Chief Minister Andrew Barr has defended the Westside container village as an "outstanding success" days after it was labelled a "damp squib" and "the beginnings of a detention centre".
Mr Barr said he was fed up with Canberrans complaining about the lakeside shipping container village, which was designed for a younger demographic, and denied the development was a waste of taxpayer money.
"It's been an outstanding success and will continue to be," Mr Barr said on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, ahead of handing down the ACT budget.
"I will not accept this commentary that no-one goes there, that no-one enjoys it, when it's hugely popular with a certain demographic; the demographic it was designed for."
The $1 million pop-up village has been criticised for its unfinished appearance and apparent lack of activity, with National Capital Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow describing the development as a "damp squib" and admitting he was confused about what it entailed.
Western Australia Labor Senator Glenn Sterle, who questioned Mr Snow in Senate estimates last week, said the development looked "like the beginnings of a detention centre" and "a driving range for a golf course".
The park has also been marred by construction delays and payment disputes, with subcontractors and suppliers complaining about not being paid and being offered lesser amounts to settle their bills.
Developer Stromlo Stomping Grounds has also funnelled an undisclosed amount of its own money into the project.
Mr Barr said 25,000 people had filtered through the pop-up area since it opened in March, with 15,000 attending the launch.
"The reality is that this site has been extremely popular amongst a younger demographic; it's not targeted at people over 50," Mr Barr said.
"I tend to be one of the older people there at 42, I acknowledge that, but there are people there with their families."
The temporary development includes a pop-up cafe, rooftop bar, Vietnamese restaurant, BMX bike shop, French creperie, and gym and is set to remain for about two years before the City to the Lake development gets underway.
Speaking on ABC 666's breakfast program, Mr Barr said he understood the space was "not necessarily a favourite hangout" of the "demographic that listen to AM radio".
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