Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 784 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In the context of this debate and this issue, we need to keep in mind that this development is to proceed as part of variation 64 to the Territory Plan. Variation 64 is a response to the decline in local shopping centres. Local centres were intended to provide convenience retailing and other convenience shopping and community and business services. Variation 64 allows a wider range of uses at local centres, such as light industry, veterinary hospitals, church uses and some servicing and repair uses. It also allows residential and mixed uses in the centres. Convenience retailing is to be retained unless it can be established that it is not commercially viable and it is reasonably accessible from other centres. The commercial space cannot be reduced by more than 50 per cent and replaced by residential development-this is very important in relation to this matter of the Latham shops-unless it can be substantiated that the local centre or the commercial space being replaced is no longer viable. The zoning remains commercial (d). Commercial uses can be re-established at a later stage and the areas changed to residential.

There is some dispute in relation to the extent to which commercial use of the Latham shops is or is not viable. It needs to be remembered that at the time of the fire that burnt out the Latham shops there were four viable, continuing businesses. That was the situation prior to the fire. We now have suggestions that Latham cannot be regarded as a viable commercial centre, despite the fact that at the time of the fire there were four viable, active, continuing businesses. All of a sudden, when it is no longer convenient to regard Latham as a viable commercial centre, we dismiss the facts of that recent past.

Variation 64 allows redevelopment within a variation of the Territory Plan. Most importantly for developers, the government will remit all the change of use charge. It will waive fees for development and building applications and land title registration fees. It will remit rates and land tax for a six-month period. Variation 64 was designed to revitalise shopping centres, not as a back door way for owners to convert shopping centres to residential use without amendment of the Territory Plan and to avoid the normal charges.

It is my contention, and I believe it is the view of the residents of Latham, that the minister has played a less than helpful role in this process. I believe that, if the commissioner rejects the application, the minister will have the opportunity to be more positive; that is, of course, in the circumstance that the commissioner does reject the application. The minister should, in those circumstances, encourage the owners to come up with a workable proposal. If this does not work, the minister should consider terminating the current lease and testing the market for a shopping centre redevelopment. If that test were unsuccessful, the minister could then offer the site for other purposes and the community could receive a reward from any change of use.

Block 3 section 31 could be included in this approach. I think that the point, the thrust, of Ms Tucker's motion is that we do have a continuing and, at this stage, frustrating delay in the consideration of the future of the Latham shops. That matter is yet to be resolved, it is still to be considered and determined by the commissioner, and, subject to the outcomes of that consideration, there is a range of steps that, as I have just indicated, the minister could and, in my view, should take. In advance of that, we have the government offering for sale for residential use a block of land immediately adjacent to the shops, a block of land which is potentially very significant for future uses of the Latham shops

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .