Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 218 ..
In December, information came to the surface that the GDA was going to press ahead at its next board meeting with the release of blocks 13 and 14. The GCC started a community support campaign which involved a special edition of "Gunsmoke", letters to the Chief Minister, a petition and an email campaign. (Extension of time granted.)
In summary, whilst it is true that extensive consultation occurred in the early and mid-1990s, it must be remembered that the population then was approximately 2,000 to 2,500 residents. The current population is now in excess of 20,000 and the people of Gungahlin are not happy with the current outcome. The community wishes to address the issues of traffic flow in the town centre by the introduction of a pedestrian precinct and town square while it is still possible and blocks 13 and 14 have not yet been sold. Once those blocks are sold, the opportunity to change traffic flow will be gone.
Mr Speaker, the original plans for the town centre in the early 1990s-an impression that the community was originally given of a streetscape of only minimal traffic-have been subverted over time to a street with high volumes of traffic in proportion to the width of the street. This situation is perceived as unattractive, unfriendly and, most importantly, unsafe by the community. There is also a general feeling in the community that it is going to take a serious injury or even a fatality before the problem is properly resolved, more out of a knee-jerk reaction than good planning.
It seems that it was only after the opening of the Flemington Road extension, which, as I said earlier, was originally meant to meet with The Valley Avenue and not Hibberson Street, according to the Territory Plan, that the amount of through traffic became a significant issue. The claims that the traffic issue will be magically alleviated by the completion of Anthony Rolfe Avenue are a little misleading. It will only carry a portion of the town centre traffic, which will, once again, increase across the available road network as the population in the Gungahlin region increases.
It appears that for the past 18 months numerous Gungahlin residents have had serious concerns about the Gungahlin Development Authority. They say that the GDA has become increasingly-these are their words-"arrogant"and "refuses to listen to the concerns of the community". Whilst the GDA claims to engage in consultation, residents say that it has become increasingly apparent that it is paying lip-service to such consultation, instead pressing ahead with its own agenda.
It appears that this perceived arrogance is now being supported by the government in general and, more recently, by Minister Corbell. Minister, there does appear to be a flaw in this consultation process which I believe warrants a review and which the people of Gungahlin deserve as a matter of course. I support Mrs Dunne in her motion.
MS TUCKER (8.13): The underlying questions here are ones of collaboration and how the ACT government has worked or not worked with community organisations in Gungahlin. I understand that planners often believe that they have a good sense of community expectation and then are confident that they have put together a design which addresses expressed concerns and which ought to meet, as best it could, those expectations.