11 Rutherford Crescent, Ainslie, ACT

PROPOSAL FOR SUPPORTIVE HOUSING AND LEASE VARIATION - The construction of two new single storey buildings to provide eight studios and 2 two-bedroom dwellings, landscaping, new driveway from Rutherford Crescent, parking and associated works. Variation to the Crown lease to amend the purpose clause to add supportive housing limited to a maximum of 10 dwellings.

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We found this application for you on the planning authority's website over 1 year ago. The date it was received by them was not recorded.

(Source: ACT Planning & Land Authority, reference 202037848)


Have your say by adding your own comment.

  1. Ian Hubbard commented

    From Community Facility to Multi-Unit Residential

    Not against social and supportive housing. This development should not be approved and should be built on the residential zone appropriate to the size of the proposed development.

    The ACT Government’s 2015 technical variation that allowed supportive housing to be built on Community Facilities Zoned Land goes against the key objectives that contain the phrases; Facilitate social sustainability and inclusion, and provide accessible sites for civic life. Sites that are convenient and accessible to the community. These community facilities also had to be sensitive and safeguard the amenity of surrounding residential areas.

    Another key objective in the CFZ code is to protect these social and community uses from competition from other uses. The prohibited uses listed in the code saw that the greatest competitive threat would come from residential and commercial developments. Prohibited uses listed included boarding house, multi-unit housing, special dwellings or serviced apartments. The Department clarified that public and community housing are also not permitted.

    Supportive housing is a real anomaly in the CFZ code where supportive housing is low care and the definition includes on site counselling, domestic assistance and personal care for residents as required. A proportion of public and community housing are also provided with similar services. There are also people in private residential that receive this level of service.

    It appears that enabling supportive housing to be built on community facilities land will gradually see community facilities replaced by the more valued multi-unit residential developments. This process has commenced at numerous locations across Canberra.

  2. Brooke Anderson commented

    Some environmental reasons for my objection:

    - The CURRENT building should be considered for heritage listing - architecture and significant Ainslie building from early 1900s

    - There are currently 19 trees on the block, of which, 16 are proposed to be removed and one other pruned by half therefore removing the bird habitat provided by the tallest tree;
    7 of these trees to be are Protected - so should not be removed!

    - The last 3 remaining trees on the block - all protected trees have buildings proposed in their protection zones so will be impacted or potentially killed by the building

    - All other shrubs on the block are to be removed - including those on the outside of the existing fence - removing all shrubs from the Bill Pye Park area completely

    - All the protection for any animal or birds living and coming to the park will be gone after the development completion

    - 6 trees in the Park have canopies extending over this block, the buildings are proposed in all their protection zones, this is not be approved and will impact or kill the these trees

    My 4 year old son's point of view (his objection):

    - He would have loved to attend preschool in this park setting like his best friend does in nearby Baker Gardens

    - Many of his favourite things about the park are the birds and the trees which are threatened by this development

    - His preschool at North Ainslie is over capacity and some of his friends have had to go to the Hackett campus which means he does not get to walk to school with them like he could if this was reinstated as a preschool for North Ainslie

    - Having 'grown-ups' living adjacent (inside) the park would be like the park was their backyard and have them need to use the park for their 'outside time' which seems to worry him

    General family objections:

    - The CFZ location guideline says CFZ developments should not be concentrated - we all ready have 37% public housing in this street

    - this development has no reuse of greywater, no solar, no batteries, minimal catchment of the stormwater all this while 80+% of this block will now be hard surface

    - CFZ objective 'to protect community facilities zoned land for social and community uses from competition from other uses' this is not being upheld here

  3. Romany Steele commented

    This intrusive structure will make it difficult for children to play at the park. To be honest (and I don't think anyone really wants say this), putting ten people/families with social problems in a tiny area is not the recipe for a happy environment. Those people will have friends with similar problems and soon you will create a small area of despair where formally there was a park. It would be better to spread people who are disadvantaged evenly throughout the community where they don't feel they have a stigma attached to their place of dwelling. Otherwise you are in effect dumping them in one place and they will know it too. No one wins here. This place was always designed for children and it should stay that way it's one of the treasures of Ainslie. Give it back to the children, our future.

  4. Ann PF commented

    Development Application: 202037848
    Block: 1 Section: 87

    Proposal: Proposal for supportive housing and lease variation - - The construction of two new single storey buildings to provide eight studios and 2 two-bedroom dwellings, landscaping, new driveway from Rutherford Crescent, parking and associated works. Variation to the Crown lease to amend the purpose clause to add supportive housing limited to a maximum of 10 dwellings.



    Together with the Rutherford Crescent Residents Association (RCRA) I have profound concerns regarding, and am totally opposed to DA 202037848 (DA) using the Community Facility Zoning (CFZ) of Block: 1 Section: 87 for supportive housing and lease variation.

    The proposed DA has been driven by the YWCA’s desire to redevelop the land in the most profitable way possible. It has little to do with sound planning considerations.
    The lease held by the YWCA was originally concessional and proper consideration needs to be given to alternative uses for land granted under concessional terms where the original purpose is no longer considered viable by the lessee.

    It was never the intention that holders of concessional leases should necessarily have the right to pay out their lease and then re-develop it for other purposes and making a profit from it. Allowing the DA to be implemented would allow unjustifiable windfall gains for the YWCA.

