12 Mar / 2022

1. Non-Standard blocks 2. Raising London Circuit

8 March 2022 concerns of the Deakin Residents’ Association

Report by John Bell, President, to the
Inner South Canberra Community Council

Non-Standard blocks: Currently there are two redevelopment proposals is Deakin which are of concern. One of them involves a non standard block. Essentially, a standard block is one intended for a single dwelling. Anything else is non standard. The problem is that non-standard blocks are exempt from some of the key provisions of the Multi Unit Housing Development Code.

A variation to the Territory Plan, DV350, was supposed to fix this loophole in the Territory Plan. It did not. We have discovered that there are non standard blocks in other parts of Canberra that are causing similar problems to what we are facing.

In Deakin suburb, the proposal is to cram 4 town houses on to a regular block in the middle of our RZ1 zone. The Proposal is in breach of a number of provisions of the code and overlooks the neighbours. We have lodged an objection to the development. You can read more about this on the DRA website or our Facebook page. We are also exploring possible solutions that the government could use to remove this loophole.

Raising London Circuit: Let me remind you – the proposal is to remove the current underpass and raise London circuit so as to create an intersection with Commonwealth Avenue controlled by a new set of traffic lights. It will enable Light Rail Stage 2A coming around the west side of London Circuit to get up to the level of Commonwealth Avenue. This is part of yet another attempt to get rid of the traffic cloverleafs so that the land can be leased for high rise development. This would destroy the vistas that the Griffins thought important. Can you imagine the Washington DC city administration ever allowing this to happen on the banks of the Potomac?

RLC will involve a 2-year construction period. During this time, traffic capacity on Commonwealth Avenue will be reduced by 80 per cent. There will be a major loss of parking in Civic, increased travel times and increased emissions of carbon dioxide. Some 60,000 tonnes of fill will be trucked in. To try to figure out how to manage this, the ACT Government has established the aptly named Disruption Taskforce.

You won’t want to try to find parking near the Canberra Theatre. Some traffic will be redirected via Coranderrk Street to Parkes Way. Traffic lights will be installed on Parkes Way at the large roundabout with a pond in the middle. One likely impact of all this is that Inner South residents will no longer bother to try to get to Civic to shop.

The ACT Government is currently seeking works approval for RLC from the National Capital Authority. The ISCCC has provided a submission which can be accessed on our website or, unformatted, on the NCA website. The proposal has attracted strong opposition. We shall await the outcome of the NCA’s deliberations with interest.

Of course, raising London Circuit would be completely unnecessary if the Government had decided to adopt modern electric buses instead of Light Rail. We were pleased to see the Government calling tenders for the supply of 80 electric buses and disappointed when it subsequently cancelled the tender and announced that it would buy a much smaller number of these buses. In the meantime, Brisbane and Perth are going ahead with the purchase of electric buses, having found that earlier proposals for Light Rail were not economic.