Letters / 30 years on, the waterfront plan’s an ‘old lemon’

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Letter writer JACK KERSHAW calls for the tram to Woden to be re-routed.

IT’S been pointed out that the West Basin (now “Acton Waterfront”) development plan has been around for nearly 30 years. That pretty much confirms its status as a lemon. 

The City Renewal Authority is trying to get the Acton Foreshore property development going (because that’s what it’s all about, and to hell with anything else).

Associated planned blocks of flats, including at City Hill and along Commonwealth Avenue, will eliminate important views of the lake and mountains, and overshadow the puny (just 50 metres wide) jaw-breaking public domain we’ll be left with on Acton Foreshore, even after the expensive and dodgy reclamation of a chunk of the lake.

Trees demanded by the National Capital Authority will likely disappear to preserve lake views from the flats (any trees along Kingston Foreshore?).

As well, we need the current troubled and outrageously expensive, Parliamentary Triangle-destructive, Commonwealth Avenue Bridge-destructive, cultural landscape-destructive, and City Hill Precinct-destructive, Civic-to-Capital-Hill section of the Woden tram line, with its insanely expensive underground electricity supply, and complicated infrastructure works, to be re-routed.

With less disruption and cost it could travel, say, a much more free-flowing route taking in Edinburgh Avenue (very close to Acton Foreshore), straight on to Liversidge Street, the southern shore of Acton Peninsula, an elegant new sail-boat-friendly bridge (for trams, bikes, and pedestrians) redolent of Griffin’s missing crossing, to a better, sunnier, public precinct at Lennox Gardens North/Flynn Place, Flynn Drive on to State Circle, and continuing to Woden as currently planned – a route on which normal overhead power lines would be acceptable.

For proponents of inner-city residential densification, don’t forget there’s still cosseted Reid, (yes, really), provided it’s done sensitively.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Thanks to Jack

I’D like to congratulate Jack Kershaw on his excellent article “How Canberra was ‘sold’ to developers” (CN, October 8). I believe that Canberra has lost its quaint atmosphere.

Paola Giurgola (daughter of the architect Romaldo Giurgola)

Insensitive ACT government

ANKETELL Street in Tuggeranong is a botched mess. 

After publicity on the difficulties of parking at the front of the health centre (with insufficient disabled parking) and my wife, in her wheelchair, talking for some time to Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, roadworks were undertaken. 

Imagine our horror at seeing the two parking spots at the front of the centre moved some distance further away and halved in number. Spaces exist behind the centre, access to the back of which requires the ambient person to apply considerable strength to proceed up the inclined access. 

A bus lane was added. Then the government announced buses would be taken out of Anketell Street. The work was redundant before being started! People in wheelchairs were completely ignored.

Canberra politicians and public servants pay no attention to the public, yet again attacking the minority for whom the government exists to protect.

John Wright, via email

Drunkenness not a defence

PERIODICALLY there are court cases where the defence for people who were highly intoxicated by alcohol or illicit drugs, or both, and allegedly committed murder, is that they were unable to form an intention to murder. 

On face value this can be easily accepted. However, in my view it begs further examination in the cause of justice, especially for the victim’s family. 

What is not mentioned as coming under consideration, in the many reports I have read, is that a person has a responsibility before the law not to self-cause their inability to know right from wrong by breaking a law – eg public drunkenness, and also not to self-cause their ability to deviate from the social norm – ie holding an intent not to murder – again by breaking a law.

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

Rethink medical qualifications

TO get more general practitioners and specialists in the ACT, perhaps the ANU should review its entry qualifications for medicine.

Serious medical students don’t want to have to do another degree before they do medicine, so they head for NSW uni or Newcastle uni where they only have to do an oral and written aptitude test. 

Here they meet people from other places. They marry someone from another area and do not return to Canberra.

My grandchild and a neighbour’s nephew both decided to train in these cities. Now they are specialists in the cities in which they trained.

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Help with mental health

THERE is no question that across Australia, people’s mental health conditions have escalated significantly due to fear, anxiety and social isolation. COVID-19 has hit the community hard. 

What is very troubling is that 54 per cent of people with a mental illness do not access any kind of treatment. Close to seven in 10 of all GP presentations are now people with mental health issues.

Mental health issues need to be talked about more across the community. Close to half (45 per cent) of all Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

It is now estimated a huge 3.8 million Australians live with a mental illness. 690,000 live with a severe mental illness.

We absolutely need to be investing more in services that help people with mental health issues. We must make it easier for people to access the help that is actually out there.

That’s where the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia comes in. We have a special hotline designed to help people work out where they can get help. It is a free service and readers should simply call 1800 985944. You can also get more information at minetworks.org.au

Tony Stevenson, CEO, Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia 

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  1. “I believe that Canberra has lost its quaint atmosphere.”

    Please. This is exactly what is wrong with the NIMBY view of the world. There is no ‘ideal state’ for any city, any place. They all change over time. What exactly is a quaint atmosphere when its at home anyway?

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