Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 26-08-2014 Contents Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 10
Blind author Leonie Pye, with her guide dog Franklin at her side, reads her book The Little Shell to a kindergarten class at Latham Primary School.
Listening are, from left, Shaylee Lappin, Luke Vey, Jasmine Lee, Charlie Shoemark and Piper Sullivan.
Photo: Graham Tidy.
Book tells children they are precious
The old adage not to judge a book by
its cover is an important lesson for all
readers and the basis of blind Canberra
author Leonie Pye s first book The
With her ebony guide dog Franklin
by her side, Mrs Pye captivated
Latham Primary School students as
she read to them from memory. The
Belconnen-based author said the story
poured out as a stream of conscious-
ness while she was working to
overcome her battle with depression
and was never intended to be a book.
"It s a book all about loving and
respecting ourselves regardless of our
rough edges and imperfections," she
At age 19 Mrs Pye was diagnosed
with a degenerative eye disease and
subsequently early onset macular
degeneration left her with partial
vision. Accustomed to people s
assumptions about the capacity of
people living with a disability, the
author fielded questions from curious
students during her visit to celebrate
National Book Week.
"The children often ask how can
you write if you can t see? ," she said.
"Sometimes they are more interested
in Franklin than the book, but it s
She said the books children read had
the potential to impact how they felt
about themselves and others.
"Children as young as five or six
have said the message from my book
is that it s what s on the inside that
counts," she said.
"Not everyone that reads it will
connect with that, but what I hope the
children take away when I meet them
is that they, like the little shell, are
precious, beautiful and worthy of love
Council to discuss plans for
vacant local twin buildings
Public officer Scott Humphries
The Woden Valley Community
Council will meet on Wednesday,
September 3. The meeting starts at
7.30pm and will be held in n the
Orpheus Room of the Hellenic Club,
Matilda Street, Phillip. This month,
special guest representatives from our
sister Belconnen Community Council
will report the findings of a residents
survey on developments in the
Belconnen Town Centre, and provide
an update of progress with the
Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan.
Other items on the agenda include
future plans for the prominent sites of
the vacated twin Alexander and
Albermarle buildings in Woden Town
Centre, and a report on consultations
for the new Primary Care Networks
which will replace Medicare Locals.
The Community Council meets on
the first Wednesday of every month at
the Hellenic Club, and all Woden
Valley residents are welcome to attend.
Youth invited to share vision in forum
Recently I, along with Andrew Leigh,
attended a forum organised and
facilitated by students at Burgmann
Topics for discussion at the forum
included issues such as the budget, the
carbon tax and the global political
Forums such as these become the
building blocks for policy
development aimed at young people.
I was very impressed by the quality
of the questions and the knowledge of
Engaging with young people is
important for politicians.
Young people are our future and it is
important they we, as the older
generation, equip them with the tools
and the opportunities to share their
views on the future of our country.
Young people bring new ideas, and
a level of enthusiasm and energy that
It is also important that we
recognise their views as a
representation of the entire community
rather than a standalone group.
I am very keen to engage the youth
of our city and to start a conversation
with them so they have another
opportunity to get involved earlier than
To do this, I am working on a format
for a Youth Forum aimed at giving
young people a chance to share their
views with me in a relaxed and
Our youth will soon be at the
forefront of our nation and will form a
whole new generation of future
If you would like to get in touch
with me about the Youth Forum please
email me at
University of Canberra researcher
John Dryzek has been awarded the
Australia Laureate Fellowship for his
world-renowned work on deliberative
Professor Dryzek was one of 16
researchers recognised by the
Australian Research Council.
His work on deliberative democracy
highlights the importance of effective,
inclusive and transformative
communication in decision-making to
effectively solve global problems.
The UK-born political theorist, who
joined the University of Canberra in
January, said he was delighted to
receive the accolade.
This acknowledgement will boost
our contribution to the building of
deliberative capacity, not only in
political theory but more importantly
in applied practice, informing
Australian positions in global
negotiations or how Australian public
policy responds to environmental
governance," Professor Dryzek said.
The fellowship, which includes
funding of more than $2.6 million over
the next five years, will allow his team
of postdoctoral fellows and PhD
students to take on three of the biggest
challenges facing today s world.
This includes promoting global
justice, navigating a potentially
chaotic Earth system, and involving
people from different cultures in
University of Canberra deputy vice-
chancellor research Professor Frances
Shannon congratulated Professor
Dryzek on his achievement.
"This well-deserved recognition to
one of our brightest minds is a
testament of the quality of the
academics that we have attracted to
work at the University of Canberra,"
Professor Shannon said.
Emotions run high at public housing planning discussions
Seven more sites have been identified
as part of a broad public housing
strategy stretching across several parts
of the ACT.
Representatives from the
Community Services Directorate and
the Economic Development Directorate
gave presentations on the Draft
Omnibus Territory Plan Variation to
both the Belconnen Community
Council and the North Canberra
Community Council last week.
The variation groups 17 individual
sites together across Canberra s north
The government has identified five
areas in four suburbs to be redeveloped
in Canberra s inner north. These
include Downer, Dickson, Watson and
Mitchell. Another two areas were
identified in Belconnen. These
included one in Charnwood on the
former fire station site at the corner of
Florey Drive and Lhotsky Crescent,
and one at Kaleen at the former Bocce
Club on Baldwin Drive.
Tensions were high at the North
Canberra Community Council
meeting with government
representatives struggling to get
through their presentation as many
residents voiced their concerns.
Council deputy chairman Greg
Zwajgenberg said if the consultation
was not handled well, government
plans could be seriously affected by
people who well up with discontent.
He said people would get angry and
there was a lot of groundswell on what
was an emotive issue.
Plans call for between two and five-
storey developments on various
sections across the inner north
suburbs. The development of the old
Downer school site, which is under
way, was included as part of the plan.
Section 54 in Mitchell, 8 and 72 in
Dickson as well as sections 74 and 76
in Watson were identified and various
plans on each site presented to those at
One of those plans includes an
experimental development led by the
Institute of Architects. This would be a
demonstration building for what high
quality infill development can look like.
The government hopes to finalise
preconsultation discussions on the
Draft Omnibus Territory Plan
Variation by early December this year.
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