    Alternative uses have not yet been adequately explored. The first step should be to explore possible alternative sporting uses of Block 1 and whether there is unmet demand by community organisations. The current lease should be retained until such an assessment has been undertaken.

    The assessment should extend to other community and recreational purposes consistent with the community zoning. Consideration should be given to whether there are suitable organisations seeking land or premises on a concessional lease basis and whether this would be an appropriate use of Block 1.

    If there are no suitable organisations interested in using the land for purposes consistent with the current zoning of the land, the Government should consider returning it to open space. However there are possible CFZ uses including childcare centre, preschool, small school, senior citizens’ day-care respite, men’s/women’s shed and other small-scale facilities. The size of the block and the buildings upon it might allow more than one use.

    There are many reasons why YWCA proposal is not the suitable for Block 1 and the Committee should recommend against that option.
    These reasons include:
    • The location does not meet the usual criteria for medium/high density residential development zoning.
    • It is inconsistent with the Canberra Spatial Plan, and with Principles in the Statement of Strategic Directions in the Territory Plan, or according to a current iteration.
    • The proposal is inconsistent with overarching community plans within North Canberra.
    • Confiscating community facilities sets an undesirable precedent for similar sites throughout Canberra.
    • It would destroy the integrity of the gazetted Bill Pye Park.
    • Confiscating community facilities conflicts directly with aims to preserve Bill Pye’s legacy because of its impact on the landscape and the way in which it would seriously detract from the Garden City character of the area.
    • It would have an adverse impact on the heritage value of the North Ainslie pre-school building currently on site (and which has sorely suffered as a result of neglect by the current lessee).
    • It would compromise the heritage values of the surrounding crescent-type parks.
    • Over 20 mature trees would be removed; a number of these are protected in and outside the boundary and have a drip zone on public Urban Open Space.
    • The proposed development will have a significant adverse impact on traffic flows and lead to congestion in nearby streets.
    • There is the potential for harm caused by increased traffic and emergence of black spots exacerbated by the development.
    The arguments advanced by the YWCA in support of the development do not stand up to scrutiny and there are many flaws in the reasoning behind the YWCA’s response to submissions made opposing the proposal.
    In particular:
    • Claims made about lack of demand for alternative uses are not substantiated by evidence and there has not been proper exploration of other possible uses.
    • Ainslie is not as close to major employment, commercial centres and public transport modes as many other suburbs.
    • There is already a large proportion of public housing in Ainslie. If increased housing diversity is required, the better approach would be to provide purchased studios from a commercial developer where there are many complexes being built or completed.
    • The proposed development will not be particularly suitable for those seeking to age in place because it is not close to shops or other services.
    • The population of the Inner North, including Ainslie, has been increasing for many years and projected growth shows further substantial increases, thereby taking away the amenity of the area.
    • The proposed development is not crucial to achieving the Government’s urban intensification objectives.
    • Given the Government’s urban intensification policy, it is crucial that adequate land be retained for community facilities and other recreational purposes.
    • Whatever decision is taken by the Committee on the appropriate future use of Block 1, it is important that the Committee give consideration to - and recommend in favour - of preserving an Open Space corridor to allow continued free movement by walkers and wild animals and birds.

    1. Introduction

    It is difficult to find any sound reason why the YWCA’s development should proceed. The rationale in the current documentation is not evidence based and completely fails to stand up to scrutiny. There are, on the other hand, many strong reasons why it should be rejected. In essence, the proposal simply reflects poor planning.
    The proposed DA was put forward by the YWCA and was driven by using taxpayers’ funds instead of promoting growth and jobs in the private sector. It has nothing to do with planning to meet Canberra’s future needs. The developer appears to have done little by way of independent analysis or seeking views of the residents. It is therefore not surprising that the proposed DA is deficient in so many respects.

    A very important issue in this regard is that the lease held by the YWCA was concessional and that proper consideration needs to be given to alternative uses for land granted under concessional terms where the original purpose according to the YWCA is no longer considered viable; and that allowing the DA to be implemented would mean windfall gains for the YWCA.

    2. The Lease Variation Issue

    The lease was originally granted to YWCA consistent with the practice over many years of giving leases on concessional terms to organisations that are engaged in activities regarded as being of community benefit. The practice has been adopted to assist or encourage worthwhile activities that might not otherwise take place if a market rate were charged for the lease. It involves identification and assessment of activities that warrant this sort of assistance. Community use is one of them.

    Holders of concessional leases can apply to pay out the lease. However, it was never the intention that lessees should necessarily have the right to pay out the lease and then re-develop it for other purposes and make a profit from it. This is clear from the provisions of the Planning and Development Act. Applications must be approved by the Minister and the Minister must consider whether it is in the public interest to do so. In considering an application, the Minister must, inter alia, consider:
    (a) whether approving the application would cause any disadvantage to the community taking into account potential uses of the leased land that are consistent with the territory plan, whether or not those uses are authorised by the lease;

    (b) whether the Territory should buy back the property, or otherwise acquire, the lease;
    The YWCA has lodged an application and this application was subsequently notified by ACTPLA for public comment. Objections from Rutherford Cres residents have been lodged and recommend that the DA be refused. Residents have argued that if the application were approved that there would be significant disadvantage to the community because:
    • Given the current and projected future growth of Inner North’s population, it is essential that adequate land be retained for community and other recreational facilities not only for use by the community now but also for use by future generations.

