Environment and Planning Forum Minutes - June 2016
Community Councils and Industry
Angie Bletsas – ACTCOSS
Andrew MacKenzie – ACT Institute of Landscape Architect
Damian Haas – Belconnen Community Council
Adam Hobill – Building Designers Australia
Larry O’Loughlin - Conservation Council ACT Region
David Denham - Griffith Narrabundah Community Association
Kevin Cox – Gungahlin Community Council
Leo Dobes – Inner South Canberra Community Council
Michael Hopkins – Master Builders Association, ACT
Denis O’Brien – North Canberra Community Council
Jeff Ibbotson – Pedal Power
Glenys Patulny - Tuggeranong Community Council
Pat McGinn – Weston Creek Community Council
Mike Reddy – Woden Valley Community Council
Dorte Ekelund – Director-General, EPD (Chair)
Gary Rake – Deputy Director-General, EPD
Brett Phillips - Executive Director, Strategic Planning, EPD
David Roulston – Director and Chief Information Officer, TAMS
Anna Gurnhill, Project Manager, Major Projects and Transport, EPD
Mayumi Smith, Communications, EPD (minute taker)
Alix Kaucz – Territory Plan, EPD
George Cilliers – Development Assessment, EPD
Elizabeth Hurst – Belconnen Community Council
Ewan Brown – COTA
Stephen Hodge – Cycling Promotions
Kirk Coningham - MBA
Annie Lane – Executive Director, Environment, EPD
Tony Carmichael – Executive Director, Strategic Planning, EPD
Jim Corrigan – Executive Director, Planning Delivery, EPD
Jess Buik – Executive Officer to the Director-General, EPD
Welcome & Apologies
The Director-General of the Environment and Planning Directorate, Dorte Ekelund, welcomed attendees and advised members of apologies received.
Dorte acknowledged the 50th birthday for Belconnen and also welcomed Brett Phillips who is the new recruit for Jim Corrigan, Planning Delivery, EPD. It was noted that the meeting was David Roulston’s last forum, as David moves to a new role within TAMS.
Notes and actions from previous meeting – 28 April 2016
Notes and actions from the previous meeting were agreed, noting that both Item 7 and Item 9 were not yet actioned – David Roulston to follow up.
A number of items were raised following discussion of last meeting’s action items. This included general members’ feedback as well as other miscellaneous items:
- Links on websites need to be maintained for historical reasons.
- Positive feedback about new Commissioner was mentioned
- It was suggested that the new Commissioner present to EPF in near future.
- Mugga solar farm is starting construction, operational in 2017.
- Solar highway reference in media a good description.
- EPD will co-host business breakfast in late July as follow on from recent Actsmart awards.
- Green diplomacy network to be formed to show what can be achieved through Actsmart program.
- Kangaroo fence on Tuggeranong parkway is to protect motorists and kangaroos as a safety measure.
- Planning regulations being looked at and how this will affect climate change. Will government focus on this? MBA will liaise with EPD on this matter and also include Commissioner.
Director-General’s update report
The Director-General presented her report for March - April 2016 copies of the Statement of Planning Intent Newsletter were also circulated to members.
Action – The D-Gs report to be emailed to forum members.
Active Travel Office Update
At the last forum meeting, Anna Gurnhill outlined two key initiatives for the Active Travel Office. The initiatives mentioned were an improved web presence and the other being research across Australia and New Zealand jurisdictions to benchmark how the ACT is placed. Anna reported that both these activities are nearing completion.
The interactive website will include regular updates, highlight events and activities as well as make online resources available.
A detailed draft community engagement strategy has been developed. This strategy includes items such as marketing and campaign work. From 1 July, the Active Travel Office is being re-established from Transport Canberra.
Active travel policy initiatives in the pipeline include a new bicycle path code as well as parking/end of trip facilities General Code. There will be more consultation to come on this matter.
New facilities will be implemented at Greenway Park in Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra in Belconnen. The sites have been selected as they are close to existing car parks and recreation facilities.
The facilities are intended to assist children to learn bike riding skills, and to encourage riding to and from school.
Construction of both Learn to Ride Centres is due to commence from September 2016, with the centres planned to open in March 2017.
Further information is available at: http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/rattenbury/2016/two-new-learn-to-ride-centres-to-help-keep-canberra-kids-active-and-safe
Other initiatives mentioned included input into revised cycle safety at roundabouts, new driver competency awareness, bike share facilities, community events and recent visit from Mayor of Wellington. A new fleet of electric bikes is imminent for the government consisting of 8 bikes in total.
Member’s comments – Damien Haas questioned new bike training facilities for kids and the lack of detail for this? The question was taken on notice.
Jeff Ibbotson asked about the planning network role and how this would be affected with establishment of Transport Canberra. EPD indicated that this role resides within TAMS. Jeff also asked about the draft community engagement strategy and associated funding. Anna indicated that funding would be sought once the strategy has been agreed.
Action – EPD to seek more information on the new bike training facility adjacent to Lake Ginninderra.
Development Application process/consultation
George Cilliers presented to the forum on the development application and consultation process. George outlined that the focus of his presentation was based on the merit track process.
Members comments – Damien Haas asked about mediation process and George indicated that this is an independent process whereby the mediator in not known until the time of the mediation.
Pat McGinn questioned the definition of an ‘affected party’ and George stated that this is not defined by the planning and land authority.
Glenys Patulny asked where a pre-lodgement is listed and the response was that this part of the planning process does not get notified.
Adam Hobill asked about the start date for 120 days during appeal with the answer being this date is set from the day of application lodgement.
Damien Haas queried DA application versus final approvals where for example a number of apartments might differ? This would result in non approval by the certifier.
Mike Reddy asked about staff initiative and how EPD is encouraging this within the organisation. George pointed out a number of changes that have taken place in the division including restructure, developing skills, staff rotation and introduction of the gateway team.
Action – send George Cillier’s presentation to all members.
Alix Kaucz presented to the forum on plot ratios for dwellings.
Member’s comments – David Denham outlined that plot ratios are not working in RZ1 zones due to pools, patios, etc are not included in the GFA. Block is then filled with no room for permeable land. The permeable part of plot should be defined. The definition needs to be simpler and would provide better outcomes.
David Denham also stated that larger houses on smaller blocks are problematic, and asked if this being reviewed by government? What is the reason behind plot ratio and is this consistent with government policy?
Damien Haas asked if plot ratio is legislative based? Alix Kaucz responded that the Territory Plan is a statutory document and plot ratio is a mandatory rule.
Pat McGinn stated that there needs to be education about environmental concerns and gardening/landscaping on blocks. Gary Rake pointed out that government is working on a major project namely the living infrastructure project to address this. Pat indicated that this should be at the householder level and should also educate builders too.
In response to concerns regarding the quality of construction and responsibility of building certifiers, Michael Hopkins spoke about the forms being lodged following each stage of construction rather than in bulk at end when whole development is complete. It is important that each stage is checked before carrying on with development.
David Denham asked about exempt development and how certifiers are checked. It was pointed out that documents associated with this are accessible through the public register. Gary Rake also mentioned that the recent building act review will lift the level of scrutiny for certifiers.
Leo Dobes indicated that an audit process is needed. It was noted that there are compliance processes and standards. There are also designated inspectors appointed by government for multiple developments.
Action – Alix Kaucz’s presentation to be sent to all members. EPD to send documents outlined in Plot Ratio presentation and also send calculations/formulas to members.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 18 August 2016.
Action Summary Table