Letters / West Basin spin confuses public consultation

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The ACT government’s West Basin infill plan, as of April, 2020… noteworthy for no information on any future apartment estate. However, the 2015 (inset) plan exposes the real plan.

“Regardless of the West Basin infill, the apartment estate can still be stopped,” says letter writer JULIET RAMSAY, of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians.

The ACT government has commenced the works of infilling 2.8 hectares of West Basin lakebed, a component of the iconic Lake Burley Griffin that provides beauty and recreation pleasure to Canberra’s visitors and citizens. 

The silt curtains now in place show the extent of the infill intrusion.

The infill area necessary for future land privatisation is the green area spotted with trees on the ACT plan, noteworthy for no information on any future apartment estate.

During a global pandemic, Canberrans were given a three-week opportunity to comment on the foreshore works approval after contracts for the development had already been signed.

Although the ACT government stated it will release blocks of land to the market in the mid 2020s, no future vision for West Basin has been made public but the development is expected to approximately follow the ACT government’s plan produced in 2015.

The fragmentation of the project and consultation deliberately obscures what needs to be understood and misleads the community. Seventy-five per cent of submissions to the works were objections and, significantly, many considered that the project should not be split but be assessed in its entirety. The process has been arrogantly disrespectful of the community.

Regardless of the infill the apartment estate can still be stopped. 

Juliet Ramsay, Lake Burley Griffin Guardians

Barr’s ‘arrogant selfishness’

IF he loses, as many, many people hope for, will Andrew Barr be required to pay all the costs for the inevitable countback to determine who will replace him? (“If we win, I’m in; if we lose, I won’t hang around” CN, October 1)  

If not, why not… after all, his statement is pure arrogant selfishness and just shows what contempt he has for the citizens and ratepayers of the ACT. 

Perhaps the electoral commissioner might, or should, have some views on the fitness of a candidate to stand in this election when they exhibit such contempt for the system of government they are supposed to be leading.

Bob Howie, via email

Room for war crimes, too? 

PRESUMABLY there will be a large niche somewhere in the massive rebuild of the War Memorial that is dedicated to exposing and analysing our war-crime stories, given the war and related atrocities that have been perpetrated overseas by the Australian military from the time of the Boer War to Afghanistan (“To Matt, it’s about making room to tell the stories”, CN September 23). 

Confronting our complicity in UK and US war violations should also be more easily examined in the additional space the memorial believes is necessary to make it “more relevant”. 

Sue Dyer, Downer

Beware the rash promises

BEWARE of all the rubbish rash promises being spun in the run up to the ACT election and don’t believe you might gain from a voluntary act of yours in the polling booth. 

After all, remember “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”, a Latin phrase from Aeneid (II, 49), written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC. It has been paraphrased in English as the proverb: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”. Its literal meaning is “I fear the Danaans [Greeks], even those bearing gifts” or “even when they bear gifts”.

Careful you don’t end up with a government you will hate.

John Lawrence, Flynn 

Fast rail, but heading south

IN response to Cllive Williams’ column on improving the speed of the Canberra-Sydney rail service (“Hold the tram and fix the train to Sydney first”, CN, September 24), Canberra will only get fast-rail if it serves points south, such as Cooma, Eden and/or Lakes Entrance.

In this story access is by Queanbeyan Station, perhaps a footbridge to Oaks Estate, which is pretty well central to us now.

Xplorer would continue no doubt as a stopping-all-stations to Sydney.

Stuart J McIntosh, Isabella Plains

I’m with Clive…

I FULLY concur with Clive Williams concerning the decline in train travel (“Hold the tram and fix the train to Sydney first”, CN, September 24), which is hastened by Canberrans’ obsession with the private car. 

In the 1980s, having attended a conference in Melbourne, return by air was prevented by an airline strike. I went to the magnificent Flinders Street Station and took a first-class ticket for a through train to Canberra. Leaving at about 7pm, I enjoyed an excellent meal, then adjourned to a private compartment with a shower and a comfortable bed. 

I woke at 7am the next day, having slept through the recoupling at Goulburn, and alighted 30 minutes later in Canberra. 

In early maps of Canberra, a railway line crossed the Molonglo and had a platform in Civic. The bridge over the river collapsed in a storm and the depression years forbade reconstruction. In the 1960s there was still a goods platform in what was then Reid Car Park. Another trace is the avenue beside Amaroo Street. 

Travel to major towns is generally made convenient by arrival in their centre, as with Sydney’s magnificent Grand Central Concourse.

As Clive Williams points out, Australia’s railways are left behind those of most developing countries; we need to overcome what is an immature prejudice. 

Jack Palmer, Watson 

Just to muddy the waters…

PAUL Fitzwarryne (Letters, CN, September 24) strenuously claims that Canberra, despite the ACT government’s position, was not in Ngunnawal country, but rather in Ngambri country, and quotes certain research to support his claim.

Just to muddy the waters a bit more, I can recall several years ago reading a 1943 survey by Dr Keith Hancock which concluded that three major Aboriginal groups inhabited what is now the ACT. 

They were the Ngunnawal to the north, the Ngambiri to the west and the Ngarigo to the south. 

According to his survey, if I remember correctly, all three groups regularly came together to exchange goods, perform rituals and chase game in the rich country surrounding the confluence of the various rivers and creeks that now flow through Canberra’s city and suburbs.

Bill Bowron, Wanniassa


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