Monash Drive to be removed from the National Capital Plan

Monash Drive

Proposed route of Monash Drive (Source: Google Maps)

Multiple local news sources are reporting that the National Capital Authority is expected to announce that Monash Drive will be taken off the National Capital Plan.

If removal was recommended by the NCA there would be a period of public consultation before the removal is officially gazetted.

A compendium of various news articles, editorials, letters to the editor and related media releases have been reproduced below:

iPrime:
Heard the one about the road that was not there?

Monash Drive, the road that is not there, is likely to be taken off the National Capital Plan after a long-running campaign.

The National Capital Authority today confirmed the plan will be an item for discussion at a meeting on Friday.

Whether or not the project goes ahead will be the key point in talks and, if it is decided the plan will not be binned completely, the project will go for public consultation.

Greens Member Caroline Le Couteur said, although Monash Drive was taken off the Territory Plan (adminstered by the ACT Government) a number of years ago, it has stayed on the National Capital Plan (administered by the NCA, a Federal Authority).

She said, without this final step, the NCA can over-ride the Territory Plan.

Ms Le Couteur said Monash Drive was originally planned to run behind Ainslie but that would be an outdated concept for today’s sustainability planning.

More public transport is a much better option than bulldozing nature reserves to build highways, she said.

Google maps and some GPS maps clearly show Monash Drive running from Antill Street, Dickson to Fairbairn Avenue opposite Campbell.

ABC News Online:
NCA likely to scrap Monash Drive plan

The ACT Greens are claiming victory after reports the National Capital Authority (NCA) is set to remove the proposed Monash Drive from the National Capital Plan.

The proposed road would cut through the Canberra Nature Park and closely border residential properties in Campbell, Ainslie, Hackett and Watson.

The Greens have been opposed to the plan.

As part of the Greens’ parliamentary agreement with Labor, the ACT Government wrote to federal ministers asking for the plan to be dropped.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says it is likely the NCA will move to dump the proposed road when the authority meets this week.

“It’s basically on the edge of the nature park, we don’t want to see the nature park disturbed,” she said.

“It’s also just on people’s backyards – we don’t particularly want to see them disturbed.

“So from a local environmental point of view, it’s not good for the people and it’s not good for the nature park.

The Canberra Times:
NCA set to drop Monash Drive

The National Capital Authority is expected to decide this week to finally scrap Monash Drive from the National Capital Plan.

The move follows strong representations from the ACT Government that it has no intention of ever building the proposed roadway that would cut a swath through Canberra Nature Park past the suburbs of Hackett, Ainslie and Campbell.

NCA chief executive Gary Rake told The Canberra Times yesterday the authority would meet on Friday to decide whether to remove Monash Drive from its blueprint for Canberra, and conceded that including it in the national capital plan was redundant. ”Given that the proposed alignment of this road is entirely on territory land, whether it exists in the plan or not, it wouldn’t go ahead unless the ACT decided to build it,” Mr Rake said.

”So with the ACT having indicated very clearly to us that they have no intention of building it, at the moment it is virtually a redundant clause anyway.”

If the authority’s five members vote to propose the removal of the roadway from the plan, it would be put to public consultation early next year before a final decision was made.

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has never supported construction of Monash Drive, which was pencilled in by the National Capital Development Commission (now the NCA) in the early 1960s for a major roadway along the Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura side of Duffy Street, in Ainslie.

The territory’s own planning body, the ACT Planning Authority, omitted Monash Drive from its Canberra Spatial Plan and the Sustainable Transport Plan in 2004.

Earlier this year, Mr Stanhope wrote to then Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, asking for the removal of Monash Drive from the NCA’s plan. ACTPLA chief planning executive, Neil Savery, wrote similarly to Mr Rake in July.

Acting Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said in a statement issued yesterday the ACT Government had not supported the road’s construction because of the ecological significance of the nature park.

The ACT Greens have claimed responsibility for Mr Stanhope’s lobbying of the Federal Government, as it was one of the commitments Mr Stanhope had made in his party’s agreement with the Greens after last year’s election. In exchange, the Greens supported Labor to form government.

Greens planning spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said the removal of the road would provide certainty to residents.

”It would run between Ainslie residences and Mount Majura, so if it was built, it would be a major highway right in people’s backyards,” Ms Le Couteur said.

”Whatever way you put it, it would be a disaster for the people living there and for the park.”

Related media release from the ACT Greens:

A compendium of Letters to the Editor, Articles and Editorials from the Canberra Times:

Note: copyright of the material in the clippings resides with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Prime Television, Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: ABC News website, iPrime Website, Canberra Times website,  27 October 2009 & Canberra Times (various dates)

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