City-to-lake proposal may compromise capital's character
The ACT Government is embarking on another major redevelopment scheme in the heart of the capital, with the potential to significantly compromise its nationally significant character and sense of repose. The ACT is calling tenders for urban/traffic-engineering designs to link the city to Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Park, mainly for commercial reasons.
Griffin envisaged spacious lakeside parkland along a north shore studded with national and other institutions visually relating to the Parliamentary Zone across a slender Central Basin. Constitution Avenue was his main east-west road. The ACT Government sees land dollars, similar to City Hill, which was rezoned for commercial use against expert advice. In the above plan, Acton-West Basin, and the land south of Constitution Avenue between Anzac Parade and London Circuit would be dramatically transformed. Parkes Way would be in two disparate forms: as-is east of Anzac Parade, and a tunnel west of there. That allows the city to spill down to West Basin (partially reclaimed for even more land) including along the west side of Commonwealth Avenue to the bridge, and to Commonwealth Park's northern edges. As well as upsetting the symmetry of the Central National Area, the plan compromises the visual integrity of the main civic precinct formed by the strong geometries of hexagonal London Circuit and its radiating avenues. Dense development with hotels, flats, a large convention centre, and a stadium are envisaged. Despite today's commercial imperatives, the ACT Government and the NCA need to be extremely careful with this issue.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
In Australia, we are told that the way our early settlers treated the Aborigines was unconscionable and belated apologies have been wrung from governments and individuals. Land rights remains a major issue.
In Fiji, the indigenous Fijians, a proud and assertive people, have objected to the increasing social, political and economic influence of those of non-Fijian immigrant stock and have implemented controversial measures to counteract the trend.
Why is it that in Australia, indigenous rights are supported, while in Fiji, they are opposed? While the circumstances are widely disparate, the principles are similar.
It appears that political debate in this country does not require consistent application of principle. The Vicar of Bray would prosper here.
F. Lamb, Lyons
Brian Hatch (Letters, January 14) claims satellite temperature records show recent cooling is global, and refers to the last two winters in Europe and North America being the coldest in decades. This is incorrect. There was localised cooling in the past two years due to unusual North Atlantic Oscillation events, but the Canadian 2009-2010 winter was the warmest since records began in 1948. Canada is part of North America.
For those interested in facts, see Geophysical Research Letters, vol 38, p L17701, which states for those winters: ''While some parts clearly experienced very cold temperatures, the Northern Hemisphere was not anomalously cold. Extreme warm events were much more prevalent in both magnitude and spatial extent.'' We are having a cold summer in Canberra (and I wish it would warm up!) but there will always be local extremes. To get the full picture you need to attend to all of the facts, rather than cherry pick those that suit your position.
Peter Lavers, Melba
I am concerned at the increasingly pejorative tone of letters about the Brumbies' Austin Street development plans, as if the Brumbies club is the Mafia and the development a sewage treatment works! Then it dawned on me that the opponents of it are motivated by concern that the value of their homes will decline, while the Brumbies club is motivated by the desire to deliver for our community and foster rugby in our children.
I have been impressed by the extensive consultation and civil empathetic approach taken by the club and am hopeful this difference in motive will not be lost on our politicians, who are likewise motivated by the good for our community. Please don't let a handful of selfish residents hold up a much-needed development that is in the interest of all Canberrans.
David Kibbey, Curtin