WESTON CREEK COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Your local voice
Postal Address: PO Box 3701 Weston Creek ACT 2611
Phone: 6288 8975
Fax: 6288 9179
Monthly Meeting 26th June 2002
Jeff Carl, Chairperson, WCCC welcomed the WCCC Committee, guest speakers and residents. The guest speakers are from ACT Forests, Dave Jamieson, Neil Cooper and Rebecca Blundell and from Planning and Land Management (PALM) Keith Burnham.
Mr Carl advised an unidentified gentleman to refrain from distributing unsolicited material at a WCCC meeting. The gentlemen asked Mr Carl to explain. Mr Carl advised that we do not allow people to distribute material (which had not been cleared or agreed with the convenor of a meeting) at a meeting if you are not the convener. The Secretary clarified the position by explaining that the convenor of a meeting, which is the organisation or person calling the meeting, was responsible for the material distributed at a meeting. An exception to this is the distribution of material in the ‘declared period’ before an ACT Legislative Assembly Election where the material is required to have the responsible persons details on the material.
Mr Carl welcomed the first speaker Mr Dave Jamieson. An attendee interrupted and asked when the minutes of the previous meeting would be debated. Mr Carl asked the gentleman’s name and after the reply of, Andy Millar, President Weston Creek Community Association, Mr Carl responded indicating that the WCCC extended the courtesy to guest speakers that general business was conducted after the guest speaker had given their presentation and taken questions.
Mr Jamieson indicated that he managed Environment and Recreation in ACT Forests, Neil Cooper managed Plantation activities and Rebecca Blundell manages silviculture.
Weed control, after pine tree harvesting, on Narrabundah Hill behind Duffy was an issue of concern to residents and an options paper was released in December 2001 and 1 public submission was received. ACT Forests agreed at previous WCCC meetings (most recently Nov 2001) to come back to the community to discuss their findings. Independent trials were held and because of these findings 4 options were able to be considered - the option selected did not involve aerial spraying but spot applications.
The ACT Commissioner for the Environment investigated the use of chemicals by ACT Government agencies for weed control. There were 6 recommendations, which referred to the practices of ACT Forests. Generally the tasks are undertaken by ACT Forests are according to the use of the material, however there needed to be greater public notification in conjunction with the EPA and the Agricultural Veterinary Co-ordination Network (AVCCN).
Neil Cooper indicated that ACT Forests was undertaking integrated pest management although this was probably not well explained to the public. There was close spaced planting to control weeds, chopping-roller to crush material and deep ripping and mounding to reduce weeds. The Commissioner's report focussed on poor reporting of integrated pest management and ACT Forests were working to improve their communication to explain their practices.
Rebecca Blundell described the application mechanism of spot application of the control chemical with a practical demonstration of the applicator. The spot application was through a weed-a-meter, which was developed by the New Zealand Forest Research Institute. The active constituent of Velmac CR is 150g of Hexazinone per kilogram of Velmac CR. The details are in attachment A to these minutes.
Mr Carl asked if there were any questions.
Q & A
A resident of Holder congratulated ACT Forests as an organisation, and especially the staff who had given their time to talk to the Weston Creek community on many the occasions and to listen to the concerns.
Mr Carl thanked Dave Jamieson, Neil Cooper and Rebecca Blundell for their willingness to talk to the community.
Garden City - Draft Variation 200 – Planning and Land Management (PALM)
Mr Carl introduced Keith Burnham from PALM who would provide the residents in attendance with an overview of DV 200.
Mr Burnham provided the meeting with material relating to the DV 200. The overview/introduction of the intent of DV 200 was provided (this is attachment B to these minutes). The full draft variation can be seen on the PAM website. Mr Burnham indicated that the Labor Party had a mandate to manage redevelopment and infill in suburbs and had an interim arrangement of a 5% limit in place. The DV being discussed replaces the 5% limit when it expires on 5 Dec 2002.
The public submissions received in the discussions on ActCode2 were a basis of the new DV 200. The aim being to avoid random redevelopment, provide a strategic framework for redevelopment and manage the ‘bulk of buildings’. Issues, which were being addressed, included the issue of water percolation, what is a defined urban area and the scale of dual occupancies – the new building being smaller that the original i.e. it needs to be of ‘scale’. In addition dual occupancies were not to have separate title.