    • There is no evidence that alternative community and recreational uses of the land have been adequately explored.

    • If the land is not kept for community and/or recreational use other community uses, including both community facility and open space or some combination of these, there is no guaranteeing the importance of ensuring that there is enough land for future community uses generally.

    Since the site was confiscated by the YWCA for high density residential development the YWCA proposal has significant and adverse impacts as well. In particular, the redevelopment would seriously detract from the garden city character of the surrounding residential area; it would seriously impair neighbouring residential amenity; it would have adverse impacts on trees and traffic flows; and it would increase the potential for adversely affecting fauna and flora.

    • The Government should consider acquiring the lease/site from the YWCA and reallocating it to another user.

    • The impact assessments provided by the YWCA in support of their application have many deficiencies and do not provide a justifiable case in denying the community of the current park and its environs.

    • The YWCA has indicated in comments that because the lease is not publicly owned, the land in question could not really be regarded as a community asset. We strongly disagree with this view. It ignores the fact that the original concessional lease is typically granted to organisations that conduct activities or provide services that are regarded as beneficial from a general community point of view and would not otherwise be provided. The intention has never been that the land be used to generate profit for private interests. Organisations holding the concessional leases were in effect custodians of community assets.

    YWCA’s defence is flawed. They argue that because they applied to pay out the concession on the lease, this allows an approval that it is in the public interest to develop the site.

    Therefore the original lease and the buy out are two matters that are inextricably linked. Any proper consideration of the DA must have regard to the following: firstly, the existing use of the land and the previous zoning; and secondly, that the future zoning was one that the YWCA took advantage of. This occurred when there was an arbitrary decision that took place late in 2015 to provide an imprimatur for greedy developers to seize community zoned facilities. These are the sort of issues that the Committee must address and that the Minister must consider in refusing the application.

    3. Alternative Use: Urban Open Space

    If it is established that there are no suitable organisations interested in using the land for appropriate purposes consistent with the current zoning of the land, the proper course would be for the Government to consider open space and rezoning the land to open space to enable that to happen. This would preserve the purposes of the gazetted Bill Pye Park.

    4. Alternative Use: Community facility

    Notwithstanding, it is evident that there is considerable demand for CFZ land in the Inner North for various purposes, including retaining the appropriate use of Block 1 taking into account its location and surrounding environment. The demand for such community facilities will inevitably increase with the expected strong growth of population in the area and it is essential that this be planned for. The use of the land for residential purposes would effectively preclude this land being used for community purposes in the future and this would be highly regrettable.

    Block 1 would, for example, be appropriate for a childcare centre, pre-school or small school. We note in this connection that there may be recent interest from the nearby from North Ainslie primary school to accommodate their needs following the closure of several classrooms.

    Block 1 would also be suitable for a senior citizens drop in or men’s/women’s shed, a day-care respite facility, and some other small-scale community facilities.
    RCRA strongly suggests that one option that could be considered is an arrangement whereby Block 1 retains its CFZ with a view to moving to re-open the pre-school in conjunction with the local primary school.

    5. Alternative Use: Land exchange arrangement

    Alternatively securing a ‘land exchange arrangement’ would have the great advantage of enabling more medium density residential development in a more appropriate location and at the same time promote to seek a much more appropriate alternative use of Block 1.

    6. Alternative to CFZ is Appropriate Residential Development: Why RZ1 is much more appropriate than confiscating CFZ.

    RCRA considers that residential development in the appropriate zoning should be the preferred option because of the importance of retaining land for community purposes for both current and future use. However, should the Committee accept the YWCA’s argument that there is a case for providing land for new dwellings that would facilitate their objective then it is RCRA’s strong view that this need would best be met by sourcing appropriate zoned land or purchasing a job lot of flats from an over-supplied developer.

    There is a substantial supply of units and apartments elsewhere to meet the demand of those people who want this style of accommodation. As well, there are many more apartments are under construction or on the drawing boards for the YWCA’s to use funds to purchase dwellings.

    Many people do not necessarily want to be controlled by an evangelising charity. Although their preferred choice maybe a smaller dwelling they do not want to be stigmatised or quarantined in such a tight cluster development.

    The ACT has several examples of small areas that have been redeveloped very successfully to provide small cottages for older citizens but importantly they are not developed with such density and nor are they based on the developer’s spurious assertions and assumptions.

  5. Coral Bartlett commented

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide representations about Development Application 202037848. As a resident of Rutherford Crescent, I object strongly to the development proposed for 11 Rutherford Crescent Ainslie (Block 1, Section 87 Ainslie). The following details my reasons for objecting to the proposed development.


    It appears that the rules around the development of Community Facilities Zoned (CFZ) Land are ill-defined. The ACT Government’s 2015 technical variation that inserted “supportive housing” as an allowable use for CFZ land goes against key objectives for this land, including:
    • Facilitate social sustainability and inclusion; and provide accessible sites for civic life.
    • Sites that are convenient and accessible to the community.
    • Community facilities must also be sensitive to and safeguard the amenity of surrounding residential areas.

    Another key objective in the CFZ code is to protect these social and community uses from competition from other uses. Prohibited uses listed in the code anticipate that the greatest competitive threat to CFZ land would come from residential and commercial developments. These prohibited uses include boarding house, multi-unit housing, special dwellings and serviced apartments. The Department has also clarified that public and community housing is also not a permitted use of CFZ land.

