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Yarralumla resident opposition to brickworks development gathers pace

Date

Primrose Riordan

The Canberra  brickworks site at Yarralumla.

The Canberra brickworks site at Yarralumla.

150 Yarralumla and Deakin residents, including Labor MP for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, gathered on Monday night, as local opposition to a large-scale housing development gathers pace.

The ACT Government is looking to gain a revenue stream in releasing land to house about 4000 people in the site of the former Canberra Brickworks at the intersection of Adelaide Avenue, Yarra Glen, and Cotter Roads.

The meeting was organised by the Inner South Community Council and the Yarralumla and Deakin Residents Associations as an information night. All speakers either opposed or questioned the development, however.

"We want them to withdraw plan and come back to us, we want to work with the government but we think this particular plan is unacceptable," Marea Fatseas from the Yarralumla Residents Association said.

The older crowd filled the Deakin Football Club hall with some residents worrying aloud about having too many new neighbours.

“I’m more concerned about the increase of the population rather than the preservation of the brickworks,” resident Jennifer Yeates said, “it’s doubling the population of Yarralumla.”

Deakin resident David McKenzie told the crowd the development could become an urban ghetto. "In London islands of high density development have become ghettos of crime and god knows what else," Mr McKenzie said.

Others came from as far as Belconnen, concerned about how the removal of asbestos from the brickworks would be handled. The most recent ACT budget allocated nearly $3 million towards removing contamination from the site.

A man close to the Yarralumla Residents Association said while Ms Brodtmann has not come out publically against the current development proposal, it was possible that she would. 

Ms Brodtmann, a Yarralumla resident, has previously queried the development of new embassies in the area.

Melanie Hanna also from Yarralumla said “I love Yarralumla, and I love Canberra as it was planned with dots of nature throughout the suburbs.”

“We’re not against development as such what we’re against is the degree of development. Eight story buildings is not keeping with the essence of the building and the suburb,” Ms Hanna said.

The project has been mooted for years, with 1100 new homes set out in a 2010 redevelopment masterplan.

Under the current proposal a possible road interchange has been ruled out and the number of dwellings sits at 1600 with 15,000 square metres of commercial space in Deakin.

An internal review of the project, some of which was released under a FOI request this week, noted that some roads around the development were already over capacity during morning rush hour.

Land sales are one of the few sources of self-generating income for the ACT government, an area where they are already under pressure.

The government cut the number of dwellings they will release on the market in their 2014-15 budget, slowing their expected revenue by $244 million over four years after public service cuts were announced in the federal budget. 

Yarralumla had 2915 residents in the 2011 census, earning an average salary of $71,954 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010 estimates of personal income. Deakin had 2782 on an average $71,957.

Resident submissions on the proposal are due by July 14 and it is expected that the first land will be released in 2016. 

40 comments

  • Selfish NIMBYism from people sitting on some of the most valuable residential blocks in Canberra. These people aren't concerned about green spaces and urban planning, they just want to keep out the "great unwashed." These people just want to create a Canberra equivalent of Sydney's exclusive, wealthy suburbs like Mosman, where governments won't approve new developments for fear of offending wealthy landowners. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Commenter
    Pat
    Date and time
    July 08, 2014, 9:08AM
    • Pat – What you don’t seem to understand or care even less about is that this area near the Brickworks has been identified in LDA environmental studies as a significant ACT habitat for the critically endangered Golden Sun moth. Not just protected, not just endangered but critically endangered and listed as such under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
      Flattening and bulldozing a significant ACT Golden Sun Moth habitat to make way for roads, drains and multi-storey apartment blocks is recklessly irresponsible. This development threatens an already critically endangered species with localised extinction.
      Those who stand to financially benefit from this development will deride residents as NIMBYs. However, the fact is that an endangered species does live in our backyard and we have an obligation to protect it. When a local species is put at risk all Canberra residents should take heed.

      Commenter
      NIMBY
      Location
      Yarralumla
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 11:52AM
    • Yes NIMBY I am sure that is the sole reason for the opposition of the development.

      Commenter
      d d
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 12:55PM
    • Gee NIMBY, lucky for that excuse......... I mean moth. Phew!

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 12:59PM
    • Putting a critically endangered species at further risk should be reason enough to stop this development, despite any other considerations.

      It could be the journalist who wrote this article is missing a real story. Why are the Greens silent on the habitat destruction of the golden sun moth that lives in the area to be developed. Are they sacrificing an endangered species in exchange for land sale revenue to fund their light rail project? Rat on and bury?

      Commenter
      Rat on and bury?
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 1:16PM
    • The small wooded area between Dudley St, Denman St and the Canberra Brickworks is a tranquil site of local beauty. A semi-wild area where dappled light filters through tall shady trees. King Parrots, Rosellas and Cockatoos glide through the canopy. Autumn leaves cover winding bush tracks and a rich earthy smell permeates the air. It is a small wooded and grassland area where children can explore and adventure. They discover hidden groves, collect pinecones, balance on fallen logs and marvel at spider-webs glistening with early morning dew. Here also elderly residents do not have far to stroll, walk their dogs and meet their neighbours. The Yarralumla community does not want it destroyed.

      Commenter
      Barry
      Location
      Yarralumla
      Date and time
      July 10, 2014, 2:31PM
  • Pity the community didn't like the idea for the site to be developed for embassies a few years ago. But surely a compromise can be found to develop some of the space - perhaps even turning the brickworks in something like to old bus depot.

    Commenter
    Been there
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    July 08, 2014, 9:11AM
    • That deal was cancelled by the National Capital Authority, which has not been willing to buy the land from the ACT Government. Now the National Capital Authority will need to see how much of its land it is willing to sacrifice to the ACT government without any kickback. What is the NCA going to do about Dunrossil Drive? What is the NCA going to do about the required fire breaks? Perhaps the National Capital Authorirty would like to pay for the road to link the Cotter Road to West Deakin...

      Commenter
      Concerned
      Date and time
      July 09, 2014, 10:55PM
    • The ACT Government has said any development of the brickworks itself would not be commercially viable. They have only allocated $1.5 million to make it safe. This is a total cop out since the community were as recently as 2011 told that any sale of land near the breakworks would be used to develop the brickworks. But perhaps the figures are right. Some estimate the development of the nearby land could create $100 to $200 million loss for the ACT government so then there would not be any money left to fund a brickworks development or the light rail..

      Commenter
      Concerned
      Date and time
      July 09, 2014, 11:00PM
  • @Pat I agree totally. What they don't seem to realise is that anybody moving into these developments will have to be rich so all this guff about the great unwashed moving in, well it just doesn't wash does it?
    These types of developments are set to explode all over Canberra. Why? Because our stinking grubby politicians voted themselves to literally double their numbers over the next few years because they think they are underpaid and overworked. Yeah right. We have a full State Government beauracracy to run what is in effect a local council. We already have massive residential towers in Belconnen, increased height limits approved in Tuggeranong, removal of Canberra's famed green areas for high density apartments everywhere, etc, etc. They want more money to waste and the overall loser is Canberra.

    Commenter
    TuffGuy
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    July 08, 2014, 9:51AM

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