Minutes Feb 02
Your local voice
Postal Address: PO Box 3701 Weston Creek ACT 2611
Phone: 6288 8975
Fax: 6288 9179
Monthly Meeting 27th February 2002
Bob Sutherland, Deputy Chair, WCCC welcomed the WCCC Committee and residents, he also introduced Mr Mark Mannion from the audience who is Manager, Land and Property in the Dept of Urban Services. Mr Mannion has attended to alert residents to issues concerning the Grant Cameron Centre but is also able to provide some background to the issue of the cleared land at Cotter Road and Streeton Drive intersection.
Mr Sutherland advised that the Chairperson Jeff Carl was at a ‘Neighbourhood Planning Committee’ workshop with Mr Simon Corbell MLA and would join the meeting later. The issues to be covered at this meeting were
Derek Jordan, Mary Sexton, Helen Sims, Richard Stanton, Tim Janes, Phil Jones, Mr Gary Humphries MLA, Ms Karin MacDonald MLA, Ms Katy Gallagher MLA
Cleared ACT Forest land
The cleared land at Cotter Road and Streeton Drive intersection generated enormous response via e-mail and phone. Mr Sutherland advised the meeting that it was time for residents to be proactive and on the front foot regarding what they would like to do with the land. He also indicated that there was significant interest in the provision of alternate housing options in Weston Creek. ‘Empty nesters’ looking for smaller more compact housing but with the ability to stay in Weston Creek.
Mr Mannion indicated he had some background information on the potential uses of the land. The land was being surrendered by ACT Forests as it was a very small coop, the land is zoned ‘community use’ which covered broad acre low impact uses, and there no firm commitments on the use of the land at present. The land was very rocky with little soil and subject to windstorm. Any use of the land could not have line of sight to the Governor-General's residence at Yarralumla. There was preliminary interest from some private schools for the site. There were some questions from the floor regarding the land, especially section 8 that appears to be potential roadway to link with the new roundabout on Cotter Road.
Mr Sutherland stressed the need for a well considered response from the Weston Creek community, as the land was the ‘front door’ of Weston Creek. An issue, which needs to be considered in the context of the land's use was the block opposite – the North Holder/Duffy land, which comes out from a moratorium shortly. The two blocks opposite each other need to be dealt with in a complimentary manner.
Mr Mannion confirmed that the North Holder/Duffy land was in the 5 years forward projections of land release by Urban Services and early discussions with Mt Stromlo Observatory had identified no impact on the Observatory’s operations with houses on the land.
Mr Sutherland encouraged residents to contact the WCCC by phone or e-mail so as to contribute to the decision making process. The WCCC would be making a submission to the Planning Minister Mr Simon Corbell MLA.
Canberra College (Stirling Campus)
There was significant concern voiced by many residents on the subterfuge of the running down of the Stirling Campus under the guise of ‘management’ of a twin campus school. It is apparent to many that Canberra College Woden Campus is applying pressure for students to attend the Woden Campus and not the Stirling Campus. The timetabling of classes is not conducive to use the Stirling Campus. In addition it appears that it is easier for students to get to Woden than travel internally in Weston Creek on ACTION buses.
The planned movement of the O’Connell Education Centre from Griffith to Stirling is also impacting on the uses of the College. However unconfirmed information suggests that the Stirling campus appears to be attracting 4500+ night school attendees each week. Another concern is the running down of computer labs which were recently upgraded at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The information from people involved at the night school is that the classes are ok for this calendar year but next year is very doubtful - a sign that the management at Woden Campus have made some severe and long term management decisions.
The meeting was advised that the Executive of the WCCC had met with Education Minister Mr Simon Corbell MLA on 7 Feb 2002 and he categorically stated that the Labor Government had no plans to close any schools. Mr Corbell is the invited speaker the next WCCC regular monthly meeting on 27th March.
Barbara Brinton, a local resident, advised the meeting that she had been nominated by the WCCC Executive as available to fill a vacancy on the ‘Adult and Community Education Advisory Body’. This may be a mechanism to assist Weston Creek in managing its educational resources.
Community Services amalgamation in Weston Creek
Mr Sutherland advised the meeting of information available that the Weston Creek Community Service (not linked to the WCCC) was intending to amalgamate with the Tuggeranong Community Service to improve service delivery in Weston Creek. The services provided included an elderly drop-in centre, youth program and transport assistance to medical appointments.
Grant Cameron Centre
Mr Mannion attended the meeting to alert residents to the potential use of the land adjacent to the Grant Cameron Centre (the school oval of the closed Holder High School). The intention is to build a Montessorri school on the under-maintained high school oval. The intention in raising this issue is to encourage public debate on the proposal. The aim is to use the old tennis courts as a Carpark / entrance and to share some facilities with the nearby St Judes Primary School.
Since the issue was in the public arena, Mr Mannion was advised that the WCCC had identified a number of issues which needed addressing in regard to the proposal. These centred on upgrading the nearby Weston Primary School oval and other considerations.
