Housing ACT ‘dumbs down’ public housing project 

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WE’RE very likely to see Housing ACT once again cheapen and dumb-down a public housing project, in this case for chronically homeless people, through an opaque process it calls “Market Sounding”. 

It involves the ill-informed inviting of the so-called “industry”, including real estate agents and property developers, for input on an existing, competently prepared “indicative design” for a new multi-storey project called Common Ground Dickson, in Hawdon Place. (The original Common Ground housing development is in New York, where virtually all conditions are totally different.) 

Previously highly valued design, amenity, and environmental elements in public housing here are apparently to be treated as malleable, and even dispensable, in a “market-driven”, discriminatory, and money-grubbing process, by our hands-off government (it even denies that this project is public housing – as if there were some stigma attached to the term). Government needs to stop relegating professionalism and return to preparing thorough social, accommodation, and functional briefs for public housing of all types; commissioning exemplary designs from registered architects and engineers; obtaining competitive tenders from qualified hands-on builders; having the contracts administered properly, and the works professionally and independently inspected and certified; and to owning and taking pride in the results.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Young tenant burnt by lease

THIS is the story of a young lady burnt in the fires and who just got out of a Melbourne hospital – a trusting soul who signed a lease to rent a house in O’Connor through a local real estate agent, who will remain nameless.

She was trusting, foolish and brave all at the same time by signing a lease for a “group” house thinking that those renting a room would at least help out around the house as well as pay part of the rent – they did in fact the opposite – they left the house like a bomb had hit it both inside and out – as well as skipping through owing thousands in rental arrears. 

The agent has told this young lady she is responsible for the arrears of $15,000.

There is simply no possibility of her making the back payments, let alone the $7000 paid by her mother to have the place cleaned up internally and externally.

I believe the real estate agent, who was paid to properly manage the tenancy, has failed dismally by not keeping an eye on the condition of the house let alone ignoring the fact that the previous tenants were not keeping up with payments.

Peter Gately, Flynn 

I know where the money is going… 

WHERE’S the tax money going to, asks columnist Paul Costigan (“Canberra Matters”, CN, January 22). Too many pop ups, quick-fix infrastructure “solutions” and un-user friendly and poorly climate-proofed public space “upgrades” and parklets. 

Sue Dyer, Downer 

Extension to Haig Park?

IS it true that the Rattenbury/Le Couteur combo have convinced the Barr government that the two vacant blocks either side of Northbourne Avenue (between Condamine and Masson Streets) now signposted “future Urban Renewal Site” will now be kept as parkland as an extension to Haig Park? 

If so this is fantastic news to increase the green space for local and Civic residents with the area planted with shade trees, seating etcetera to increase the carbon offsets. 

Obviously the sign will have to be reworded to “Urban Forest Renewal”, part of Mr Rattenbury’s great aims for the city. 

Cedric Bryant, Watson

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