Grumpy / Much-loved lake set for ‘extreme damage’

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Reader JULIET RAMSAY, of Burra, is grumpy that the National Capital Authority altered the National Capital Plan so developer corporations can dip their toes in the potential of extended prime real estate by feeding them the peoples’ park and part of the peoples’ Lake.

HAVE you had a gutful yet? Apparently, Malcolm Snow and his colleague Ken Maher are still inventing bowlfuls of spin for dumping on us. 

First it was turning our Lake’s West Basin into a segment of a false Griffin concept even though all the Griffin and NCDC plans had it as a recreation park. 

Next it was comparing West Basin to be like Brisbane’s South Bank, Darling Harbour and Melbourne Docklands until they realised West Basin was never an industrial site and doesn’t need to be a post-industrial renewal look alike. 

The latest line is for West Basin to be a great urban development like New Acton, which is a delightful urban area, but will be cursed by the proposed West Basin development that will destroy much of the resident’s views, compete with the restaurants and by creating a concrete canyon, cause much higher noise blight from Parkes Way.

And then there is the Light Rail route being sought from Woden to City via Commonwealth Avenue. The Kings Avenue route would provide commuters transport to the major work hubs of Barton, Russell, ASIO and NSW University campus, a future detour to the airport, access to the Parliamentary Zone and Commonwealth Park and desirably, a spacious route to Kings Avenue Bridge without damage to dignified old trees. In comparison the Commonwealth Bridge route will provide transport for a few citizens travelling to the adjacent Hyatt Hotel and some embassies. The major purpose of Barr’s Stage 2 Light Rail route on the north side is, of course, to market Acton Park, West Basin along with part of our Lake Burley Griffin for an apartment wonderland in order to make as much money as possible.

The National Capital Authority in their benighted wisdom set the stage for this grand debacle when they ignored our heritage and altered the National Capital Plan so developer corporations can dip their toes in the potential of extended prime real estate area, by feeding them the peoples park and part of the peoples’ Lake. The environment, heritage and the community of Canberra and indeed Australia, were given little consideration.

Lake Burley Griffin Guardians have tried to demonstrate community angst on the West Basin proposal but two packed out public meetings were ignored and community petitions chucked out so the ACT government can bulldoze ahead with their ugly proposal. 

Andrew Barr, Mick Gentleman, Shane Rattenbury, Malcolm Snow, Ben Ponten, Ken Maher and Andrew Smith, all responsible for the West Basin planning have encouraged its development, deliberately neglecting West Basin’s Acton Park and letting its car parking expand so Shane Rattenbury can keep bleating — that we have to get rid of car parks. 

We would love to see decent landscaping on the car park excesses as well as kiosk/cafés and perhaps a pub to satisfy the craving for hipster happy-hour ‘vibrancy’ but what landscape space will there be for families, visitors, picnickers and those who want to kick a ball or play with a frisbee. 

This lacklustre lot of politicians, CEOs and developer architect/planners are well skilled at smiling indulgently at their opposition while they arrogantly kick the public out of its parkland and diminish our Lake for an exclusive, privately owned apartment enclave. 

The thousands of new apartment dwellers along the Light Rail Route and future generations will need a decent inner-city lakeside recreation area albeit with kiosks/cafes. but why should around 14 hectares of public park and lake-bed be sold and dedicated to privately owned apartments and their infrastructure that block vistas, smother the wildlife habitat and ruin the park potential. 

The public will be granted an eight-metre-wide, 500-metre long concrete promenade tarted up with seats, lights, brass ornaments and designer barbeques. 

The next dose of spin will probably be a new set of plans with lots of glossy images of smiling people strolling along the promenade with ghost shadows of background buildings. 

Don’t be fooled Lake Burley Griffin and its parklands, Canberra’s best and most loved central feature, is set for extreme damage.



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  1. Pretty much anything would be better than what was previously there, but the Barr developments provide an economic return that will fund future infrastructure development. I sure hope some of the proceeds go towards the indoor stadium.

  2. How does it feel to be outmanoeuvred on all fronts, Juliet Ramsay of Burra? Sounds like you’re worried that the good people of Canberra might be looking past your hysteria and discovering that the Acton Waterfront plans promise to deliver them a place that they might actually want to visit!

  3. I was down at West Basin this morning and the people I talked to could not believe that part of the Lake was going to be filled in so apartments could be built there. Far from people not visiting, a lot of people go there and love the natural feel. With a little money spent on cheering up the area, putting in a cafe and allowing the bikes and boats to come back it could be fantastic. We don’t need more Henry Rolland Parks – an overplanned with a road running through a park area.

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