North Canberra Community Council member Leon Arundell said mediation on the Braddon Club plan hadn’t worked and they were deciding whether to pursue the matter in court.
A proposal from the Raiders’ parent company, the Canberra District Rugby League Football Club, would mean the “de-concession” of the land to allow a mixed-use project that would include shops, restaurants, offices, and 160 apartments. The Raiders were also planning to create a commercial car park around Northbourne Oval.
The ACT Planning and Land Authority approved the lease change in July last year. But the community council challenged that decision and the matter is now with the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Mediation between the Raiders and the council could continue for months.
Member for Ginninderra Shane Rattenbury has backed concerns about the loss of open space expressed by the council.
He said the “de-concession” of the Braddon Club site would mean a further reduction in community space.
He took particular exception to the proposal to turn the Northbourne Oval block into a commercial car park.
“The inner north needs open space not more car parks and I think this proposal really is an absurd idea that doesn’t look to Braddon’s future,” Mr Rattenbury said. “I don’t think that a commercial parking operation should be put in place at the expense of open space in this area.”
He said there was an overall discussion about community space across the city.
“What we are seeing here is building community concern about the ‘de-concessionalisation’ process where community groups are granted concessional leases and then change them and proceed with significant commercial development,” he said.
The council’s acting chairman Mike Hettinger has released results from a contentious survey of residents that favour a community option.
“Of the 145 inner north Canberra residents who participated in the survey in hard-copy, email and online, 65 per cent prefer a community-oriented option, 26 per cent prefer a residential/commercial option and 9 per cent another option,” Mr Hettinger said.
“What’s impressive with the overall total is that a significant majority prefer a community-oriented option, even in the face of a concerted Raiders effort to maximise preferences for the residential/commercial option in the on-line version of survey conducted by the North Canberra Community Council.”
But Canberra District Rugby League Football Club chief executive Simon Hawkins questioned the legitimacy of the results.
“You can do their survey as many times as you like and you don’t have to put down your name and you don’t have to put down your address,” Mr Hawkins said.
He said they had sought responses from their own membership about the development. Of the 191 members that wrote back only one was against the Raiders’ plan for the Braddon Club site
This originally appeared in the Canberra Times