    Supportive housing is an anomaly in the CFZ code where the support provided is at a low level like onsite counselling or domestic assistance. There does not appear to be any additional facilities, rooms or parking included in the proposed development to facilitate the support of those who would live at the site, begging the question; how can it be classed as “supportive housing”. The proposal appears to be a multi-unit development with the “supportive housing” label applied to enable development of CFZ land. The two 2-bedroom apartments proposed in the development as a refuge for single women who may be fleeing family and domestic violence and single bedroom homes for single older women suffering homelessness are more accurately be described as a refuge and are therefore considered special dwellings under section 13 of the Territory Plan. Indeed, the residences are specifically named special dwellings in the Development Application (DA) in discussion of the parking and traffic impacts (pg. 19). Therefore, Section 136A of the Planning and Development Act 2007 must be applied to deny the proposed development.

    The proposed use of the land at 11 Rutherford Cres is not for a function that would serve or be used by the community and does not appear to provide any additional facilities than those provided by ordinary multi-unit dwellings. It seems that the relevant multi-unit development rules would be more relevant to the development and the surrounding RZ1 rules applied. However, as multi-unit housing is also a prohibited use for CFZ land, the proposed development should not be approved. This development would be better suited within the residential zone appropriate to the size/density of the proposed development.


    Similarly, as the proposed development does not include any particular facilities that would support the provision of services to residents, I strongly object to the proposed variation to the Crown lease to amend the purpose clause to add supportive housing.

    Varying the Crown lease and allowing supportive housing to be built on this CFZ land will see the elimination of a community asset for ever. The existing facility would be replaced by a higher monetary value multi-unit residential development. This process has already taken place at several locations across Canberra; the Canberra community is the looser. CFZ land must provide accessible sites for civic life, be used by or provide services for the Canberra community.

    The YWCA has failed to meet its existing lease requirements for years unchecked! Naming a building Community House while leasing it to a private tenant for 20+/-years does not meet the expectations of the Canberra community. CFZ objective to protect community facilities zoned land for social and community uses from competition from other uses is not being upheld by this proposal. I strongly oppose amending the Crown lease to include ‘supportive housing’, particularly when special dwellings and multi-unit housing are explicitly prohibited in the CFZ code.

    Even with the 10-unit limitation, this lease variation would allow unchecked development on the site. Once amended, density of the design could be increased (including to multiple stories) and even less open space. There would be little to stop the current owner sub-dividing the units and selling them off to private owners. Unacceptable!

    A variation to the Crown lease may only proceed if Element 4.1, Criteria 4 of the Lease Variation Code is met. That criteria requires that “Community facilities … that are authorised by a lease comply with the Community and Recreational Facilities Location Guidelines General Code” (the Code) of the Territory Plan. Several sections of the Code are breached by the proposed development, including:
    1/ “Avoid extensive exposed boundaries such as corner blocks…” All boundaries of the proposed location are exposed to public access. I fail to understand how the location could be suitable for older women or women fleeing family and domestic violence. If I lived there, I would definitely feel vulnerable.
    2/ Detailed location guidelines of the Code for Special Dwellings and Aged Person’s Units state that developments should be within 400 meters of shops (pgs 25 & 28). The DA states (pg 9) & Google maps confirms that the proposed location is 800 meters from the Ainslie shops which is double the recommended maximum distance. I am certain that it would take aged residents more than the 10 minutes stated in the DA to lug shopping home from the shops on foot.
    3/ “Avoid concentrations of special dwellings in a suburb” (pg 25). The concentration of 10 units on this 1800m2 site is contrary to the “salt and pepper approach” to public housing and will increase further the already high rate of public housing in Ainslie. The “Section 72 Dickson – Community Needs Assessment” prepared by SGS Economics & Planning for EPSDD in April last year advised that Ainslie contained 18.5% public housing compared with around 7% across Canberra more generally. Clearly, public housing is already concentrated in Ainslie and this should not be exacerbated by the proposed development.
    4/ “Scale and character to be generally compatible with surrounding residential development”. The proposed location is surrounded by RZ1 low density land with 1 or 2 dwellings on blocks of around 1000m2. The proposed development is a significant departure from the existing scale and development in Rutherford Cres, Ainslie. The proposal looks more like a sports hall or supermarket than homes and does not consider the importance of the surrounding heritage nature of the existing homes in Ainslie.



    The existing building at 11 Rutherford Cres, Ainslie was established in the 1940s in a manner consistent with the Garden City design ethos expressed across Ainslie. The building was a controversial response to an identified need for essential support to the surrounding community and incorporated into the tranquil Bill Pye Park. The design of the building, the siting of the building and the Garden City ethos within which it was developed are significant examples of the social history and development of Canberra. The building should be considered for heritage listing and saved from demolition. The proposal to save a garden shed to demonstrate the social significance of the site is an insufficient response to the significance of the site.

    Salt and Pepper approach

    I am not against public housing; more than 30% of the homes in Rutherford Crescent are already public housing. Ainslie also provides the largest proportion of public housing homes in Canberra (18.5% compared to 7% across Canberra). The ACT Government’s stated “salt and pepper” approach to public housing is being ignored by this proposal. While the tenants of the facility would not strictly be defined as public housing tenants, this policy is obviously based on sound research on the impacts to tenants of grouping so many together in a confined area. The same “salt and pepper” principals should be relevant to this proposal and are not being applied to this development.

