and Land Management (PALM) as yet, mainly because the process was in a pre-consultation phase. The meeting was provided with copies of the letterbox flyer which the Montessorri School had delivered to houses in Mulley Street, Holder.
Mr. Johns indicated that there was no start date to the consultations as the formal PALM processes had not yet commenced. The debate at present is on the potential uses of the land. The land is zoned 'community facility' ie the oval of the Holder High School. A school on the site is within the approved uses. The amount of land needed for the school is a statutory area per student and the school was expecting an enrolment of 200.
Mr. Fisher took questions from the meeting:
Could the tennis courts be left and alternate parking be found? Mr. Fisher advised that alternates had been investigated as well as a possible alternate entry route to the school to the north of the Grant Cameron Centre which had a buffer of approximately 20 meters. As there were no firm plans only design sketches a number of scenarios could be considered.
What is the extent of the effect of the attraction of families to Weston Creek - what numbers are coming? Mr. Fisher indicated that it was difficult to estimate how many families may move to the district but people did relocate to be nearer the school when it established in Yarralumla. In addition people considering Montessorri schooling for their children may look favourably at Weston Creek.
A resident indicated that he considered it necessary for Montessorri to quantify the claimed advantages noted in the Montessorri flyer.
A resident asked of the impact on local schools if the Montessorri School was established. Mr. Fisher indicated that the school catchment for Montessorri is the whole of Canberra and where there are Montessorri Schools (Yarralumla, Red Hill and Hackett) there has been no impact on local school enrolments.
Mr. Bob Sutherland, Deputy Chair of the WCCC, indicated that his questions would be a personal opinion and not that of the WCCC. Mr. Sutherland indicated that he believed that not all the necessary investigations had been undertaken in searching for suitable schools in Weston Creek, without the community needing to give up this open space. Mr. Sutherland stated that he had been made aware of a school, located in Weston Creek, which may satisfy the criteria laid out by Mr. Fisher at the March meeting. Preliminary discussions with some members of the school showed that they may be receptive to discussions on the joint use of facilities. Mr. Sutherland stressed that PALM; the Dept of Education and Montessorri needed to pursue all avenues in detail before considering a new construction. Mr. Sutherland acknowledged that the land is zoned 'community facilities' in the Territory Plan, however it is treated as 'urban open space' because of the lack of open space in Holder. This was confirmed in the 1999 land audit by PALM which showed Holder had the lowest percent in Weston Creek, down at 5%. In addition the current moratorium has stifled development in Weston Creek. As the moratorium is to be reconsidered in 2004 a number of organisations are vying for land, Montessorri is but one which the residents of Weston Creek may consider. The residents need to be able to select the best option for this district and take time to get the best outcome, in light of what may happen in 2004, time was an issue for Montessorri, but not the residents.
Mr. Fisher thanked Mr. Sutherland for his question and provided a detailed reply. He indicated that the site had been vacant for 10 years, Mr. Sutherland interjected that 'vacant' was strong word as the land is still part of the Grant Cameron Centre and used daily so its not vacant, Mr. Carl called the meeting to order, Mr. Fisher continued. The Montessorri School had been looking for permanent premises for 6 years under several ACT Governments. In addition the site was put forward by the previous Government as an option for Montessorri to consider and the current Government has not dissuaded from this approach.
A resident asked of the 'open spaces' being only 5% on the Territory Plan in Holder and what was the effect of the proposed Montessorri development? Mr. Carl answered that there is no technical effect in that the proposal is to build on land zoned 'community facilities', this does not affect the % of 'urban open space'. However in Holder residents treat this 'community facilities' land as urban open space.
A resident of Holder referred to the northern access route mentioned by Mr. Fisher and asked for more details. Mr. Fisher indicated that there was a strip of land to the north of the Grant Cameron Centre which was approximately 20 meters wide which was part of a service road to that Centre. There is the possibility of vehicular access. Mr. Johns indicated that the Dept of Urban Services was reluctant on this entry as it limited the options for the Grant Cameron Centre in the future.
The question was asked of the land not used by Montessorri, is this being 'locked up'? Mr. Johns replied that the site is approximately 5 hectares in area and preliminary estimates indicate that that 3 hectares are required. The access to the remaining area is an important consideration in the overall planning.
