ACT News


West Basin redevelopment public meeting draws more than 200 residents

Scoffs and chortles rang out from a crowd of hundreds who gathered to vent their concerns over plans to redevelop Lake Burley Griffin's West Basin foreshore on Wednesday night.

More than 200 residents packed Hughes Community Centre for a meeting called by the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians to canvass a proposal to transform a two-kilometres stretch of the lake's foreshore for units and commercial development.

The West Basin Waterfront proposal included plans to fill in up to 80 metres of the lake beyond the existing shoreline and to allow four and six storey tall apartment blocks and commercial sites.

Guardians convenor Juliet Ramsay, who has criticised a lack of community consultation over the proposal, told the meeting the group did not support plans to fill parts of the waterway as a "land and lake grab" for developers.

Canberra City to the Lake project planner Ian Wood-Bradley, a co-author of the Griffin Legacy, told the crowd higher density and mixed use developments had been key components of the "gentle urbanity" outlined in original plans for the city's heart.

He said West Basin waterfront was isolated and degraded, the surrounds were "anti-pedestrian" and the parkland quality "fairly poor".


But his description of the plans for a new sports stadium, convention centre and broad public promenade along the lakefront prompted loud "boos" and hissing sounds from the crowd.

National Capital Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow's explanation of building heights and consultation processes were also met with vocal disapproval at times as he pointed out the promenade proposal covered less than two kilometres of the lake's 40 kilometre shoreline.

Mr Snow said the plans provided an opportunity to create the variety and diversity intended for the lakefront, which he said was often criticised as "lovely place that wasn't particularly active".

ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson vowed, in a statement read to the crowd, that the Canberra Liberals would instigate a Legislative Assembly committee inquiry into the options to preserve and enhance the lake if it wins government in October.

Mr Hanson said the Liberals did not support the government's plans for the lake's foreshore to be sold off "piecemeal" to generate income to pay for it controversial light rail project.

Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury told the crowd the lake should remain accessible and while he had numerous concerns, he also believed there was a range of opportunities for how West Basin could be used.

He said any plans to transform the space required greater community consultation.

Former National Capital Development Commission boss Tony Powell claimed this week the Barr government was trying to "justify rezoning for medium to high density residential development and sale of land in the foreshore area in order to meet its budget imperatives".


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