Residents meet to discuss towers
Developers proposing designs for Canberra's tallest residential building have faced community concerns over height and shadowing, just hours after controversial plans for a shorter proposal associated with a separate development were withdrawn.
More than 100 people attended the Belconnen Community Council meeting where the 112-metre-tall project - consisting of two towers of residential, commercial and hotel apartments in the Belconnen Town Centre - was discussed.
Concerns were put to representatives of developers Geocon regarding the scale of the plans, but Chris Millman, from Cox Architecture, said the height of the development boosted its visual amenity and environmental credentials. "We are not apologising for height in this development," he said. "We are actually celebrating it."
Discussions surrounding the 35-storey tower on the corner of Eastern Valley Way and Aikman Drive came just hours after plans for the controversial Woden 9 development were withdrawn by the Land Development Agency.
The project - consisting of residential, retail and office space across three towers of 28 storeys, 21 storeys and 16 storeys - had been opposed by the Woden Valley Community Council due to the height and scale of the proposed buildings.
Woden Community Council member Jenny Stewart said her group was unlikely to support any major developments in the town centre precinct before an overarching master plan for the area had been developed. "It's hopefully the end of inappropriate plans for high-rise," Dr Stewart said.
"We've said all along that high-rise has its place in town centres but it has to be well done.
''It takes no imagination at all to see that it would be a disaster. The example we see already in the Woden Town Centre is not exactly conducive to confidence - that's the Sky Plaza.
"There is no overall plan for the Woden Town Centre at all and it's a series of rather ad-hoc proposals which are approved as they usually are without much consideration being given to the cumulative effects of these decisions."
Master planning for Woden, Athllon Drive and Mawson has begun, according to the acting director general of the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, Ben Ponton.
"We are preparing a master plan that looks at the longer-term planning of the area as a whole and how the various elements of transport and development fit together to create an active, attractive and sustainable centre," he said.
Land Development Agency chief executive David Dawes said higher-density developments should remain a priority for Canberra's town centres.
with Noel Towell and Hamish Boland-Rudder