ACT Election 

Party & Candidate responses to CNRG’s “Securing the future of our green space” Letter

On behalf of the Nicholls Community, CNRG’s objective has been to secure the long term future of the Gold Creek Golf Course (GCGC) and its surrounding green space. In mid-July, Political Parties and Candidates contesting the upcoming ACT Election in the Electorate of Yerrabi were asked their position on re-zoning and commercial development of this space.


While a few of the responses received were unambiguous in their opposition to any re-zoning of the GCGC land, others only referred to their opposition to the proposal as put forward in April 2018 and/or would decide at the time if a firm proposal was ever lodged.

To assist residents in developing a view on preferred Candidates, CNRG has assessed the responses according to the level of confidence that our objective will be achieved, as follows (with relevant extracts from the responses).


Confident

Canberra Liberals

“The Canberra Liberals were the first Party to come out against the rezoning of the Gold Creek Golf Course, and we remain steadfast in our position. All Canberra Liberals MLAs and candidates oppose rezoning of this green space for development.

The Canberra Liberals understand what makes Nicholls great and the need to ensure the character of the suburb is maintained.”


Jacob Vadakkedathu

“In response to your letter seeking my stand on the Golf course issue, I would like to state the following:

               1. I strongly support the protection of existing pristine green spaces in Canberra from development by developers;

               2. I oppose redevelopment of any part of the Gold Creek Golf Course and its surrounding green space, and

                   I would strongly object if an Application to amend the current Purpose Clause in the Gold Creek Country Club Lease and/or to                     amend the zoning of the Block & Sections encompassing the Gold Creek Golf Course and its surrounding green space were to                     come before the Legislative Assembly.”


David Pollard (David Pollard Party)

“Put clearly, I would oppose any variation to the lease or zoning that would allow residential or commercial development on this green space. There are multiple reasons for my position, but the two standouts are:

              1. I believe we should be protecting as much green space as we can in Yerrabi and all of Canberra.

              2. I believe that the community voice is critical in any significant change in planning direction (rezoning, lease variation), and the                    community voice in Nicholls has been abundantly clear regarding this land.”


Bethany Williams (ACT Progressives)

“I base every decision I make on evidence, fairness and ethics. My opposition to the rezoning and potential redevelopment of 49 hectares of the Gold Creek Golf Course is purely based on the information I have read, which does not compel me to share the views of the developer. So if elected, I will be opposing any rezoning of any parts of the Gold Creek Golf Course for development.”



Less Confident

ACT Labor

“I note the ongoing concerns you have outlined in your email regarding the proposed redevelopment of Gold Creek Golf Course. Given the community opposition to this redevelopment as put forward by the proponents, ACT Labor cannot support this proposal as it was presented to the community in April 2018.”


Deepak-Raj Gupta (ACT Labor)

“I am aware that my colleagues extended their support to CNRG regarding a previous proposal to develop the Gold Creek Country Club. … I would like to echo their position, in particular that developers should respect community views. … Nicholls is a beautiful part of Canberra and I am committed to supporting its residents and maintaining the unique character of the area.

If there are any proposals to develop or rezone the golf course in the future, I will continue to work with and listen to the community so we can prioritise open spaces.”


ACT Greens

“After listening to the community’s concerns about the proposal put forward by the Gold Creek Country Club, the ACT Greens would not support it in its current form. Should a future proposal come forward that addresses these concerns, the Greens would consider community views at the time and consider it on its merits.”


Mainul Haque (ACT Greens)

“I am for need based policies and not for greed and would not support any development that is against the wishes and interest of our community.

I would not support the proposal in its current form. I would consider community views and a revised proposal that addresses these concerns, on its merits.”

Links to CNRG Letter and Responses

Review of Community Action Since 4 April 2018 (September 2019)

It began on 4 April 2018

It's well over twelve months since the K-Group initiated their ‘Re-imagine Gold Creek Country Club’ campaign, with its central tenet being to compress the ‘Back 9’ of the Gold Creek Golf Course into the ‘Front 9’, thereby releasing 49 hectares of land for development.

Immediately it became known, the Community of Nicholls Residents Group (CNRG) was formed, with an Executive Committee and ‘Group of 20’ Associate Members. A strategy to oppose the campaign was agreed, with the initial steps being to inform and engage residents, via a letterbox drop and subsequently, a public meeting.

