Page 3216 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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relation to the potential height of development on that site. It is a matter for them to determine, consistent with their responsibilities under the national capital plan.

One other issue raised in this debate by Dr Foskey was wrong. Dr Foskey has argued that the territory plan change will exclude the existing commercial accommodation uses on the site. That is incorrect. The reason it is incorrect is that already the B15 area specific policy permits a range of uses on this site, including restaurant, business agency and shop. In addition, the variation includes provision of commercial accommodation units. That means that the variation permits the continuation, for as long as the lessee chooses to do so, of the existing uses on the site; commercial uses, restaurant uses and bar uses can all continue on the site. The area specific B15 policy permits it with the amendment outlined in the variation as a result of the committee’s recommendations.

As an Assembly, we have to back up our words with action. If we believe that higher density development is appropriate in group centres and town centres along public transport corridors to support over time more viable and more sustainable transport uses and to keep development out of low-rise residential areas, we should be supporting changes like this to the territory plan. We should not be supporting changes to the territory plan that permit wholesale redevelopment of existing low-rise, single storey residential areas away from shops, away from public transport routes, but we should be supporting changes to the territory plan that achieve all of the objectives we set ourselves in this place. For those reasons, the government will not be supporting this disallowance.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.09): Draft variation No 237 proposes to change the land use policy for the Embassy Motel site to allow for redevelopment to provide for a diverse range of housing options and contribute to policies contained within the Canberra spatial plan, including reducing pressure on urban expansion, promoting urban infill in appropriate locations and reinforcing the viability of local centres. The fundamental reason for a variation to the territory plan is to change the land use policy to facilitate proposals that are supported by the authority and considered to be consistent with the ACT government’s planning policies. The variation does not give effect to any particular development form as defined by height, floor area or design.

The variation proposes to create a new area specific policy under the residential land use policy of the territory plan. The new area specific policy will not only allow for residential use but, as you have heard, will also enable uses such as restaurant, business, agency and shop. A mixed-use environment will encourage activity on the ground floor level, which, in turn, can provide for passive surveillance of the local area.

The Embassy Motel was constructed in the 1960s and serves the budget end of the tourist market. As Canberra has developed and new accommodation facilities established in both Woden and the city, the viability of this style of motel is proving increasingly difficult. Occupancy rates have steadily declined from 60 per cent in 1998 to 52 per cent in 2003. The study of the economic viability of the Embassy Motel suggests that the occupancy rates of high rate commercial accommodation will continue to decline. While redeveloping the site the opportunity is there to provide medium and high-density residential development closer to commercial centres and major transport corridors. The proposed development of the site for residential use is not permitted in the entertainment,

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