Page 4192 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 24 October 2017

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Dear Mr Duncan

I refer to your letter of 1 August 2017 regarding petition No 13-17 and 16-17, lodged by Mr Chris Steel MLA regarding Farrer - development and implementation of a strategic plan for integrated, appropriate and environmentally sensitive community facilities.

The interest of local communities and businesses is a key ingredient to the success and vitality of public places, such as the Farrer shopping centre. The Farrer Rejuvenation Community Concept has captured many ideas and demonstrates a strong sense of community interest.

There are many matters that arise when considering the suggested projects in the petitions. These include the various environmental impacts, the nature and condition of existing facilities located in the suburb, urban density, land use and alternate community requirements and developments across the greater Woden Valley region.

Suburban development, including the provision of urban open space and facilities is determined by the regional Plan of Management in accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2007 and Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) Urban Design Guidelines. The parkland adjoining the Farrer shopping precinct is categorised as a Neighbourhood Park in accordance with the regional Plan of Management for the Woden and Weston Creek’s Urban Parks and Sportsgrounds. This Plan can be found at Neighbourhood parks are generally characterised by a small-scale landscape setting available for general community use and typical park infrastructure in such spaces may include play facilities and seating. The provision of major park infrastructure such as that suggested by the petitioners is generally provided at high use district parks.

The ACT Government has over the past decade invested substantial funds into the upgrade of local shopping centres to improve safety and amenity. The priorities for upgrade works are based on assessment and analysis of a range of data including the role, importance and viability of each centre, current and future demographics and asset condition and compliance to current standards. I am advised that the Farrer shopping centre was upgraded in 2013 with improvements to landscaping, access and lighting.

Public toilets are generally only provided in high use town, district and group centres and town and district parks. Many of the toilets at older centres, such as Chifley shops/oval, are a legacy from the original development. In new developments or refurbishment of shopping centres, it is a requirement that toilet facilities are provided by the developer within the shopping complex.

The ACT Government has also been upgrading public playgrounds and establishing natural play spaces across the ACT. Natural play spaces have recently been installed in Telopea Park, Tuggeranong Town Park and O’Connor parkland. The ACT Government manages over 500 playgrounds, including four local playgrounds in Farrer. One of these is located very close to the local shopping centre. Playgrounds are prioritised for upgrade based on recommendations from annual safety audits along with current demographic,

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