There are also changes to the design and siting guidelines as well as building height and setback distances. Permeable area would be set at 50% and this was a different way of approaching the plot ratio. The transition date would be 1st September and dual occupancies before 6 Dec can be dual title.
Mr Burnham said there were a few dual occupancies in Weston Creek but not nearly to the extent of inner north and inner south Canberra. Not many houses have been demolished and changed to dual occupancies in Weston Creek. Submissions on DV 200 are welcome to 29 July 2002.
Mr Carl asked if there were any questions.
Mr Carl thanked Mr. Burnham for the presentation and advised residents that Mr Burnhan had left copies of DV 200 for residents to collect. If there were insufficient, the document was available on the PALM website.
Mr Carl asked residents if there were any questions in respect on the monthly minutes from the May 2002 meeting. Mr Millar asked about the paragraph in the minutes concerning a list of assets and facilities in the Weston Creek district; namely "Another resident indicated that due to the debate on the availability of facilities in Weston Creek, which had arisen in many of the discussions through the evening, that perhaps an inventory of available facilities needs to be undertaken and be publicly available." Mr Millar indicated that in his reading of the minutes they showed no discussion of assets and facilities and if there was such a discussion why was it not minuted. Mr Carl responded by advising that the discussion had in fact taken place and was minuted. He referred to the paragraph "The discussion of the meeting centred on the need for the ADU to be collocated with an existing school. Perhaps the use of part of the old Holder Primary School (which has CHADS as a part tenant) could be considered as an alternative site or perhaps rooms in the Grant Cameron Centre." Mr Carl also reiterated that the discussion on facilities and assets was in respect of a lack of knowledge for the options to be considered for the ADU. Mrs Pat McGinn identified herself as the resident who had suggested that a list of facilities would be useful to assist in discussions such as the Montessori School and the Adolescent Day Unit.
Mr Millar then raised the issue of a reporter’s commentary in a local paper. Mr Millar indicated that he wished to quote from the article "pressure for the open tender process was delivered by the Weston Creek Community Council. WCCC chairman Jeff Carl said it had been an on-going issue for the council for the past several months".
A resident interrupted indicating that you should not believe everything you read in the paper which is written by a reporter. Mr Carl agreed that the WCCC had applied pressure on the Government to reveal what community leases were becoming available and to ensure open and transparent processes were applied to their renewal. Mr Carl also stated that ‘it [lease availability] had been an on-going issue for the council for the past several months’.
Mr Millar indicated that he had read the minutes of the last 12 months and could find no details of the approaches claimed.
The Secretary indicated that land, assets, and facilities of interest for lease had been raised by individuals and organisations with the WCCC and are minuted. A few were cited (this list is provided for completeness):
Mr Millar also asked why the WCCA facilities had not been listed with other venues on the WCCC website. The Secretary indicated that an article was in a WCCC flyer (Nov 2001) distributed to 8500 residences and 200 businesses in Weston Creek, it was also in several recent electronic newsletters of the WCCC asking for facility managers, if they wished, to have details listed on the WCCC website. Neither staff nor committee members of the WCCA responded to the offer. Mr Millar's follow-up question was why was a phone call not made, the response from the Secretary was that the WCCC was not soliciting for website content through a telephone campaign.
Mr Carl then asked for a proposer to accept the minutes. Proposed: Mrs Pat McGinn seconded Mrs Sue Liebke.
Canberra Montessori School
Mr Carl advised the meeting that correspondence had been received from the Planning Minister Simon Corbell MLA advising that the Minister is recommending a grant of a lease by direct sale to the Canberra Montessori School.
The WCCC had written to the Minister on behalf of residents raising the issues discussed at WCCC meetings. These were the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed site, the lack of maintenance of the disused school oval and the need to consider alternative locations in existing buildings. The WCCC received in reply a copy of the letter Mr Corbell sent to Mr Hinge a resident of Mulley Street. Mr Hinge advised the meeting that he had written to the Minister directly as a concerned resident and included details of a survey he had undertaken on the use of the under-maintained tennis courts. Mr Hinge provided the WCCC with his letter to the Minister for the minutes (attachment C).
Mr Hinge thanked the WCCC for providing a venue for the community to put its view to the Canberra Montesori School and directly to the Minister when he attended meetings.
