The ACT Government recently launched its‘City to the Lake’ initiative at the National Museum of Australia. This project which will connect the city to Lake Burley Griffin joins other recent ACT city planning developments such as the City Plan and Canberra Metro – a new Light Rail Transport network.
Canberra Business Council is very supportive of the City to the Lake project and particularly sympathetic to the broad planning objectives behind the project: extending the city to the lake at West Basin; facilitating access from the city to the lake across Parkes Way; activating the water frontat West Basin and providing an opportunity for increased urban density which will both enliven the city and under pin the viability of an improved public transport system.
The ‘City to Lake’ vision includes; the transformation of Parkes Way into a smart boulevard, allowing through traffic to by pass the CBD and improving pedestrian access from the city to the lake; construction of an iconic worldclass convention centre that will attract nationaland international conferences; over 1 million squaremetres of floor space for mixed use development;a 30,000 capacity Football stadium for sports,concerts and other large scale events; and a lakeside Aquatic Centre and urban beach.
The Council has responded to the release ofthe “City to the Lake” plan by recommending that priority and a funding commitment for theredesign of Parkes Way be included in the upcomingACT Budget for 2013-14. The Parkes Way ‘smartboulevard’ upgrade is critical to unlocking thepotential of the plan for West Basin – particularlylinking the city to the lake and opening up thepublic spaces and development opportunities.
For the Canberra Business Council, a close second priority in the “City to the Lake” plan isthe design and construction of an iconic worldclass convention centre – the ‘Australia Forum’.Business meetings, conferences and conventions are critical to the future of the ACT business and visitor tourism industry and to positioning Canberraas a world class city of ideas and big conversations.A new convention centre will significantly liftCanberra’s business tourism industry and beincreasingly important as the ACT looks to diversify its economy.
The Council believes that the proposed new convention facility has the potential, if designed and located appropriately, to sit alongside other national institutions and become a National icon, and for this reason continues to believe that the preferred sitefor the new convention facility is the lake front siteon Lake Burley Griffin at West Basin.
The “City to the Lake” plan is proposing that the Australia Forum be located adjacent to CityHill and not on the lakefront. Before any finaldecision is taken on a move away from the preferred lake front site there will need to be comprehensive discussions with the ACT Government to ensurethat the City Hill site is able to accommodate all of the requirements outlined in the detailed functional brief which was developed in the Australia Forum Scoping Study project, including associatedinfrastructure such as hotels and room future expansion.
CBC will also continue to work with the ACTGovernment and key stakeholders on the otherlarge infrastructure projects within the City to theLake plan but will reserve judgment about the irrelative merits (economic, cultural and community),possible funding options and potential staging until more details are released.