CNRG addresses GCC

On 11 April 2018, CNRG addressed the Gungahlin Community Council meeting. The Minutes of that meeting are at https://gcc.asn.au/minutes-gcc-community-meeting-11-april-2018/

The meeting was videoed and this is at https://www.facebook.com/MyGungahlin/videos/vb.271568897011/10155965524707012/?type=2&theater between 13mins 30secs and 81mins 30secs.

1st Community Meeting

The 1st Community Meeting was held on 15 April 2018. It was attended by more than 600 residents, who unanimously agreed to allow CNRG to act on their behalf in this matter, with an understanding that CNRG may at some stage need to seek donations from residents to cover any significant costs that may arise through the campaign.

At this meeting, and subsequently, some 900 residents signed-up to be kept informed via email updates, with many also offering their professional or voluntary support. A video of the meeting is at https://www.facebook.com/MyGungahlin/videos/vb.271568897011/10155973650287012/?type=2&theater.

A strategy of ensuring probity of CNRG’s actions and preparing for any potential legal action has seen CNRG engage legal counsel.

CNRG seeks to ensure that it represents the views of the whole of the Nicholls community.

CNRG social media and Community information

To keep the community informed, CNRG created a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/408934556257881/ and drafted a ‘Communications Strategy’ and ‘Statement of Purpose’. 

The six objectives of the Statement of Purpose, are at https://www.cnrgcanberra.org/about. The Statement of Purpose has been used by CNRG to guide its interactions in the public arena, particularly to inform key Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

CNRG has met with and briefed all relevant key and local (ie. Yerrabi Electorate) politicians and shown a number of local politicians over the golf course. CNRG has also met with the Gungahlin Community Council.

CNRG has approached K-Group for direct discussions on a number of occasions. There has been no response.

CNRG and the People's Panel

CNRG was strongly represented on the People’s Panel, the K-Group’s consultation vehicle. The outcome of that Panel’s deliberations was unanimous agreement that there be no change to the configuration of the golf course, and no change to the current zoning in the Territory Plan. The K-Group has yet to release publicly the results of the Community Consultation Process it sponsored.

2nd Community Meeting and Outcomes

A 2nd Community Meeting, attended by 500+ residents, was held on 16 September 2018. It attracted representatives from all political parties, including Meegan Fitzharris, Alistair Coe, Caroline Le Couteur, Suzanne Orr, Michael Petterson and James Milligan. Peter Elford, President of the Gungahlin Community Council, also attended. The meeting was video streamed and can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/MyGungahlin/videos/vb.271568897011/425978601264422/?type=2&theater

Each was invited to address the Meeting and subsequently respond to a Q&A session from the floor. The meeting achieved its objective of informing the wider community of progress to date and eliciting firm commitments from key political representatives to oppose rezoning.

Following the 2nd Community Meeting, CNRG had delivered to it signed letters from the ACT Liberals and Yerrabi members of the ACT Labor Party, 14 MLAs in total (a significant majority in the Assembly), supporting the ‘No Rezoning’ case.

A further engagement of residents, particularly of those living adjacent to the 'Front 9' who will be affected by the consequential significant changes proposed for the 'Back 9', has seen the contact list grow to nearly 1100 (eligible to vote) residents.

What can residents do to help?

Many of the people on the contact list have asked, 'What can we do to help?'

CNRG encourages residents in the local community to support the amenities of the Gold Creek Country Club (GCCC), including not only the Golf Club (via ‘Access’ or ‘Full Playing’ Membership, or ‘pay-as-you-play’ golf and use of the driving range), but also the pool, gym, bar and restaurant. All are open for public use. You do NOT need to be a member of the Golf Club to use them.

What does the future hold?

With the ACT Elections due next year, it will be important to ensure that all Yerrabi politicians keep to the commitments they made at the public meeting and in the letters sent following that meeting.

CNRG has resolved to monitor the positions of all politicians regarding the Gold Creek Country Club in the lead-up to the next ACT Election.

CNRG proposes to write to all Yerrabi candidates asking for their position in opposing any rezoning of the golf course and surrounding open space. Their responses will be made public for the information of local residents.

CNRG is also considering the merits of developing a ‘Precinct Plan’ for Gold Creek, encompassing the suburb of Nicholls and the broader suburban region. Links with town planning experts are being developed.