Weston Scout Group
Mr Carl welcomed Mr Adam de Totth, President of the Weston Scout Group. Mr de Totth advised the meeting that the Weston Scout Group catered for youth in the age groups 6-8yrs, 8-11yrs, 11-15yrs and 15-18yrs which encompassed cubs to rovers.
Mr de Totth stated that the kids participate in adventure activities to have fun and learn. People are needed to coach, teach and mentor the kids. There is the opportunity to work with kids and have meaning to that interaction. There were 15 new kids who started as Joey's last term and leaders who work with kids learn themselves. Leaders are not put in the deep end but are provided with training and support. If you would like to contribute and help please contact the Scout group. Mr de Totth left his contact details with the WCCC for interested parents.
Mr Carl asked Mr de Totth if the WCCC could assist the Weston Scout Group in a more general manner. It was indicated that the main concern at present was graffiti on the scout hall adjacent to the Weston Skate Park and that continuous efforts of a few individuals were keeping the scout hall in good condition. A resident who identified himself, Peter Lindsay, indicated that the graffiti may not be a problem on some structures such as a skate park, Mr de Totth indicated that the Scouts were dealing with the issue in a low key approach seeking agreement and cooperation from the users of the skate park.
Mr Carl called on Mary Sexton, a resident of Duffy, who asked for the issue of community facilities to be put on the agenda to speak to the meeting. Ms Sexton rose to speak then immediately handed over to Mr Millar the President of the Weston Creek Community Association (WCCA).
Mr Millar told the meeting that the WCCA has oversight of the management of the building. He also indicated that the WCCA had on-going management of the community facility uncontested for 24 years. In addition the WCCA managed the separate building which has childcare. The WCCA has a committee that is elected at an AGM. The building and land are owned by the ACT Government and managed for the users by the WCCA. The building is provided rent-free on a recurring 5 year arrangement. The childcare building lease runs until 30 November 2005.
Mr Millar advised that the WCCA was told on 18 June 2002 that the lease would be terminated on 30 June 2002. He later clarified that statement in that the facility would be advertised in mid July, the process would take until mid October and the critical date was in December.
Mr Millar asked Mr Carl if he could read a statement into the minutes, after some debate it was agreed. This is attachment D. Limited copies supplied by the WCCA were circulated to some attendees.
Mr Carl asked if there were any questions. Mrs Heather Millar, Deputy President of the WCCA joined Mr Millar to answer questions.
Q & A
Mr Millar advised the meeting that the WCCA would use its limited funds to employ a person to put the tender document together. He also advised the WCCA hoped to talk through the issues with the head of the Department (of Education and Community Services).
Mr Millar proceeded to elaborate on the unrepresentative nature of the WCCC membership citing that the WCCC required the person to -live in the area or be associated with an organisation active in Weston Creek, -have the form be signed by two members and – for the form to be approved by the Committee of the WCCC. Mr Millar said this was much more restrictive than the WCCA who considered all residents as members of the WCCA and membership was given to ‘paying users’.
Mr Millar asked Mr Sutherland Deputy Chair of the WCCC if he was associated with any other organisations. Mr Sutherland responded with yes, he was a member of another organisation and then said that a majority of people in the room could be associated with multiple voluntary organisations. He indicated he was aware of one community organisation which had expressed an interest in community facilities in Weston Creek.
Mr Millar concluded by stating that staff moral from now to December would be a concern.
Mr Carl asked for any more questions. In the absence of any further questions Mr Carl advised that the meeting was closed and that the next WCCC meeting would have as Guest Speakers the Gungahlin Community Council on the topic of "The Tram - its benefits to all Canberrans".
Meeting closed 10.25pm
Wednesday 24th July 2002
ATTACHMENT A - provided by Ms Rebecca Blundell to be included in the minutes
ATTACHMENT B - provided by Mr Keith Burnham to be included in the minutes
PLANNING AND LAND MANAGEMENT GROUP
LAND (PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT) ACT 1991
DRAFT VARIATION TO THE
RESIDENTIAL LAND USE POLICIES,
MODIFICATIONS TO RESIDENTIAL CODES and
MASTER PLAN PROCEDURES
The Planning and Land Management Group (PALM) of Urban Services has undertaken a comprehensive review of the existing Residential Land Use Policies.
