The newly formed Forrest Residents Group – another residents' group for the inner-south – has its sights set on a $70 million, seven-storey hotel proposed for the site of the old Italo-Australian Club, saying the developer has not consulted properly on the project.
The group, which was formed on August 31 and which brings to at least five the number of residents' action groups in the inner-south, says it has not been formed to protest against any and all development but to give voice to genuine concerns.
ACTPLA has agreed to the group's request to extend the public consultation for the proposal, which includes a 227-room hotel, 100-seat restaurant, 500-seat function centre and 297-space car park on the site of the old club in Franklin Street. The club site, which was sold to the Capital Hotel Group, will be cleared to make way for the new development.
Public comment on the development application was due to close on Wednesday.
Forrest Residents Group convener John-Paul Romano wrote to Environment and Planning director-general Dorte Eckland last week, asking that the consultation period be extended.
Mr Romano was concerned that the development application had stated it had addressed public consultation by letter-boxing residences in Forrest in June and by holding a public meeting at a private residence in Forrest last month.
He said more than 60 Forrest residents attended the group's inaugural meeting in August but only two said they had received the letter-boxed information.
"Despite polite requests for further consultation, the developer and their consultants have not agreed to co-operate," Mr Romano's letter read.
He said residents were concerned that a community club would be replaced with a very large commercial enterprise that could result in traffic congestion and more noise.
Mr Romano said residents were also concerned about the likely height of the hotel.
"If you look at the Forrest skyline, maybe four storeys max," he said. "Seven storeys is quite high.
"We would like to meet with the developer to find out more about it.
"Some people don't care that it's going to be a seven-storey hotel. But they do care that they've been kept out of the loop."
The Canberra Times contacted the directorate for comment on Friday.
It responded that the public consultation for the development application would be extended by two weeks to October 5.
"All comments will be taken into consideration in the assessment of the proposal," a spokeswoman said.
"The ACT government welcomes the community's input with all development opportunities. The development will be renotified in accordance with the original DA."
Mr Romano said Forrest was like the other residents' group in the inner-south in that it comprised many people who were familiar with the planning system and knew how to navigate it.
"The group is not there just to cause a fuss. Certainly I'm not. I'm here to speak on behalf of Forrest residents," he said.
"Forrest has been overlooked in the last few years and there are things that need to be done in Forrest.
"I think the public perception is that Forrest is some rich area where people can afford to look after themselves and they don't have to be looked after by government, but it's not. It's the same as Gungahlin, it's the same as Red Hill, it's the same as Narrabundah."