The ACT government is ignoring residents' wishes to retain Dickson's Section 72 as a public precinct, the local community council says.
The North Canberra Community Council is concerned "bulky" apartment blocks will dominate the government's plans for the redevelopment of the controversial site when they are released early next year.
In a letter to government ministers Mick Gentleman and Rachel Stephen-Smith, the community council's chair, Leon Arundell, said local residents wanted the block revitalised as a "high quality community, cultural and recreational precinct", in keeping with its function for the past 50 years.
But Mr Arundell said the government appeared to be increasingly emphasising high-density housing as it progressed through multiple rounds of consultation on the site's future.
A preliminary concept plan presented at a community workshop in November included artists' impressions of apartment blocks of up to four storeys on land bounded by Antill Street, Hawdon Place and Rosevear Place.
The government has already announced the site will accommodate its second Common Ground development, which will colocate low-cost housing with support services for vulnerable people.
The block is zoned for leisure and accommodation, meaning the government will need to amend the territory plan to allow high-density housing.
Building height limits for the site will be determined as part of the rezoning process.
"The suggestion of some ground-floor community use rooms, and placement of street trees and green edges between the footprints of bulky 4-6 storey multi-unit buildings, fails to address the broader community aspirations for the enhancement of the precinct," Mr Arundell's letter said.
"The council is concerned the government is not hearing the community's very clearly stated vision and constructive suggestions for the valued site."
Mr Arundell called on the government to establish a community reference panel to oversee the precinct as the project progresses.
"We believe that Section 72 has the potential to be an outstanding example of a thriving, modern, well-designed and co-ordinated community, cultural and recreational precinct," the letter stated.
Dickson Residents Group convenor Jane Goffman said Section 72 was critical to the area's future, and the government's apparent intention to use the site for high-density housing - rather than community services - was an "abject failure to think creatively, strategically, or [for the] long term".
The government has since January been consulting with the community on the future of Section 72, which it has identified as a prime site for urban renewal. The block includes two vacant government-owned buildings, as well as an abandoned Salvation Army community centre.
The site includes the land at the centre of a controversial deal between the ACT government and the CFMEU-linked Tradies Club, which was lashed by the ACT Auditor-General in February and is the subject of an ongoing assembly inquiry.
A report on the most recent round of consultation on Section 72's future found there was "strong support" for the redevelopment to include a mix of private and community housing.
However, some respondents to the online survey said buildings above four storeys might intrude on the privacy of neighbours and users of the adjacent Dickson Pool.
The government is expected to start public consultation on an estate development plan in early 2019, before lodging a formal development application later in the year.