CNRG continues to meet regularly and will continue to actively monitor proposals in the area and seek to work constructively with the K-Group.

CNRG will continue to keep the community informed.

CNRG

Community of Nicholls Residents Group (CNRG) is an incorporated not-for-profit group responding to ongoing attempts over many years to redevelop and/or rezone the Gold Creek Golf Course.

We are responding to the “Re:imagine Gold Creek” campaign” www.reimaginegoldcreek.com.au.

Enough is Enough

Please encourage interested persons to join the CNRG mailing list.

CNRG needs all interested community residents to sign up.

ACTION: Please forward this to friends and neighbours so that they can automatically contact CNRG through the SIGN UP Button below.

Lorraine Welling

Secretary CNRG

Contact us on: [email protected]

Like to know more?

Go to our Website: https://www.cnrgcanberra.org/ 

CNRG reaches out to the K-Group

n keeping with our stated intentions following the 2nd Community Meeting, CNRG has sent the following letter to Mr Harry Konstaninou requesting a meeting at his earliest convenience.

*************************************

Politicians sign-up to vote against rezoning of the Gold Creek Golf Course

CNRG would like to thank the 1000+ Nicholls and surrounding community residents, and Gold Creek golfers, who collectively attended the 1st and 2nd Community Meetings held to campaign against the K-Group’s “Re:imagine Gold Creek Country Club” proposal. This amazing extent of community involvement has been integral in achieving a very positive outcome. Following the 2nd Community Meeting, CNRG has received signed letters from both the Labor and Liberal Parties, stating unequivocally that 3 Labor and 11 Liberal MLAs (ie. 14 MLAs in a Legislative Assembly of 25 members – a significant majority) will vote against rezoning of the Gold Creek Golf Course, if such an application were to come before the Assembly. Click on the images of the letters below to access a PDF version.

‘People Power’ does work when communities unite to achieve appropriate outcomes. CNRG has since offered to meet with the K-Group to discuss appropriate development and sustainability issues, within the constraints of the current zoning and Lease conditions.

Notwithstanding this encouraging result, we remain observant of proposed development activity and will continue to update the website with any new information.

*************************************

SAY NO TO REZONING IN NICHOLLS

‘The community has spoken’—the People’s Panel has overwhelmingly rejected K-Group’s proposal to rezone and redevelop the Gold Creek golf course to allow residential and commercial development.

CNRG's message to the Community

  1. The threat is real and ongoing – we think the concerns arising from the Re:Imagine Campaign should be taken very seriously. We are expecting a prolonged and determined campaign for redevelopment and rezoning;
  2. If it could happen here, it could happen elsewhere in Canberra's suburbia. Green open spaces, whether public or private, are key contributors to the well-being of communities; and
  3. There are many ways you can help, the most important is to raise awareness among friends and neighbours. Here are our primary suggestions:
  • Connect with our Facebook page
  • Ask to become a “Friend of CNRG” and sign up to our email distribution list
  • Watch the media and keep tuned to further developments
  • Use the golf, leisure and hospitality facilities at Gold Creek Country Club. This demonstrates public confidence and interest in the current facilities.

Next Steps for CNRG

We think there are at least three streams of activity to pursue:

First - To tap into the obvious community goodwill to make the golf course sustainable. There were many good suggestions made by members of the People’s Panel during discussions with the K-Group. We are seeking a meeting with the principals of the K-Group to work through these ideas with them.

Second - The Nicholls’ community is not the only community facing dramatic rezoning and re-development proposals that will change the character of their respective suburbs. It is important to collaborate with other community groups facing these challenges so that a more united and stronger message can be delivered to Government about the importance of seriously and substantively taking the community’s concerns into account regarding the continuing encroachment of development on suburbia’s green open spaces.

Third - The Nicholls’ community needs to make it clear to the ACT Government - whoever that may be - that it wants a commitment to genuine consultation. The current minimum 6 week legislated electronic submission-only process is unacceptable to the community. A framework for community consultation should, we believe, involve, amongst other things, an opportunity to work on a “whole of suburb” or “precinct” plan that is clearly aligned with the unique character and heritage value of the Harcourt Hill Estate, the Gold Creek Village, a golf course integrated into the suburb and the open land corridors and wildlife habitat that has defined the unique character of Nicholls since the mid-90s.

.

.

.

.

.

.