Grumpy / Car shows get the shove

Car enthusiast NASIS ELLIS is grumpy about the number of events moving out of the Parliamentary Triangle because, he says, the NCA wants nothing to do with car clubs in the ACT

WHAT’S the point of the city’s open green spaces if we can’t use them anymore? I was grumpy after reading that this month’s Auto Italia was not being held at King Edward Terrace this year.

Nasis Ellis

Nasis Ellis.

This picturesque venue within the Parliamentary Triangle for many years has become the spiritual home for this nationally recognised, premier event attracting many local and interstate visitors and valuable tourist dollars.

Surrounded by so many of our significant national institutions has been one of the reasons for Auto Italia’s popularity. Add to the mix that this is the best time of the year with mild temperatures and the renowned kaleidoscope of autumn colour from surrounding trees. What better backdrop to bring together a multi-million dollar display of pristine, rare and desirable Italian marques?

I’m certainly not taking anything away from the superb Pialligo Estate venue for 2018, but the word on the street is that Auto Italia was tucked away and could only miss incidental visitors and passers by.

Why is the NCA, the body responsible for events on national land, so committed to removing motoring events traditionally held in the Parliamentary Triangle? Events such as Wheels and the Terribly British Day have found a new home in Queanbeyan, where the mayor has welcomed the extra business, attends some events and even hands out trophies.

Compare that to Canberra where the events have ceased and the last time one was held authorities threatened parking fines to any vehicles not displaying a special permit for the show.

The excuses by the NCA for not holding displays in the Parliamentary Triangle include parking under the trees seriously damages tree root systems and leaking oil kills the grass.

While this could be true if there were 600 cars there every day, but a few events a year would have minimal, if any, impact. It is also important to note that many of the cars at those events actually park on surrounding sealed areas or are held at the Treasury Building Car Park.

I think the conservation part has gone too far and, by not having such events, severely hurts the city’s character. Urban environments include cars and I think that the “you can look but you can’t touch” policy only further damages Canberra’s reputation for being over regulated, sterile and with the soul of a display village.

Grumpy is an occasional column dedicated to things that get up your nose. Readers are invited to vent (no more than 300 words, please) at


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