Federal committee sets hurdles for ACT’s tram plan

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THE Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories today (October 22) made six recommendations in response to Stage 2 of the ACT light rail project.

Committee chair Ben Morton says the development of light rail must not come at the cost of the long-term character and heritage of the National Capital.

The six recommendations listed are:

  1. The ACT government should work with the National Capital Authority to ensure Commonwealth approval of the route, by amending the National Capital Plan.
  2. If the ACT government chooses to pursue a route alignment that is only partially consistent with the National Capital Plan, the committee recommends that there be a two-stage process for seeking Commonwealth approval.
  3. Any light rail bridge design on either the Commonwealth or Kings Avenue bridges needs to be done within certain guidelines such as be of equal quality to that of the existing bridges.
  4. Any light rail on, or crossing certain roads, needs to be wire free.
  5. The placement and appearance of light rail stops, landscaping, and signage to be unobtrusive and complementary to the heritage value of nearby buildings, views of Parliament, and the character of the Central National Area and Parliamentary Zone.
  6. The removal of any trees with heritage value, such as the Weston plantings, be met with an appropriate replanting and landscaping strategy that maintains heritage values in the Central National Area and the Parliamentary Zone.

“We are not seeking to slow or hinder the approvals process, but rather to provide certainty for the ACT government and the people of Canberra,” Mr Morton says. 

“The Light Rail Stage 2 project passes through and adjacent to a number of key cultural and heritage sites.

“Like all projects and proposals in these areas, it must be consistent with the legal requirements imposed by the National Capital Plan.”

Mr Morton says routes for rapid transit such as light rail are already provided for in the National Capital Plan, and if the ACT government were to use these routes the project could quickly and easily move forward through the other approval processes.

However, should the ACT government choose to pursue a route alignment that is only partially consistent with the National Capital Plan, this will unavoidably add further complexity, time, and cost to the project.”

The report can be accessed on the committee website.

ACT government continues with preferred route

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