Reid News Sheet 16 March 2023

REMINDER: AGM 6 pm 29 March Mercure Hotel, Ainslie: guest speaker Max Bourke AM

Please note the following two major Heritage matters below and the third point provides information about the signalisation of the Limestone Ave, Euree Street and Treloar Cres intersection provided by Minister Stephen-Smith.

  1. OPTUS TOWER ON REID PARK SPORTS GROUND PROPOSAL: DA 202240878: responses by 27 March

This proposal is NOT a monopole as cited in the DA but a 20.57 metre steel lattice tower structure plus surrounding structures including a 5 metre by 9.6 metre security fence to be erected on Reid Park Sports Ground.

It is most inappropriate to situate such a structure on the Sports Ground as this area lies within, and under the provisions of, the Reid Housing Precinct Entry No. 20023 Entry on the ACT Heritage Register, Heritage ACT 2004. This proposal is not only inappropriate in a heritage environment, but the application is also misleading, and the applicant hasn’t seriously explored other options.

There are numerous other sites within the city area where this tower could be constructed, safely, effectively and efficiently within the usual paraphernalia of Canberra’s built-up area without impacting on a heritage precinct. Either for a high steel mesh tower or for roof top installation respectively sites that should be given serious consideration include:

  • Griffin Apartments
  • Geocon: Metropol
  • ACT Government building: Constitution Place
  • Civic Swimming pool car park
  • DOMA ‘Foothills’ apartment construction site, temporarily in limbo
  • Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain.

The fact that the applicant did not look further raises questions about their motivation e.g. do commercial buildings charge a commercial rate to locate such things on their rooftops? Is Reid Park a quick, cheap and dirty solution? What will be the motivation to remove the supposedly ‘temporary’ Tower having spent at least $250,000 building it, especially given the evidence in this application that there was little motivation to look for a more appropriate site?

Apart from the high usage of Reid Park Sports Ground by both residents and visitors, this is a high visitation area because of the community use of the area for many recreation and associated events and its proximity to the Australian War Memorial. The imposition of such a structure on Reid Park cannot be condoned.

The Reid Residents’ Association (RRA) does wish that Optus customers continue to have uninterrupted services in wherever Optus chooses to provide them. This is important to Optus’ business model. However, this utility should not be at the expense of Heritage and not because it is the lazy solution, albeit a rather extravagant one given the expenditure proposed on a ‘temporary’ structure. Objections on this DA can be submitted using Smart Form.

  1. Legislative Assembly Inquiry into Heritage Arrangements: Submissions close on 31 March.

What is this Inquiry into the ACT’s heritage arrangements about?

Terms of Reference:

The Committee will inquire and report on the ACT’s heritage arrangements, with particular reference to:

  • the effectiveness and adequacy of the operations under the Heritage Act 2004 including First Nations heritage, and approvals provided under the Act;
  • the effectiveness of the structure, administration, and operation of the ACT Heritage Council, including the adequacy of governance arrangements between the ACT Heritage Council and ACT Heritage Unit;
  • the adequacy of resourcing for the ACT Heritage Unit;
  • the operation of heritage legislation in other Australian jurisdictions;
  • how the ACT’s heritage arrangements might be improved to guarantee the ACT Heritage Council achieves its statutory functions;
  • and any other related matters with respect to the ACT’s heritage arrangements.

Some very salutary submissions are already available at the Legislative Assembly’s Heritage Arrangement Inquiry website. We draw your attention particularly to the following submissions:

  • Griffith Narrabundah Community Association
  • Canberra and District Historical Society
  • Dr Ken Heffernan
  • Professor Roz Hansen AM
  • ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment
  • Duncan Marshall AM and Dr Michael Pearson AO.

  1. What’s going on at the Intersection at Limestone Ave, Euree Street and Treloar Crescent?

Minister Stephen-Smith’s Office has confirmed that this intersection is being signalised. The RRA requested information about this project when the Minister made a site visit to Reid Park on 25 January this year to assess the amenities on the Reid Park Sports Ground and the need for a Conservation Management Plan for this beautiful area.

The ‘signalisation’ project was funded through the Australian Government’s Black Spot program.

Design and Preliminary Sketch Plan (PSP) works are nearing completion, with the workers, seen at the site by RRA, undertaking surveying and utility location identification works. A call for construction tenders is expected in April–May, with construction expected to commence by the middle of the year, and be completed by September-October 2023, weather permitting.

We are unaware of the reasons behind this action and have not been provided with the metrics that have led to this intersection having been deemed a ‘black spot’. The main criterion is supposed to be numbers of crashes.

We are unaware that Reid residents were ever consulted on the matter yet that is one of the funding conditions.

We can make various presumptions apropos recent ‘developments’ near this intersection.

It would be interesting to know with how environmental and heritage implications were assessed.

In fact, we are totally in the dark on this matter! Further, we wonder if there is a more critical black spot in Canberra that requires ‘signalising’.

Contact via:
President: Marianne Albury-Colless, Secretary: Amanda Reynolds
Treasurer & Public Officer: Robyn Bergin
Committee: Anne Buttsworth, Sue Byrne, John Henderson, Molly Henman, Roy Jordan