Page 3820 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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Canberra spatial plan and which is adjacent to the town centre and major transport corridor.

In light of the committee’s other recommendations, ACTPLA was directed by the minister to consider the draft variation prior to approving it. The draft variation was consequently amended to better protect solar access of any existing development site.

Just to recap, Ms Le Couteur’s disallowance motion relating to rule 27A contained in variation No 288 to the territory plan may well reduce the dwelling density for the redevelopment of the site of Melrose Drive in Lyons. As the site has already been developed, it would be nigh on impossible to redesign the remainder of the dwellings for the site to both increase dwelling yield and to meet the other provisions of the multi-unit development code. It is supported as a prime location by the Canberra spatial plan, being adjacent to the town centre and major corridor, and I think it needs to proceed as is. As the minister has indicated, there is no support for this motion.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (12.28), in reply: I rise to comment on some of the comments that have been made on my proposal. I think the thing that we should all remember in this is that this is a site-specific rule. We unanimously agree that this is a really good site, and most of it has already been covered by single-storey developments which are currently being constructed. Last century it had three-storey units on it. The government, in their wisdom, demolished them and constructed single storey. They are now trying to tell me that this is part of urban densification. It just does not make sense.

What we have to take from this is that, yes, we are all in agreement that, in theory, there should be urban densification. But we need to actually think about doing it in a way that the communities will support, in a way that will create a liveable outcome. The ideal is not how tall is the building. Yes, 10 storeys are taller than six storeys—agreed—but that does not make it better. I could go on more about height and size, but I think that I probably should not. Basically, what I am saying is that this debate should be about quality, not about quantity. What most of this debate has been about is quantity. Basically the other sides are saying, “Ten storeys are higher than six storeys, therefore, it is better.” That is about as far as the analysis has gone. It is a very simple-minded analysis, particularly, as I said, given that over half of this site is covered by single-storey elements.

We should also remember that the best that we are expecting to get, even with the 10-storey element now is to have as many units on the site as we had last century. How this can be described as urban densification is beyond me, I guess. I appreciate that my amendment is not going to be supported, but I do think that the other two sides are misrepresenting the Greens’ position. We do want a denser city in the places where there is good public transport and good employment. But we do want a city which is being developed in a way that the inhabitants, including the existing inhabitants, want—a liveable city. Just saying that because it is taller it must be better is a very simple-minded approach to planning, and it is not the one which we support.

Question resolved in the negative.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2 pm.

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