Canberra Confidential / End of the village people

THE adults have taken over and mercifully unpopped the “pop-up” Westside Container Village, with the NCA declining not to prolong the eyesore any longer than another year, despite being petitioned by the ACT government for two and a half times that.

The widely loathed container park, sitting in a plum position on Commonwealth Avenue, has been dogged by opposition and commercial disaster over the past two years with Labor compliantly bailing it out at every setback to what must be a tidy seven-figure sum by now.

NCA chief Malcolm Snow said the authority concurred with the grumbles that Westside Village was not an appropriate design standard for a long-term presence on the site, siding with 42 of the 62 respondents to a public consultation that it was time for it pop off.

It will be interesting to see what this folly has cost the ACT taxpayer, if indeed we ever do, when its licence expires on November 19 next year.

Shades of economic saving
MEANWHILE CC can’t help but wonder at the parsimony, public liability or personal-safety wisdom of the NCA in having five of the nine lights in its long, dark pedestrian tunnel near Albert Hall that runs under Commonwealth Avenue turned off.

Wilting cactusCruelty to cactuses

THERE can be fewer sadder sights than a cactus cactus. This is the forlorn, if not already dead, cactus that once stood as a proud adornment at Smoque before the shock that the Bailey’s Arcade southern American barbecue restaurant had gone south, abandoned overnight by its owners.

Clearly the parsimonious receivers couldn’t run to a drop of water to keep the asset viable.

Where Wright sees wrong
RELENTLESS resident John Wright is threatening to get the Human Rights Commissioner on to a problem he sees on the floor of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Since 2011, he has approached three Assembly Speakers but no one seems interested. He is nothing if not dogged.

“When I attended the Older Persons Assembly in 2011, a bloke in a wheelchair could not access the Assembly floor, due to a step,” he says.

“I spoke to then-Speaker Shane Rattenbury, who seemed indifferent at best. I then spoke to Vicki Dunne, who was sympathetic. I pointed out the need to increase seating gave the perfect opportunity to right this wrong.

“l have just received an email from [new Speaker] Joy Burch, who said: ‘No changes are proposed for the steps to the members’ seating at this stage’ and ‘I will talk with Vicki Dunne to check if anything was put into place that I’m not aware of’.

“Sounds like she might not have looked at it.

‘I might try and go look at it myself. As a citizen of the ACT, I should be able to. Also, I will get on to the Human Rights Commissioner.”

Civic footpathThe dumb footpath
HOW does this work? They go to all the trouble to put in steps off Vernon Circuit, but that then leads to an unwalkable “footpath” made of large cobblestones that sends pedestrians on to the road before leading to a regular footpath. Did no-one in the bureaucracy ever stop to wonder how dumb this is? If you want a laugh, it’s in the laneway at the back of the Canberra Theatre Centre.
Russian embassy under constructionThe Russians are coming…
THE Communist Bloc near Lake Burley Griffin seems to be taking shape, comrades, with the new site for the Russian diplomatic delegation freed of trees and busy with earthworks.

Characteristically, the Russians are building, before much else, a wall on the State Circle side of the enormous block. It must be in their DNA. The site is opposite the Chinese embassy annexe in Yarralumla.

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