‘Community Panel’ to decide the fate of Manuka Oval

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ANDREW Barr says a panel of community representatives will advise the government on a detailed masterplan for Manuka Oval.

“The unsolicited bid to redevelop Manuka Oval has prompted a broader community discussion on the future of the venue,” Andrew said.

“The clear message from the community is a desire to be more involved in the future of the oval and its surroundings.

“The Government will now establish a community panel to help inform a new, detailed masterplan for the Oval and its surrounds. This consultation model has worked successfully on other government projects, such as the Yarralumla Brickworks development.

“The goal is simple: a precinct that preserves the heritage-listed elements and attracts even more world-class sport to Canberra. While the scale of the bid from the Greater Western Sydney Giants was outside community expectations, some development at of the Oval is necessary to make sure it stays world standard. Any development will need to improve the Oval, be high-quality, and sympathetic with its surroundings.

“The Panel will be established through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process, be demographically representative of the Canberra community, and include members from across the community reflecting the Manuka Oval’s importance as a Canberra icon.

“Sporting groups will be represented, because it is important that any work at the Oval improves it as a sporting venue.

“Appropriate development of the Precinct surrounding the Oval will improve the match-day experience and help fund the much-needed improvements within the ground – including media and broadcast facilities, and improved crowd amenity to allow Manuka Oval to grow into being a truly world-class boutique sporting venue.

“The masterplanning process will include parking and how the Oval could be better connected with Manuka, Kingston, the Foreshore and Telopea Park.

“Any future development will be through a competitive process, which GWS will be welcome to be part of.

“The Panel will have their first meeting by the end of this year, with a view to a Territory Plan Variation being initiated by late 2017. An EOI for panel membership will be advertised within the next 6 weeks.”

UPDATE: Shane Rattenbury has expressed his pleasure at this development:

ACT Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury, has welcomed the announcement that the ACT Government will commence community consultation on a master plan for Manuka, following a motion from the ACT Greens in earlier this year.

“There was considerable community response to the GWS-Grocon unsolicited bid proposal to redevelop and upgrade facilities at Manuka Oval and that’s why, in May this year, I put forward a motion calling on the Government to engage the Manuka community in future planning for the area,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“The Government supported my motion and I am pleased that they have moved swiftly to establish a process to engage with the community.

“I know that the Manuka community is passionate and engaged about their local area and I think this is a good outcome for the community,” said Mr Rattenbury.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson sees this as systemic flip-flopping:

Andrew Barr’s decision to dump the Manuka Oval redevelopment shows he’s running an ad-hoc government leaving the community with no direction and mixed messages, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson said today.

“Andrew Barr’s plans are unravelling into a mess and it’s hard for anyone to follow what his true intentions are. Last week, Mr Barr backed down on his unpopular bar and nightclub lockout laws. Today he’s seemingly scrapped the process for Manuka.

How can you trust anything he says and how can we have confidence that he won’t change his mind again?” Mr Hanson said.

“The decision on Manuka Oval today is just another chaotic decision. The government failed to consult on the Manuka Oval redevelopment process from the beginning and now residents, sporting groups and other businesses are in limbo.

Where to from here for Manuka?

“The government failed to properly manage the process and Andrew Barr should actually explain what the reasons for the rejection of the process were and how any issues will be addressed in his new process.

“Today’s decision highlights a government in crisis. As we head into an election the government is scrambling. It’s not the approach Canberrans deserve and not good enough that we don’t know where the government stands on various issues,” Mr Hanson concluded.

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  1. Thanks to everyone who supported the Kingston and Barton Residents Group and the Friends of Manuka Pool. Both groups look forward to contributing to the community panel.

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