Costigan / Step up, Shane, and save us from the spin

“Dear Shane, it is time to be seen, to talk and to identify with the aspirations of those you represent. Are you up for it?” writes Canberra Matters columnist PAUL COSTIGAN

ON October 11, some residents in and around Dickson received an invitation from the Planning Directorate’s Team-Section-72.

Paul Costigan.

Their invitation said: Join the design workshops for the renewal of Section 72 Dickson. At this workshop you will have an opportunity to influence the renewal of public space, streets, paths, landscape, infrastructure upgrades and how future land uses and built form can be integrated with existing developments.”

I have not included more of the directorate’s words – as it is pure spin that avoids stating the real intentions of this long, painful and frustrating exercise. They want to sell great chunks of the land, allow apartment blocks to be built and use some of the money raised for social housing.

Rather than sending a message back to Team-72 and yet again setting out just how wrong this is and what a golden opportunity this could be for inner-north cultural and arts facilities, here’s an open letter to a local politician:

“Dear Minister Rattenbury,

I am writing to you, as the Greens have remained largely silent on what is being proposed for this important and underutilised site in central Dickson.

Hopefully this letter will be a catalyst for you to respond positively and agree that it is timely for the Greens to identify with the locals in their concerns about the goings-on around the Dickson Parklands (Section 72 to the bureaucrats).

To be clear, there is huge support for more social housing in the area, just not on this community site. As the population grows, there will be an increasing need for community, cultural and arts facilities. This site is the last one available and could be enhanced to provide a huge range of day and evening services for a diverse range of people. The site has a large number of well-established trees and complex biodiversity that should be retained so that the Parklands contains a busy and attractive set of community/arts facilities within a beautiful green setting.

These matters are complex and are well documented in responses from many residents and expressed clearly during previous workshops – only to be largely ignored. Or worse still, comprehensive submissions have been misrepresented in the reporting by the bureaucracy.

All these issues and how the consultations are not well organised or run, are community, environmental and cultural issues that were once of interest to the Greens as people understood them. I am not so sure this is the current thinking here on the northside.

The Greens seem to have blended with Labor on such matters and are viewed as now owning the questionable planning processes and subsequent developments.

A number of community representatives have stated that they will most likely not attend the coming workshops given the short notice and prior commitments. They are also of the opinion that everything that they have wanted to say has been said and documented several times; so is there any point to even trying to work with Team-72 given that their behaviour during recent presentations has been to reject locals’ views and to present a biased view of what could happen on the parklands site?

We have heard many spurious reasons for the site to be redeveloped; such as the need for housing in the area – this while towers appear almost daily across Dickson and who knows how many suburbs in the sky (apartment towers) are in the pipeline for Northbourne Avenue. Or how close any housing could be to the tram when it will be a kilometre or more (more than the recognised 400 metres to access transport easily).

Dear Shane, residents are seeking your participation as a politician in this government. Residents need a local politician who will work with them to see their submissions and questions addressed and taken seriously. It is time to be seen, to talk and to identify with the aspirations of those you represent. Are you up for it?”

Paul Costigan is a Dickson resident.

One Response to “Costigan / Step up, Shane, and save us from the spin”

  1. October 24, 2018 at 11:53 #

    Your continued spin about the true nature of the sites in question is utterly bewildering… find a fight worth actually fighting! if you haven’t noticed, most people don’t care, because there isn’t an actual issue here bar the figment of the imagination of a handful of NIMBYs that don’t want to see development at basically any cost.
    Need some space, go next door to the massive playing fields for goodness sake!

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