Our next public forum will start at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 July, at ACT Sports House, 100 Maitland Street, Hackett.
We will discuss traffic issues, and a proposed large residential development on 4 hectares of EPBC listed Box-Gum grassy woodland in North Watson.
At our June meeting Susan Hellyer of the ACT Council of Social Service discussed housing issues.
Organisations such as Shelter ACT support high rise because it increases the supply of housing, and supports the argument for increased social housing.
Many residents accept higher density redevelopment, but object to 15-storey developments such as were proposed to replace the ABC flats in Braddon. Reid Residents consider six to eight stories to be an appropriate limit in such circumstances. They also believe that public housing tenants should not be confined to a single high-rise tower, but accommodated through the new development on a “pepper and salt” basis, as in the successful Monterey development.
Susan explained that the Government’s costs for affordable public housing generally exceed the rents received. Other ways to make housing more affordable include improving the energy efficiency of public housing, and replacing transaction taxes with asset taxes. There is also a cost-shifting issue, because people in ACT public housing cannot get Commonwealth rent assistance. Canberra’s retirement villages can be less affordable than those in regional cities, yet may get preferential planning treatment on the basis of their implied promise of reducing government costs for aged people’s housing.
The Health Care Consumers Association told us about health centres that provide services such as physiotherapy, diet advice, podiatry, pathology collection, counselling and community nursing. North Canberra’ s health centre is across the street from the rear of the Dickson Library.
We have joined with the National Trust in expressing grave concerns about proposed amendments to the Heritage Act. These include increased and unprecedented Ministerial call-in powers.
On 1 July representatives from three Community Councils met with Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell. In three recent cases houses have had to be modified after construction, after private certifiers had incorrectly assessed them as meeting planning requirements. Given that there have been around four thousand developments, the Minister does not regard this as a major problem. He agreed to provide information on how many other houses had been incorrectly assessed.