New Lake Burley Griffin master plan proposal wins support from Canberra's National Capital Authority

New Lake Burley Griffin master plan proposal wins support from Canberra's National Capital Authority

A proposed new master plan to oversee development and heritage conservation around Lake Burley Griffin and Canberra's foreshores has won support from the National Capital Authority.

Public submissions to an exposure draft of proposed changes to the National Capital Plan included concerns about over-development and loss of heritage around the lake. A consultation review, released on Thursday by the authority, gives support to the formation of a powerful new master plan and associated guidelines for the lake.

A new master plan could protect Lake Burley Griffin and its foreshores.

A new master plan could protect Lake Burley Griffin and its foreshores.Credit:Garrett McDonald

The authority is likely to cede significant planning control to the ACT government as part of the first comprehensive review of the plan since the Hawke government. It has proposed the new master plan could include historic tree plantings around the lake, identify major views and vistas, nominate the location of pedestrian and cycle paths, protect heritage assets and mandate building materials and quality controls.

Designed for 100 years of use, the plan could also include development zones and specify future needs and suitable areas for recreational uses.


"Such a framework could recognise areas of heritage and conservation value, identify suitable nodes for development, and ensure that lakeside development is appropriate to the location," the authority said in its formal response to submissions.

"Review of precinct codes will commence once the new format and structure of the [National Capital] Plan is in place, and the Lake Burley Griffin and Foreshores Precinct Code will form an early stage of precinct code review."

Among groups pushing for a master plan is the newly formed Lake Burley Griffin Guardians who last week warned proposed building heights and development near the lake could reduce public space in favour of private development.

The group's submission called for "the conservation of the major vistas from major landmark locations and parklands, around Lake Burley Griffin and other vistas such as from the former Kingston Power House towards the eastern lake shore, from the Arboretum towards the lake and along roads such as Sturt Avenue across to Mount Ainslie."

Protection is required for all the lake edging landscape, including the Acton Peninsula alongside the Australian National University precinct and the narrow area between Parkes Way and the water's edge extending to Yarramundi Reach.

Research should also be conducted into historic tree plantings planned and implemented by horticulturist Charles Weston, Walter Burley Griffin, Lindsay Pryor, Richard Clough and the former National Capital Development Commission landscaping division.

The group called for an uninterrupted pedestrian and cycle path around the lake, including a new boardwalk near Government House. Cycling advocacy group Pedal Power supported plans for a high-quality Lake Burley Griffin Circuit path.

Submissions to the exposure draft about water quality and management of Lake Burley Griffin and development plans for City Hill and the lake's West Basin were not directly relevant to the review. The authority confirmed development of "place renewal plans" for Kings and Commonwealth avenues.

The revised draft could see the parliamentary triangle's East and West blocks adapted for use as hotels, offices, restaurants, cafes or retail spaces and for redevelopment of outdated Commonwealth government office buildings at Anzac Park East and West.

A planned sale of the CSIRO's 701-hectare Ginninderra field station looks set to go ahead and the Mint site will be rezoned as a designated area for national use. Land at the corner of State Circle and Canberra Avenue in Forrest will be changed from community use to mixed use for development.

The second six-week community consultation period will continue until November 13. If approved, the changes could be completed by the end of the year.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for The Australian Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

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