Page 2844 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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the fact there are already a number of proposals in the public arena.

The present process began in 2002 when ACTPLA initiated the City Hill task force, made up of heads of ACT government agencies and the National Capital Authority. It was replaced by the Canberra central task force in late 2004, in response to several inquires that identified the need to focus on this part of the city as a central element in the Canberra plan. The task force is to advise the ACT government on the most appropriate redevelopment options for the area, with a broad target of reporting by the centenary of the naming of Canberra on 12 March 1913.

So far as we know, three major proposals have been considered by the task force. ACTPLA’s offering, entitled City Hill: a concept for the future, outlined conceptual goals for the planning of City Hill. This document, I believe, was intended to stimulate public discussion and lacked the detail of other proposals, and hence should not be considered as one.

Two proposals for the large-scale redevelopment of Civic have emerged in the process. The first is backed by Terry Snow, a prominent local businessman and owner and proponent of the airport where the ACT government has expressed concern about the increasing supply of commercial and office space, fearing that it may rival Civic and other town and retail centres. The second is characterised by the inclusion of a high-speed monorail, with international financial backing.

The Griffin legacy, produced by the National Capital Authority, is in the public domain, at $75. It incorporates fairly concrete planning principles. It also appears that the NCA has made a detailed planning submission to the task force based on the Griffin legacy.

I understand that the NCA indicates in its more detailed planning submission that it opposes any development on City Hill. I have been advised that the chair of the Canberra central task force was asked not to publicise such information, which would appear to rule out much in the other proposals. It may be that the other proponents are aware of this conflict of ideas, but it does muddy the water for others in the community looking to engage with the ideas, and this is disappointing.

There is a high degree of difference, or of variability, between the amount of detail of each of the proposals. Terry Snow produced a CD-ROM with lovely pictures. The NCA produced the expensive and informative coffee-table book the Griffin legacy. Moving our future was two to three pages, with some maps. It is, therefore, impossible to realistically compare the proposals. However, perhaps there are pluses to this. It provides an opportunity to focus on establishing workable and sustainable planning consultation processes. It is a great pity that the planning objectives were not developed prior to the call for public submissions. As such, much of the information in the submissions may not meet the criteria.

We understand that the task force will present planning objectives to the ACT government at the end of August. We look forward to seeing them, but the horse is following the cart here, I fear. Nonetheless, it provides an opportunity for public consultation that may partly compensate for the neglect to do so earlier. The three planning proposals share a number of common elements:

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