Active and Connected
Being physically active is fundamental to our wellbeing. This is relatively well understood by most but acted upon by very few – we intend to change that.
But being active means more to us than only being physically active. Our lives are richer if we stay active in all facets.
Active minds, active communities and active contributions that share, educate, restore, protect and thrive.
We need to build neighbourhoods, the way they used to be.
We need to stay connected to our families, and connect deeply with friends and communities. We need to connect with each other, the old fashioned way.
At the same time we should be open to embracing the benefits of digital connectivity, which are set to grow exponentially. Technology is reshaping the way we communicate, the way we learn and allowing us to access talents and ideas from all over the globe.
Age isn’t a barrier to ideas and talent, and technology should be seen as an enabler to share insights and experiences crafted over a life well lived. Be generous with what we know, what we do and who we are and be connected.
The purpose of this website is to follow the progress of a possible active and connected neighbourhood for retirees and over 55’s as part of Federal Golf Club.
A program of extensive consultation has commenced with a wide ranging group of stakeholders to help shape a proposal that brings significant benefits to both the future residents and the broader community. As the consultation continues this website will capture the discussions, concerns, concepts in a single place to make it convenient for those with an interest in the proposal to access the current information and also to avoid any misinformation being presented relating to the form, status or progress of any proposal.
We look forward to working with the interested and engaged stakeholder groups to deliver an outcome that is shaped by consultation, responsive to the needs of the community and world class in the active and connected lifestyle it provides for those who will call it home.
What is the proposal?
The proposal is to look at the opportunity of creating a world class retirement and over 55’s community integrated into the Federal Golf Club. The opportunity is to provide class leading sustainable homes that are low maintenance but without compromise in the lifestyle they afford, within a neighbourhood that is engaged and connected. The homes will integrate into the beautiful natural environment that the golf course precinct represents and encourage active living.
This will all be supported by a modern clubhouse and hub incorporating all the facilities necessary to support active bodies and minds. A place to swim and work out, a place to create and innovate, a place to work, a place to play, to get support when needed and to give support when able. Above all, it will be about staying active and connected.
There have been proposals before this one - What is different?
There is a clean slate and a new team for this proposal with a great deal of thinking having gone in to trying to create an outcome that aligns stakeholder objectives and create something that positively contributes to the broader community. The approach therefore is one where we are seeking first to understand the views of the community before any concept plans are produced.
In particular though, this is the first proposal that seeks to create an over 55s active living community that is connected to Federal Golf Club for the long term, which also means a long term connection and ability to integrate with the broader community and environment.
We hope that the community will engage on any new proposal with an open mind and not make assumptions based on what may have gone before. The views put forward by the community as part of previous proposals are something we need to work through and in some respects this website will hopefully help by allowing access to current information about the proposal.
We would like everyone to use this site as the source of information that is transparent and true. We have committed to keeping it updated to reflect progress at any stage so that interested people and groups can stay up to date and see how the concerns that gets raised along the way are responded to.
It goes without saying that we would love to hear from those supportive of what we are trying to explore here. It’s all too common that our busy lives ensure that the causes and opportunities we support pass by silently and we only hear from others who feel compelled to speak out. Supporters play just as important a role in shaping amazing outcomes so please drop us a line and let us know your thoughts.
Who is involved?
The Federal Golf Club has conducted an extensive search for an appropriate team to help them deliver on this vision.
Importantly, the partners chosen have deep expertise in the creation and operation of the style of retirement and over 55’s community contemplated by this proposal and have reached the pinnacle of this industry when in 2014 The Arbour, Berry was announced as the Best Retirement Village in Australia by the Property Council of Australia. The team believes their best is yet to come which makes their involvement at Federal very exciting.
Whilst the extremely high quality of the village environment and exceptional service and resident experience were important, Federal focused on the consultative approach and deep environmental expertise of the team as their prime consideration. A team that genuinely listens and engages with the community and has a demonstrated track record at delivering enhancement to surrounding natural environmental assets was necessary to respond to what they had heard from the community during previous proposals.
The team are owners and operators of their villages and with that comes a long term perspective, a family business feel and an understanding that success comes from making a contribution – to the lives of residents, their families and to the broader community. They do not regard themselves as developers but acknowledge that villages do need to go through the process of being.
What has the team done before?
