The ACT Government has released for consultation the draft Active Travel Plan which outlines a strategy to enable more people to take up public transport or cycling as modes of transport across Canberra.
Many North Canberra residents who commute to work via public transport or bike would be conscious of the major challenges with our networks. For those who do not live on the light rail line (or do not have their workplace near a light rail stop), public transport times can be prohibitively long due to the additional connecting buses. For those who cycle, the roads in some suburbs (even new suburbs like North Watson) are very unfriendly for bikes. While the NCCC notes the upcoming Garden City cycle route project may alleviate some of these pressures (and we will hopefully have the project team present at a future NCCC meeting), it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to improve alternative transport options.
With consultation on the Active Travel Plan closing on 24 August, the NCCC intends to lodge a submission and we encourage other members to do the same.
- NCCC’s July General Meeting: A major topic of discussion at the July meeting was the ongoing controversy regarding the public house tenant relocations under the ACT Government’s Growth and Renewal Program (the Canberra Times has published a succinct summary of the issue). The responsible ministers, Ms Rebecca Vassarotti MLA and Ms Yvette Berry MLA, responded to the NCCC’s letter advising why the model was changed from a voluntary opt-in program (due to insufficient numbers opting in). Ms Vassarotti MLA, who attended the meeting, also provided more detail on the proposal, confirming that there will be renewal of 1000 properties and addition of 400 properties.While acknowledging the Ministers’ response (which can be read on the NCCC website) we remain of the view that those tenants who wish to stay where they are for the time being should be removed from the current relocation list and the ACT Government should provision funding for additional social housing that is not contingent on the ‘asset recycling’ of existing social housing.
Local news and updates
- New developments announced: There has been a couple of new developments announced in North Canberra recently. The owners of the Gateway site on the corner of Antill Street and Northbourne in Dickson are seeking a buyer for a proposed 435 build-to-rent project.
A DA has also been lodged for the proposed Braddon Place development, which would be comprised of 602 units and 239 hotel rooms on the former public housing land sitting between Haig Park and the Rex Hotel in Braddon.
- Tenancy law changes: In news that will be of particular interest to North Canberra’s renters and landlords, a draft bill was released on 27 July to ban no-cause evictions.
As reported by CityNews, under the current laws, landlords are able to terminate a tenancy without reason as long as they provide the tenant with 26 weeks’ notice. The new laws would prevent this, although a landlord could still terminate a tenancy for reasons such as failure to pay rent or damage to the property.
The Bill would also make it an offence for landlords or agents to solicit rental bids in order to attain the highest rental price possible.
- ACT Budget: The ACT Government recently released the 2022-23 Budget. As reported by the ABC, the Budget figures reveal a long term trend where Canberra’s surging population is contributing to revenue growth, while at the same time contributing to the pressure on infrastructure and services.
The Budget included a number of announcements specifically relevant to North Canberra:
- An expansion and upgrade of Majura Primary School, which would create 300 more student places, and floodlights at the adjacent Watson oval;
- New facilities for the Watson Health Precinct (which include residential rehabilitation and mental health facilities for young Canberrans); and
A new playground to be built next to Watson Technology Park.