    Parking and traffic

    The proposal will see the number of homes on Rutherford Crescent increase from the existing 13 to 23. This will cause a significant increase traffic in Rutherford Crescent and the surrounding area and have a major impact on those homes that are directly opposite the proposed development; including headlights shining into homes. The parking provided in the design of the proposed development (10 spaces for 10 units) does not consider the need for parking for visitors including those providing support to residents occupying this supportive housing. There is not even one additional car space for visitors. Rutherford Crescent is narrow, expecting visitors to park on the street is unacceptable. As is already the case for users of the playground in Bill Pye Park, cars will end up parked within Bill Pye Park. Should the development proposal be approved, the proposer must be required to provide bollards around Bill Pye Park to protect the important and significant trees within the park from damage due to vehicle traffic.

    I note that the DA has applied the Parking and Vehicular Access General Code Section 3.1.4 to the proposal; this section is only applicable to residential zones. Section 3.6 of the Parking and Vehicular Access General Code applies to CFZ land and 3.6.5 details the required parking rate. The Traffic Report is inadequate as it does not apply the relevant standard and does not include discussion of the number of additional vehicles needed at the site for employees or operational vehicles associated with the proposed supportive housing development. In addition, there is no provision for bicycle parking and 6 spaces are required.

    Scale and character

    The design of the proposed development does not fit within the surrounding homes and is not sensitive to the surrounding residential area. The appearance of the surrounding homes (well known as Tocumwals) has been considered in the design of other buildings in Rutherford Crescent; 3 dual occupancy developments proceeded on the street with the Tocumwal house design in mind with little or no objection. The proposed development does not consider its surroundings and looks more like a sports hall or supermarket than homes. The Multi Unit Development Code, Element 5.3, Rule 49 requires that the maximum length of unarticulated walls in buildings is 15m; the proposed northern most building has over 30m of unarticulated walls on its northern and southern face (ROOF-202037848-01, ELEV-202037848-01). In my view, the inclusion of awnings does not provide articulation or visual interest (COLOUR-202037848-01). Similarly, the Multi Unit Development Code, Element 5.3 Rule 50 requires that the maximum length of an unarticulated roof be 15m; the proposed northernmost building has 25-30m of unarticulated roof when viewed from the public open space to the north of the site (ELEV-202037848-01). I question the accuracy of the claim in the DA that “All building roofs are screened from view by integrated parapets, eaves, and awnings” (Statement Against Rules and Criteria, page 56).
    Also, the existing 230m2 gross floor area is being replaced by 614m2 gross floor area, plus another 124m2 of other areas and additional areas like driveways & parking covered in concrete. This represents an overutilisation of the available land. Little space is allowed for protection of the existing high and medium value trees or green space which acts as a heat sink essential to inner urban areas is eliminated. The small amount of new garden included in the design will provide low level shrubs and no shade.

    The site covered by the proposal has three boundaries. Table A5 of the Multi Unit Development Code requires that the site have 6m setbacks on the street boundary and 4m setbacks on the north-eastern and north-western boundaries. The DA proposes encroachments on all three boundaries. The DA’s Statement Against Rules and Criteria recognises that Rule 29 and 32 of the Multi Unit Development Code is not met and argues that the associated Criteria are satisfied.
    To satisfy Criteria 29 and 32 of the Multi Unit Development Code, the encroachments into setbacks on all three boundaries must achieve consistency with the desired character relevantly defined as “Desired character means the form of development in terms of siting, building bulk and scale, and the nature of the resulting streetscape that is consistent with the relevant zone objectives…”. One side of the street of Rutherford Crescent is entirely zoned RZ1 while the other side encircles land zoned as urban open space (PRZ1). The “relevant zone objectives” when dealing with the issue of setbacks include both objectives of the RZ1 zone and the objectives of the PRZ1 zone as well at the objectives of the Community Facility Zone of the site in question.
    Relevant objectives in the RZ1, PRZ1 and CFZ zones in relation to setbacks include:
    - “Provide for the establishment and maintenance of residential areas where the housing is … low density in character” (RZ1, zone objective a))
    - “Protect the character of established single dwelling housing areas by limiting the extent of change that can occur particularly with regard to the original pattern of subdivision and the density of dwellings” (RZ1, zone objective b))
    - “Ensure development respects valued features of the neighbourhood and landscape character of the area…” (RZ1, zone objective d))
    - “Ensure that development does not unacceptably affect the landscape or scenic quality of the area” (PRZ1, zone objective e))
    - “To safeguard the amenity of surrounding residential areas against unacceptable adverse impacts…” (CFZ, zone objective f))
    The Statement Against Rules and Criteria has not addressed the relevant zone objectives. The proposed setbacks do not meet the objectives. The proposed development must not be approved.


    There are 12 high quality, 9 medium quality, 8 poor quality trees and numerous shrubs (not indicated on the Vegetation Assessment 3760-G1B) that will be impacted by the proposed development. It is disappointing to note that only three trees on the block have protection zones noted; none of the trees in Bill Bye Park or on the verge have protection zones noted on the Landscape Management Plan & Tree Management Plan 37601-G2B. It is essential that high and medium quality trees on the block, the verge and Bill Pye Park have their protection zone noted and that these trees be protected into the future.

