Progress Report on the Public Housing Taskforce sites – Chapman Holder and Wright

There have been several meetings between the Taskforce and the three resident’s action groups. Both the Woden Community Service and Weston Creek Community Council have been represented at these meetings. In addition representatives of ACT Housing and a number of specialists have attended. Progress has varied across the groups but in each case both the Taskforce and the residents have been prepared to consider options.

Chapman

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At each meeting the Chapman residents expressed their continued reservation about the site selection. Concern about the bushfire risk and associated issues, distance to facilities and incongruity of small dwellings in an area of large houses were fairly major issues. Other issues included possible loss of trees and green space.

An initial concept was revised into a design adjusted to reflect the community feedback from residents who had been surveyed plus comment by the action group at meetings. Amendments included retention of all trees identified as significant, all parking on site, garages as opposed to carports and a minimum 6m setback.

However the major revision has been to reduce the number of dwellings from 29 to 20 and designing them in a semi detached configuration to provide larger building mass. It was felt that this would fit more appropriately with the nearby dwellings.

At the last meeting the Taskforce provided both elevations of the proposed designs and details of the materials and colours that would be used to avoid a look of uniformity and were well received by the group. The materials would all conform to the required building standard in regard to bushfire.

Taskforce advised that as part of the resolution of a final design, an engineer will review layout against garbage collection and emergency services requirements.

More information is available from the ACT Govt website.

Holder

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Residents living near to the Holder site formed the Holder Community Action Group.(HCAG) .Representatives of this group plus a representative of WCCC and a representative of Woden Community Service attended all of the meetings with the Taskforce. From the first meeting the group had a very positive approach to the possible construction of public housing whilst having several reservations about the location on the site. In particular they were concerned about the proposed access from

Stapylton St for safety reasons and the close proximity to 21 Staplyton St. Another issue was the proposal for two double storey blocks of apartments overlooking both the memorial park and several residences in Williamson St. Overall issues of privacy and security were also mentioned.

The issue of possible access from Blackwood Terrace was proposed and discussed. WCCC stated that thye were not in favour of this option. This was stated taking into account the larger traffic volume on the street, the fact it is a bus route, the proposed access would be on a curve and a crest and close to the entrance to the shopping centre.

Taking into account the concerns about the effect on the green spaces the Taskforce arranged for a Landscape Architect to survey the whole green area to supplement the original tree survey of the proposed site. This resulted in suggested areas of development which would not compromise either the integrity of the green space or its future use. Throughout the aim has been to allow good connection between the memorial park and the ‘oval’.

Overall the HCAG was concerned that both the development and the future tenants should be integrate into the local community.

Following several meetings a revised plan was presented to the group.  The changes are :-

  • The number of units reduced from 30 to 18 and a change to all units being one storey.
  • Relocating the entrance driveway further away from 23 Staplyton St
  • Altering the western boundary slightly to allow a greater buffer zone on the east adjacent ot existing houses
  • Relocating buildings on the North east corner to reduce the impact on existing trees

The group was generally happy with these changes and have asked Holder residents for their comments. They have asked the Taskforce for an assurance that the remaining CFZ are will be rezoned public open space and are working on projects to enhance the memorial park plus adding a nature playground and pathways to connect the park to the oval

Wright

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Several meetings have been held with the taskforce plus a representative form WCCC and the Woden Community Service. At the initial meeting concern was expressed about the lack of consultation prior to the project being commenced. Major issues were the number of dwellings and density of the proposed development plus concerns about traffic and the pressure on parking in streets around the site. The overall layout was considered rather high density and out of scale with surrounding houses. The future use of the remainder of the block was queried.

Wright is a new suburb the community raised the importance of community facilities being established in the suburb linking this to the opportunity for community facility uses on the remainder of the site. The Taskforce undertook possible options for the remainder of the site, their possible size and design requirements. They also undertook to look at the layout of two bedroom dwellings  with one level of basement parking

At a further meeting Wright community representatives confirmed that the capacity to adequately accommodate appropriate community facilities on the site continues to be the key issues for the broader community. The Taskforce provided information to the meeting about the future land release program for community facilities on the site and discussed possible plans for that site.

The community again confirmed that parking and traffic were also significant issues. They expressed interest in understanding the more detailed design of the housing units to understand implications for privacy and solar orientation. The Taskforce stated they would prepare a new site drawing and supporting description presenting the option for community facilities on the site. They confirmed that a representative from ACT Roads will be asked to attend a future meeting with this group to discuss parking and traffic in the area.

A new design concept was prepared by the Taskforce which included :-

  • Reducing the height of building on Steve Irwin Avenue to 2 storey
  • Removing access to the development from Diesendorf St
  • All resident and vistor parking being accommodated on site
  • A design concept for future community facilities on the remainder of the block

This was favourably received by the residents group. A public meeting was then organized by the Residents group and the WCCC for 25 July 2017. There was a large attendance at this meeting and it was noted that many of the attendees had not contributed their comments to the residents groups prior to the meeting. They still evidenced strong concerns similar to those voiced at the initial meeting.

Noting the high level of community interest in the type of community facilities proposed for the remnant part of Block 1 Section 29 Wright the Taskforce provided the following information.  The remnant part of the site is currently listed in the 2018/19 land release program for sale for community use. If there is broad community support, it may be possible to be more prescriptive as to the use. The Taskforce also notes that there is another Community Facility-zoned site in the northern part of Wright, of approximately 5,000m2, to be released in the future.

The taskforce has revised the design to incorporate several minor alterations and this revised plan will be presented to the stakeholders at the next meeting.

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