ACT News

Westside container village ready to launch on Lake Burley Griffin

Canberra's new shipping container village opens this weekend on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, ahead of a local art festival on March 14. 

Originally slated to open in time for last year's Floriade event, it is hoped Westside at Acton Park will invigorate the lake's west basin and give local businesses and entrepreneurs a new hub for events and trade. 

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Andrew Barr met members of the Stromlo Stomping Grounds Collective and vendors who have joined the temporary space, which will operate weekly from Thursday to Sunday. 

The village, built on the site of the former futsal slab, will including cafes, a rooftop bar, Vietnamese and French food, a gym, and space for sport and outdoor events. 

Mr Barr said Canberrans should no longer "drive past at 80 kilometres an hour" and instead explore the site between Commonwealth Avenue and Lake Burley Griffin.

More traders and events are expected to join the precinct in coming months.

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He faced members of the Canberra Capitals in an informal basketball game alongside tennis star Nick Kyrgios and Canberra BMX Olympic rider Caroline Buchanan.

With views of the city skyline, Parliament and Black Mountain, it is expected to stand for about two years before the government sells the land as part of the City to the Lake development.

The structure will then be taken down and rebuilt at another location. 

Mr Barr defended the delays which meant the project failed to open over summer  - its second scheduled opening. The ACT government contributed $800,000 to the village. 

"This is an innovative and complex project, and when you take a risk or two, some things might take longer than you expect," he said. 

"The team behind the project have worked really hard to make what was a dream and a vision a reality for the city. I am very proud a Labor government has been able to rejuvenate this space in partnership with the private sector to deliver something special for this city." 

He predicted strong public support for the village. 

"We, as a city, need to grow up ... and part of that is completely changing what we project to the rest of Australia and the rest of the world. Spaces like these that highlight the many fantastic success stories in the ACT economy ... are part of telling that story," Mr Barr said. 

Project co-ordinator and creative director Terry Shaw thanked architect Ronan Moss, builders, designers and other members of the collective. Members of the group have helped develop Braddon and other popular retail and event areas. 

The first major event at Westside will be the Art, Not Apart festival on March 14.

It includes exhibitions, performances, street food, cafes and a dance party and has been supported by the government's Land Development Agency and Access Canberra.

Visit www.westsideactonpark.com.au or artnotapart.com for more information. 

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