Grumpy / Canberra could be so much better

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WE have lived in Canberra for almost 30 years and, while we think it is a good place to live with much to offer, it could be so much better. Surely the national capital was intended to be, and should be, a special place to be proud of and showcase Australia, but Civic in particular is increasingly scruffy. Who is responsible: the local government, National Capital Authority and/or successive federal governments?

Cedric Bryant... a national treasure?
Cedric Bryant… a national treasure?

We would like to nominate Cedric Bryant as our “National Treasure” – he certainly seems to have more sense than the local government and NCA. In his latest letter in “CityNews” regarding the proposed relocation of the tourist information centre from Northbourne Avenue (“Gateway to the City”), to Regatta Point, he’s right, the decision is farcical. In passing, he also mentioned the “pop-up container eyesore” by the lake, on the previous futsal site, which was another waste of money some years ago.

We also agree with a couple of earlier letters he wrote, one hoping that a really exciting design for a new convention centre might be taken up, while the other concerned the tram debate, whereby if plans go ahead, he questioned the sanity of replacing the trees along Northbourne Avenue with the species Eucalyptus Mannifera.

We agree, whoever decided this should check out where it’s been planted in the suburbs. We have them around us in West Kambah, and two on the nature strip beside our house, which are a constant worry.

The continual mess they make is considerable, piles of bark, leaves, twigs, branches, and tiny gumnuts dropping everywhere: on our roof as well as the garden and nature strip and blocking gutters and drains, clearing the debris is a continual battle, and from the roof is risky, and a couple have come down in storms.

Manchurian Pear trees could be a more sensible and attractive replacement, as these seem to have been used successfully in other areas. We have enough native trees in the surrounding countryside without planting more of this hazard amongst us – remember the catastrophic fires of 2003? (Another concern was raised in a recently published letter from a new Canberra resident who was shocked by the inadequate grass cutting around our city, and how shabby Canberra looked).

Lastly, with regard to the future home of Floriade, which has been surreptitiously depleted the past few years, we were always under the impression that this was to be incorporated into the original plan for the Arboretum, but otherwise don’t understand the NCA’s problem with it continuing in the park – little else happens there, especially the “city” end, in fact it seems a great shame that “Stage 88” is used so rarely.

Most towns and cities are proud of their flower beds but it seems rather strange that this “garden city” has almost none, apart from this annual spring festival, which now also appears at risk.



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