The draft Variation proposes to vary the Territory Plan by:
Subject to consideration of responses received, PALM proposes to submit this draft Variation to the Executive in accordance with the provisions of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 (the Land Act).
This document consists of two parts:
The existing Territory Plan is available for viewing at the PALM Shopfront (Challis St, Dickson), all ACT Government libraries and the internet (www.palm.act.gov.au/tplan).
People wishing to comment on the proposal must lodge their submission in writing by 29 July 2002. Submissions should be addressed to:
The Executive Director
Planning and Land Management Group
PO Box 1908
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Attention: Mr P. Harris
The draft Variation proposes to vary the Territory Plan by:
2. REASONS FOR DRAFT VARIATION
The existing residential policies were introduced in 1993 and have been amended in part from time to time.
The Labor Party has issued a comprehensive document titled 'Planning for People' which sets out the Government's planning and land management policy agenda for Canberra. The attached draft Variation is the result of a comprehensive review of the Residential Land Use Policies that responds to this policy agenda. It also responds to submissions received on the Discussion Paper on the Residential Land Use Policies, Design and Siting Codes and Subdivision Code (sometimes referred to as the ACTCode II document), that was released for public comment in April 2001.
The Discussion Paper proposed replacing the Residential Policies and introducing a consolidated ACT Code for Residential Development for subdivision and building design and siting. The resulting document was both large and complex. Several submissions suggested establishing the policy framework first and then considering the detailed regulatory provisions.
This approach has now been adopted. This draft Variation revises the Residential Policies and a limited number of key provisions contained in the Residential Codes. The remaining detailed provisions of the proposed ACT Code for Residential Development are intended to be referred to a Community Advisory Panel before being incorporated into a future draft Variation to the Territory Plan.
Many submissions on the Discussion Paper were critical of the random nature of residential redevelopment and considered that the major issue of where change should occur had not been addressed. It was claimed that this had resulted in a lack of certainty regarding the location and nature of residential redevelopment. Many also considered that the policies proposed in the Discussion Paper did not address the stated challenge of "protecting the predominantly low-density, low-rise, leafy character of most established residential areas".
In December 2001 PALM released draft Variation 192 (DVP 192) to the Territory Plan, which introduced a new control to limit dual and triple occupancy housing. DVP 192 was released as an interim measure and will continue to have interim effect until 5 December 2002. Comments already lodged in relation to DVP 192 will be further considered in conjunction with any comments received on this draft Variation.
In response to the submissions received on the Discussion Paper and on draft Variation 192, this draft Variation proposes to introduce policies and provisions that:-
The draft Variation also provides a policy framework for Neighbourhood Planning.
3. SUMMARY OF MAIN CHANGES
Much of the policy content within the attached document is not substantively different to that already contained within the Territory Plan. However there are a number of key policy changes and these are summarised below.
A key provision of the revised Residential Policies is the introduction of a definition and explicit controls on 'residential redevelopment'. The controls are split into two groupings 'General' and 'Suburban Areas'.
The general controls will introduce a number of requirements aimed at reducing the impacts of residential redevelopment throughout the city. They make the High Quality Sustainable Design pre-application processes mandatory for all residential redevelopment and bring a number of the provisions from Planning Practice Note Number 6 (referred to as the "Lansdown Guidelines") into the statutory context of the Territory Plan.
The 'Suburban Area' provisions introduce a further layer of controls aimed at protecting the low rise, leafy character of the Suburban Areas. These areas are defined as being residential sections located wholly outside an area bounded by a line drawn 200 metres from the nearest edge of a Local Centre or 300m from the nearest edge of a Group or Town Centre (including Civic). The Suburban Areas also include residential areas that have been entered on the Heritage Places Register but exclude any area that is the subject of an Area Specific Policy with a B prefix, such as the B11 and B12 areas in inner North Canberra.
In Suburban Areas it is proposed to reduce the pressure for speculative residential redevelopment by restricting subdivision or consolidation of single dwelling housing blocks. Whilst provision is made for modest dual occupancy housing in these areas primarily to meet social needs, it will be required to meet a range of restrictions aimed at reducing its impact and will not be able to be separately titled.
