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Gallagher's big picture all about beating the rush

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Canberra's City Plan

An artist's impression of the proposed City Plan. Video supplied by the ACT Government.

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The ACT government has set out its vision for Canberra's next century, declaring the territory must plan for a population of 500,000 now to avoid ''crisis-driven'' development in years to come.

Plans unveiled on Tuesday will open the city up to Lake Burley Griffin and will lead to long-awaited projects including a new stadium and convention centre, as well as an urban beach, built on the west basin.

But sceptics have questioned the government's ability to see the plans through. Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said Labor's record on infrastructure delivery made him doubt whether the grand designs would ever come to fruition.

City to Lake Images Click for more photos

City to Lake

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher today announced two projects that will guide future development in the City centre - ‘The City Plan’ and ‘City to the Lake’ projects. 

Others, however, said the projects were ''transformational''. The Canberra Business Council called on the government to immediately fund work to split Parkes Way, which would be the ''catalyst'' for realising its vision of a true lakeside city.

Tuesday's announcement included two projects: a ''City Plan'' to guide all future development of new infrastructure across the territory in its second century, and the ''City to the Lake'' project, a 10-15 year project to overhaul the west basin.

Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr unveiled plans to transform the west basin through a mix of residential, commercial and cultural developments. New apartment complexes will bring 15,000 to 20,000 new residents to the area, while boardwalks and restaurants would make the west basin a more vibrant entertainment and recreation space.

Mr Barr said the public waterfront was the centrepiece for the project, which would extend from the west basin to Anzac Parade.

The City to the Lake plan also identifies potential sites for the Australia Forum, a new multipurpose stadium and a regional aquatic centre fronted by Canberra's ''long-desired'' urban beach.

The other major component of the project is the conversion of Parkes Way into a split-level ''smart boulevard''. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said splitting Parkes Way would remove the barrier the artery road currently created between the lake and Civic.

The City Plan will incorporate the Capital Metro light rail network and guide development of future corridors through the inner south, Woden and Tuggeranong.

Ms Gallagher said eight weeks of community consultation would start immediately on both plans, through face-to-face meetings and two websites dedicated to each plan. But the government did not specify how much any of the projects would cost.

She said Canberra needed to enter its second century with an awareness of its future planning needs and what was important to residents of contemporary cities, including a desire to live closer to the heart of a city and not in isolated outer suburbs. ''The worst thing that could happen is that we don't do any of this work, the population grows to 500,000, and that development just occurs in a crisis-driven way,'' she said.

Mr Hanson said he welcomed conversations about the city's future, but doubted the government's ability to realise its grand vision.

He said he would ''pay particular attention to some of the hard questions that will need to be answered, including costs, timelines, consultation, parking, disruption to existing parkland and amenities, budgetary impact, and who will be paying for this project''.

The Canberra Business Council welcomed the proposals.

Chief executive Chris Faulks said the council would call on the government to fund changes to Parkes Way in its budget in June.

25 comments

  • Who's paying? Pipe dream, but looks nice. This should have been started during the once in a life time property boom, where the ACT gov was flush with cash. Instead they were busy socially engineering people with plastic bag agenda, twisted metal art and so on.

    Commenter
    TheJoker1214324
    Date and time
    March 27, 2013, 9:19AM
    • Based on the ACT property cycle, we're about 5 years away from the next boom.

      Commenter
      YS
      Date and time
      March 27, 2013, 10:26AM
    • So negative. This is agreat idea. And I also like the fact that nothing has been pin point, so there is some flexablity - something that has been a miss in the pass planning. We are lucky here to have the ability to look forward like this. Sure money is tight now, but this is looking over the next 15 years and times will changes.

      Commenter
      Tom
      Date and time
      March 27, 2013, 11:54AM
    • What bewilders me is the pointless duplication; there is already a convention centre, why is another needed!!! Another stadium in the city? It looks like Bruce and Manuka are not used to their full capacity anyway, probably for another non local team to play…
      Ask Canberrans to vote on what’s attractions should be around instead of telling us and then just get it started, or else it will be more money chasing bad on more pipe dreams and studies. It seems that the only ones benefiting out of these plans are designers and consultants not the resident who pay the bill.

      Commenter
      Bad at SIM CITY
      Location
      CBR
      Date and time
      March 27, 2013, 2:28PM
  • Canberra's going to need its own beach. If my (admittedly anecdotal) observations of the large increase in traffic using the Kings Highway over just the last 4 years are any guide, any large increase in Canberra's current population will see the road to the bay in gridlock for a lot of the time.

    Commenter
    John
    Date and time
    March 27, 2013, 10:18AM
    • Looks like a good concept, but do we really need another/new stadium?

      Commenter
      JJ Potter
      Date and time
      March 27, 2013, 10:25AM
      • Yes! The one in Bruce is in a far too inconvenient location, especially those that reside Southside

        Commenter
        BB
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        March 27, 2013, 3:11PM
      • Yeah we do. In 10 years time Canberra Stadium will look very tired.

        Commenter
        SF
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        March 27, 2013, 8:23PM
      • We do - Canberra Stadium is becoming too dated to be functional, it's been left too long to be upgraded, and it's in a rubbish area. But with that said, I really think this is a thinly veiled plan designed mainly around 2 main elements - 1) building a stadium in an area that's far from idea. It will create a huge shadow over the region, and unless it's under ground, there doesn't look to be any parking. 2) further differentiating the 'haves' from 'have nots' in Canberra. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in consideration of ridiculous house prices in the outer suburbs - but are people from Tuggeranong, West Belconnen and Gungahlin going to get any benefit out of this?

        Commenter
        AndyG123
        Date and time
        March 28, 2013, 7:36AM
    • Looks lovely and it will probably be viable in about 100 years’ time. Meanwhile, in the real world... very few people can afford to buy apartments in Civic, especially apartments with views of that algae-infested lake. We have unfinished road projects all around the city that are months behind schedule and, in the case of the Barry Drive project, will do nothing to improve traffic flows (and actually increase the amount of time is takes buses to get into the Civic interchange from Belconnen). In about 5-10 years’ time, close to a 1/3 of Canberra's total population will live in Belconnen. Since there are two large universities, CIT, a major hospital, the Institute of Sport, CISAC, and Westfield along the Blue "Rapid" bus route, this will place even greater pressure on College St, Haydon Drive, Belconnen Way and Barry Drive. Yet, the ACT Government would rather promote the construction of the first tram networks to Gungahlin and Tuggeranong instead. Go figure. What on earth are these clowns doing with our money?

      Commenter
      Adam Newstead
      Date and time
      March 27, 2013, 10:37AM

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