Construction work to transform Lake Burley Griffin's west basin will start next week after the ACT government was given the green light to commence the controversial project.
The National Capital Authority approved the City Renewal Authority's application to reshape the precinct late last week, clearing the path for construction work to start on September 14.
The approval came only after the renewal authority tweaked the proposal, including agreeing to plant almost 200 new trees, following community backlash during public consultation on the application.
Queanbeyan-based contractor Chincivil has secured the lucrative $32-million contract to deliver the two-year project, which represents the next phase in the Barr government's long-held vision to upgrade the prime lakefront site.
The project will see about 2.8 hectares of lake bed land "reclaimed", or filled in, with tonnes of fine rock material. A 500-metre-long boardwalk will be built along the redefined lake edge, extending from Henry Rolland Park.
The City Renewal Authority has confirmed Chincivil, which delivered the first stage of the precinct's revamp, signed the contract on April 16, putting to bed any suggestion the Barr government had scrambled to lock in the agreement before it entered pre-election caretaker mode on Friday.
The project's approval will reignite debate over the future of the so-called Acton Waterfront precinct, which has emerged as a key point of difference between the two major parties ahead of next month's ACT election.
The Andrew Barr-led Labor government has the more ambitious vision for the precinct, proposing a mix of parks, public spaces and housing.
The Barr government hasn't put an exact figure on the number of apartments which would be permitted under its plan, although the chief minister has said it would number in the hundreds, rather that the thousands as previously suggested.
Mr Barr has repeatedly pointed out that housing in the precinct would be strictly controlled by federal government-approved planning rules, which require that development be set back 55 metres from the lake's edge and not be taller than 25 metres at any point. The residential component of the project is slated for beyond 2025.
Despite Mr Barr's assurances, Opposition Leader Alistair Coe has been pushing the line that the Labor leader intends to allow high-rise apartments on the waterfront - a feature the Liberals have explicitly ruled out if they form the next ACT government.
Mr Coe has promised to restart community consultation on the future of the precinct, which he believes should be preserved primarily as green open space.
He has also expressed opposition to the planned lake reclamation works, describing them as "excessive" and "extravagant".
Documents explaining the National Capital Authority's decision, which were published on Monday, showed that more than 140 of 187 submissions lodged during consultation expressed opposition to the project.
Among the comments made were that redefined lake edge would be "dull, colourless and boring, crude and harsh". Another said the project was "nothing more than a disguised privatisation of the Acton Waterfront".
The newly released documents showed that in response to those concerns, City Renewal Authority amended its proposal, agreeing to plant 198 new trees, add barbecue facilities and install lighting along the planned boardwalk.
The authority said it was satisfied that the changes addressed the concerns aired during consultation.
In a statement, City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow welcomed the project's approval.
"This the next exciting phase in realising Canberra's new urban waterfront," Mr Snow said.
"This initiative will allow the city to embrace the water and most importantly create a place that welcomes all Canberrans."
Mr Snow said future stages of the precinct's revamp would be subject to further stages of public consultation.
Mr Coe said the decision to start construction work on the project demonstrated "Labor's blatant disregard for community concerns about the future" of the lakefront precinct.