Check against delivery
I rise today to provide an update on my recent activity in Giralang.
In the 2016/17 Budget the Government committed $100,000 to the development of a park in Giralang.
Since the budget announcement I have been out at stalls and knocking on doors speaking with residents of Giralang about the things they’d like in their park.
So far we’ve received requests for:
- Play opportunities for kids over 5
- Somewhere for parents to sit
- Somewhere for older residents to sit
- A BMX track like the one at North Ainslie Primary
- Somewhere to work out
- Something for teenagers... although no one has been able to tell us what this might be
- Lots of native grasses
- No native grasses
- A coffee cart
- And a fireman’s pole.
People have been surprised and encouraged that they can have a say about what goes into the park before the design is drafted.
I will continue to collect all these ideas which will inform the design that is put to the community as part of the formal planning process.
As I have mentioned before, the development of the Giralang Shops has been and continues to be a hot topic in Giralang.
And whenever it comes up the question I most often receive is – “What is going on?”
I met with the site developer in April this year. During that meeting I conveyed the views expressed to me by the Giralang community. His response was that he is “re-energised and committed to seeing the development progress”.
I encouraged the developer to speak with the Giralang community and keep them informed as he progresses.
But by all accounts known to me the developer has not provided the community with any information and the question I still most often receive from residents is – “What is going on?”
Residents were especially desperate for information when the lights and demountable sheds were removed in May. This was the first movement on the site in years, but the community heard nothing.
Giralang residents contacted me asking if this indicated the developer had given up on the project and was abandoning the site.
I let the developer know that residents still have questions and again encouraged him to speak to residents directly.
Unfortunately he is yet to engage the Giralang community.
The conversation in Giralang has now turned to “Can’t the developer at least clean up the site?” and “isn’t he in breach of his lease?”
In response to these questions:
I agree with the community’s view that the building site should be maintained and kept tidy.
In June this year I wrote to the Minister for Planning raising concerns with the upkeep of the site.
Following my letter, Access Canberra inspectors attended the site.
Access Canberra is attempting to contact the developer to remind him of the need to keep the site tidy at all times.
To the question of breaching the condition of the lease; I can confirm that under clause 3(b) of the lease the lessee of the Giralang shops site is required to complete the development within thirty six months of the start of their lease.
According to the Crown lease, the erection of buildings on the Giralang shops site should have been completed by 12 March this year.
The Government has notified the developer he is in breach of this clause and that he has two options available to him:
To submit a development application with a lease variation to extend the completion date, or apply for a lease variation to extend the date.
The developer would have a case for an extension given the legal circumstances surrounding the lease.
Following these events, I have in the last few days received a call from the developer requesting a meeting so he can update me on his progress.
I welcome his approach and hope it indicates that community engagement will follow shortly.
While the lack of progress on the Giralang shops is disappointing, we, the ACT Government, see no reason why this should hold up other development in Giralang.
The Government is working to restore the heart of Giralang, delivering a park for all residents to enjoy.
The Government is ensuring the developer is compliant with the terms of his lease and maintaining the site in accordance with the relevant regulations.
The Government is committed to delivering a quality, integrated precinct for Giralang; one that the community can contribute to, and feel ownership over.
I look forward to hearing directly from the developer what he is doing to progress the shops.