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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3228..

MR BARR (continuing):

increase the retail and business activity addressing the streets and enhance the presentation of the town centre as a modern, safe, commercially vibrant and interesting place. Improvements to paths and paving for pedestrians and cyclists are also proposed, with upgraded paving, signalised intersections and pedestrian crossings around the shopping centre and within the project area.

Draft variation No 289 was released for public comment in June this year and attracted only seven public submissions. Many of the comments were supportive of the proposals contained within the draft variation. The main issues are related to traffic, parking, vehicle access and noise levels, the IPT route changes, the new bus station's compatibility with future expansion of the ACT public transport system and light rail, expansion of Westfield shopping centre, public and stakeholder consultation, high density residential and office blocks, and future provision for community organisations.

A report on consultation was prepared by the ACT Planning and Land Authority responding to the issues raised in the submissions, and a copy of that report is included with the documents I have just tabled. The proposed changes and upgrades respond to the goals of the sustainable transport plan. A number of studies carried out over the past few years have concluded that the proposals will provide improved accessibility for all modes of transport.

The future car parking requirements for all relevant development proposals have been estimated and will need to meet the current ACT government car parking requirements at the time of design and construction of new buildings. While some surface car parks are proposed to be removed and the sites potentially developed, additional public car parking will be provided as an integral part of Westfield's proposed mall expansion.

The design of works for the Cohen Street extension project is being developed and includes the section of Emu Bank adjacent to the Holy Cross Lutheran Church. There will be further consultation with key stakeholders, including the church, on issues such as access and egress and the requirement for any noise abatement measures as part of the progression of these works.

The proposed new bus stations will provide a better distribution of bus stops and shorter walking distances than the current single bus interchange. The expansion of the shopping mall will provide a people-friendly retail environment with more active and attractive street frontages. An objective of the proposals for both the Cohen Street project and Westfield's expansion is to improve pedestrian and cyclist facilities.

Extensive communication and consultation have taken place relating to the changes to the Belconnen town centre. A number of further consultation activities will occur on the changes to the centre during 2008 until the completion of that work in 2010. These consultations will inform the community of changed arrangements to traffic routes, bus stops, bus routes, car parking and access to the shops.

The proposals are consistent with the goals of the Canberra spatial plan, promoting a greater mix of land uses, higher population densities and improved transport in and

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