2 Dec / 2016

President’s Report – Annual General Meeting 2016

During the past year the Committee has continued to work on issues of concern to Deakin residents, including arguing for the continued application in consideration of development applications of the Garden City Values and Principles in our suburb.

Heritage issues

In March the DRA made a Submission on proposed ACT Five Year ACT Heritage Strategy in which we reinforced our concern that notwithstanding paper commitments to the Garden City concept for Deakin, and the Garden City Principles, both are being quickly eroded in Deakin through inappropriate development with iIndividual blocks are being leveled and trees demolished to be replaced by large site-covering structures, with impermeable external areas and gardens of low shrubs, grasses and bushes. We noted particular concern for prospective and likely intensive developments in the RZ2 zones that are damaging the streetscapes and transforming the garden nature of the suburb.

We also argued for the development of a Precinct Code for Deakin that would constrain inappropriate development to help preserve the suburb’s heritage and Garden City values. We noted, too, that social values in Deakin are largely connected to its small parks and open spaces which had great value to the local community, especially to community living adjacent to them, and the potential threat to these from inappropriate development.

Girl’s Grammar and Latrobe Park

We were approached by the Grammar School with a proposal to re-landscape Latrobe Park. This would involve levelling and re-turfing a playing field, installing a running track and constructing a toilet and changing facilities. The school wishes to use the Park for sports activities during school hours with ‘occasional’ use on weekends .
After meetings with school officials, we assisted the school to organize an information session, which was well attended. We produced an extensive record of the session which is on the DRA website.

The issues relating to this proposal include :

  • community attitudes to the use of the Latrobe Park by the school for permanent sporting facilities
  • whether the school should be granted a 25-30 lease for the use of public land for school sporting facilities
  • whether the school should be granted a lease or a licence to use Latrobe Park
  • assurances that the public would l continue to have access to Latrobe Park
  • the nature of any fencing that might be constructed, and
  • whether the school could get the use of the current ACT Government sheds to house grounds maintenance equipment.

We have had a further discussion with the school and ACT officials about the issues. We expect more discussions in the near future.

ACT Election

Prior to the election, the DRA invited candidates for the electorate of Kurrajong to respond to a questionnaire about local issues. The Liberals, the Greens and independent candidate Marea Fatseas provided responses which we posted on our website. I take this opportunity, on behalf of the DRA and Deakin residents, to warmly thank those parties and candidates who responded to our questions.

Safety measures at the Deakin shops

Over the years there have been a number of accidents in the parking area around the Deakin shops. Our previous President, Peter Wurfel, put a lot of effort into this issue, which we have followed up. The result is that safety barriers are now in place around the shops. Throughout this campaign we also liaised closely with the pharmacist at Deakin and thank him for his concern and persistence in support of public safety measures to benefit Deakin residents and all who use the shops.

Other safety measures on which we have initiated action include requesting additional pedestrian crossings in the area around the shops and a 40 km/hour speed limit. This speed limit has been implemented around some other suburban shopping centres. However the current speed limit in Hopetoun Avenue, an increasingly busy road, is still 60 km/hour.

Parking at the Deakin shops

The major problem with parking at the shops appears to a lack of enforcement of existing regulations by the ACT Government. There is a need to meet the parking needs of a range of users. A continuing failure on the part of the ACT Government to enforce the soccer club’s lease conditions is limiting the availability of spaces.

Parking in West Deakin

During the year the DRA has worked closely with West Deakin residents to address parking problems caused by workers in West Deakin parking in residential streets, particularly in Beauchamp Street. Committee members met with West Deakin resident representatives and ACT Government officials and were successful in getting pay parking removed from the car park in Geils Court. This has reduced but not removed the problem. With the expected redevelopment of the bowling club site (Equinox 2) it is anticipated that parking problems will get worse. We continue to work with active and engaged residents in West Deakin and in particular support a review of the provision of parking in West Deakin ahead of the planned demolition of the bowling club and the redevelopment proposals being considered.

Watch List

Issues that we have been monitoring, and that may require active response at any time, include:

  • Large-scale residential and other developments on public land between West Deakin and the Yarralumla Brickworks site.
  • Increased through-traffic arising from population increase, especially at Molonglo suburbs and potential residential development at Federal Golf Club.
  • Impact of planning options related to proposed light rail between City and Woden, probably via Adelaide Avenue.
  • National Capital Authority allowing development of multi-unit residences between National Circuit and State Circle.

Committee matters.

I can report that committee meetings have been well attended throughout the year. Committee members have also worked hard and met and consulted between meetings. The DRA has continued to participate actively in the work of the Inner South Canberra Community Council.

DRA membership numbers have continued to grow during the year. In addition we have a number of residents who are not members but are interested in the work of the Association and subscribe to our mailing list.

During the year Richard Thwaites has done an excellent job in managing our website. This is in addition to serving as Secretary of the DRA.  Richard is stepping down at this meeting and we warmly thank him for all his hard work for the Deakin community as DRA Secretary.

I would also like to thank the other members of the committee for their efforts during the past year.

John Bell
President, Deakin Residents’ Association, Inc
29 November 2016