Page 561 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

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The Minister for Planning, Simon Corbell, forwarded draft variation to the territory plan No 246 to the committee in the Fifth Assembly. There was insufficient time for the committee to consider the proposal before the election on 16 October. DV246 was held over for the consideration of the committee in the Sixth Assembly.

On 9 December 2004, I was elected Chair of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, with Mr Zed Seselja MLA as the Deputy Chair and Mary Porter AM, MLA as the third member of the committee. The committee considered DV246 on 21 December 2004 as a priority as it had been held over from the last Assembly. With the committee wanting to have all members available for consideration, DV246 was considered again on 8 February 2005 and finally on 11 February.

The documentation and consultation reports provided by the ACT Planning and Land Authority, as well as correspondence and detailed expositions of views sent to the committee by several stakeholders, favoured the retention of the earlier and extended A10 residential core area specific policy in Downer. These were carefully considered before the committee made its decision.

The processes for developing the Downer neighbourhood plan commenced in March 2003 and has involved extensive community consultation. Key events included a neighbourhood newsletter, photographic character discovery, focus groups, a vision workshop, the exhibition of ideas plans, and the establishment of a residents reference group and information sessions. The six-week formal consultation period started on 4 June 2004 and finished on 19 July 2004.

The Downer neighbourhood plan guides the suburb as it meets the challenges of the next 15 years whilst respecting what makes the suburb unique now. It provides planning strategies for the future of the local shopping centre, open spaces, residential areas, community facilities and transport networks. The plan outlines the future character of these neighbourhoods, while protecting and enhancing the elements currently valued.

A task of the neighbourhood planning program is to better fit the territory plan’s residential core areas. This involves recognising that a neighbourhood may contain features that are highly valued by residents. Sometimes modifying the core area boundaries is justified to ensure that a broader policy aim can be achieved whilst respecting the local area conditions. This draft variation is a result of the extensive consultations and the planning and design work undertaken by the ACT Planning and Land Authority in the formulation of the Downer neighbourhood plan.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority’s extensive consultations with the residents of the Downer neighbourhood have indicated a high level of community value associated with the south-west corner of the suburb. This value includes a mature streetscape in certain streets, such as Berry Street, Blackett Street, Legge Street and Padbury Street, consisting of trees such as Eucalyptus, cinerea, Quercus palustris, Eucalyptus mannifera and Quercus cerris.

In preparing this draft variation to the territory plan, the ACT Planning and Land Authority is required under section 16 of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991

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