25 years ago, the National Capital Planning Authority held a consultation process for the development of a waterfront at West Basin, canvassing the issues of lake reclamation and multi-storey buildings facing a public promenade.
This involved a discussion paper, community workshops, design forums, consultative committees and a period for written submissions.
Eleven years ago, the National Capital Authority requested written submissions on its Griffin Legacy amendments to the National Capital Plan. Amendment 61 included provisions for developing a waterfront at West Basin and height controls for buildings facing the promenade.
Four years ago, the ACT Government unveiled its City to the Lake project, which included a waterfront at West Basin consistent with Amendment 61.
This was followed by a substantial period of community consultation, including public exhibitions, community workshops, online surveys and a period for written submissions.
Two years ago, the City to the Lake West Basin promenade design was released online for public comment. This design was later submitted (alongside the project's 20-year Strategic Urban Design Framework) to the NCA for works approval. This process included another period for written submissions.
This week, the convener of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians called for an independent inquiry into the West Basin waterfront, citing insufficient public consultation ("Push for independent inquiry into West Basin future", 29 November, p10).
Maybe this time they'll finally locate that elusive silent majority of Canberrans who oppose the current development plans.
Failing that, the Guardians could always give themselves a catchier name — perhaps "Retake the Lake"?
Ryan Hemsley, Wright
The Government's Housing Choices Discussion paper is producing some strange proposals.
David Shearer of the Independent Property Group is advocating dual and triple occupancies on blocks larger than 800m2 and 1000m2 respectively, in RZ1 Suburban Zones ("Cap plot ratios at 35 per cent", November 27, p.1).
At present this zone comprises housing that is low rise and predominantly single dwelling and low density in character.
He is effectively proposing that all blocks of 800m2 or larger, wherever they are in an RZ1 zone, be zoned as RZ2.
These zones are supposed to be close to local shops or group centres, and have easy access to public transport.
Random re-zoning to allow higher density developments anywhere in an RZ1 zone should not be encouraged, particularly as it would reduce the area available for trees and increase the dependence on the motor car.
Many of the designated blocks would be over 200 metres from local shops or bus routes.
Meanwhile, Rob Hendry of the ACT Chapter of Architects Australia (CT 28 November), is proposing intensification along transport corridors and apartments with no off-road car spaces; welcome to increased traffic congestion, more cars parked on the street and Parramatta Road look-alikes in the ACT. There must be better ways to plan the nation's capital.
David Denham, Griffith
Build a bridge ...
While driving west along Parkes Way from the ANU underpass, many of your readers will have noticed that the bridges over Sullivan's Creek are now called the Sir Mark Oliphant bridges, presumably because of their proximity to the Research School of Physics.
There are actually four bridges, two in each direction, all widened to three lanes a few years ago. If you drive westward in the centre lane, you will observe that the first bridge you see one of those actually designated the Sir Mark Oliphant bridge hasn't been finished. The footings are in place but the beams that would carry the roadway aren't.
It would cost a minute fraction of the cost of the Great Northern Tram Green Elephant to complete the bridge, probably less than it cost to build the inner city bike path which carries perhaps sixty bikes an hour, compared with the sixty cars every few minutes that go over those bridges.
What an insult to the great man to name a bridge after him that hasn't even been completed.
Stan Marks, Hawker
Dr Merrilyn Fitzpatrick's letter on the new rule to increase use of smart meters is timely (Letters, November 29).
Of the various concerns she raises, the increasing penetration of wireless devices and saturation of the environment with electromagnetic fields is a significant public health concern.
The Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association has assembled a large database of scientific studies in this area, and these confirm the significant risks to public health, and the adverse biological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (see www.orsaa.org).
Of course, it is important to note that many of the so-called "no effect" findings come from industry-sponsored research studies.
Getting a smart meter refusal notice into your electricity retailer is important, particularly where utilities/retailers decide to replace functional analogue meters with smart meters under the guise of maintenance, which can occur with little or no notice.