It is envisaged that part of the neighbourhood planning process will be to review in detail the boundaries of the Suburban Areas for the particular neighbourhood and propose where necessary further changes to the Territory Plan to give effect to the recommendations of the Neighbourhood Plan.
This draft Variation also proposes to introduce some key changes to the existing residential design and siting codes in the Plan as a forerunner to a more comprehensive review following establishment of the Community Advisory Panel.
Other key changes include:
Building envelope controls
Private Open Space
(the complete document is available at www.palm.act.gov.au)
ATTACHMENT C - letter provided by Mr Hinge to be included in the minutes
Mr Alan Hinge
PO BOX 4029
13th May 2002
Mr Simon Corbell
Minister for Education, Planning and Industrial Relations
GPO Box 1020
CANBERRA ACT 2601
DEVELOPMENT OF HOLDER OVAL AND SURROUNDS -
Concern Over The Montessori School Proposal
After attending the last meeting of the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) on 24th April, I have deep concerns over two matters associated with the proposal to build a Montessori School on Holder Oval and use the nearby tennis and basketball courts as carparks. The first area of concern relates to fundamental problems associated with the Montessori proposal. The second is the apparent lack of awareness and objectivity demonstrates by the PALM representative at the meeting.
Fundamental problems associated with the Montessori Proposal.
Problems with the proposal fall into two categories, which are (a) doubts about the claimed advantages of the proposal, and (b) clear disadvantages of the proposal.
The major benefits claimed in the Montessori proposal, as summarised in the recent Flyer, are doubtful for the following reasons:
a. The proposition that the Montessori School will bring (lots of) families with young children to the area needs to be substantiated. The actual number of new families moving into the area would probably be insignificant. If the school is already established and is not to be much bigger in terms of student numbers, then few families would move to the area (even if they could get houses in the current market).
Some sort of quantification of the population increase is needed to justify the increased families assertion. A similar argument applies to the improved transport services assertion made in the Flyer. Benefits are likely to be negligible for the residents of Holder in particular and Weston Creek in general.
c. The apparent assumption that that tennis and basketball court surfaces can be used as carparks without further work is naive at best. It begs the question as to whether the Montessori group has done its sums properly and is able to embark on this enterprise. For obvious safety reasons, complete resurfacing of these areas will be necessary for use as carparks (of which an inordinate amount of space is being asked for - more than Stromlo High School with a student population of 1,000).
d. The proposition that there will be no visual impact on the local residential area is also incorrect. Adding 10,000 sq metres of carpark and two road entries, coupled with increased traffic flow along Mulley Street, obviously has an overall visual impact on the local residential area.
Several disadvantages and unaddressed issues of the proposal
In addition to the lack of proven advantage described above, several conspicuous drawbacks appear to be associated with the Montessori proposal.
First, a fundamental planning issue must be addressed and backed up with figures: Does Weston Creek need another primary school? Weston Creek is amply provided with a wide range of primary school places and infrastructure. Some primary schools are faced with declining enrolment numbers and one may eventually be faced with closure. As discussed above, significant population increase will not accompany the establishment of the Montessori school, but this private school may attract students from threatened public schools.
Second, a significant loss of amenity to the residents of Weston Creek in general and residents of Holder in particular will result. The Mulley Street tennis courts are used frequently as the attached record of use of the central court over the last month suggests. These courts have suffered sustained neglect, but the central court has been kept useable by some residents (For example, I poison weeds and tree sprouts on the central tennis court and on the adjoining basketball courts). A net of sorts is maintained on the central court and basic markings are kept up.
DATE TIME Mulley St Tennis Court Observed USER(S)*
Sat 20 April 10.40-11.20 am Adult male and child
Sun 21 April 2.00 pm Two male juveniles
Adult male and two small children
Mon 22 April 3.30 pm Adult woman and child
Tues 23 April 4.45 pm Two male juveniles
Wed 24 April 4.15 pm Three male juveniles
Thurs 25 April ?
Fri 26 April 5.00 pm Three male juveniles
Sat 27 April 3.30 - 4.30 pm? Adult male and two small children
Sun 28 April 2.40 - 3.45 pm? Two female juveniles
Mon 29 April ?
Tues 30 April ?
