Gentleman uses call in powers to approve contentious project

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Planning Minister Mick Gentleman

THE ACT government has used call in powers to approve the contentious social housing project in Dickson. 

Planning Minister announced the approval of Common Ground Dickson today (August 7), following years of community contention around plans for Section 72 in Dickson.

When asked at a press conference if Mr Gentleman used call in powers due to uncertainty that the assessment project could be delayed, whether there were threats that the approval could be changed in court, or referred to a legislative assembly, Mr Gentleman answered, saying he was concerned about “all of the above”.

“I’ve made that important decision [to use call in powers] taking all of that into account,” he said.

Common Ground Dickson will see 40 social and affordable homes with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units available to provide long-term housing for people facing chronic homelessness, focusing on supporting women and children, families and single parents, and older women, according to an ACT government announcement today, which failed to include development costs and construction times.

“CityNews” contacted the ACT government for details on the cost of the development and construction times.

An ACT government spokesperson responded, saying the tender is currently under assessment but they are hoping to make an announcement soon.

It’s anticipated that construction will commence in October or November and will be complete late next year.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said the construction was approved on strict approval to ensure trees and heritage are protected, public facilities and green spaces are improved, and the Dickson precinct map is complied with.

Common Ground Canberra chair Stephen Bartos.

Common Ground chairman Stephen Bartos said moving ahead quickly with a second Common Ground housing development is welcome.

“Common Ground, alongside other housing programs, helps solve homelessness in the ACT. It provides high quality, safe, permanent and supported accommodation for people with complex needs, in a development that includes a variety of other low income tenants to create a vibrant community,” he said.

“Australia’s economic downturn means public housing will become more important than ever. Common Ground Dickson will be flexible, with apartments from singles through to families, to help deal with emerging housing needs as they arise.”

‘Outraged’ Greens slam Gentleman for overriding application

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