We have reached the end of another busy year and the NCCC would like to thank all members who have contributed their time and labour across a vast range of issues in ACT planning policy and development proposals over the past twelve months.
2022 is likely to be just as busy with major development applications expected to be lodged across North Canberra and broader planning processes, such as ACT Planning System Review, to be finalised. We hope all NCCC members can take a well-deserved break over the holiday period and we look forward to touching base again in the new year.
- Update on Annual General Meeting: The NCCC held its AGM on 17 November, with the new Committee elected, including the re-election of Joachim Zeil as NCCC Chair (the full list of Office Bearers and resident association representatives can be found here).The AGM also featured a wide ranging discussion on the NCCC’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities going forward and an animated discussion regarding the proposed Ainslie Football Club development, for which we intend to host a guest presentation early in 2022. Thanks to all NCCC members and guests who contributed towards an enjoyable evening.
- ACT Planning Review update – The ACT Government recently provided an update on the progress of the ACT Planning Review process, which notes that a new Planning Bill will be released for public comment in early 2022. The update flags that the new Bill will put forward “more efficient and transparent development assessment pathways and assessments”, with draft strategies also expected to be released in mid-2022. The full update from the ACT Government can be accessed here.The NCCC considers that the release of a draft Bill is highly premature, given that the material that has been released throughout the consultation period to date, including at the ‘district workshop’ sessions, has lacked any substantive detail or policy analysis that inform the proposed changes. While desires for “more efficient” assessments sound good in the abstract, without a clear indication of the policy framework or discussion of the pro’s and con’s of different approaches, it is impossible to provide an informed perspective on the direction of the planning reforms.
Given this context, it is also concerning that the proposed legislative changes are being brought forward for consultation prior to the release of the draft strategies that would ultimately underpin the legislative changes.
Local news and updates
- Summernats Fringe Festival: After a year’s hiatus, Summernats will be returning to Canberra in 2022 from Thursday to Sunday 6 to 9 January. The event will feature a new ‘Summernats Fringe Festival’ in Braddon, with Lonsdale Street closing down for the event over the Friday and Saturday nights.
- Development Application Finder App: The ACT Government is developing a new version of its DA Finder mobile app, and is seeking feedback on the new app features before its final release. Anyone who is interested in learning more about using the app or haa any views on its functionality can provide feedback here.
- Draft Variation 369 – update – The draft variation, which has received wide attention due to its implications for urban cooling and the Government’s 30% tree canopy target, was referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services on 29 October. The Committee agreed not to inquire on the variation at this time, but resolved to conduct an inquiry 12 to 18 months after DV369 has been implemented to review how it is working on the ground.
- Construction and roadworks around the city centre – The level of construction and roadwork activity around London Circuit and Northbourne Avenue is set to increase over the coming months. Ahead of the construction of Light Rail Stage 2, the National Capital Authority has released maps detailing where the initial works will be undertaken, which can be seen here.The City Renewal Authority will also be undertaking upgrades to Odgers and Verity Lanes within the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings, to install new sewer piping and drainage infrastructure. All works are expected to be finalised by the end of 2022.