Woden tram looms as an ‘expensive millstone’

Share Canberra's trusted news:

“There is a danger Light Rail Stage 2 will become an expensive millstone round ratepayers’ necks,” says letter writer DAVID DENHAM, of Griffith.

JACK Kershaw proposed an alternative route for the tram from Civic to Woden (CN January 28). A more fundamental question is whether the tram will be a good investment?

There is a danger Light Rail Stage 2 will become an expensive millstone round ratepayers’ necks. The ACT government has now invited bids for a “design and technical consortia to provide consultancy services required to develop The Light Rail Stage 2 – City to Woden project”. 

It is not clear how these services can be provided when the route has not been finalised.

All we know is that 19th century technology with permanent rail tracks and overhead wires will be the main transport mode. 

We also know that the Woden to city journey will take twice as long as the present Rapid bus service (30 minutes instead of 15), that the additional traffic lights planned for London Circuit will increase congestion in the city and that many cities are now planning to use electric buses instead of light rail. 

Using 2018 numbers, we know that daily, in each direction, only about 0.1 per cent of Canberra’s population travelled this route.

We don’t know how light rail will cross Lake Burley Griffin, if an environmental impact document has been prepared, what the total cost will be, and what, if any, infill is planned to replace the green spaces along Adelaide Avenue.

If we used electric buses, there would be no need for such expensive infrastructure associated with rails and wires, the costs could be accurately estimated, and we would have a more flexible transport system. 

There would also be more money for our under-resourced hospital system and to plant the million trees promised by 2045.

David Denham, Griffith

Support for Jack’s tram route

THANK you, Jack Kershaw, for your opinion piece (“Time to look for a better tram route to Woden”, CN January 28). 

I hope that this alternative route across the lake is seriously considered.

Hilary Warren, via email

Page’s failing drains 

WITH the Woden flood disaster being remembered as an event of half a century ago can it now be asked of the ACT government when work will be completed on correcting the Commonwealth government stormwater drainage planning stuff up? 

This year streets in Page are closed (and buses rerouted) for mid-1960s too-small-infrastructure to be replaced with bigger, flood-proof stormwater drains.

 Are there other bottom-of-the-hill suburbs where residents, fingers crossed, are muttering: “50 years and counting”?

David Brigden, Page 

Court award was wrong

IN addition to concerns raised in “Honours-list temptations bring out the ‘real man’” (Robert Macklin, citynews.com.au, January 26), another range of public pronouncements from top-honour awardee Margaret Court would not impress many either. 

As COVID-19 restrictions were quickly coming into force across Australia early last year, Court also attracted considerable criticism for defiantly proclaiming that her church would continue with its services because “we are in agreement that this Convid-19 (sic) will not come near our dwelling or our church family. We are praying daily for you, knowing that we are all protected by the blood of Jesus.” 

She advised her flock that “readily available hand sanitiser” and holy blood would provide sufficient protection from the deadly pandemic.

A top national honour should not be bestowed at the best of times, let alone now, on any nominated person who peddles dangerous theories or promotes personal beliefs that run counter to clear, grounded medical evidence and public health directions. 

Such an award candidate is not a sound role model for the broader public let alone the current generation of young people, regardless of what that person achieved decades ago.

As for the decision-making behind Court’s award, an attempt “to fix gender disparity” at the pinnacle of Australia’s tennis scene say anonymous members of the Order of Australia council, gender equity concerns in the tennis world or any other arena should not take priority over a nominee’s behaviour, public lecturing and other claims that run counter to public decency expectations and scientific evidence. 

Sue Dyer, Downer

Bees love hollyhocks, too

Elizabeth Brenchley’s hollyhocks.

RE gardening writer Cedric Bryant’s column “Hollyhocks, what’s not to like?” (CN January 28) bemoaning that they are rarely grown in modern gardens.

I have hollyhocks, some of which are four-plus metres, in my garden mainly because my bees absolutely love the flowers. 

They also flower at Christmas, and are beautiful. 

Elizabeth Brenchley, via email

Scared for the kids

SCHOOLS have barely returned from the summer holidays and the number of drivers totally ignoring the 40kph school speed limits is staggering. 

This urgently needs a blitz at school zones, particularly the peak times of children entering and leaving school. 

We have five great grandchildren attending ACT schools and are in dread and fear of something happening to them. 

Often the mobile speed cameras are in evidence, but often at the wrong time of the day. I understand there are 13 mobile speed cameras. Let’s get serious with all mobile cameras at schools in the morning peak time from 8am to 9.30am and then move to other schools in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 4pm. 

This will be a blanket coverage of 130 schools in the week at peak times plus this can be supplemented with police and mobile cameras. 

To really get the message across speeding over a certain kph during peak times will attract double demerit points. Or do we have to wait until we have a tragedy in a school zone? 

 Cedric and Gerdina Bryant, Watson

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articlePoetic city will come alive to verse
Next articleKyrgios pours love on Canberra for tennis reset


  1. “We also know that the Woden to city journey will take twice as long as the present Rapid bus service (30 minutes instead of 15), that the additional traffic lights planned for London Circuit will increase congestion in the city and that many cities are now planning to use electric buses instead of light rail.”

    This is a bit of a misnomer. Fact is most cities aren’t considering light rail, and I’ve heard of no suggestions of cities with light rail moving to remove it and replace it with electric buses.

    That isn’t to say that the tram makes sense – it never did in the first place, and all genuine alternatives weren’t considered either. But pumping more money into ACTION buses isn’t necessarily the answer either (What’s the subsidy now – $150m + I’d expect). Its a bottomless money pit.

Leave a Reply