Mad as hell, residents are not going to take it…

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You don’t mess with the good burghers of Griffith if the deeply negative response to a rezoning application is any guide. It’s “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.

CAN 500, mad-as-hell people taking to quills to oppose a development in Griffith be mightier than the planning bureaucracy? 

Ian Meikle.

Last month in “CityNews” (“Directorate sees no conflict in housing approval”, April 8), reporter Belinda Strahorn, told the story of the owners of a family home in Blaxland Street seeking to have it rezoned for medium-density units.

Cindy Cantamessa and her husband Kevin Earle are the proponents of the “Manor House”, one of six projects across Canberra adopted by the government in May, 2019, as part of its Demonstration Housing Project, an initiative designed to help urban renewal.

The project would involve bulldozing the home for a two-storey, four-unit “Manor House”. To do this, it requires a variation to the RZ1 criteria to allow for medium-density units on a residential block. 

However, the Griffith Narrabundah Community Association (GNCA), is opposed to any change to the planning regulations for RZ1.

In fact, the little people are speaking out: more than 500 submissions have opposed the rezoning in writing. In writing!

Written comments about the draft variation were invited until April 26 and of the 526 comments, only five supported the government’s proposal. 

GNCA president David Denham says this response highlights a local community that is angry.

“It is fed-up [with] poor planning outcomes that are degrading the desired characteristics of our city and of a government that does not comply with its own planning rules,” he grumbled. 

“The Manor House would be just another example of a poor planning outcome. 

“If four-unit apartments can be built on this RZ1 site, they can be built anywhere in the suburbs. Residents do not want Manor Houses built next door in an RZ1 zone. 

“The largest investment for most families is the purchase of a home. “They do not want the surprise of a four-unit, two-storey, apartment-style dwelling with nine car parks built next door and impacting on their privacy and amenity. 

“It is abundantly clear why the Manor House proposal has been rejected by the local community and the government should take note and not pursue this project any further.”

The pen mightier than the bureaucratic will? We’ll see.  

Perfect posts… of differing heights.

IN the dinosaur days of newspaper production I was a callow young sub-editor in the features department of the Adelaide “Advertiser”. Newspaper pages in those days were put together in “hot metal” by tradespeople called compositors. I had to be (very) nice to compositors because they were the difference between my catching the hour-apart bus home when putting the finishing touches to pages at day’s end.

The apprentice compositors doing this work were chip-on-the-shoulder kids with a soul-sagging indifference for not going out of their way to do the job well. One of them used to use a phrase and it’s stuck with me for decades: “rough enough’s good enough”. 

These characters went down the drainpipe of newspaper history because, when it comes to technology, rough enough was never good enough.

Which gets me to the rough-enough-good-enough example for all to see (and drive into) on Novar Street in Yarralumla. Some sort of large, metal manhole plate was replaced near the roadside and, to keep cars from parking on it, two pine logs were vertically installed. 

But when the lads jumped in the truck, looked in the rear-vision mirror and drove off, did they wonder if rough enough was really acceptable? The posts are faultlessly in the perpendicular, of uniform circumference, but they’re secured at irritatingly different heights and neither has any reflector or warning strip to alert anyone creeping on to the street lawn to park in the dark.

As one who wanders streets (sadly, counting broken footpaths), this two-pole solution is not a municipal innovation I am familiar with. It’s certainly rough enough, but far from good enough. 

MEDICAL gadfly Bob Collins sent a sensible suggestion to ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith on May 6. 

In noting the government was keen to phase out single-use plastics and his wife having recently been in hospital, he couldn’t help but notice that bedside medication was still dispensed in small plastic medicine “cups”. “If only one pill is to be given to a patient, it still comes in a plastic medicine cup, which is then thrown away – usually in the bins that go to landfill, as I have not noticed any recycling bins in the wards,” he said. 

“Thousands of these cups must go to landfill every day and if you consider the total use in all hospitals in the ACT, the total numbers would be mind boggling.

“However, I have noticed in some hospitals that pills are dispensed in similarly sized paper cups. 

“Obviously, liquid medicines still need to be dispensed in these plastic cups, but it would be a simple change for ACT Health to immediately phase out the plastic cups by using them only for liquid medicines and establishing a contract with a supplier of paper cups.”

And the minister’s view? Bob’s patiently waiting to hear. 

AND this fabulous howler from an SBS News weekend update: “A ‘sigh of relief’ for travellers on India repatriation flight as those left behind try to stay positive.”

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and interview program, 2CC, 9am-noon.



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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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