Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 25 August 2005) . . Page.. 3211 ..
inconvenience for local residents and perhaps expensive for the ACT government to remedy for the sake of this developer.
We must also consider the proliferation of multiunit residential developments being built in or planned for our city—generally, these are at the high end of the market, and the Deakin development will be at the very high end of the market, according to the developer—when what we need in this town is more affordable housing, even almost next door to the Lodge. We have never done the sums about whether we need all these dwellings, and a glut would be bad for developers and owners alike. Shouldn’t this kind of planning come under the planning portfolio?
Given that no such analysis appears to have been conducted prior to the acceptance of the proponent’s economic modelling, it is perhaps understandable that Deakin residents have hardened their opposition to the proposed residential development. Nonetheless, the key argument for this debate is a much finer point. It has been argued that this final variation, as opposed to the draft variation, has been amended specifically to allow for a continuation of the existing business, or something similar, on the site, residential development or not.
The minister stated in his tabling statement that “to recognise the existing motel and to retain the potential for this type of development on the site, commercial accommodation was added to the B15 area specific policy”. In the actual written statement for the variation to the plan, however, commercial accommodation units were added to the land use controls, and the possibility of a ground floor restaurant. Current uses including bars and function rooms would not be permitted. It might even raise questions as to the continued operation of the Embassy Motel now that this variation is in force.
In summary, Mr Speaker, I have moved for disallowance of this variation because of the duplicitous process through which it has evolved; because it is a developer-led variation to the plan without research justification; because the amendment to this variation fails to deliver the continuity of purpose which it promised; and because the government has ignored the recommendations of the planning and environment committee and washed its hands of the height issue.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (10.47): The opposition will be supporting this motion by Dr Foskey. I would just like to make a few general points. They go to a lot of the discussions and a lot of the deliberations, which I will not go into in detail, of the planning and environment committee when it looked at this issue.
The general theme of the committee and the unanimous conclusion of the committee in looking at this draft variation was that it was not completely opposed to residential development in the area. The committee drew a line around development that was deemed to be out of character with the surrounds, taking into account the strong concerns of Deakin residents and others in the area and other stakeholders. We took into account certainly the 450 signatures on a petition.
It was not that there was a flat-out rejection of residential use of this site. I think Ms Porter and Mr Gentleman would agree that that was basically the conclusion we came to. But there was a concern about the height. There is no doubt that the proponent