Page 3965 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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The public waterfront and links to the city centre will be the centrepiece of this new mixed use precinct, along with improved public amenity, infrastructure and cultural attractions for the capital region. Investment in the capital metro light rail transit system has clear economic benefits for Canberra and will be transformational in changing the way people move in, as well as to and from, the city centre. This will be an important first step in a city-wide rapid transit system. Capital metro will ease congestion on the main route to and through the city centre and provide real opportunities for locating more people and employment around the city transit corridor.

The redirecting of traffic from the city centre that will be created by light rail, as well as our current bus development, will allow the city to operate more easily as a destination. Not only is walking the dominant mode of movement within the city centre but also pedestrian traffic is critical to business, retailing, social and recreational opportunities. The city plan looks towards a pedestrian-friendly city that facilitates the movement of people and their access to services and employment and that connects the city centre to the lake.

It has been great to see most consultation comments reflect the community’s pride in Canberra as well as their optimism for a city centre offering a more urban lifestyle as we enter our second century. Community infrastructure such as schools and childcare was noted as an important consideration when encouraging more people to live in the city. While supporting growth in the city, most people want to improve architectural design and avoid possible increases in traffic congestion while retaining views that create places to enjoy the open landscape and lakeside beauty. It was great to see that there is in-principle support for the city to the lake project from owners of neighbouring commercial properties, subject to ongoing stakeholder consultation on detailed planning and design for individual projects. The community’s eagerness can be seen by the common statement “Just get on with it,” as the majority of participants support growth and renewal for the city centre.

I would like to take a moment to congratulate the ACT government, along with Elton Consulting and Tania Parkes Consulting, for this high quality, full scope of consultation that has occurred, and continues to occur, in its second round, which is happening as we speak.

The plan has gone under detailed consultation within the community, with over 15,000 people participating in the first round of consultation that occurred from 26 March to 21 May this year. Many people chose to participate in face-to-face community engagement, with the marquee placed in Garema square an example of this, with over 7,000 responders. This form of consultation, also known as “open house”, was by far the most successful way of bringing community consultation out into the community. A marquee was erected in Garema Place as an exhibition space for open house information displays. The exhibition material was supported by laptops for online feedback and audiovisual equipment so people could view a video explaining the city to the lake development proposal. The public were provided with various methods to submit feedback, consisting of writing a comment on the flag and placing it on the wall chart plan of the city, adding comment to the graffiti wall, filling in a survey or speaking directly to an ACT government representative.

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