Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3812..
MS LE COUTEUR (continuing):
building heights on the site, as well as higher building sites in the RZ zones across Canberra generally.
My motion today, however, is to specifically reject the new rule R27A, which is just for block 4 section 69 Lyons, which allows a maximum building height of 10 storeys. For reference, this block is on the corner of Melrose Drive and Launceston Street. This is also the north-east corner of the redevelopment site. It means that the variation proposes to allow the tallest building on the site to overshadow the maximum number of units possible, and this is just not good planning or good design.
Talking about the site in general, the area is opposite Woden town centre and is a prime location for higher density on the basis of access to good public transport, good employment prospects, good retail and good education. I think that, in general, the development of Burnie Court has been a missed opportunity to increase the density on what is a really great site. Obviously, I have problems with allowing a 10-storey tower in one corner. The proposal fails to capitalise on a great location while also angering the local community. It could be called a lose-lose situation.
One of the distressing features of the development has been that the number of units on such a prime site has not been increased. This is ironic, given that I have been accused of being anti-density or anti-consolidation for opposing the 10-storey element. The whole proposal, as planned, does not even bring about an increased number of units on the site. It is expected by the proponents that, due to the large amount of space—over half—occupied by single-storey units in the proposed 10 and six-storey buildings, they will still only have as many units on the site as the previous three-storey development had. That is why I recommended in my dissenting comments to the planning committee's report on this issue that future leases in all but single residential sites contain a requirement for a minimum yield for the site.
What makes unfortunate and a particularly blatant example of poor design and planning from the ACT government is that they had a large empty site in a brilliant position which they did entirely own and still partially own. It is not a situation where poor decisions have been made by external developers and the ACT government is powerless to intervene.
The proposal for Burnie Court is that over half of the area is one storey and the majority of the rest are two to four storeys. To make up the density, the get out of jail card, as it were, is for one tower to be 10 storeys. When the planning committee asked why there was so much single-storey development on the site, given that the previous development was three storeys, we were told that single storey was what was demanded by the retirement market. However, I would point out that Goodwin Village has been successful in its multistorey redevelopment in Ainslie. I have also been told that most of the units in the 20-storey Sky Plaza development in Woden town centre are, in fact, occupied by over 55-year-olds. If there is a need for retired people to be on the ground floor for accessibility reasons, and I appreciate that that is often the case, they could, of course, be on the bottom storey of a multistorey development. I point out that the adjacent public housing retirement units are three storeys.