Kippax Fair shopping centre owners are planning a major upgrade , including a new supermarket to be built over public sports ovals, which has alarmed residents in the area.
The owners have engaged high profile businesses Cox Architecture and Elton Consulting to prepare a submission for the ACT Government’s master plan for Kippax Group Centre. This could trigger a fresh round of public consultation, even though public consultation on the government’s draft master plan closed in February. Kippax Fair’s public consultation closed on Monday, November 14.
Asked to explain the separate dates, an ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate spokesman said Kippax Fair’s consultation was a separate process from the ACT Government’s.
“Should the Kippax Fair consultation indicate considerable community support for their proposal and that there are demonstrated benefits for the centre, the government will re-consult with the community on a revised draft master plan in 2017,’’ the spokesman said.
Some residents fear loss of green space and are questioning the different consultation dates, which they say favour the shopping centre owners.
Kippax Fair spokeswoman Anastasia Stramarcos said her family, who had owned the shopping centre for 30 years, had issued two draft proposals for their submissions to the draft master plan, in December and October.
Ms Stramarcos said her family had wanted to upgrade Kippax Fair for years and the government’s master plan, in preparation for growth including from the new West Belconnen subdivision, was a good opportunity to do so.
In addition to anchor tenants Woolworths and The Reject Shop, Kippax Fair has 30 shops, and the owners believe additional retailing should include a major discount operator, like Big W or Kmart.
The owners disagree with the government’s master plan proposal for a supermarket over a car park. This would leave four blank brick walls and issues with a loading dock, Ms Stramarcos said.
Instead the family wants the substantial redevelopment to expand to the rear of the shopping centre, where two ovals stand.
“We want to address the negativity of developing over green space, we want to develop it, we cannot deny it,’’ Ms Stramarcos said.
“We are getting good ideas what to do with the open spaces, a lot of people want a dog park there,’’ she said.
“We are engaging with sports groups and departments like Sport and Recreation.’’
Ms Stramarcos said the slope down to the shops, and being constrained by brick walls, were other issues to be addressed.
Belconnen Community Council president Damien Haas said Kippax Fair’s submission had some merit and some elements that were an over reach.
“Population in this area has grown dramatically and will continue to grow,’’ Mr Haas said.
“It is important that we have these green spaces [in Kippax]. One consultant said there was an excess of green spaces, I just laughed.’’
He said there were other options to developing on the ovals.
“Some green space may be needed, not the volume Kippax Fair want.’’
Any land that was made available for redevelopment would need to be offered for sale on the open market, Mr Haas said.
He said the community council was not opposed to private development, so long as green spaces were retained. A major concern was the ovals near Moyes Crescent were on a flood plain.
An independent candidate for Ginninderra at the recent ACT elections, Vanessa Jones , said Kippax was in a poor area of Canberra, was under-funded and needed better services.
“Dickson has more assertive people and they are getting the tram, but because they are assertive they are not getting the higher building heights,’’ Ms Jones said.