Master plan’s long term approach to development

The long-awaited Weston master plan will pin-point the chosen site for a new petrol station to the north of the town centre.

Set to be released by Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, the document shows in the next 10 years, the government could close off Trenerry Street from Brierly Street for cars.

It also allows for the possible expansion of the existing Cooleman Court, the possible co-location of a community and health hub, and considers converting the oval into a nature conservation wetland.

The Weston Creek Community Council has called for serious local improvements to get underway.

Potential action within the next two decades includes investigation of the possible supportive housing near the community hub, provisions for mixed use residential zoning, and improved connections between the commercial centre and recreation precinct.

In the long term, after 20 years, potential action includes allowing a variety of commercial and residential development, including on the Weston Clubsite, and developing supportive housing.

Mr Gentleman had been due to release the master plan in late November, but it was delayed because of  “unforeseen circumstances”.

An Environment and Planning Directorate spokeswoman said planning for the document had begun in 2011.

“The Weston Group Centre Master Plan aims to improve parking and connections in the centre, create places to meet, integrate residential development and allow for community uses into the future,” she said.

The Oaks Estate master plan has also been released, with a view of keeping in mind the possible blanket heritage listing for the area.

A spokesman said the master plan proposes to create a formal entry into the village, which will possibly help reduce the rat-running between Queanbeyan and Canberra.

He said the master plan proposes to keep development to a minimum to preserve the heritage of the area, and prevent the ad-hoc development it is seeing at the moment.

The full master plans for both Weston and Oaks Estate will be available on the ACT government website from Tuesday.

Weston Creek Community Council chairman Tom Anderson said he was pleased to see the document was finally being released.

“It has taken quite a long time to get to this point but what the community wants to see is action by the government now, not what might happen in the next 10  to 30 years which is in essence what the plan says.”

“This community has been forgotten for the better part of 30 plus years, by successive ACT governments,” Mr Anderson said.

The council has called for three new developments to be prioritised: more parking and improved access to Cooleman Court, a new community centre and a more friendly streetscape.

Mr Anderson called for action and decisions from the government in early 2015.

“The petrol station bit has never been part of the discussion apart from people saying they wanted it,” he said. “It has been an exercise that has been carried on outside of the master plan process and its going ahead … and we’re really pleased about that.”

Mr Anderson said not much development had happened in Weston Creek, in part because of  a smaller population of 22,000 people.

“We’re a small community, we’re the smallest district but we really believe we’ve suffered,” he said. “Apart from some work on the local shops, nothing much else has happened in Weston Creek in 30 years.”

By Kimberley Granger and Tom McIlroy – Canberra Times


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