Mr Sutherland encouraged Mr Mannion and the school to use the WCCC as a conduit for public debate and consultation. With appropriate funding support the WCCC could assist Dept of Urban Services meet its community consultation requirements under the ACT Government’s "Community Consultation Protocol".
The meeting was advised that the ACT Legislative Assembly was conducting an inquiry into the size of the Assembly (number of members). The WCCC Deputy Chair, Bob Sutherland, is coordinating the WCCC submission and any suggestions / comments which could be included in the submission are welcomed. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Residents are also encouraged to make their own private submissions.
A resident of Holder raised the issue of dual occupancy construction on battle-axe blocks. The main concern is the size of the second residence and the obvious errors in the available documentation on the capacity to cope with carparking. The overflow from the residence(s) would be on the adjacent neighbour's nature strips and in the street. The resident was given the contact details of another Weston Creek resident who had taken the issue of dual occupancy as far as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Arawang Primary School Carpark
Mr Mike Stapleton from the Arawang Primary School P&C Association spoke to the meeting regarding the on-going saga of sealing the Carpark. The upgrade of the Carpark was in the original plans when Fisher and Waramanga Primary Schools were amalgamated by the then ACT Labor Government. During the term of the Liberal Government no improvements were undertaken and the Carpark has serious deteriorated.
Mr Stapleton indicated that some progress has been made and officers from Urban Services and the Dept of Education have both made site visits. The Executive of the WCCC advised the meeting that the upgrade of the dirt Carpark to a bitumen hard top was high on the agenda of the 7 Feb 2002 meeting with Education Minister Mr Simon Corbell MLA. The WCCC emphasised to the Minister that the improved Carpark will assist the school during the week and on weekends relieve congestion of off-street and on-street carparking for the nearby Scout Hall, Veterinary Surgery, Soccer and Cricket sports. It is hoped that continued pressure from the WCCC will ensure that the negotiations result in a sealed Carpark for the benefit of many.
Mr Sutherland advised the meeting that the Executive of the WCCC attended a meeting in Gungahlin to discuss the ‘light rail’ proposal for Gungahlin. The proposed Government investigation of the Light Rail had now been widened to look at all forms of public transport and how a rail system could/would be integrated.
The general consensus was that a light rail, if built for Gungahlin residents, would benefit very few residents and ratepayers from all over the ACT would be picking up the costs of construction and operation through increased rates. Bob Sutherland is coordinating the WCCC submission and comments are welcomed through our e-mail address.
Two major issues of concern regarding bike paths were the extended delays in re-opening the Weston Creek – City bike path via Scrivenor Dam. This bike path has been closed since the bushfires and the logging operations commenced. The second issue is on-road bike paths in Weston Creek.
A resident indicated that the closure of the bike path through the harvested forest was now in its third month. If it were a road, there would be enormous public pressure to reopen it. The logging contractor does not appear to have been working in the area for some weeks. The re-directing of cyclists onto a busy windy road appeared to be an abrogation of responsibility by ACT Forests. Mr Dave Jamieson from ACT Forests was in the audience and indicated that the bike path would be opened this week.
The second issue relates to the disjointed bicycle paths in Weston Creek. There is a need to link these, the first target is at the Mulley Street / Streeton Drive intersection which is a dangerous crossing for cyclists. Approximately 7 metres of bike path needs construction to link the road and the bike path. In addition the on-road bike path on Streeton Drive (south of Hindmarsh Drive) can be re-visited. This was put on hold until the entrance configuration to the new Defence Housing Estate complex was determined. As this is now a roundabout, without the proposed on-road traffic calming, the line markings for the on-road bike path can now proceed. Bob Sutherland will ensure the WCCC writes to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr. Bill Wood MLA, for the construction work to be undertaken.
PACTT (Planning the ACT Together)
Mr Sutherland explained to the meeting that the Executive of the WCCC were very concerned regarding the direction of the PACTT coalition. This was a coalition of councils, residents associations, and environmental groups which tried to lobby the government for better planning outcomes. PACTT was seeking to have a constitution and a voting process. The WCCC is concerned that if we are a member of PACTT there is a perception that we agree with their policies as adopted at their meetings by a vote.
A resident asked of PACTT’s southside membership. Mr Sutherland advised that there were few members, most members are from inner north Canberra. Tuggeranong Community Council do not attend and the new Woden Valley Community Council has not committed to PACTT. Without the WCCC there is no significant southside membership. Due to the voting issue the WCCC wishes to distance itself from PACTT and formalise this with a motion. Motion: That the WCCC disassociate itself from PACTT and formally resign, moved Bob Sutherland Seconded David Clinch and Jack White, moved without dissension.
The meeting was advised that the Executive had made personal representations to the Planning Minister Mr Simon Corbell MLA to urgently improve the lane marking on the Cotter Road duplication on the incoming approach to Weston Creek so that 2 lanes can turn left into Streeton Drive.
Meeting closed 9.50pm
Wednesday 27th March 2002