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Deakin S66 development proposal letter to Canberra Times

The following letter was sent to the Canberra Times on 11 September 2017 from Dr Michael Mulvaney on behalf of the Red Hill Regenerators.

“The development company Hindmarsh, through Purdon Planning, has letterboxed some Hughes residents seeking feedback to help establish development options for a multi-unit residential development in and around the Deakin Telephone Exchange site, on Kent street.

Their flier claims that the vegetation on the site mainly consists of exotic grasses and is in a highly modified state. In fact much of the land supports critically endangered Box Gum Woodland, an integral component of woodland that continues into the adjoining reserve.

The flier also fails to mention that part of the land adjoins and is down slope of two former rubbish tips. The Canberra Times from 1958 to 1991 provides a wealth of information about the history and management of the tips. They were used for commercial, household, industrial and building waste. Waste included asbestos, heavy metal and PCBs. One tip was an abandoned clay quarry with a sawdust base and the other was termed as a “washaway creek” prior to rubbish filling. During their operation tip fires were common, while even 15 years after tip closure sub-surface smouldering occurred.

It is highly likely that the tips are toxic, unstable and permeable. It seems reckless to be even contemplating placing residents in such a situation. It is also wrong headed for planning options to be driven by the whim of a developer rather than a publicly produced forward thinking master plan.”