ACT News


An eerie silence … is the war for no man's land over?

Can this really be the end of Canberra's long-running, bitter planning feud featuring two of the territory's most aggressive and tenacious developers?

Like international tennis players at the end of an all-nighter, covered in sweat and with umpteen match points against each of them, Village principal Bob Winnel and Canberra Airport's Stephen Byron have refused to concede defeat.

As late as July this year Village was trying to uncover documents which it believed showed a NSW planning review agency's decision on Tralee had an aviation bias.

As late as Friday Mr Byron was asking Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to lift noise restrictions in order to spray the NSW border city with noise pollution for a month to remind them how loud planes are for people living near airports.

Mr Byron reckons one million homes in and around Canberra can be built without one house being under a flight path and exposed to loud planes.

So why put them at Tralee?

Mr Winnel's answer is that they will be as close to the airport as thousands of other homes are at airports in other capital cities.

Mr Winnel has beaten numerous setbacks, including the Anglican church rejecting an offer of land at Tralee and going to another new housing subdivision at Googong, also south of Queanbeyan. The airport was triumphant last year when it bought a stake in the Tralee Estate, saying this would be enough to end Mr Winnel's aspirations. It wasn't. Queanbeyan has been landlocked for years because the two massive housing projects of Googong (5500 homes) and Tralee (2000 homes) have been stuck in the NSW planning system. Both projects will take the heat off the residential market in Canberra's south and Queanbeyan and are a boon for builders on lean times since new estates over the border came on stream.

Rates and government charges will flow to Queanbeyan and the NSW Government, who have not been deterred by the airport's dire warnings on noise sharing.