Page 4799 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 11 November 2009

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and, in particular, the ACT Planning and Land Authority, have given their concerns due consideration.

Both Ms Le Couteur and I have been to visit the area and have had the issues explained to us. These issues could be alleviated by an alignment of the Wells Station Drive extension to the east of a small hill opposite Carpentaria Street. This alignment would ensure there is a natural barrier between the road and the houses. The realignment would not be of any hindrance to anyone; it is a vacant area.

I will now go into a number of the problems in more detail: firstly, noise pollution. Realigning the road along the east of the small hill opposite Carpentaria Street will alleviate most of the noise pollution problems. If a sound barrier were to be built on the current proposed alignment, it would detract from the urban amenity of the area and prevent many of the children from using the area as a playground. The construction of such a barrier would be an extravagance and not as effective as a natural barrier would be, such as a hill which already exists.

In the future, in all likelihood, Horse Park Drive will be duplicated. However, given the Gungahlin Drive extension experience, I think it is quite possible that we will have to wait quite a while for that and after a real ordeal as well. However, a duplicated Horse Park Drive would increase the noise impact of an intersection if it were located on the current alignment close to Carpentaria Street.

In addition to noise pollution problems, there are general safety issues. The proposed junction of Wells Station Drive and Horse Park Drive extension will not be as safe as it could be under the realignment. The eastern alignment would allow better visibility, because at the other alignment there is poor visibility due to the hill and the shape of the road.

In addition to these problems, there are issues of consultation. Some of the consultation on this very issue, in fact, preceded residents even living in the vicinity of the proposed road. We have heard of sham consultations in the past, but now this government is consulting communities before they even exist. The recent round of consultation was just about looking good. The community was asked for its views, a report was put together, and then it was shelved when no action was taken. In this consultation period, there was even a mistake as to the email address, and for nine out of 10 days, the consultation had little or no chance of actually working because of that incorrect email address. Despite this, between about 30 and 40 residents were able to make submissions.

Earlier this year, I signed a letter with Caroline Le Couteur to ask the government what it would do to respond to constituents’ concerns. We asked the government to:

… re-examine this issue and seek to re-align the road to ensure the continued urban amenity of Harrison residents, and the highest possible safety of road users in this area. This should be done as soon as possible …

In tried and true fashion, the answer from the government was, of course, nothing. The response was nothing more than simply, “This is what we are doing, and we don’t

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