1. Continuing our anti Light Rail campaign. We finally got an answer to our letter to the Chief Minister on 27th August after sending her a follow-up letter. It was then promptly answered by Simon Corbell as Minister for Capital Metro on 1st October. It is written in a very cordial tone which I’m happy about. His letter still leaves us with doubt about whether the updated Business Case will be released in its entirety on 31st October or whether the financial information we have requested (the approximate annual fee to be paid to the PPP contractor for 20 years) will be withheld. We suspect it will be writing back to him seeking clarification. He’s still claiming that there is strong support from the Canberra community for this project. We dispute this and have suggested they conduct another survey if they really want to find out what the community thinks. In the TCC Executive Committee’s opinion, the last survey was ridiculously biased. He makes the point that Canberra’s dependence on cars is not sustainable, hence the need for a better public transport system. Our contention is that this can be achieved at much lower cost by improving ACTION’s bus services. We don’t need light rail. It is much too expensive and too few people will get to use it. They are also planning a city-wide network. While he admits that it is a long term project, he put no timescale on it. Our contention is that expansion of the network passed Stage 1 is unlikely to happen for many, many years because it is simply unaffordable and our population is not great enough to fund it. Treasurer Max Flint has been working on a very detailed paper on this project which contains information that is essential for all Canberrans to know. He will most likely circulate this paper to the public within a few weeks. He has developed it as a public service.
2. The Committee met with the South Quay developer South Quay Waters P/L who is presenting information on their development later this evening. I also meet separately with a representative of the developer Empire Global who will also be presenting information on their development later this evening. These presentations are a significant part of their Community consultation obligation. The Land Development Agency (LDA) sold three more blocks at South Quay by auction last week. The final blocks will be sold later.
3. Treasurer Barr has again invited the Community to submit their ideas/proposals on what we would like to see in the FY 15/16 ACT budget. Submissions close 13th October. The TCC will again be making a submission. If you have any ideas you would like to suggest, let me know by 10th October. We will of course be suggesting that we don’t want to see any more money wasted on the light rail project. We do want money spent on duplicating Ashley Drive.
4. We will be setting up a stand next to the AFP Safe Plate stand in the Hyperdome on Saturday 25th October from 10am to 2pm to encourage shoppers to join the TCC.
5. Glenys and Max attended the Combined Community Council a few weeks ago. The main issues discussed were commercial organisations making handsome profits from re-developing concessional lease properties by re-zoning to other uses. eg Brumbies and Raiders. The alternative is the properties under concessional leases being returned to the ACT Government for other parties to lease them for the original purpose. Why should these commercial organisations make a profit at the expense of the Canberra community? This is under discussion with the Govt. Also discussed was dissatisfaction with the ACTION Network 14 changes to routes and timetables. Loss of outdoor recreational spaces eg bowling greens, is also under discussion.
6. The Committee is looking at what the TCC may be able to do next year in celebrating that ANZAC centenary. We are looking at hosting a meeting of local service clubs later this year to discuss any plans they might have to celebrate the ANZAC centenary.