Dr Murray May, Member ORSAA, Cook
Query over Molan
Kym MacMillan, in support of retired general Jim Molan as a suitable candidate for the Senate, states (Letters, November 25) that Australia's wars are conducted "with full regard to the ... laws of conflict".
That being the case, when there are reports of very serious crimes having been committed, such as reports of civilians in Fallujah having their water, electricity and humanitarian aid cut off in November 2004, when Molan was in charge of the assault on the Iraqi city, surely they must be subject to exhaustive, transparent and independent investigation.
To my knowledge nothing of the sort has happened and Molan has not denied the reports.
Kym MacMillan might not care about this, but plenty of people do.
Sue Wareham, Cook
If only elected politicians could be bothered to do the job they're paid to
Why are politicians elected?
Generally it is to represent their constituents and their views and sometimes their own, as more broadly representative of a community position.
Take same-sex marriage as an example.
Zed Seselja, only a day after lambasting his own party colleagues as betrayers of both the "yes" and "no" vote if they did not support amendments aimed at allowing the religious to continue to discriminate against gay and lesbian people, abstained in the vote.
He couldn't even find the personal decency to vote the way his supporters expected.
Maybe he just changed his mind and no longer holds the views he previously espoused? If so, he should fess up.
Another stand out was Pauline Hanson, never lost for words when criticising the major parties in her defence of the supposedly downtrodden.
Where was she? Abstaining as well due to not being able to make up her mind.
What do we pay these people for, clearly it is to monopolise the media with their personal opinions while avoiding the commitment their elected office demands, while continuing to enjoy the "gravy train".
They are a waste of space and the electorate should punish them for it.
Ian Shepherd, Cook
The real warmongers
US hysteria over North Korea and China should be ignored.
So what if the DRK tests, probably unarmed, ICBM's?
They are most likely defensive deterrents.
The USA and Russia have thousands of them while the UK, France, Pakistan, India, China and Israel have dozens of them.
I am fine with China establishing small bases on rocky islands in the South China Sea to protect their approaches too.
The USA established bases on Japanese islands like Guam and Okinawa after World War 2 as well as dozens of bases in countries like Australia and Japan.
Its all about the USA trying to create fear and to support the US military-industrial complex which means jobs and profits. The USA always has to have an enemy even warring with themselves twice in 1776 and 1861. The USA has invaded many countries like Cuba and Philippines over 100 years ago and Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan more recently.
The USA is truly a war monger nation supported by deranged red necks in the Congress. But it is not the only country run by political loonies.
Adrian Jackson, (Infantry Officer 1972-95), Middle Park, Vic
Discrimination laws and exemptions from those laws raise complex issues requiring community debate and mature consideration.
Some are now contending that the same sex marriage legislation should enable business owners who oppose same-sex marriage to refuse services such as flowers and cakes to same-sex weddings.
To what extent would the community support exemptions from discrimination laws based on opinion and belief?
Should a business owner who disliked Muslims (or Jews or Hindus) be free to refuse services to Muslim (or Jewish or Hindu) weddings?
Should a gay business owner upset by the opposition of some Anglican and Catholic bishops to same-sex marriage be free to refuse services to Anglican and Catholic weddings?
Surely the nature and scope of discrimination laws and exemptions from those laws require more community consideration than can be given over a few days during the passage of the same sex-marriage legislation.
Ernst Willheim, Forrest
Now the SSM survey has wasted $120million to produce albeit a worthwhile result that our federal parliamentarians were too gutless to resolve, we are now seeing our incompetent Canberra parliamentarians tearing themselves apart over so called religious freedoms.
What more freedoms do the god-botherers want?
The following come to mind: sharia law, arranged marriages, reintroduction of the inquisition, the burning of heretics and so on.
One hundred years ago the Russians almost got it right when they banned religion. If they had brought it under state control, they may have been more successful in their failed attempt to redesign the world.
