The sudden storm on Monday didn't dampen the resolve of some Canberra residents to find out just what development was being planned - rather quietly, it seems - for their suburb.
The 50 or 60 concerned people who tracked a trail of water into the community centre at Dickson are a microcosm of the community awareness (and sensitivity) about planning issues in Canberra.
They're mostly older, long-time residents of their suburbs – but are they just afflicted by the NIMBY syndrome and should move over, in the name of progress?
The issues that brought them together are the proposal to cut down 27 trees for a temporary car park near the Dickson Pool and the Section 72 redevelopment, expected to add residential units to community space east of the pool.
As well, there is overarching concern at the so-called draft omnibus variation to the territory plan. The variation groups 17 individual sites together across Canberra's north and south.
It seems many of us want to preserve the character of the bush capital and some of us just don't like change, full stop. Not in my back yard, thank you very much.
However, what do you do when a three-story building is suddenly proposed to be built alongside your quiet hacienda, where you've lived contentedly for decades and reared a new generation?
If you feel angry and powerless, join the club. But that doesn't have to be the end of the story.
People power is, well, powerful – and the row over cutting down trees for the temporary car park is a good example. At the time of writing, a good outcome was on the horizon, at least for the short term, for the protection of the sun-lit grove.
This urban battle is reminiscent of times past, when the national capital was younger and the expansion of Civic threatened to clog the streets of surrounding suburbs as commuters sought parking.
Glebe Park had fallen on bad times and was referred to as the "rum jungle" by teenagers, back in the day.
The actual glebe - an area of land used to support a parish priest - had been lost, but when 100-year old trees were threatened, it galvanised people into action.
The citizens campaign was intense - people who joined were each assigned a tree to protect, just in case the machinery came in the night, in the same way Joh Bjelke-Petersen wantonly destroyed some Brisbane heritage sites.
The trees were saved and Glebe Park is a delightful, well-used part of Civic.
Now, a little used park, unknown to the vast majority of Canberra's citizens, is under threat. Can people power save the trees next to the Dickson pool?
The similarities to the Glebe rescue are obvious, so what can citizens do to protect this asset?
The Dickson park might be little used or known, and not have a formal name, but the locals are passionate in their determination to keep this little oasis of green.
They're not against development per se and they can't really be accused of playing the NIMBY card, since the park does not front any houses.
There is little chance you would know the grove was facing the bulldozer unless you walked right past it - you can't read the sign if you're driving past.
However, if you are active in an association - or a reader of this paper - you would be up to speed.
The battle over the small stand of trees at Dickson brings back memories for Michael Moore of numerous planning battles.
He was an independent member of the Legislative Assembly for four terms, from 1989 to 2001, and served as a minister in the Liberal minority government led by Kate Carnell and later Gary Humphries.
He was elected on a Residents Rally ticket but later resigned from the party.
Although he was on the periphery of the battle over Glebe Park, he was deeply involved in suburban skirmishes.
Now he is still heavily involved in advocacy, as CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia.
"One of the most powerful things in any form of advocacy is getting a network of like-minded organisations together with a powerful voice, that always makes a very big difference," he says.
As Civic was expanding, the surrounding suburbs were feeling the stress of its growing pains.
"It seemed to me that there would be more power to argue if we had more people involved," Moore recalls.
"That's why, as president of the Reid Residents Association, I assisted with the establishment of the Braddon Residents Association, the Campbell Residents Association and the Ainslie Residents Association, which we then formed into the City Residents Coalition and was about getting a bigger voice."
He says the Glebe Park debate highlighted the power residents groups can have, and the reality of a compromise.
"The glebe itself was lost but the outcome was of a really lovely park, largely the result of residents power," he says.
"What tends to happen is they don't get everything they want because this is a change management process.
"But probably the really important values from within the community are retained because that's what resident action groups get motivated by.
"If you've lived in Downer within one or two streets of Antill Street for the past 30 years and are very comfortable with your nice quiet street, then when there is a proposal to put a 10 story or even a three story building next to you, you get very uncomfortable.
"Why wouldn't anybody be protective of an environment they appreciate and where they have brought their children up.
"There will always be some people who just simply don't like change. But it is a perfectly rational thing for somebody to appreciate and want to protect an environment in which they've brought up their children, and which they have appreciated and hope that others will do the same."
Moore says the brouhaha at Dickson should alert residents in nearby suburbs to the potential for battles on their home turf.
"Will this impact on Lyneham, will they be next? What will be the impact on Watson? Those are the things that I would be asking if I was in their shoes at the moment," he says.
The rain-sodden event this week was a drop-in organised by the Land Development Agency, to discuss developments in Watson and the section 72 proposal at Dickson. The temporary car park did not seem to be a high priority on the night.
But it was front and centre when residents gathered the previous Wednesday for a regular meeting of the North Canberra Community Council.
Representatives of the Environment and Planning Directorate had been invited to explain the omnibus variation. Second on the agenda was a presentation from Roads ACT about upgrades to intersections in Dickson.
The standing room only crowd displayed a high level of frustration and animosity, particularly about cutting down trees for what they derided as a "temporary" car park.
"The people at the meeting on Wednesday last week, were all really concerned about what was going to happen with the proposed temporary car park next to the swimming pool," Caroline Le Couteur says.
"They were very surprised to find that wasn't in fact the major agenda for the government."
The Downer resident and former member of the Greens Legislative Assembly makes clear she is not speaking for the Greens.
However, her time as deputy chair of the Assembly planning committee gives her an insight into the process.
And the Greens were able to implement compulsory consultation for multi-storey developments, she says.
She would like to see more younger people involved in community councils and suburban residents groups.
"The community councils tend to have older residents who like to have things remain more as they have been, which is one of their real problems," she says.
"I think the NIMBY factor is a really issue but in terms of this particular one with the Dickson car park, you don't have to be much of a NIMBY to think that's not one of the world's best planning ideas."
Community councils operate as an informal method of filtering public opinion – but only from those involved.
"Quite a few people at the meeting said to me, 'I didn't even know this was happening next to the swimming pool, how would I have known about it?' and I said, 'that's an excellent question'," Le Couteur says.
"You would only know about it, if you happened to be walking past it close enough that you could see the sign about it.
"I knew about it because I'm an active member of a community association. If I hadn't had been, I would not realised this was happening until I saw the bulldozers there."
It seems serendipity was in the air at that last meeting of the North Canberra Community Council.
Mike Hettinger, the chairman, didn't realise what he had put in place when he asked for presentations by both the Environment and Planning Directorate and Roads ACT.
"The representatives from the Environment and Planning Directorate were struck by the concerns about the car park at the pool," he said.
"In the course of the discussions, one of the alternatives raised was to use the former ACTTAB site as the temporary car park site.
"One really strong reason for that is the site has already been DA approved as a car park so it's there, it's ready to go, it just needs to be fixed up.
"Then, at the end of their presentation, Roads ACT commented on the suggestion about the ACTTAB in preference to the pool site and they said they far preferred this and the pool site was an inferior location [because of] serious [traffic] congestion.
"Then Roads ACT undertook to write an internal minute to the EPD to support their preference for the ACT TAB site.
"It was really good to have them together at the same meeting and both sides left the meeting with the view there is a more constructive way to approach the issue of the temporary car park at Dickson."
The Battle for the Dickson grove is not over yet and the shopping centre is set for major disruption when construction begins on the new supermarkets.
But, doesn't it make you smile to see a constructive approach and realise, again, just how persuasive people power can be?