Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2016) . . Page.. 1055 ..
when the development application comes forward, I—and I am sure the residents—will closely scrutinise it to make sure it meets the desired character that will be defined in the territory plan variation. Of course the planning directorate will assess that accordingly.
I will not be supporting Mr Coe’s disallowance motion. As I said, I believe this site is appropriate for revitalisation. As I said, I think everybody in the community acknowledges that. The debate has been one of exactly what that character should be. I have received a range of community views—calls from people saying, “Let’s get on with it. The site needs to be redeveloped. The sooner the better,” through to those who have expressed very vocally their disquiet with some versions of the proposal that have come forward. I am sure there will be continued discussion about this but, as I say, I will not be supporting Mr Coe’s disallowance motion today.
MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (10.18): Madam Speaker, the residents of Red Hill are starting to realise that having a Greens minister as their local member is not all they had hoped it might be. As the Red Hill Residents Group’s own media release of 3 April says:
Red Hill residents have been informed by Mr Shane Rattenbury, Greens MLA, that he will support the Barr government once again, in their push to put high-density housing in the middle of Red Hill.
This is yet another great Rattenbury disappointment for residents of Red Hill and those in neighbouring suburbs affected by the traffic impacts of high-density housing wrongly targeted at small local centres like Red Hill.
The Canberra Liberals moved the disallowance motion during the last sittings because of the local residents’ very real concerns for their area and what the government was proposing to do to it. We believe the residents have every reason to be concerned, and their objections to the various options on offer have great merit.
Let’s be honest, the area in question is a valuable piece of real estate. It is a 5.3 hectare site in arguably one of Canberra’s best suburbs. For decades the maximum height of the buildings on that site has been three storeys. So when the government announced changes to the area to allow, in effect, as many dwellings as they can fit on the site, five-plus-storey heights, four-storey buildings within three to six metres of fences of neighbouring dwellings and no inclusion of the usual 21.5 metre height limit, is it any wonder that the residents rallied to object? We all know the ACT Labor government are short of money, so why wouldn’t they look enviously at maximising returns on such a valuable site?
Mr Rattenbury has offered his usual line of consulting with the community and listening to their concerns. The Canberra Times loyally reported how he had forced a compromise, persuading the government to beef up design guidelines. These include assurances that if basements are higher than one metre they will count as a storey, thus addressing one of the residents’ concerns. Other compromises include character guidelines to enhance solar access, for buildings to predominantly engage at street level, and for a clear hierarchy of public and private zones.