The team that has been selected by Federal has created very high quality retirement communities in sensitive social and environmental areas. Their capability is best assessed by understanding similar projects that have been undertaken with a strong commitment to environmental and community values.
How many homes are likely to be proposed?
Ultimately this will depend on what reasonable development opportunity remains following the consultation period where impacts and concerns will be factored into the proposal and best endeavours made to avoid or mitigate such impacts.
Viability of the project from a commercial and social perspective suggests that approximately 120 homes is the optimum size for a village community. It allows for a scale of services that appropriately support the village along with a management approach that is ‘family business’ oriented.
The Arbour and Wivenhoe Village have clearly been very successful. Why is this and what does an active and connected retirement community look like at Federal?
The success of The Arbour and Wivenhoe Village is due to the ‘bottom up’ or site specific approach applied to their design. They were not created from a pre-determined mould but were shaped from consultation, community input and importantly the views, needs and wants of intending residents.
This bespoke detail to their conception and dedicated and intimate management sets them apart as terrific places to live and stay active and connected.
The approach at Federal will be the same. It will look and be unique, because Federal is unique. There is no template that will be applied but we can take comfort in the fact that all the learning that we have experienced will be honed and focussed toward creating something that is highly appealing and suits the local residents.
What consultation is proposed?
We are trying to cover as much ground as we can to seek input before we progress the detail of any proposal. It is important that we seek the views of the community and then test those views with a mindset of trying to balance the input and avoid unnecessary impacts of the proposal.
There is literature that clearly supports the need for more and better located age appropriate housing to accommodate the current and future demographics for Canberra as well as the need for activities, services, social engagement and family connections. We will continue to discuss the needs of the community with the Council on the Ageing, the Property Council and other research organisations that can assist with shaping the nature and function required to best support the needs of the Canberra community.
All of the feedback received is and will continue to be used to shape the thinking behind the proposal. Everything about the proposal is on the table such as the size, siting, facilities and services. If there is a way to better service and support the community then we are open to it.
What environmental or fire risks are you considering in siting any proposed development?
Bushfire risk is an extremely high priority for us. The safety of future residents is paramount and there will be no shortcuts in how risks to resident safety and wellbeing are assessed. We will not seek to do anything that places any future resident in danger so this is very much a case of avoid rather than manage from our perspective.
Similarly, we are strong believers in conserving valuable environmental habitat and it is our intention to work with experienced local groups to understand and avoid unnecessary environmental impacts. We hope to benefit from the experience of people committed to the local environment and will ultimately be trying to target a solution that achieves a positive community benefit as far as the environment is concerned. This can be achieved by increasing the size of conservation areas or improving the quality of the areas currently under conservation. We are here with an open mind and keen to leverage the local expertise to ultimately find a solution that delivers a better community outcome. We make no secret of the fact that we are passionate about making sure that education and access to improved conservation outcomes are front of mind for us.
How will the risks of locating a retirement village development in a bushfire prone area be managed?
The safety of future residents is the number one priority so any proposal will reflect that.
In terms of siting the proposal, moving away from having residences close to the bush edge perimeter of the golf course may present much lower risk of bushfire exposure. Such a move would undoubtedly avoid any impacts on the surrounding natural environment and if achievable could present a win – win outcome. An approach that achieves this is something we are keen to explore.
Appropriate siting will combine with onsite presence and management activities that further reduce risk. An obvious and well maintained emergency egress, such as the one that currently exists, is a crucial component. The emergency egress and access point for emergency services may even be improved.
A retirement village integrated within an operating golf club provides a significant on site management presence as the village staff and the golf club staff are all able to be appropriately trainied and available for the support and assistance of any evacuation. This is dramatically different to any residential estate development. Residents of the proposal will have access to more than 10 staff at any time who will have dedicated training and responsibilities to ensure safe departure from the village in the event the golf course location comes under threat from bushfire.
Does this proposal require Yellow Box woodland to be removed?
The proposal does not currently have any definition which makes a question like this difficult to answer at this time. What can be said is that the intention is to understand exactly where the high environmental values exist and work around those values. To do this we need precise information relating to species and will have experts undertake all the necessary survey and ecology assessments so we can hopefully avoid impacts. This approach has not been taken in the past and whilst previous assessments have concluded that the impacts of previous proposals were not unacceptable, we are starting with a view that we must first explore the potential to improve and enhance rather than impact.
