Our inner south Canberra suburbs are a nearly century old.  If they are to survive for another hundred years we need to ensure we have a planning system that helps maintain their  distinctive amenity, garden city values and heritage in the face of inevitable pressure for redevelopment.

We are disappointed that the Government has reneged on its previous commitment to safeguard our suburbs through the adoption of new precinct codes for the inner south, which would have kicked off with pilot proposals in Deakin and Yarralumla. These codes would have bound decision-makers to protect the unique characteristics of each neighbourhood in any development proposals.

Instead, the Government has proposed to issue a new Statement of Planning Intent later this year, which will state its planning intentions and directions.  The Minister Planning, Mick Gentleman MLA, has invited ISCCC to participate in the consultative process leading up to the adoption of the new statement. But we remain sceptical that this would be a better solution than binding rules specific to each suburb.

The ISCCC has decided for the moment not take a position on whether Canberra should have a light rail system.  Our priority is ensuring that, if the project goes ahead, as is current Government policy, the inner south plays an active part in discussions on future network options.

I was pleased to attend recently the launch of a new book by Lenore Coltheart on Canberra’s cherished Albert Hall, one of the most iconic buildings in the inner south.  The book will bring back wonderful memories for many of you. For further details visit the Albert Hall website.

Finally, the next public meeting of the ISCCC Committee is being held on 7pm, Tuesday 10 February, at the National Press Club. I hope to see you there.

Gary Kent

Chair, ISCCC

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