Page 120 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 February 2018

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supporting further renewal for Woden town centre in particular and for all our town centres across the ACT.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (10.55): I thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing on this motion today, as I am always very happy to talk about Belconnen town centre and its future. As a member for Belconnen, and as a resident of the town centre, I know that its vibrancy and renewal are something I am not only passionate about but have driven and will continue to drive. I want to address some of the points that Ms Le Couteur has raised about the town centre, particularly given that I actually live there—I have lived there for most of my life in Canberra—and therefore spend a lot of time there and have some real lived experience, including with all of the changes that have been underway, particularly over the last decade.

There is a significant amount of change underway in the town centre. From a government or a public perspective, where do I begin? We have the University of Canberra public hospital; we have a significant land release program; we have the Belco bikeway, which is an election commitment, well underway. Another election commitment that I know has support right across the chamber is Belconnen Arts Centre stage 2. We have some changes to public transport right across the city that will affect Belconnen town centre. And, of course, as many members in this place would know, I would be delighted to see, and am actively pushing for, stage 3 light rail to Belconnen town centre.

From a private perspective, we have seen newly reinvigorated businesses like the Basement and Pot Belly, which have been around for a while but have some new owners and some new investment there. If people have not been there recently, they might be in for a great surprise, particularly now that Pot Belly has its own brewery. We have seen an enormous amount of development in the town centre, and we have thousands of new residents. Despite what Ms Le Couteur has said, I believe there is, and am myself living with, a new sense of community in the town centre.

Remarkably, I still hear people who do not live in apartments saying that apartments are not friendly places to live. I can tell you from personal experience, having lived in Altitude apartments for five years now—I think my anniversary of living there is actually today—that this is not true. I know many of the residents in my Altitude apartment block; it has 300 units but I do not just know the people on my floor. There is an active body corporate, which is a great way to get to know people. One of my former neighbours, who I did not know before we met in our apartment block, became a hugely active member and key player in my campaign for election. Another example relates to a time when my dog decided to take himself for a walk on his own. Someone I had never met but who had recognised me and my dog spotted my dog, grabbed my dog and brought my dog to my front door because they knew where I live. They did that within minutes, with him in tow. That shows that there is a real sense of community in apartment blocks.

I know other apartments in the town centre have similar experiences. Ms Le Couteur’s colleague Minister Rattenbury will know about the community garden grants, one of which went to the Sentinel apartment block in the town centre. I visited their community garden just before Christmas. This community garden is available to all of

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