Welcome to the Home page for the Curtin Residents Association.  Below is a list of CRA postings in reverse time order.  Each posting is also allocated one or more categories (see panel on the right column) to create groupings.  You can look at such groupings by clicking on categories in the panel.  If you are a CRA member you can add a posting to the site by sending the text to any Committee Member,  or send to info@curtinresidents.asn.au .


Posted in Current Issues, Curtin

Pots to Plots Curtin Gardeners Market Saturday morning 28 September

Saturday 28 September 9am-noon in Curtin Square

  • Garden stalls and information
  • meet the gardeners Q&A
  • gardneing books stall
  • children’s activities
  • square dancing
  • cactus group
Posted in Uncategorized

Curtin community events coming in Winter-Spring 2019

Tree planting morning Saturday 3 August

in the loop park, Macalister Crescent / Collier St 9am-1pm. Curtin Garden Group


Curtin Supper Club Saturday 31 August

see Facebook www.facebook.com/CurtinSupperClub – tickets will appear on Eventbrite


Pots to Plots:Curtin Gardeners Market Saturday morning 28 September

see Curtin Village Life on meetup.com for updates


Curtin Vet 5th Birthday party 9am-1pm Saturday 26 October

contact the Curtin Vet for more information

Posted in Uncategorized

The final Curtin Master Plan is published: mainly good, must be implemented

The final version of the Curtin Group Centre Master Plan has been released by ACT government directorate for Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development.

The plan is here (PDF document, 12.4 MB)

The plan contains a lot of the community interest and input from years of work by people in and around Curtin. The building heights around the small central square are set at maximum 1 storey or 5 metres around 3 sides, and a setback then up to 5 storeys on the fourth southern side. This should maintain much of the sunlight in the square through the year. There can be a 5 storey building at the southwestern corner which will unfortunately cast shadows in the afternoons in spring and autumn, when children and parents are in the square, but the plan keeps this building height back to the edge in line with the Coles building line (not its awning).  The plan shows the opportunities for developing business and accommodation around the centre, while keeping the heart of its community, urban village character at the centre.

Now this plan needs to be implemented as regulations and enforced in practice, because the square is so small that we cannot allow it to be nibbled away at the edges. The plan talks about improving waste management, service access, car parking and pedestrian access. It emphasises the idea of using the Radburn principles of openness and working with the green spaces for pedestrian and cycle access through the centre and into the neighbourhoods of Curtin. This is a successful place for living and working and playing, a good plan will keep this working and not need to make places from scratch.

There are opportunities for development around the centre. The plan shows ways of developing to 6 storeys on the existing hotel area in the southern side of the centre, at a good distance from the square. This is shown to allow good green areas and business frontages at the human scale for people to use the centre, encouraging access as walkers and cyclists, and being an attractive place for car users as they park cars and become local pedestrians.

The government must also follow up implementing its share of the plan, and make investment in managing services, maintaining and improving the infrastructure of roads and car-parking, green spaces and pathways in Curtin as for the good of everyone in Canberra. This plan is the start of showing where and how – it also needs to be implemented in actions.

Posted in Uncategorized

Submissions Handout and Public meeting Saturday 25 August

Handout For Submissions – for a copy of the meeting handout How to make a submission and points to make 

handout – click here 

Public Meeting

2pm Saturday 25 August 2018

St James Uniting Church hall, Gillies Street, Curtin

The developer of the fenced-off site on Curtin Square has lodged an application to reconsider a revised development application (DA).

The proposed building is a variation on the plans rejected 18 months ago.

Come along to hear about the revised DA, show your concern, make your views known, and hear how to make a submission to ACT Planning

The facts

  • ACT Planning is reconsidering a major revision of the DA for 45 Curtin Place that was rejected 18 months ago, under rules intended for minor revisions.
  • The Curtin Master Plan has been in draft (2016), revised (May 2018) and should be finalised by the end of 2018.

We say

  • We object to the process of reconsidering an application that has changed a lot, when we do not know whether it will be evaluated against the old precinct rules, the draft Master Plan, the revised Master Plan—or the yet‑to‑be‑seen final Master Plan.
  • The proposed building is still too big. It will loom over neighbouring low buildings. Its 5-storey part encroaches onto the area that the revised Master Plan restricts to one storey to preserve sunshine in the Square and keep the ‘urban village’ character of the shopping centre.
  • The traffic and service trucks for the proposed building conflict with pedestrians and parking.
  • The ACT Government has put in a lot of effort to consult the community so far—it now has to enforce its planning rules to keep the community’s trust.
  • We are not against development, but this one is still not right for the Square.
Posted in Current Issues

media release 5 August: Curtin surprised by application to reconsider failed development proposal in Curtin shops

The President of the Curtin Residents Association, Chris Johnson, said “I am surprised – and staggered – by the unexpected submission of a modified proposal to redevelop the building at 44 Curtin Place. Thisnew proposal was submitted to ACTPLA as a request to reconsider the development application that was rejected by ACT Planning and Land Authority nearly 18 months ago.  Normally, any request for reconsideration must be submitted within three weeks of the decision and only involve small changes.”

