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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 220 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I am a little concerned about the way in which the town square campaign has been conducted. The council's website, for example, asks visitors to choose between the current temporary traffic arrangement that channels all through traffic past the supermarket and a town square proposal. There is also no clear indication of the scale. I was surprised to learn that the proposed square, as marked on their maps, would be 110 by 150 metres, which is more than six times the size of Garema Place.

The usual approach to shopping centre development in this country, although it is now going out of favour, is to build inward-looking malls that can deliver shoppers in cars to a controlled environment. As I understand it, the GDA, the Gungahlin Community Council and, indeed, the majority of Gungahlin residents are looking for another model. They are not wanting to move right away from the original model that came out of the consultation. However, they want to develop a retail and civic precinct with a real focus on encouraging pedestrian access and street activity and that does require a greater commitment to design and a more rigorous tender process than a simple mall model and perhaps the model that is there now.

This motion should not have to mean a long delay. I do not think that in the end the issue is about having a town square. It is about the current and future traffic arrangements and high-quality pedestrian precincts on the one hand and how much people believe they have been heard and their concerns addressed on the other. Whilst I appreciate the need to proceed with development promptly, it would seem judicious to try once again to address the issue in an open and collaborative manner first. I trust the issues of traffic load and pedestrian amenity can be resolved without needing to recast the town plan or call for new tenders.

The Gungahlin residents have had a pretty rough time in lots of ways. If this sentiment is being expressed by so many people in Gungahlin, even if the government sincerely believes that it is misguided in some way, I think that the government does need to pay respect to those people and take extra time to sort out any misunderstandings and look at the issues. It is not going to make a huge difference in terms of development. If it makes some difference but the result is better in the long term for the Gungahlin community, it would be worth it. Once this development is completed, we will be stuck with it, obviously, for a very long time. I am supporting Mrs Dunne's motion. I think that it is adding something important to the current process.

MS DUNDAS (8.20): Mr Speaker, the recent controversy over planning proposals for the Gungahlin Town Centre brings into focus the continuing community concern over the inadequate interaction between the government and residents over planning decisions. We have had much discussion already tonight about the campaign by some residents of Gungahlin to register their protest at the low levels of community input to the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre.

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