Keeping the tram project on the rails

THE ACT Government has committed $12 million to the next phase of delivery for light rail in Canberra, however, questions remain about strategies for developing the transport corridor, how to ensure that Canberrans are on board and what steps are needed to ensure it doesn’t become a costly failure.LightRail_Web_Blog2

In the proposed light rail corridor from Gungahlin to Civic, population growth was five times the ACT average. It is estimated that, by 2021, the precinct will support around 62,000 people.

A panel of experts discussed the potential for Capital Metro at a recent Property Council lunch.

Glenn Bain, acting director-general with the Capital Metro Agency confirmed that work on network infrastructure for the first stage is set to start in 2016, and that the experience overseas pointed to a corresponding increase in employment and land values. In Manchester, he said, light rail stimulated $100 million in investment and more than 3000 new permanent jobs.

Dan Stewart, deputy director-general for land development, strategy and finance said that a good deal of work had been done on planning for the corridor, with a land release and redevelopment strategy to go to Government soon.

While land values along the corridor were likely to rise, increases in value took sometimes seven to nine years to emerge after development, said Saxon Rose, partner with Deloitte Tax Services.

Transit oriented development – TOD – can produce innovative urban responses along light rail corridors. Cameron Charlton, partner with Minter Ellison lawyers, gave valuable insight into TOD potential saying the developments could create a return to “village-style” living with a focus on quality public spaces.

With creative incentives and a Government commitment to the quality of the public realm, development on the Capital Metro corridor could open some exciting doors to new investment in the city.


Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia



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