Wed 01 May 4.00 pm Three male juveniles
Thurs 02 May 3.35 pm Male and female juveniles
Fri 03 May 5.15 pm School Hols (no primary school tennis)
Sat 04 May 3.15 pm Male and female juveniles
Sun 05 May 4.00 pm Male and female juveniles
Mon 06 May ?
Tues 07 May 4.35 pm Adult male and two small children
Wed 08 May ?
Thurs 09 May 3.00 pm Adult male and two juveniles
Fri 10 May 8.15 - 9.00? am Primary school tennis group (8-10 children)
Sat 11 May 2.30 - 3.30? pm Two juvenile males
Sun 12 May 3.00 - 4.30? pm Two adult females and two children on bikes
* Confirmed users are noted. Courts may have been used at other, unobserved times.
Third, the issue of whether the oval itself is suitable for building on should be addressed. St Judes Primary School is sited two metres higher than the oval which itself sits only two metres or so above the level of Weston Creek. Just what is the status of the oval area in terms of being a floodzone or not (1 in 20 years, 1 in 100 years?). No one at the meeting - not even the PALM representative who appeared biased towards the Montessori option - had considered this factor (Indeed, whether or not flooding proves to be a factor remains to be seen, however, the issue does bear investigation from the most elementary planning viewpoint).
Fourth, the current school location and design proposal includes a road entry within 100 metres of the busy Mulley St-Blackwood Terrace intersection. There is already heavy traffic flow at school pickup times and having two primary schools basically running in tandem could multiply traffic and potential danger near this intersection, if an entry is made so close to the intersection.
Lots more work needs to be done
Clearly, there is much more work needing to be done on this proposal. Furthermore, residents are not convinced that the work will be done well. The performance of the PALM representative at the meeting was unimpressive and gives few grounds for confidence. Not only did he demonstrate a lack of knowledge of detail and unawareness of alternatives for siting the Montessori School but, disturbingly, he appeared to be biased towards a poorly thought out and presented option and had not given serious thought to its implications.
Residents pointed out the following planning options to him at the meeting:
· Site the school in Stirling near Stirling College. Stirling is a suburb with over twice the open/green space as Holder (12% as opposed to 5%).
· Build on the northern end of the Holder Oval - entering via Dixon Drive. Dixon drive is a road capable of absorbing more traffic than Mulley Street and this option may avoid having the bulk of traffic for two primary schools concentrated on the one road and will also maintain the amenity of the Mulley Street tennis courts. Moreover, there are no adjoining residences in the part of Dixon Drive that might be used. This option may involve the loss of some young Casuarina trees, but this is a far better situation than losing some of the much older river gums near the courts. This option also maintains the general amenity and open space of the area, including open/green space along the heavily traversed path from Weston to Holder via the bridge over Weston Creek. Walkers, joggers and pet owners use this path heavily, especially in early morning and evening. Moreover, the half oval left over after construction would be on the most easily accessible side (South) where use would be more readily made by more people.
I remain deeply concerned about the failure of the Government and its planning agency - even at this relatively early stage - to take the most elementary steps of analysis and planning. Planners must take the trouble to be aware of alternatives and also be able to crystallise the rationale of a project and draw out the implications of changes.
It is very important to realise that residents of Mulley Street - of which I am one - are particularly sensitive to developments in the area. Besides wanting to protect remaining green/open space in this relatively poorly endowed suburb, many residents remain extremely disappointed with the towering 'barn' on the comer of Mulley and Dixon Drive. Religion is not an issue here, but competent design, planning and development/building control is. The building developed into a towering 'edifice' which dominates the area. It is not the tasteful, well-proportioned and harmonious outcome residents were expecting. Consequently, confidence in the bureaucracy to protect us from such plans/reality mismatches is, understandably, low.
Ultimately, many Holder residents will not feel comfortable if they are saddled with the Montessori option. Residents of Holder in particular and Weston Creek in general can do much better than settle for this as a compromise to bail the government out of its maintenance and planning responsibilities. The government should make a serious effort to save the open/green space for residents of Holder and Weston and not devote it to the use of a privileged, private few.
In summary, residents will not be impressed to see their government set up - or perhaps eventually subsidise - an unnecessary, private primary school, while taking away open/green space from a suburb already under endowed with such space.
ATTACHMENT D - statement read into the minutes by Mr A Millar