Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 1016 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Let me remind members that I moved a motion back in 1996 calling on the Government to scrap the B1 zone and to institute a proper local area planning process to determine the most appropriate locations for medium-density housing in the inner north. Unfortunately, both Labor and the Liberals opposed my motion and so must share the blame for the continuing controversy over the poorly designed medium-density housing developments being proposed in Braddon and Turner. The Assembly is now being placed in a difficult situation in that it has been presented with a plan variation which is an improvement on the existing B1 zone provisions but certainly does not go as far as it could in setting up a better planning regime for the inner north to balance the valid demands for redevelopment against the desires of existing residents to preserve the urban amenity that they currently have.
The Greens have previously said that they do not oppose urban consolidation in principle because there are environmental and social benefits from reducing suburban sprawl, but the debate has always been over the question of how it is done. We have consistently said that we oppose the approach taken in the Territory Plan which encourages the monolithic development of three-storey blocks of flats over the maximum amount of land in the B1 areas, instead of encouraging a diversity of housing styles that preserve the essential characteristics of the existing housing and landscaping.
Variation No. 109 has at least reduced the density of the B1 zone by splitting the zone into the B11 three-storey areas near Northbourne Avenue and the B12 two-storey areas elsewhere, but there is still the assumption that the zone will be totally redeveloped eventually into medium-density housing, instead of allowing for some of the existing housing to remain.
The plan variation has introduced the concept of section master plans to overcome the problem identified in the past that redevelopments were being planned in isolation of other redevelopments close by. Unfortunately, the section master planning process falls well short of what we originally envisaged with local area planning. For example, there is still a need to look at the planning of a suburb as a whole and how all these section plans will interact with each other. I am concerned about whether PALM has sufficient resources to undertake this section planning adequately, and I am concerned about the poor consultation processes that have occurred with the first section plan completed. I recognise that this report has acknowledged those concerns and I can see a number of recommendations addressing them, particularly around consultation. I do hope that the Government will pick them up. Also, the resourcing issue is quite serious.
I am concerned about the demands placed on the LAPACs to provide comments on such plans when they are also underresourced. I noticed in the report that 13 more section plans are to be submitted to LAPACs. I would be concerned if they were put in in a rush or en masse. I think we need to be very respectful of what we are asking the LAPACs to do. It has been an ongoing problem. If I see them suddenly overloaded with 11 or 12 section plans, I will be expressing my concern about that in the Assembly, hoping that the Minister will take an approach which improves the situation for the LAPACs and not allow that to happen. It will be of no credit to the process if that actually happens.