The decision to accept this application for reconsideration is totally inconsistent with a trustworthy public planning and development process,”said Mr Johnson.

The new proposal is for a block of one storey on the western edge of the Curtin square, extending to 5 storeys at the corner.  It is very different from the original development application. Therefore, in keeping with its own planning processes, ACTPLA must provide a reasonable opportunity for the community to respond to this new development proposal.

The developer has submitted their new proposal just before the new Curtin Master Plan is to be finalised along with the likely introduction of new planning rules. The developers cannot know what the final Master Plan and these planning rules will be and ACTPLA should not have accepted any request for reconsideration like this.  ACTPLA should certainly not try to assess any development proposals until the latest version of the Master Plan is made public and after subsequent comments have been received and properly considered.

The first community consultations about the Curtin Group Centre were held in 2015 and in the first draft master plan was developed soon after.  In early 2017, more than 700 people rallied in Curtin Square and nearly 2,000 people from Curtin and surrounding suburbs signed a petition to the ACT Minister for Planning to ask that no development applications should be considered until the Master Plan was made final.  After the first development application was rejected the government asked all parties to participate in meetings of a community panel, which resulted in a revised master plan for Curtin.  This revision was published for public comment in May and June 2018, and the final result has not yet been made public for approval by the Legislative Assembly or the Minister. It is expected by the end of 2018.

Only last week, the ACT Government stated in its Our Canberra brochure that the “Master Plan for the Curtin Group Centre is almost finished”.  Mr Johnson stated that “Any move to reconsider a development proposal before the Plan is finalised will kill any trust in the Government’s planning process that has been built up by the long community consultation process.”

The developer’s reconsideration application allows only 3 weeks for comments [since extended, to 11 September]. “If the process of writing the new master plan had made no progress for the past two years this might be a good way to speed up development of replacement shops in Curtin.  But the Master Plan is still being developed and, although the process is slow, it is close to being finished. There is no good public reason to reconsider this application in this way. The developer should not be allowed to rush the process.”

The time for responding to the new proposal is dangerously short.  The developer’s application consists of 49 separate documents and these require careful and detailed analysis by the community.

It is not clear what rules and criteria ACTPLA will use to assess the developer’s application for reconsideration.  “Nobody can make meaningful comments when the background rules are unknown.  Is this new proposal going to be evaluated against the old precinct code (allowing 2 storeys maximum?) or the draft master plan (2 storeys in one part, and 4 storeys in another?) or the revised master plan (which allows 1 storey in part, and possibly 5 storeys, only under some conditions)?

This new proposal anticipates that the revised Master Plan will be accepted – but the directorate has not yet finished collating all of the comments and other submissions.  The application tries to cherry-pick parts of the existing Territory Plan, Precinct Code, Draft Master Plan and Revised Master Plan while ignoring the planning controls that the community expects to see and ignoring the character of Curtin as an urban village. The final height constraints in the Curtin Master Plan are still unknown and the proposed heights in both the first and revised drafts were strongly contested by the community.


Posted in Current Issues, Uncategorized

come to Curtin JamFest of Foodie Goodies Saturday 7 July

It’s a celebration and sale of jams, chutneys, sauces,
honey, cakes, slices and all kinds of home-made food.

Come along for breakfast toast and marmalade
with a coffee or Devonshire morning tea.

       A Curtin Residents Association

                  community project


Posted in Uncategorized

Presentations on the Master Plan at the 8 May meeting

Chris Johnson introduction-pdf

Robin Stanton Building Heights part1-pdf   /  part2-pdf

Ian Elsum Shadows and sunshine part1 /  part2 / part3

Ivan Johnstone Parking and services Curtin parking on verge photo  / Curtin waste bins photoJohnstone-feedback 2 May 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

CRA meeting about the new Draft Master Plan for Curtin Group Centre – public responses are open

The Curtin Residents Association will hold a meeting for members and interested prospective members on Sunday 6 May, from 2 to 4 pm. This time we will be at the Hughes Community Centre at the Hughes shops.

At this meeting we will explain the revised draft of the Master Plan for the Curtin Group Centre. This plan is open for public comment until 6 June.

The plan has been posted on the windows of Coles Curtin supermarket, and is online at https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/curtin-group-centre-master-plan-2

This plan has been developed from the previous draft that we saw in 2016 and from the community panel process during 2017, at which the government planners heard from developers and community groups including the Curtin Residents Association.

This revision has good points, and some not-so-good, that we think need to be discussed by the community, the residents and users of the Curtin Centre.

We encourage you to submit your comments, whether you are supporting or objecting to the plan. We need to make a strong response to the government to show them how the plan and the centre are still important to the local community.

Posted in Uncategorized

Submission on ACT Government Housing Choices Discussion Paper

The Curtin Residents Association has made a submission on the issues and planning aspects of the discussion paper, rather than try to answer the prompt questions. You are welcome to reuse any part of this for your own submission.

