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Seven days to submit for Flynn

ACT departmental officials have given selected Flynn residents just seven days notice in peak holiday season that submissions on an important heritage report for the Flynn Primary School precinct are due.

Some Flynn residents woke on Australia Day to find an ACT Government newsletter wedged in their junk mail, giving them first notice of a 2 February meeting and a 2 February deadline to provide submissions on a draft heritage report. They are now asking the Minister to step in and give Canberrans adequate time to consider such an important document.

“Even if the report had been accessible online or was provided to Canberra citizens, the timing is unreasonable and goes against ACT government community engagement policy. As far as we know, the notice has been delivered only to those Flynn households who accept junk mail,” Mr Nicoll said.

“The ACT Government repeatedly makes claims about improving consultation but this latest stunt now seems even more outrageous than the widely slammed school closures.”

To make matters worse, departmental officers are claiming to have sent out a notice in a newsletter just before Christmas.

“The only problem is that no one we know received it in their mailbox or their inbox, and there is no evidence of a December newsletter on the departmental website,” said Mr Nicoll.

The website lists Newsletter no. 5 (sent on 16 November) and this latest is Newsletter no. 6 (sent in late January).

Other than the limited-distribution email, the only publicly available heritage report is a 100+ page report (called a Conservation Strategy) on the ACT Government’s Community Service webpage, which indicates as at 1 August 2011 that the report has been ‘finalised’ but ‘because of the size of the report due to the pictures and drawings it contains the report cannot be placed on this website’. There is no suggestion on the website that there is an opportunity to provide submissions on this final report, or any other. A small number of hard copies were provided only to residents who made special request.

“Significant parts of the heritage report are factually incorrect and manipulate information that is purported to be from the community. Another glaring omission is the that the Flynn Preschool be excluded, even though it is a key part of the precinct and its heritage value.”

“We are Asking Minister Joy Burch to show the ACT Government is really interested in working with the community this time, and direct her department to make a draft report accessible online, give enough time for submissions, and develop the heritage policy before moving ahead with development plans.”

“A good process will avoid the situation we saw in 2011, where part-demolition at Flynn went ahead with only a half-baked strategy, followed by the extraordinary use of government ‘call-in’ powers.

“Over the past six years the Flynn community has conducted a number of suburb-wide surveys and raised many tens of thousands of dollars to restore the community hub and see its heritage and community values recognised and protected.”

Efforts to gain Flynn heritage listing are expected to resume in the ACT Supreme Court on 6 February.

Update: Consultation was extended to 14 March

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn