The quest to deliver live entertainment zones throughout Canberra has reached its bureaucratic second chorus with the release of an action plan which identifies areas of "investigation".
In a broad-brush approach, the government's plan identifies eight special entertainment areas of "broad investigation only", in addition to the two already designated areas of Exhibition Park and Stromlo Forest Park.
Flagged in the report was the opportunity for private rural landholders around Canberra to step forward, Woodstock-style, and offer up their properties for consideration.
"There could be market opportunities for large private landholders to work with the ACT government in developing entertainment areas," the report states.
"This could work where the land uses include entertainment, sport, creative industries and mixed use."
In its Urban Sounds discussion paper three years ago, feedback via the government website allowed people to drop pins in potential entertainment area locations.
The suggestions included parts of the city centre, New Acton, Kingston and Woden. In a workshop which followed this year, suggestions grew to include Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Belconnen town centres, corridor areas such as Northbourne Avenue, industrial areas and places outside the ACT government's planning discretion including the National Arboretum, and land near Canberra airport.
The prospect of "nuancing" regulatory planning controls "and thereby support a night-time economy" was raised by stakeholders in the recent workshop, together with the commonly-cited "order of occupancy" principle.
Order of occupancy means that in any dispute between a live music venue and the residents annoyed by the noise, whoever was there first is preferenced.
It means that any new residential complex planned near an established entertainment venue would need to include appropriate noise reduction measures.
Conversely, new entertainment venues face the obligation of controlling their noise to avoid conflict with residents, which may prove onerous. It's seen as a less-than-ideal agent for creating a dynamic environment for grass roots or emerging artists.
"This outcome does not preserve entertainment areas, only venues," the report states.
The report also recognised that a "one size fits all" approach to designating entertainment areas in town centres "is unlikely to work".
Seven key policy directions have been set in the plan and a progress report, together with consultation on possible entertainment areas and precincts has to be provided to the ACT Assembly by July 31 next year.