J. J. Goold, Mudgeeraba, Qld
So, a Prime Minister who claims that "we don't do witch hunts in Australia", stands ready to deflect attacks on his leadership from within his own party by accusing Senator Sam Dastyari of undermining national security and being disloyal to our country ("'Whose side is he on?' Malcolm Turnbull says Sam Dastyari should be sacked", canberratimes.com.au, November 30.
And in what must be a low point in the absurdity of this carefully confected hysteria, the ABC asked the Attorney-General if Senator Dastyari's behaviour amounted to treason. It would now seem that Australia has become a place where anyone who does not slavishly support the interests of the US and Israel, let alone harbour ambitions that our government might demonstrate independence of thought, must represent an existential threat to our precious pretend democracy.
If Senator Dastyari is really deserving of the scorn and derision that has been heaped on him from all quarters, then surely the same must be true for all the self-important, self-serving, hypocritical poseurs who are a plague on our nation's capital.
John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW
Trump and Lincoln
Trump's critics mock him for comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln.
In fact, Lincoln forged a strong bond with Tsar Alexander when he freed 23 million Russian serfs.
Lincoln admired the Russians to the extent he proposed to emigrate there in 1855 if the Know-Nothings took power.
Lincoln articulated admiration of Russia to his law partner and friend, Joshua Spzed on August 24, 1855: "As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy".
President Lincoln would have supported President Trump in a like-minded attempt to befriend an alliance with Russia.
Who knows, maybe together with US allies around the world, including our friends in Australia, we can defeat Isis, neutralise nuclear North Korea and curtail China from militarising the South China Sea.
Paul Mellen, Duxbury, Massachusetts, US
TO THE POINT
BANKING ON INDECISION
I am imagining what's going on behind the scenes of Thursday's dramatic announcement by the Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, of a royal commission into the banking industry: "no but, yes but, no but, yes but ... (exit, pursued by a bear)".
Annie Lang, Kambah
TWO BOB EACH WAY?
Zed abstained from the Senate same-sex marriage vote. Could it be that he lacks the courage of his well-publicised convictions, or that he's just having two bob each way?
Ed Highley, Kambah
MISSING IN ACTION
Where was Senator Seselja when the SSM vote took place? His FB page reported he attended a Canberra school three hours earlier.
Mark Howard, Forde
AND THE AWARD GOES TO ...
Zed Seselja abstained from voting on the same-sex legislation. He should be awarded this year's Brendan Smyth Award for Overpaid Irrelevance.
John Galvin, Weston
Sam Dastyari only has himself to blame for the pressure on him for the company he keeps. If I see him at a beach during my Christmas break on the south coast I'll be keeping an eye out for a Chinese submarine.
Bill Deane, Chapman
Welcome to new senator Jordon Steele-John! So let's all get the terminology right now. He's a person with a disability; definitely not a disabled person.
Lew Rushbrook, Weston
A LITTLE AID PLEASE
With Christmas coming could Shanghai Sam please put in a good word with his Chinese mates to help me pay some bills?
Thos Puckett, Ashgrove
Actually Bill Deane, the character Reg (John Cleese) in Life of Brian complaining about "What have the Romans ever done for us?" was not an Arab dissident. He was a Jewish dissident.
Paul Dixon, Fraser
A NICE CUPPA
Methinks, Mike Reddy, old chap, (Letters, November 30) you just missed morning tea but you did make it home for elevenses.
Mick Richardson, Macgregor
What the devil? ("Christian school sacks principal", November 30, p1). I thought I caught a whiff of sulphur.
Barrie Smillie, Duffy
Re Dastyarigate. The PM is deflecting from his $40,000 dinner bought by a Chinese businessman and from the collusion of all Parliament for its support for foreign and business donations. They are hypocritical beggars who beggar belief.
Dr Vacy Vlazna, Collaroy, NSW
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