After 10 years as an informal collective, Dickson Residents Group became incorporated on 10 March 2021.
Why has Dickson Residents Group chosen to incorporate?
We believe that as an incorporated association we can do more than we have to date, represent the interests of a larger population, and be far more durable. We are also volunteers, and we need more people with skills to step up.
Other resident associations have the capacity to apply for grants, are given what’s known as “standing” by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) so they can seek administrative reviews of decisions they oppose, and can draw on the skills and enthusiasm of their members to carry out projects, lobby the ACT government, monitor and engage with the ongoing planning and development of their area in ways that benefit the whole community.
What can Dickson Residents Group Inc. achieve and why should I care?
Some battles are harder than others, but in the long run this is our home. We want it to support healthy interactions, provide safe environments, offer creative and beautiful opportunities, make daily life better for us all. There are many more projects we would like to be able to work on but in order to do those things we need to tap into your skills, your ideas, your energy and enthusiasm.
In the last 10 years, we have successfully re-shaped two big developments by taking legal action in the Tribunal (ACAT) and negotiating with the proponent when their project was refused. The result has protected surrounding properties and streets and Dickson shopping centre, and meant that the amenity of the residential area continues to be safe, leafy, friendly and quiet while accommodating sympathetic change.
We have also campaigned to prevent a new road proposed being built next to the stormwater channel that would have meant cutting down over 100 trees, and a through road at Hawdon Street that would have flooded the area with traffic. We were successful both times. The result was that the government invested in upgrading the forecourt of Dickson Pool, put in the new pedestrian trail through Section 72, and has officially agreed to never build a through road at Hawdon Street.
We have worked closely with the National Trust of Australia (ACT) to research and prepare a heritage nomination for the original Canberra Aerodrome at Dickson. The result has been that the government engaged a team of archaeologists, made minor changes to the Common Ground project and will unveil two heritage signs at this year’s Heritage Festival.
We have run heritage walks, helped with Dickson Library’s 50th anniversary, met with Parliamentarians and the NCA to preserve the Griffin Plan for Majura Avenue, and collaborated with other resident associations, both here in the inner North and in the inner South, to prevent changes to the Territory Plan that would have wiped out Neighbourhood Plans and reduced solar access rights.
Our voice is being heard, and taken seriously. The built form, landscaping and heritage of the area is only part of the big picture. We want to be able to improve the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, equip the suburb for climate change, organise events like picnics in the park with live music, conduct traffic studies, review the plans for Dickson and make them reflect the community’s aspirations. We want to help make this area more affordable for renters, more attractive for young families, more supportive for older people. We want more playgrounds, with more creative equipment for children of different ages, and nature play space for families.