Standing up for Canberra

Yarralumla Brickworks Development

I made a submission as part of the ACT Government’s public consultation on the proposed Yarralumla Brickworks development, expressing my concerns about a number of aspects of the current proposal. You can read my submission in full below.

To Whom It May Concern

I write in response to the public consultation process for the Canberra Brickworks and Environs Planning and Development Strategy.

Given the ACT will run out of land in about 70 years, I support the concept of infill in the ACT. It is in keeping with best practice urban development, creates density and through it life and diversity in our city and suburban centres, uses existing infrastructure and keeps small businesses growing and thriving.

I commend the ACT Government for its use of infill, including the Kingston Foreshore and South Quay in Tuggeranong.

I also support the development of the Canberra brickworks. The development of this enclave has the potential to revitalise this significant and currently underutilised historic site.

However, after attending the 7 July Inner South Canberra Community Council/Yarralumla Residents Association meeting, speaking with a number of residents from the surrounding suburbs and being briefed by the Land Development Agency, I have a number of concerns with the current development strategy. Some of these concerns were raised at the LDA briefing. These are outlined below.

Traffic management, congestion and transport

  • The lack of connectivity with the Cotter Road, which will force traffic onto smaller, residential streets including Dudley Street and Abbott Street.

  • The lack of direct southbound access to Yarra Glen, which will force traffic to cut through the residential streets of either Curtin or Deakin, such as McCulloch Street and Kent Street respectively, both of which already experience traffic congestion. By way of example, the Deakin industrial enclave placed significant pressure on Kent Street, which did not seem to be anticipated before the development of this area. I am concerned that solutions for increased traffic on these main thoroughfares have not been considered or outlined in the strategy. While a possible future connection southbound on Yarra Glen is proposed, there is no timeline or certainty around this aspect of the proposal.

  • The lack of a comprehensive public transport plan, which should be a central part of any residential development.  While the development of an interchange on Adelaide Avenue is identified as a future possibility, again there is no timeline or certainty on this aspect of the proposal.

Building heights

I am not aware that any reason has been given to explain why the maximum building height has increased from six storeys in the 2010 strategy to eight storeys in the current strategy, and the amount of dwellings has increased from 900 to 1600. This is of particular concern given scale and density were at the forefront of the concerns raised about the 2010 development strategy. I would be grateful for advice on why the concerns of 2010 were not factored into the current strategy.

Removal of asbestos

Residents are also concerned about the lack of communication around the removal of asbestos required for this development. While I understand the ACT Government adopts a best practice approach when it comes to asbestos removal and safety, residents have not been provided with sufficient information about this process and are understandably concerned. This information should be provided as a matter of priority.

Underutilisation of the brickworks site

The 2010 development strategy included the adaptive reuse of the brickworks site. The current proposal only provides for the ‘making safe’ of the site. While possible future use of the site is suggested, there is no timeframe or certainty on this aspect of the development strategy. Given the strategy is intended to revitalise this significant historic site, it is vital that the ACT Government provides information about what steps will be taken for the reuse of this facility, and in what timeframe.

I look forward to ACT Government and LDA consideration of my concerns, and that of local residents and community organisations. I also trust the public consultation will be genuine and responsive.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards

Gai Brodtmann MP

Member for Canberra

14 July 2014