Haig Park to be divided into 'rooms' under draft masterplan
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Haig Park to be divided into 'rooms' under draft masterplan

Haig Park could be divided into "rooms" where each section would be used for different purposes, according to a draft strategy to revitalise the historic park.

Earlier this year, the ACT government called for ideas to make the oft-maligned park in Canberra's inner north more open and inviting.

City activation manager Caitlin Bladin and acting director of the Office of the Coordinator General for Urban Renewal Karen Wilden are using Canberrans' ideas to revitalise Haig Park.

City activation manager Caitlin Bladin and acting director of the Office of the Coordinator General for Urban Renewal Karen Wilden are using Canberrans' ideas to revitalise Haig Park.Credit:Karleen Minney

Canberrans have suggested everything from a multi-storey car park to a water park for the urban tree corridor which spans from Froggatt Street in Turner to Limestone Avenue in Braddon.

Because of the wide range of ideas that came through, acting director of the Office of the Coordinator General for Urban Renewal Karen Wilden said they wanted to split the park into areas or "rooms" with appropriate infrastructure that reflected the character and location of the section.

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Different areas of Haig Park could be used for different purposes.

Different areas of Haig Park could be used for different purposes.Credit:ACT government

"It became clear, we may not have to put lots of infrastructure in but what we can do is choose very carefully where you have active spaces in the park and where you have spaces that are not so active," Ms Wilden said.

"In the actives spaces you might be putting in infrastructure to enable things like afternoon jazz concerts or picnics or opportunities for community groups to have social events and then you've got the other areas where you may not put that infrastructure in so it says this really is a space where you might be walking your dog or with your friends."

The working idea is the ends of the park would be reserved for quiet enjoyment while areas near the centre, especially towards Lonsdale Street, could be used for more vibrant activities.

The different "rooms" would mean parts of the park could be used for unstructured nature play while other parts could have children's play equipment.

Other sections could be used to host markets or gigs while different areas could have exercise stations or a spot to quietly read.

Also slated are "generously proportioned 'linear plazas'" in busy areas to give people a place to congregate and even a shared 'pedestrian-cycle' network around the edge of the park.

This draft design is out for public consultation and Ms Wilden said those providing feedback will be asked to think about five themes - character and amenity, access, heritage, environment and sustainability.

"What people are beginning to realise is there's actually a diversity of views and you can't have everything that you might want but it's about the community understanding what other people in the community want and seeing that particularly with the park rooms concept, it is possible for the park to serve multiple purposes while still protecting the heritage," Ms Wilden said.

She said the masterplan would not only serve current residents, but future residents who would need the space as the city increases in density.

"What we need to do is work with the community to come up with an answer that provides a sensible balance and is also maintainable," Ms Wilden said.

"There's no point in putting in rolled gold equipment to find that we can't look after it so we're trying to be very practical about what we develop in cooperation and collaboration with the community."

You can have your say on the future of Haig Park at: yoursay.act.gov.au/haigpark

Canberrans can also attend a drop-in session at Haig Park on:

  • Saturday, May 20, 9am-10.30am - Turner, corner of McCaughey and Masson streets.
  • Thursday, May 25, 4pm-5.30pm - Braddon, Lonsdale Street entrance

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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