Page 3968 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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The city plan is about doing it for the city centre itself, making sure that we are able to accommodate many more people living in the city centre, making sure we are facilitating those development opportunities to create housing for those people, making sure that public transport is better connected into those locations and making sure that other elements of the city, in terms of its commercial viability, its range of commercial services, its urban amenity and that very intangible term “vibrancy” are appropriately addressed.

The draft city plan brings all of those issues together. The draft city plan sets out five separate precincts for the city as areas of focus for further government activity. The draft city plan sets out and makes allocations of land use for particular and important institutions or activities. The draft city plan, in particular, also looks at how the city becomes a city more engaging for people at street level rather than dominated solely by motor vehicle use.

It is worth reflecting on what the draft city plan says about housing. The plan looks to accommodate about 10 per cent of the territory’s population growth over the next 15 years in the city centre. That equates to around an extra 8,000 residents, or approximately a further 5,000 dwellings. That is more than double the number of dwellings that currently exist in the city centre.

This really highlights the ambitious program the government has to see more people living in the city centre close to where there is work and close to where there are recreational, cultural and commercial services for them to enjoy. It also highlights the real potential that we believe can be realised through our investment in the capital metro project and also through city to the lake.

In relation to capital metro, we know that providing high-quality, permanent, dedicated transit is key to encouraging more people to see the city centre as a destination, not just for their journey to work but as a place to live in and a place to enjoy in a 24/7 economy. Therefore, the work that the government is currently doing in relation to capital metro will focus very strongly on how it integrates into the city centre, in particular how it relates to the area in the vicinity of Alinga Street down to London Circuit, and how it could potentially be used as a catalyst to revitalise elements of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, particularly those buildings as they front onto Northbourne Avenue. These are beautiful heritage buildings and they are, in every respect, the beginning of the commercial city centre for the nation’s capital. Yet the presentation of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, particularly as they face onto Northbourne Avenue, is not of a standard you would expect for such significant heritage buildings.

There is an opportunity, I believe, for the capital metro project and the terminus of the light rail at some point between Alinga Street and London Circuit to serve as a catalyst for greater rejuvenation of those two buildings. So instead of some of the uses we see in those buildings today and instead of the rundown and neglected look of those buildings, there is a potential to leverage higher value uses because of their proximity to a light rail station and, therefore, an incentive for the building owners to make an investment in upgrading and improving the look and presentation of those

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