While it is unfortunate Planning Minister Mick Gentleman had to resort to using his "call-in" powers to approve the contentious Dickson Coles development plan, this could be a case where the end justifies the means.
Almost five years have passed since Coles' development arm first lodged plans to build two supermarkets and 155 apartments on a car park on the corner of of Antill and Badham streets in late 2014.
That proposal hit a snag when residents and traders expressed concern about a proposed mall which would have cut off pedestrian access to the Dickson group centre.
It was feared this would strangle local small businesses and shut down the area's vibrant courtyard trading culture.
These objections were overcome when Aldi, which was to have operated the second supermarket, withdrew. This provided an opportunity for the planners to introduce a "Dickson square", a large space under an open canopy that would improve access.
The external appearance of the new precinct was also tweaked, addressing objections by some critics that what had initially been put forward offered very limited visual appeal.
When it became apparent earlier this year that despite the many changes and upgrades, often driven by public consultation, over a period of years, the project could be delayed even further, Mr Gentleman chose to act.
He announced yesterday he was using his wide-ranging "call-in" powers to approve the development of 140 apartments, the new Coles supermarket, 4,900 square metres of additional retail space and a basement car park capable of accommodating up to 472 vehicles.
The latest proposal, in the words of one local business owner, is "1000 times better" than what was first put forward.
This means the project does not have to negotiate the traditional assessment pathway which would have exposed it to further challenges in the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Projects that have benefited from Mr Gentleman's use of these powers in the past have included the new media centre at Manuka Oval, the demolition of public housing flats along Northbourne Avenue as part of the light rail project and the Ngunnawal bush healing farm.
While there is little doubt what has been approved will still be subject to criticism from some neighbouring residents and businesses, there does appear to be a general acknowledgement it is good to finally be able bring this long-running saga to a satisfactory conclusion.
The latest proposal, in the words of one local business owner, is "1000 times better" than what had originally been put forward in 2014.
Dickson, like much of Canberra's northside, has experienced significant growth and development in the last five years. The recent commissioning of the light rail service should bring additional consumer traffic to the precinct.
It would have made very poor sense, both commercially and from a town planning point of view, to have allowed work to be delayed even further given the demonstrable need to bring it on line as soon as possible.
A failure to do so could have resulted in consequences to existing businesses far more adverse than what the original objectors had set out to prevent.
Dickson's commercial hub and shopping centre is now exposed to a far greater degree of competition from both Gungahlin and the Majura Park shopping precinct than was the case when this development was first mooted.
It truly is a case of "use it or lose it". Commercial traffic, once lost to other centres, can be very hard to win back.