I thought Save The Ridge were dead and buried…I was wrong. I thought that having Gungahlin Drive near completion would spell the end of anti-Gungahlin Drive protests…I was wrong. People against Gungahlin Drive will not use it when it opens…just wait, I’ll be wrong.
Today the ACT Government is holding a public walking tour of part of Gungahlin Drive, Save The Ridge are going to “peacefully” gatecrash the event, presumably with megaphones and banners.
Save The Ridge are a cunning mob, they know they no longer have the numbers to mount any sort of protest, so they “urgently” enlist the help of various “Save xyz School” groups, claiming that the money being spent on the Gungahlin Drive Extension is being diverted away from schools, buses etc. They forget a couple important points:
- Budget: It may have been a bad one, but Gungahlin Drive was in there
- Those peksy court costs: Those agonising years of stalling in the courts by STR cost an awful lot of money…and helped to blow out the cost of the road
I don’t know what they expect the government to do…unbuilding the road would cost more money so that doesn’t help, cancelling the road would be an utter waste and leave a large mess…but might provide a poorly placed dragway (could offset aeroplane noise if the Tralee development goes ahead).
The horse has bolted, it’s won the race, and is about to receive the trophy, but for what it’s worth, Save The Ridge are having an encore comedy performance. Enjoy the press release (emphasis as per the press release).
WHAT: Community Rally to Protest the Opening of the First Stage of the Gungahlin Drive Extension and the Negative Impact the Massive Cost Overruns have had on the Public Transport, Education and Community Sector
TIME AND DATE: 10am, Sunday 10 December
WHERE: Gungahlin Drive Extension junction with Ginninderra Drive
(parking at the GDE site office, off Masterman St, Bruce. Transport is being provided between there and the start of a community walk)
ASSISTANCE: STR needs the URGENT community support to assist with leafleting, letterboxing and postering. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org  or call Paul Oboohov on 0417 048 217 to volunteer some time.
OTHER HELP: SPREAD THE WORD!
ABOUT: The first section of the Gungahlin Drive Extension (GDE), between Ginninderra Drive and the Barton Highway, will be officially opened by the ACT government on Sunday 10 December. The ACT government has scheduled a community walk / cycle at 10am on the GDE between Ginninderra Drive and Ellenborough St to “celebrate the opening”, see http://www.gde.act.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/41409/CommunityWalkEvent.doc 
The Save the Ridge Committee invites you to attend a peaceful protest at this event, to make the following points:
* The cost of the 9km GDE, one of the most expensive non tunnelled single lane roads in Australia’s history, is being recouped partly through the closure of 39 schools in the ACT, as well as a raft of cutbacks including scaled back ACTION bus services, library closures, social programs cut, reducing ACT Government employee superannuation entitlements from 15.4% to 9% and significant increases of government taxes and charges;
* The GDE is being built at a time of trend petrol price rises not seen since the early 1980’s. With massive increases in petrol demand in some of the world’s most populous developing nations, cheap oil is a thing of the past and nationally climate change issues are now near the top of the community’s concerns. Like the Australian Government, the ACT Government has taken almost no action on the issue. An important first step would be a significant investment in an electrified rapid transit system with a commitment to power it through green energy purchases. With no carbon emissions, this would make significant progress on improving the Territory’s per capita greenhouse gas emission profile;
* According to Canberra Times reports (Canberra Times, Dec 2), until recently the GDE construction has used almost 0.5 (approx. 0.41)% of Canberra’s potable water supply at a time of unprecedented water restrictions. It will continue to require water, but from a new greywater source. The cost of this appears to be the Government reneging on the promise to rehabilitate 20 sportgrounds for community use due to their being insufficient available water because of the drought;
* The GDE has come at an incalculable environmental cost with the destruction of significant linkages in Canberra’s high conservation value urban bush. The ACT Government’s rhetoric of suggesting it will become the first capital city in the world to achieve environmental status under UNESCO (Canberra Sunday Times, 3 December 2006) is farcical with the wholesale vandalism of Kaleen Grasslands, Bruce/O’Connor Ridges and Black Mountain Reserve. Numerous studies by university researchers have found Black Mountain Reserve to be a world class area for biodiversity, the position advocated by STR and supported by world class members of the broader scientific community since the 1990’s;
* Community members and experts recognise that bush regions ACT Government have preserved are so small and fragmented, that the richness of their ecology is not likely to be sustainable in the long term. This is largely due to the threat to fauna when migrating between areas and from domestic animals. The Government’s proposal for the fossil fuel based Belconnen to Civic busway is another example of how little value these pockets of bush have to the ACT Government and how they are only perceived to have value if they can encourage further construction activity along the corridors; and
* The ACT Arboretum site will now be the final home for almost 200,000 cubic metres of unnecessary GDE fill that was trucked in from various construction sites around Canberra to build the GDE. After it has already arrived, it was determined that there was already a surplus of fill on site and this fill was not necessary. In addition, 170,000 cubic metres of soil from the site will also be sent to the Arboretum to permit further construction of the road. Almost 400,000 cubic metres of soil will now be relocated to the Arboretum site. This farce is characteristic of the repeated failures throughout the entire GDE planning, approvals and construction process.
Placards will be available, but if you wish, please bring one of your own. A placard and banner making workshop will be held at 2pm on Saturday 9 December in the Rocks meeting hall. Please come along and help create a range of interesting statements.
Speakers include, but are not limited to:
* Alex Pollard, ACT Peak Oil;
* Meredith Hunter, ACT Greens candidate for the seat of Fraser; and
* Allan Lohe, former Save the Ridge Chairperson
If you can suggest any additional speakers, please contact Paul Oboohov on ph 0417 048 217.
More information may be found on the STR website, http://www.savetheridge.org.au 
We hope to see you on Sunday.
The Save the Ridge Committee
Blast…I should have saved that one for Friday…would have made a good Friday Funny.