    I am extremely concerned that all of the trees in Bill Pye Park along the western boundary of the block would be impacted by the proposal; buildings intrude either into the protection zone or the tree canopy or both. Similarly, the canopy of other mature and high value trees in Bill Pye Park extend into the block; these trees must be protected. It is also disappointing to note that only 3 (of 18) trees on the block itself are marked to be saved; 6 of the trees that are to be removed are trees protected under the Tree Protection Act 2005. As the numerous shrubs around the boundary of the block are not mentioned, I assume that these will be removed. The proposed Tree Management Plan is more a moonscape plan. While there are some small gardens indicated in the DA, these cannot replace the high and medium value mature trees that are to be destroyed. There is a significant increase in the amount of concrete on the block in addition to the increased footprint of the proposed buildings which will increase the amount of storm water runoff from the site. The proposal is unacceptable, these mature trees provide significant protection of and support to wildlife in the area. These trees and other greenery on the block contribute greatly to the heat sink effect in our increasingly warming environment. These trees must be saved.

  6. Ian Hubbard commented

    Objection – Safeguarding the amenity and desired character of the residential area.
    When talking to people about Canberra’s older suburbs they quickly tell you that they like the general feeling of space. They like the maturity of the trees around the houses, in the little parks and along the tree lined streets. It’s a pleasure to walk along the footpaths protected by wide verges under the shade of mature trees and admire the variety of front yard gardens. The houses are low density and don’t crowd up to the street. It is this character of the ‘garden city’ design that attracted the residents of Ainslie to move into the suburb and it’s this character that needs to be protected. This ‘garden city’ landscape is a historic feature of Canberra’s older, inner city suburbs. When compared to the hot newer suburbs the garden city design serves as important platform in tackling the climate emergency. Planning and the assessment of new developments has an important role in protecting this inner city garden environment. It has been a privilege to live in Ainslie for thirty years and raise our family.

    A key purpose of the planning framework is to ensure clear, consistent and reasonable development in residential zones. This is the social compact that has been developed with the residents in those zones.

    There have been a number of large consultation processes over the years that have confirmed that the residents want to maintain this ‘garden city’ character. For a number of years in the late 1980s there was period when separate title, dual occupancy developments were allowed in Ainslie. The community saw that allowing separate titles presented an attractive opportunity for developers and the character of the suburb was changing rapidly through over development and increased density. Consultation with the community in the mid-1990s confirmed that the residents were opposed to this type of development. Dual occupancy was allowed on a certain sized blocks but not separate titles. This slowed redevelopment dramatically and protected the ‘desired character’ of Ainslie.

    This expression by residents, this social compact, has been largely reflected in the detailed rules and criteria for low density residential (RZ1). Adhering to these rules largely protects the ‘garden city’ character of Ainslie. And it needs protection from organisations and developers who seek to gain advantage or opportunity to make profit by exploiting any grey areas or loop holes in the planning framework.

    Proposed Multi-unit Development 11 Rutherford Crescent Ainslie

    We object to the YWCA’s proposed development at 11 Rutherford Crescent Ainslie as it is attempting to exploit a number of loopholes in the Community Facility Zone Development Code that enables it to:

    • build a multi-unit development on the block, solely because it’s used for ‘supportive housing’;
    • build double the density allowed on low density residential (RZ1) blocks; and,
    • build a development that is counter to the ‘desired character’ of Ainslie.

    Supportive Housing Loophole

    This continues the YWCA’s over 25 year misuse of community facility land by ignoring the existing lease purpose clause.

    I have explained in my previous objection, that one the key objectives in the Community Facilities Zone Development Code is the need to protect these facilities from other competitive uses especially commercial and residential uses. The prohibited uses list in the code specifically includes multi-unit developments. Community and social housing are also not permitted on CFZ land.
    The inclusion of ‘supported housing’ on the permitted use list in 2015 unlocked the protection and provided a loophole enabling multi-unit residential housing on CFZ land. To gain this loophole the proponent is seeking to add ‘supportive housing’ to the existing lease purpose clause where they are currently required to provide a ‘childcare centre and a community activities centre’. The definition of support includes on site counselling, domestic assistance and personal care for residents as required. The definition of supported housing is hard to distinguish from other forms of social housing which are not permitted to be developed on CFZ land.
    In reality this doesn’t matter as there are no resources or consequences to ensure that an organisation actually complies with the delivery of onsite supported accommodation services. A compliance investigation will only be undertaken following a complaint from the public. And how would the public know if a prescribed support service is being provided? The YWCA has demonstrated for at least 15 years that they don’t need to comply with the strict purpose in their lease and nothing will be done about it. In simple terms this development application is for a multi-unit residential development on community facilities land dressed up behind the poor definition of ‘supported accommodation’. We object that this multi-unit residential development is being built on Community Facilities Zoned Land and should be built on appropriately zoned residential land. This avoids the inadequacies of self-regulated compliance and protects community facility land from commercial and residential uses.
    Slipping a medium density development (RZ4) into a low-density (RZ1) zone and the ‘Desired Character’ of Ainslie

    As outlined above the Multi Unit Housing Development Code (MUHDC) provides the key elements, rules and criteria for residential development 'which applies to multi-unit housing in all zones...’ and attempts to capture the character of each of these zones and give guidance to the built form. It appears that the MUHDC does not cover CFZ land. In fact, there is no mention of CFZ land in the Multi-unit Housing Development Code which suggests that this type of development was never envisaged for CFZ land.

