Canberra residents have the perception, or at least the aspiration, that the elected ACT politician appointed to be the planning minister will oversee the future planning and development of the city on behalf of the residents.
In a recent article the former chief minister, Jon Stanhope, listed one of his disappointments as not being able to deal [...]
Two planning announcements have raised a few eyebrows in Canberra recently.
The first was that the government had taken back the running of the infamous Westside container precinct. This so called ‘experimental’ development was due to open in time for Floriade in 2014. As of August 2015, it was yet to become fully operational, despite the Chief [...]
It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a pleasant stroll around Aranda with native flora in full bloom. We’ve just researched this easy walk taking just over an hour through Aranda’s pretty parks featuring stunning native flower displays.
The walk starts and ends at the old Aranda shops site, now occupied by the dog friendly Two [...]
Canberra is a city where residents are continually at odds with planning and development agencies. It is also accepted that planning bureaucrats are skilled at bending the rules to suit themselves and other players.
It seems that it has always been so. The very building they occupy today in Dickson is a testament to their aptitude to [...]
I support the introduction of light rail networks across Canberra.
We should not be having this debate in 2015. The first tracks should have been laid down in the late 1950s or at least by the mid 1960s.
I blame the former NCDC for this oversight. This lack of light rail transport infrastructure most likely came about [...]
[ 14 August 2015 to 6 September 2015. ]
A renowned pastelist, Amanda McLean has worked extensively in the Canberra region. Her recent focus has been landscapes and seascapes of southern NSW, and studies of Lake Burley Griffin. Her work very successfully captures the moods of the country and climate, while her capacity to portray the transition from water to sky creates a beautiful [...]
It was not that long ago that winter in Canberra meant that the air was filled with smoke.
These grey blankets across the capital were in part made up of the smoke from the very popular wood-fired heaters used within many Canberra homes. Other additions to the annual smoking events were backyard fires lit to burn [...]
The suburb of O’Connor is in Canberra’s inner north, squished in between Turner and Lyneham, with Northbourne Avenue and Gungahlin Drive on either side. It was named after Richard Edward O’Connor, a legislator, federalist, and one of the founders of the Constitution.
I think if you asked a handful of people what they know about O’Connor [...]
There’s no doubt that the ACT Government has put an emphasis on communications and marketing when it comes to particular urban developments. This is very evident in the number of media statements in circulation.
There’s one media statement currently circulating about the pending demolition of the Currong Apartments in Braddon on the edge of Civic. To [...]
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) opened its new wing in 2010 and amongst several key improvements was the realignment of the main front entrance. This new southern entrance makes sense and is totally logical. It has not always been so.
The former entrance was via a ramp that was a bit of puzzle to the [...]
It was during a recent North Canberra Community Council meeting that I realised I was hearing something very rare. The presenter was talking about fairly matter-of-fact issues to do with changes to local traffic lights and footpaths and it sounded as though she identified with the issues being dealt with.
Then she said it. She commented [...]
I recently took the opportunity to observe the new shareway along Bunda Street.
When I first arrived I watched a large bus make its way at speed along the street. Not surprisingly, pedestrians did not insist on their right of way over the oncoming hulk of metal.
I also saw several cars and small trucks that didn’t realise (or care?) that they [...]
I enjoy the drive between Sydney from Canberra. I do it reasonably often. The mood of the country changes according to the weather, the drought, the latest rains and the time of day. Lake George and the surrounding hills have many moods to be enjoyed.
All of this leads back to how the traveller is welcomed [...]
While driving south along Limestone Avenue, travellers often encounter messages from the local church. These messages are frequently powerful political statements on current issues.
I thought I would share this latest one as it brings it home just how we should ignore messages about ‘whose team are you on’ and instead be more open and inclusive about dealing with our many [...]
Six leading ACT community organisations combined to celebrate NAIDOC Week with the theme of ‘Land & Learning’ earlier this week.
