“CANBERRA TIMES” LETTERS 11 NOVEMBER

Housing power shift

Thank heaven for the ACT housing market (not). Its highly inflated level, created when a couple of high-profile real estate agents discovered the gap between early 1990s ACT house prices and the earnings of Canberrans, is such a river of gold for so many.

And the deprivation of so many. The leasehold system, designed to enable good affordable housing, leaving a reasonable amount of disposable income for cultural and recreational pursuits, has been trashed. Now the ACT government can make excessive multiple profits on raw land sales. So can planners, engineers, surveyors, valuers, civil engineering contractors, spec builders, project builders, realtors, banks, etc.

They do so in an overbearing process that leaves new-home buyer/occupiers struggling with massive debts, stranded on micro plots of land in shape-and-design-predetermined unextendable dwellings, with no room for even a kids’ trampoline or a shed, while being told to enjoy the uselessly broad, genteel ”public realm” strip outside their tiny front yards – that realm and the associated excessive land-gobbling estate infrastructure being the conduits for those huge profits, all bludged off the inflated house-price market.

It’s time to reform this ”industry”, and empower owner-occupiers.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-letters/cleaning-up-asbestos-20141110-3k112.html#ixzz3IhogfDVw

Rail versus roads

When I am in Canberra I always use my car, when I am in Sydney, I almost always use public transport or my bicycle. I don’t think there is much unique in my decisions: expediency, efficiency of getting from one place to another, and concern for my environment – particularly avoiding stuffed smoky roads in Sydney that frustrate, raise blood pressure, and smoke the lungs with exhaust fumes and particulates.

Unless the ACT government builds a rail system that can compete with Canberra’s ample, efficient roads and parking space then it is wasting its time and the economy’s resources. But maybe the determination for the environment might drive the ACT government in a different direction: developing a ”vibrant” Canberra in a way that makes it cluttered and frustrating for motorists (much like Sydney), defying the wishes of many of its residents, destroying its character and the light rail might be part of the ”solution”.

George Papadopoulos, Yass, NSW

(Comment:  Of course, Walter Burleigh Griffin designed a rail system into Canberra.  However, the bureaucrats knew better: no rail was necessary.  The car had been invented and it was beginning to do very well!)