    The Community Facility Zone Development Code (CFZDC) does have a table A1 listing that the MUHDC does apply to CFZ land. So is the link that any development on CFZ land must reflect the desired character of the surrounding residential land? The definition of desired character from the CFZDC is:

    Desired character means the form of development in terms of siting, building bulk and scale, and the nature of the resulting streetscape that is consistent with the relevant zone objectives

    The CFZ Development Code (CFZDC) makes a link to the closest residential zone (RZ1) when prescribing the building height (Element 2 Building and site controls 2.1 building height Rule 7). This control and rule appears to reflect the ‘desired character’ associated with the RZ1.
    There appears to be no specified number of dwellings that can be built on this block in the CFZDC. The main determinant appears to be a building envelope determined by building height (2 storey), setback from boundaries (6 metre). In contrast to the Community Facilities Zone Development code the Multi-unit housing Development Code has extensive rules and criteria for each of the residential housing zones. These rules can be seen in reality in the built form in the zones from low density to high density in the different parts of each suburb. Somewhat unique Ainslie has one residential housing zone RZ1. In the absence of the numbers of dwellings being prescribed in CFZDC the RZ1 dwelling rules in the MUHDC are clear. Specifically there is, Element 3 Building and site controls 3.7 Residential density – supportive housing – standard blocks - RZ1. Under this rule standard blocks are allowed two dwellings – dual occupancy. Supportive housing is given special treatment. The number of supportive housing dwellings is determined using Table A1. Block 1, section 87 has an area 1830 sqm and the formula in Table A1 allows for 4 dwellings to be built on a block of this size. It seems reasonable to make the link that the ‘desired character’ of RZ1 was the rationale for determining the density formula and the resulting number of dwellings.
    We therefore object to the proposed development for 10 units and this should be considered an increase in density that is contradictory to the desired character of RZ1 residential zoning. Allowing double the density of units when compared to the RZ1 residential zoning that surrounds the site results in a far greater impact on the closest residents than would normally be allowed by the planning framework in the area. This would be allowing RZ4 density in an RZ1 residential area. The proponents own drawing A170 shows the out-of-character density of the development when compared with the surrounding properties.

    The extreme density of this proposed development is highlighted when the floorplan of this development is superimposed on the amalgamation of the two blocks across the road on Rutherford Cres to where the driveway comes out (house numbers 10 and 12). The combined area of these blocks is 2067 sqm which is 10% bigger than the CFZ block. This shows that the form of the development in terms of siting, building bulk and scale is nothing like any residential development in Rutherford Crescent or the surrounding area. The density of the proposed development is visually reduced by ‘borrowing’ space from Bill Pye Park and would look far more constrained if there was a standard residence on either side and behind the development.

    Residents in RZ1 zone quite rightly would not expect a development like a 1970’s motel to be inserted next door. Multiple units surrounding a carpark coming off a single driveway. But it’s worse than that – a childcare centre and community activity centre has to be demolished before a 10 unit development gets inserted into Block 1, Section 87 Ainslie. Section 87 is mainly Bill Pye Park where there is currently no housing. The image above provided by the architects has a bulk and scale that is institutional or commercial it certainly doesn’t represent the desired character of Ainslie. Remember that these graphics are as good as the development can look. When you add all the things that come with people that live in the facility – the additional cars, rubbish bins, washing on clotheslines etc there is even less space. There will be at least 14 people on site most of time and potentially double that. The graphic is empty of people and it will look very different when full. Do the kids play in the carpark?

    The YWCA explains their demolition of community facilities by promoting their good works of building supportive housing. They also support the development by asserting that block 1 is not in Bill Pye Park. It’s like arguing that Baker Gardens pre-school is not in Baker Gardens. The plan above (drawing A170) shows that Block 1 is the only thing in Bill Pye Park surrounded by low density (RZ1) residential. The demolition of the existing community facility and mature trees will have a significant impact on the Park and ‘desired character’ of the area.

    The graphic above that shows the existing building and the dramatic increase in footprint of the proposed development. The inclusion of a concrete ten bay car park and walkways emphasizes the reduction in green space and the elimination of tree canopy.
    Community Facilities Zoned land designed into parks is such a small proportion of the total landscape in Ainslie it is a shame not to preserve its potential from multi-unit residential development. There is plenty of residential land. Recent reports have pointed to the fact that despite the expected need for community zoned land in the inner north it is unlikely to be financially feasible to obtain. This will be a loss to the local community and a future cost to the Canberra taxpayer. The best outcome for this site for many policy reasons would be to protect it, avoid demolition and not allow residential development. An alternative is to provide the proponent with sufficient compensation to build or buy elsewhere. The project cost is $2.3 million, for an extra $500,000 the proponent could buy ten units distributed across the inner north that are bigger and meet more of the Government’s social housing policies.
    We have an obligation to get a better outcome for the local residents and community, now and into the future. Once this development is built community access and this ‘garden city’ park location is gone forever. This development will set a precedent for other similar community facility sites in Ainslie and other inner city suburbs. Please protect the ‘desired character’ of these areas.

    I am willing to expand or discuss any of the points raised above.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment.

  7. Brooke Anderson commented

    To: ACT Government / YMCA

    Stop community facility zoned (CFZ) block surrounded by Bill Pye Park having medium density housing! The proposal is for a ten unit complex on a small 1800 sqm block. There are only three of these blocks in Ainslie, including the Baker Gardens Pre-school.