The celebrations started with a Welcome to Country, before artist Linda Huddlestone (pictured above) talked about her family and country. She explained how her father’s story of being part of the stolen generation translated into her [...]
A study of the ACT’s master planning processes reveals thorough research and consultations to produce a range of comprehensive documents on options for many of Canberra’s established shopping centres.
Despite all this seemingly good work, many Canberra residents feel disenfranchised by the planning system and have little respect for our planning and development bureaucrats. What’s [...]
Over the years I have wondered about the placement of public art and memorials in and around the parliamentary zone. Here are three stories.
A couple of months ago the winner of the Immigration Place design competition was announced. The information available online (including the above image) suggests it will be an intriguing installation. The jury did [...]
Central Canberra needs a dedicated open space for large special events at any time of the year.
In amongst all the talk (and lack of action) about the rejuvenation of Civic, there is one concept that needs to be seriously debated before lobbyists have their way. For instance, the Property Council talks about bringing more activity [...]
The Telstra Tower is one of our most iconic Canberra landmarks. It is something tourists look for when they are lost, and a great relief for Canberrans to see when travelling on the Barton Highway after a seven-hour (or longer) drive from Melbourne.
The Telstra Tower opened on 15 May 1980 and there is something stylishly 1980s [...]
In researching the establishment of these Chinese Gardens I came across some of the consultation documents when the public was asked to comment on the gardens being built within Lennox Gardens.
There were objections from individual heritage lobbyists who complained that if the ACT Government was to go ahead with the Chinese Gardens, it would completely wreck [...]
The state of Canberra’s shopping centres is a hot topic of conversation at present.
Southlands at Mawson is going through an interesting phase of regrowth and has been the subject of community consultations, Westfield Woden’s tenants are murmuring about difficulties attracting customers and Civic is overdue for an intelligent and creative make-over.
Meanwhile, issues concerning the Dickson shopping precinct remain unresolved. [...]
Last July the ACT Government announced plans to develop a shipping container village by the lake on the west side of Commonwealth Avenue. I missed the original announcement, but having now read some of the media releases, I can see that there was a lot of optimism about how this wondrous project was going change our lives.
Urgent action is required by the ACT Government to see Civic regain its position within Canberra as a popular centre, a place with its own character and charm and a precinct that attracts locals and visitors. Having previously outlined the issues behind Civic’s decline (see parts one and two of this series), it is timely [...]
There are loads of documents, reports and expert forums regarding the future of Civic. There is an abundance of pretty pictures, bad graphics, meaningless flowery statements and far too much powerpoint planning rhetoric – but what we need is action.
A recent Property Council report emphasised the need for less regulation and more government financial assistance for [...]
Several decades ago, the centre of Canberra provided a very different shopping experience. Civic was a series of pedestrian plazas with a small complex named The Monaro Mall. In 1989 this mall was enlarged to become the first Canberra Centre. There were howls of protest at the time about how the government’s deal to sell off [...]
The Canberra Museum and Gallery has a major exhibition of local visual arts with the focus on artists’ views of life in this city.
This is an exhibition of art created in the Canberra region about where people live as opposed to the usual image of the city as the national capital. Hence the title Urban Suburban. [...]
Public sculpture commissioned in the memory of our dignitaries has been known to cause a stir amongst art lovers as well as those who take a position on public art.
In recent days there’s been chatter internationally about a statue erected back in 2009 to honour Lucille Ball, which sparked a Facebook group titled We love Lucy! [...]
One of the local manifestations for Centenary of Federation in the year 2001 was the building of Commonwealth Place down on the side of the lake in the axis between Parliament and Mount Ainslie.
This key site was initially listed as a possible place for the new Parliament House and hence it remained as an open [...]
2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the 13th Century English King’s agreement to the terms as set out in the Magna Carta. The original charter was more about getting a better deal for the church and the nobles rather than most of the population. Over time with additions and alterations, this document became important in [...]