It is possible to have a development proposal facilitate positive outcomes for the environment. Whilst we acknowledge that this is not achieved as often as we would like to see, we must in fairness not prejudge the outcome of this proposal by others that have not delivered on the objectives and standards being applied to this proposal.
Does the proposal offer the Federal Golf Club an ongoing income stream that could be used to finance future infrastructure needs should they be required?
That is certainly the intention. A standard residential subdivision is not preferred for this reason.
An active and connected retirement community creates an ongoing business that has the potential to provide funding towards future requirements that Federal may have as well as contributing to the current infrastructure outcomes. In that regard, and in many more, it is an ideal fit for integration into a Golf Club environment.
Federal’s core function is as a Golf Club and this function requires the vast majority of its available land to be taken up specifically in support of the game of golf. There simply is not enough available space for Federal to have future development proposals so it is imperative that this proposal is able to support the current and future funding requirements of necessary infrastructure.
Is there a need to alter Gowrie Drive to allow for this proposal?
There isn’t so much of a need as there is an opportunity. Gowrie Drive and the entrance intersection that leads to the Golf Club aren’t ideal in their current state. There is a clear opportunity to look to this proposal to improve both the intersection and the drive into the Golf Club. Any improvements would need to be balanced against any potential impacts of the underlying works but at face value it would appear that an opportunity does exist that would benefit the community and users of the Red Hill lookout.
It’s not appropriate to develop within the Federal Golf Club precinct
We absolutely disagree with statements like this without being able to analyse them against a proposal. What if the proposal doesn’t have any impact on the surrounding Red Hill nature reserve? What if the proposal plants more new trees than it impacts and improves the mix of appropriate species? What if the proposal provides an accommodation option not currently available? What if an appropriately scaled urban infill village helps to reduce the demand on infrastructure and services for the community? So much is possible, but not if we can’t work together to outline what that could be.
In terms of the location, we think it has the potential to be superbly located for an active and connected community. Why should we need to go to marginal locations to seek age appropriate low maintenance housing and associated services? Why shouldn’t such neighbourhoods be built in prime locations where we can stay connected to our families, friends and local community networks?
It’s easy to sit back and say we like what you are doing but please do it elsewhere. No that’s simply not good enough. Our senior members of the community who have contributed and continue to contribute so much to our communities deserve better than to have to leave or move to the outskirts of their town. We need to try harder to find ways of providing world class neighbourhoods with sustainable accommodation and services to support the desire to remain active and connected.
The Red Hill nature reserve is something special that should be enhanced?
We agree. We are seeking to work with groups who are extremely knowledgeable and committed to the Red Hill reserve.
We believe this proposal could serve to enhance valuable environmental features, not just for the current generation but for those into the future. We have done this successfully in the past and know that it can be achieved – the key is to work together. For us, a large component to what we see as an enhancement to our natural environmental features is access. Access is important for people to enjoy and learn about the importance of the surrounding biodiversity – conservation shouldn’t be hidden away to ultimately become the domain of a declining few (which is a risk without access and education). We have to conserve but at the same time we need to teach communities about why it is vital and we need to have them delight in what nature can turn on directly by enjoying bird walks and other ways of connecting with the natural environment.
We think improved conservation outcomes, better access to beautiful natural assets for communities and a focus on educating us all, are the critical ingredients to what we hope can be looked upon as a benchmark.
I live in Brereton Street and I don’t think access should be connected to Gowrie Drive
Great, neither do we so don’t expect to see it in any proposal from us. There is no current proposal mapped out as we are still at the stage where we need the initial consultation to provide guidance but this connection is something we are committed to maintaining our opposition to.
The traffic movements generated by a village neighbourhood such as that proposed are very modest and this will be independently demonstrated as part of any proposal. Whilst the traffic generated from this proposal will be modest, a connection between Gowrie Drive and Brereton Street would create an unintended traffic flow that would be detrimental to the surrounding community and equally not in the best interests of residents of the village.
Bottom line – we will not propose nor support any connection between Gowrie Drive and Brereton Street regardless of where the access to the village is ultimately proposed.
We love the sound of this, how do we express interest in moving in?
That’s great and we would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line on this website when the questions and comments section goes live and we will take your details to ensure we start to communicate with you about life in the village.
We are at the very early stages at the moment so the details will be built up as we progress but don’t let that stop you. We’d love to hear from you and work together to create something wonderful and ultimately, as an intending active and connected resident, we value your involvement and feedback very highly.