Letters / Shocked that Hughes dodged a land-swap bullet

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JACKY FOGERTY, of Hughes, is shocked that land in her suburb was nearly part of the controversial West Basin land-swap. 

I ALWAYS seek out Jon Stanhope’s articles, which are invariably informative and topical, but this one – “What’s hidden behind secret land-swap values?” (CN, August 6) really caught my attention.

As a Hughes resident living in a street adjoining the Hughes public open space, former secretary of the Hughes Residents’ Association and current member of local Landcare groups, the Friends of Hughes Grassy Woodland and the Red Hill Regenerators, it is news to me that this public open space was being considered for diplomatic housing in May 2017, and possibly later. 

I am certainly not aware of any residents or local community organisations being informed or consulted.

This area is part of the ACT government’s “Draft Integrated Plan for Red Hill Nature Reserve and Surrounds”, the subject of a 2017 petition with over 3000 signatures, a support motion passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly in late 2017, and two years of work by a dedicated Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate team, including several meetings with community organisations and public consultations last year.

While we hope that Hughes has “dodged a bullet”, as Mr Stanhope says, the lack of consultation on the Curtin Horse Paddocks land-swap indicates that nothing has changed.

The public open space on the Deakin side of Hughes, next to the current embassy area in Deakin, comprises Section 57 (above Kent Street and adjoining Red Hill Nature Reserve) and Section 58 (below Kent Street, bounded by Carruthers Street). Both comprise mainly endangered Yellow Box Red Gum Woodland and are cared for by the Friends of Hughes Grassy Woodland, an ACT Urban Parks-sponsored landcare group. 

The group has just received a grant of $8050 to improve bird habitat in this area. One tree on Section 57 is already on the ACT Tree Register, and trees on both sections are currently on the ACT Provisional Tree Register.

I am appalled to think that this area could ever have been considered for bulldozing.

Many thanks to Mr Stanhope for seeking out this information through the freedom of information process and for an excellent and frightening article.

Dr Jacky Fogerty, Hughes 

How green are the Libs?

TO back up the Liberals’ new-found “Green Space Guarantee”, a flyer from Kurrajong’s shadow minister for the environment offers a “long-term vision to plant one million trees and preserve precious green space in new suburbs”. 

Many will wonder why the Liberals are making no commitment to address the need for additional, well-designed green spaces, parkland, and tree-canopied pathways in and around existing suburbs that are being rapidly densified and burdened with hotter “cookie-cutter” spaces for public use and movement, while still suffering from years of loss of established tree cover. 

Are the Liberals sufficiently interested in and capable of addressing and delivering on critical liveability and green infrastructure needs across the ACT?

Sue Dyer, Downer 

More to election than main parties

I SYMPATHISE with John Lawrence ‘s comment about a “clown election” (Letters, CN August 6). It is important for voters to know something about the candidates standing, but it is near on impossible for independents and small parties to get any traction with the mainstream media and who has the money needed to buy publicity unless you are a Clive Palmer. “CityNews” is one media outlet that does seem to consistently give smaller parties and independents a fair go, and 2CC isn’t bad, either. 

Might I suggest that the two main local media outlets in town, the ABC and “The Canberra Times”, have a duty to give their listeners and readers respectively details of who is standing, what they stand for and what (if any) their policies are – and not just cover the main parties as they seem to do.

Bill Stefaniak , Belco Party Convenor and election candidate

The trouble with Goyder Street

THE August 13 “CityNews” article, “Unhappy street cruelled by endless traffic woes”, points to issues with the Territory Plan and also to issues with road management.

The Commercial Zones Development Code permits merit track developments only if “the existing road network can accommodate the amount of traffic that is likely to be generated by the development.”

The three large traffic-generating developments on Goyder Street have been allowed because they are in residential zones. The Residential Zones Development Code does not currently include traffic requirements like those of the Commercial Zones Development Code.

Traffic congestion at the intersection of Goyder and Dalrymple Streets can be reduced or eliminated by building a second traffic lane from Goyder Street to Hindmarsh Drive. That would allow twice as many cars to pass through the Hindmarsh Drive intersection in each cycle of the traffic signals. Waiting cars would no longer back up through the Goyder Street intersection.

Reducing traffic on Goyder Street will require a little more thought. People like me use Goyder Street because it is quicker than going the long way via Hindmarsh Drive and Jerrabomberra Avenue. Efforts to discourage people from using Goyder Street might increase traffic on other nearby residential streets.

Leon Arundell, Downer

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