RE: DHA LEE POINT URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me with your concerns.
Firstly, let me say that in a developing city such as Darwin with a growing population, I support in principle land releases and housing developments as they can have the potential to alleviate housing market congestion and rent unaffordability. However, after taking the time to review the proposed Lee Point housing plan that DHA has listed, I believe that it is an ill-conceived plan which I currently don’t support.
Whilst you’ve listed several points, just looking at the proposal it wasn’t hard for me to think of similar concerns independently and a few more that you have not listed.
- RESIDENTS: The Lee Point Road in the morning between 7-9am and afternoon between 4-6pm is already congested at peak times and is starting to show long term problems around traffic flows. Australia on average sees approximately 2.6 persons per residential dwelling. The thought of adding a further 800 homes and multiple apartment buildings, some 2000+ more residents (approximately 1500 more vehicles) with only a single road for access, in my opinion is ill conceived at the very least.
- ENVIRONMENT: I’m sure there are a variety of wildlife and environmental impacts like any development of this type has, but without reading an environmental impact study I cannot offer an opinion on this.
- TAXPAYER: Technically, I don’t believe this development constitutes the term “urban sprawl” as it doesn’t fit the definition. Such as it’s not unplanned or haphazard in its development or implementation, the concept drawing for the plan seems to utilise the land efficiently, and it doesn’t seem to be a rapid development. Whilst I don’t think the Lee Point Development plan is in essence a good plan. In my opinion as someone who’s worked in industries around city planning, this would not be my first choice in either location or type of development. You are right that unplanned sprawl in the long run can cost taxpayers money. But I don’t know if it would end up costing taxpayers more if this type of development went ahead.
- TOURISM INDUSTRY: Tourism is a key industry in the NT, when I consider how tourists move through the NT, I would say that their time spent here could possibly be evenly divided between urban areas (such as shops and stores) and natural areas (such as beaches and reserves). Coming at this from an objective point of view I would surmise that a development like this would have a negligible effect on the overall tourist industry that Darwin sees. Personally, I think the overall poor state of the economy and the out-of-control crime rate have had far more deleterious effect than another subdivision would. According to the plan the beach is still intact, the picnic area and mangroves are still intact. Regarding the term that you’ve used “Darwin’s natural beauty”, far be it from me to disagree with you but as the old saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. In my opinion I don’t think Darwin inherently classifies as having ‘natural beauty’, as I don’t typically find most modern architecture and home designs that are being used in and around Darwin visually appealing.
- DEFENCE PERSONNEL: Yes, as I’ve stated I don’t think the location is particularly a good one for the reasons outlined above. I also think Muirhead is poorly located due to insects and the proximity of the sewage farm. I will also add my further thoughts on the matter.
• Water allocation to this new subdivision as well as waste such as sewerage piping is already problematic in Lyons and Muirhead. The government when it built Muirhead failed to upgrade the water systems and sewerage systems to Muirhead. Currently the Tourist Park sees extremely low water pressure and problems with blockages in their systems. Though
the government keeps pushing for these developments to go ahead, they have made massive errors along the way. The fact that the sewage farm near Muirhead is still allowed to exist there is a testament to the government not fully understanding the impacts their illconceived decisions are having on people.
• Public services such as transport in the northern suburbs is for lack of a better word, diabolical. As further urbanisation in Darwin continues more emphasis needs to be placed back on public transport and expansions to public transport hubs. The Casuarina exchange is ill equipped to meet the needs of the current population, let alone a bigger population.
• Other public services such as the Royal Darwin hospital is another sore spot I see. The RDH is already over capacity, adding a further 2000+ residents would only exacerbate the problems with bed shortages, wait times for elective surgery and emergency care. Medical resourcing in general is not up to speed with the current population.
• Policing is an additional problem. Muirhead already sees high police response times to crimes committed in the area. The Casuarina Police station is currently the closest station by proximity yet is closed most hours of the day and is generally inadequately staffed.
• Electricity supply across Darwin with developments like this would take an already strained power grid and possibly take it to the breaking point.
• Road infrastructure is inadequate, and a new road system would possibly have to be established to support any additional structures at Lee Point. Possibly running behind Muirhead and Leanyer connecting to Vanderlin Drive I can’t advise you as to whom exactly is benefiting from this project. As you are probably aware a lot that goes on in government seems to be done without the public’s knowledge or consent even though it’s done with taxpayers’ money. Something that, if elected, I would be happy to expose. Personally, I believe that the land at the RAAF base along Bagot Road adjacent to The Narrows, which previously had military housing established on it and already has established road, water, sewage and electricity supply should be utilised before any other land is considered. It is an ideal location for Defence Housing as it is on Defence land, centrally located with public transport, main road access and is already suitable for residential homes as it previously had houses located there. I don’t think an independent study is needed, when it’s very clear to me and literally any person breathing that there is Defence Housing land at the RAAF base ready to go right now.
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