    This is far greater density than allowed on surrounding private land and will have a big impact on local residents. If Government wants to build medium density public housing it should be on land zoned medium density residential. There are blocks available. Stop selling public housing land to developers and using community facilities land to replace it.
    The community should be consulted about potential alternative uses for the site - not just one non-government organisation. Uses that support strengthening the community by bringing people together, these could include – meeting rooms for small groups, mothers groups, people’s shed, learning and art groups, outreach services, running clubs, gardening groups. Artist’s studio. Environmental Centre. Community Garden plots. CWA type group.
    Instead the only proposal presented is demolition of the existing building and replacement with residential units. Once the buildings are demolished this potential is gone.

    Give community land back to the community!! The site/building was originally designed into the Park as a pre-school (like Baker Gardens, Ainslie). When the preschool closed it was given to a non-government organisation to use as office space. This organisation is now proposing to demolish the existing facilities and build 10 residential units. This proposed development will have a significant impact on the local residents and the Ainslie Community more generally....
    - Loss of Community Facility Land and integration with the Park.
    - Building at 3 times the density allowed on surrounding residential land (RZ1).
    - Impact on residents – noise, traffic, parking, congestion and changed streetscape.
    - Environmental impact – loss of trees and landscaping, increased heat, light pollution, increased energy load.
    - Loss of heritage and suburban design.
    We are not opposed to social housing but believe it should be on residential land and that community facilities land should be retained to engage, enrich and provide important facilities for the local community use. The local residents are seeking a number of actions to be taken by the Planning Authority (or responsible area of the ACT Government) to help protect Community Facilities for social and community uses:
    - Moratorium on social housing developments on CFZ land while a review and needs analysis is undertaken;
    - CFZ land is captured by the Multi Unit Housing Development Code and any residential development be required to meet the closest or surrounding residential zoning (example RZ1 in Ainslie); and,
    - Master Plan for the medium and long-term development in Ainslie.
    See our website for more information: www.ainsliecommunityassociation.com

    Why is this important?
    We believe that the integrity of the ACT statutory planning system is under threat. The YWCA is proposing to replace the community facility at Block1 Section 87 Ainslie with a ten unit supported residential development. There is currently no residential units on Section 87. The ACT Planning system will not protect this community facility from demolition and, in fact, the legislation encourages the replacement of community facilities by supported accommodation. See our website for more information: www.ainsliecommunityassociation.com

    Petition signed by 91 people:

    Name Postcode
    Julie Cleland 3222
    Derrin Limbrick 2904
    Fleur Limbrick 2011
    Emily O’Halloran 3218
    Helen Fairbrother 2607
    Terry Cleland 3222
    Stephen Cox 2602
    Georgia Couper 2604
    Julie Whittred 2602
    Eleanor Sendall 2043
    Jaan Wheeldon 2612
    Monica Gallacher 2602
    Doug Limbrick 2606
    Juliet Fallace 2913
    Natalie Ratcliffe 2692
    Binu Perera 2906
    Kara Prosser 3141
    Yana del Valle 2537
    Adam Masterton 3184
    Rebecca Rohrlach 2611
    Kate Gumley 2602
    Lance Rees 2612
    Melissa Gumley 2602
    Romany Steele 2602
    Ben Hackett 2602
    Ian Hubbard 2602
    John Gumley 2602
    Mary Harwood 2602
    Abram Wilcox 2615
    Heidi Millton-Young 2602
    Ann Fielder 2602
    Peter Parry-Fielder 2602
    Coral Bartlett 2602
    Christine Moore 2602
    whitney richrdson 2913
    patrick richardson 2913
    L A 2602
    R Q 2902
    Bridgit H 2602
    Dan Navfield 2602
    David Rule 2904
    Joy Georgeson 2546
    Raphy Mount-steele 2602
    Sali Tesseyman 2602
    Eleanor Gilbert 2602
    John Schmidt 2904
    Marilena Damiano 2604
    Arran Curll 2602
    Sonia Curll 2602
    Jemima Schilling 2602
    Gemma Pettit 2602
    Leigh Gittoes 2902
    Arijana Mount-steele 2602
    Stephanie K 2602
    Gavin Mount 2602
    Alistair Sands 2602
    Bronwyn Hill 2602
    Rhett Somers 2602
    Fiona Slater 2602
    Julie Hill 2602
    Helen Ennis 2602
    Roger Butler 2602
    Gary Adams 2602
    Kerry Holgate 2602
    Sheila Duncan-Mullaney 2602
    Fiorenzo Guarino 2602
    Keith Thomas 2602
    Kay Griffiths 2602
    John Holland 2602
    Melissa Holland 2602
    Margaret Richardson 2602
    Stephen Bent 2602
    Emily Hurley 2602
    Margaret Grant 2602
    Caroline Khalil 2602
    Frank Hoeren 2602
    Jane Campbell 2602
    Sarah C 2602
    Milly King 2602
    Todd Heather 2602
    Julia Heather 2602
    Nadia Caswell 2602
    Patti wilkins 2602
    Kirsty Westaway 2502
    Zoe Cozens 7054
    Alexandra Beattie 2602
    Jake Neumann 2602
    Tihana Ravanparsa 2602
    Mohsen Ravanparsa 2602
    Patricia Wilkins 2602
    Adam Boyd 2602

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