A resident asked of the traffic impact and school buses. Mr. Fisher indicated that children attending the school would arrive by walking, car and bus, all the normal ways that children are delivered to a school. The school bus bay is in the internal carpark, not in Mulley Street. The meeting was advised that historical traffic data might be available from the work undertaken when Sukyo Mahakari was being proposed at the intersection of Mulley Street and Dixon Drive.
A resident indicated that options need to be investigated. There is 'community facilities' land next door to the Stirling site of The Canberra College, there is the old Holder Primary School Oval as well as under-utilised school buildings in several Weston Creek suburbs. These all need to be considered before the 'community facilities' land under investigation is divided between the Grant Cameron Centre and the The Canberra Montessorri School.
A resident advised that the northern area of the block is very well treed and access from the Grant Cameron Centre would compromise this area and so limit the possibilities of this access route.
The possibility of integrated treatment of the whole land parcel was raised by a concerned resident. The area bounded by Mulley Street, Dixon Drive and Weston Creek needs to be treated as one. If the school proposal was to go ahead there needed to be some lateral thinking. If 3 ha. were required for the school, perhaps the remaining 2 ha in the northern section could be changed from 'community facilities' to 'urban open space' (and increase the urban open space in Holder?). Also the tennis courts could be a separate lease, for perhaps the Weston Creek Tennis Club to manage and maintain to an appropriate standard? Mr. Johns indicated that the integrated planning option for the complete parcel of land had merit and needed to be considered and investigated.
Mr. Carl thanked the representatives from the Montessorri School for their attendance and willingness to answer the myriad of resident's questions.
Sikh Association - Direct Land Sale.
Mr. Peter Johns from Land and Property in the Department of Urban Services advised the meeting that he dealt with organisations seeking direct sale of ACT Government land. The Sikh Association did have an interest in land in Mawson, however due to concerns with access from Mawson Drive the land was considered inappropriate for their development. The alternate land parcel is block 15 in Hickey Place Weston.
Mr. Johns circulated to the meeting a block and section map as well as a preliminary sketch of the buildings on the preferred block. The land is zoned 'broadacre' so a religious use is an approved purpose.
Mr. Johns did advise the meeting that the Orana School had indicated a concern with the increase in traffic movements and their preference that an access route direct to the Cotter Road be opened up. Mr. Johns asked if there were any questions.
Mr. Carl thanked Mr. Johns and members of the Sikh Association for being available to answer resident's queries.
Annual General Meeting
Mr. Carl advised the meeting that the Executive of the WCCC had discussed the deferring of the AGM until early in the new financial year. He explained the reason being that although final accounts for the July to June financial year were prepared and presented to the AGM they were not technically audited statements. There is a need to present audited statements. Motion: to defer the AGM to August 2002 moved Jeff Carl seconded Rosemary Drabsch, voted unanimous.
In addition Mr. Carl advised that there is a need to endorse the on-going commitment to meet phone, fax and Internet accounts past May. The motion is usually put to an AGM; this motion will cover the WCCC from May till August. Motion: to continue to pay accounts of the WCCC Moved Jeff Carl seconded Rosemary Drabsch, voted unanimous
Woden Valley Community Council
Mr. Carl advised the meeting that the Woden Valley Community Council was holding a meeting on 15 May 2002 to discuss public transport issues. Given the numbers of commuters from Weston Creek who travel through Woden Mr. Carl encouraged residents to attend. Confirmed attendees are Jeff Carl and Pat McGinn.
Mr. Carl advised the meeting that he had sent a letter, after approval of the February 2002 meeting, advising PACTT that the WCCC would no longer participate. All MLA's had also been advised by letter.
The WCCC submission to the ACT Government on the 2002-2003 FY budget is on the WCCC website www.wccc.com.au
Jack White, Duffy Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) coordinator, advised the meeting that NHW was now operating in all Weston Creek suburbs, although all zones are not yet covered. There was broadening of the approach of NHW and informal feedback indicates strong support in Weston Creek.
Jeff Carl advised the meeting that PALM had released for comment a new 'Canberra Spatial Plan' which appeared to be an X plan not a Y plan.
Mr. Sutherland advised that the Weston Creek Community Service (no linkage) had agreed to merge with the Tuggeranong Community Service.
Mr. Jonathan Reynolds from the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) invited residents of Weston Creek to attend a GCC debate on 8th May to discuss the light rail.
22nd May 2002. (Note the 4th Wed - May has five Wednesday's)