Brumbies’ $30m apartment block plan upsets residents

From Canberra Times article:

Locals have warned they still hold serious concerns about the Brumbies’ plans for a $30 million, three-storey apartment complex at its Griffith headquarters.

The Brumbies have lodged a development application for a complex of 134 apartments to replace its existing offices, gym and the old Canberra South Bowling and Recreation Club at the Austin Street site.

The plans have been the subject of criticism since they were first canvassed in 2009. The chief concerns relate to increased traffic, flood risks, the ”destructive” effects on the character of the immediate surrounds, and the size and density of the complex.

Former commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission Tony Powell has warned of a public backlash if the apartment complex goes ahead.

”The amount of development is far more than the site can actually contain,” he said.

”It would be the worst kind of government flats you can imagine, literally you will be able to stand on one verandah and pass a drink to someone in the next building, they are that close.

”It’s completely out of scale, it’s far too dense for the character of the area, which is free standing, single-storey housing with gardens, and that’s what everybody is going to be really upset about.”

Mr Powell said that the development would have a ”massive” impact on traffic in the relatively narrow Austin Street. The complex is estimated to generate daily trips by 804 cars, which will mostly travel along Austin Street to Captain Cook Crescent.

The development application also provides for 234 car parking spaces.

The complex would be built on the corner of Austin and La Perouse streets, and will contain 34 one-bedroom, 77 two-bedroom and 23 three-bedroom apartments.

The apartments will be in seven blocks, mostly over three levels, and will be arranged around an internal landscaped courtyard.

The buildings will all be under 25 metres high.

The Griffith Narrabundah Community Association still holds concerns about the development, but praised the heritage protection of Griffith Oval and nearby trees in 2010, and the maintaining of the green corridor from Manuka to Red Hill.

Association president David Denham said that the building would still stick out like a ”sore thumb” in Griffith.

”I don’t think it’s good planning because it doesn’t fit in with the neighbourhood environment,” Mr Denham said.

”But if the trees are protected and if the design and the finish is OK, then we’ll have to live with it.”

He said there was still no adequate explanation of the risk of flooding at the site.

The Brumbies are expected to benefit significantly from the sale of the site, which will help ensure the club stays viable into the future.

It plans to move to the University of Canberra in Bruce, but negotiations are still ongoing.

Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said last week that there had been extensive public consultation over the development over the past three years and the assembly had imposed several controls over the development of the site as part of the variation to the Territory Plan.

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