Curtin Residents Association Comments on Housing Choices Discussion Paper 2017–18

  1. Open Urban Spaces

It is essential that Urban Open Space between existing suburbs should not be repurposed into housing developments.

While it may be tempting to take Urban Open Space from within suburbs for new housing, this should be a last resort, requiring community agreement and reserved for the types of housing missing in our communities: public housing, co-housing, housing cooperatives, affordable housing, and modest terrace, villa and dual-occupancy housing for people on average incomes. Any such development must have higher social merit than simply densification.


  1. Community facilities

It is essential that community facilities such as schools, sporting facilities and vacant spaces in target suburbs (even if they are currently under-utilised) should not be replaced by housing. As densification proceeds in nearby town centres and within suburbs (by redevelopment of existing housing stock) there is already a need for increased community facilities in these suburbs. This increase is necessary to preserve relative levels of amenity for both the existing and the future population. The existing community facility sites should be redeveloped for further community uses, by refurbishing existing buildings or creating new complexes of community facilities and specialised housing, if this can be done with acceptable plot ratios and heights to suit the character of the neighbourhood.


  1. Strong data is needed

The current real-life experiment provided by the Mr Fluffy project (that is, relaxing rules in RZ1 to encourage multiple unit construction) provides an opportunity to collect fresh evidence of the effectiveness of these changed constraints, and the choices made by both industry developers and new owners. Only by building a statistically strong collection of data from developments on Mr Fluffy blocks and in RZ2 zones, doing careful analysis, and holding public discussion of the results, can the government build trust in the motivation and likely effectiveness of extending any changes to RZ1 or making changes in RZ2 zone restrictions or areas. Measurement of the effects will make the public debate more informed and meaningful.


  1. An area approach to planning

In general the Curtin Residents Association believes that salt-and-pepper sprinkling of multi-unit developments among single residences is desirable, similar to what may be provided by the Mr Fluffy blocks. To achieve best planning outcomes in the long term, it is necessary that a ‘whole of street’, precinct, section or sub-section approach to planning permissions and outcomes must be adopted. This will be more effective than the current paradigm of hoping for good development performance to emerge from having most of the planning rules apply only at the level of individual properties. For example, the express goals for the number of redevelopments and the number of dwellings in particular areas should be stated in advance, to strengthen the notion that planning is goal-directed; and it could be achieved by incentives that change as the density approaches the goal.

A long-term policy of actively encouraging early proposals for suitable developments, with attendant publicity that later development will be restricted, will help to achieve development planning goals faster and more efficiently. This will also reduce the existing residents’ concerns that allowing any development at all will inevitably escalate from this ‘thin end of the wedge’ to over-development and destruction of amenity.


  1. Mandating housing diversity

The requirement to provide some smaller housing types should be made a concomitant condition – a social payback – for any large-scale development to be approved. If current development activity is providing the wrong mix of housing types as an outcome, then the government should not rely only on changing the development rules or costs to distort market conditions in its attempt to drive developers to build what they see as less profitable developments. Instead, for example, a developer proposing a development of hundreds of apartments should be required to also propose and complete a specified number of dwellings as townhouses or multi-unit housing, whether in the same precinct or in other areas of Canberra (in similar ways that the provision of social or affordable housing is social policy that should be enforced on developers in all zones). A healthy market in unit development licences may result, as developers negotiate with each other to provide suitable mixtures of dwelling types under each project umbrella. The enforced cross-subsidy will have the result of some sharing of costs to create the outcomes desired by government policy at reasonable cost.

Curtin Residents Association

Posted in Current Issues

Fences in Curtin Square January 2018

All of the shops in the block at 44 Curtin Place are now closed and an ugly fence has been erected on public land around the building – but no demolition or rebuilding work has been approved. The leaseholder has made no new proposal to the ACT Government to redevelop the site.

The media reported on the fence soon after it went up:

  • The Canberra Times ran a story on Thursday 11 January  ‘To Me This Is Greed
  • CRA President Chris Johnson was interviewed on 2CC on Thursday 11 Jan.
  • WIN-TV asked for a statement. We wrote:

Building fenced off but no rebuilding proposal

Curtin residents are angry and disappointed that some of their shops have been forced to close – and are now fenced off – when no proposal to rebuild has been approved.

The community is looking to the leaseholder to work with government planners to achieve a development that suits the Curtin Group Centre’s urban village character and meets the Draft Master Plan and ACT Planning Regulations. It has been a year since the first proposal was rejected.

Jobs and viable businesses have been lost or disrupted because of the forced closures, and other businesses in the Centre are suffering. Nobody in government has looked out for these small businesses and jobs.

An intrusive fence around the building encroaches onto Curtin Square and squeezes pedestrians and other businesses in the pedestrian laneway. The ugly side of this action is that services to the community have been lost, and the redevelopment is no closer to starting.

— we will keep you informed —

Posted in Uncategorized