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Tuggeranong – The dormitory of the ACT

By 28 July 2014 34

tuggeranong

I’ve lived and loved Tuggers for decades and started asking why we were treated less than other parts of Canberra way back when. I still haven’t had a satisfactory answer.

Before anyone bags me and other Tuggeranongites for whingeing consider the following.

Belco has the same (roughly) population as Tuggers. Yet it has a large well patronized shopping centre, two large swimming complexes, an vibrant industrial precinct, a university, a large CIT campus) a hospital (and soon a second one at UC), a large stadium and a lake. It also has a sizeable public sector presence.

The middle bit of Canberra has two central shopping precincts, a university, a hospital, a stadium (Phillip Oval), a large CIT campus, three industrial precincts (four if you count Hume which is not in Tuggeranong) and a lake. It too has a sizeable public sector presence. It is conceded that this part of Canberra has a population twice that of Tuggeranong.

I haven’t counted Gungahlin because it is still young and I haven’t counted Weston Creek because it has a population one third that of Tuggeranong.

Tuggeranong has a struggling shopping centre, a minor industrial precinct, a swimming complex and a small time stadium (Greenway Oval). It also has a sizeable public sector presence. Oh.. and a lake.

Whoops! Am I missing something here? No hospital, no university, no decent CIT presence, no vibrant private sector, a struggling major shopping centre.

This is because, historically, Tuggeranong has been regarded by many as the dormitory suburbs of Canberra feeding the workforce of elsewhere in the Capital. Folks live here, but work elsewhere.

The notion that there could be further housing development west of the Murrumbidgee is a bit ill conceived. It was debunked in the early 2000s because of the lack of job opportunities for those moving in.

Attention must be given to the economic health of the Valley before bringing in more people. We need a private sector economic food chain to balance the dependence on the public service pay packet.

As James Carville, campaign adviser to Bill Clinton in 1992 said: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Until a strategy to bring job opportunities to the Valley has been developed and implemented; until the Valley has the facilities that the other parts of Canberra have, further housing development should be resisted.

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34 Responses to Tuggeranong – The dormitory of the ACT
#1
cmdwedge10:08 am, 28 Jul 14

Because they tend to vote Liberal, and Labor tends to run the ACT. Why spend money on an area that you’re not going to win electorally?

That was easy. Next question?

#2
Maya12311:32 am, 28 Jul 14

“Tuggeranong has a struggling shopping centre, a minor industrial precinct, a swimming complex and a small time stadium (Greenway Oval). It also has a sizeable public sector presence. Oh.. and a lake.”
That must mean that the local Tuggeranong people are not patronising the shopping centre. Only the locals can be blamed for that. Patronise it and it will improve. A minor industrial precinct. Does that comment mean you want to live beside a bigger industrial area? A swimming complex. Lucky you. There is no inside heated pool near me. Stadium. I am so pleased that where I live (in more central Canberra) we don’t have one. So condolences for that one.

#3
pierce11:57 am, 28 Jul 14

Who are you asking to fix the problem of a “struggling shopping centre” – the government? How – mandate local shopping?

What steps did you take to improve the lot of Tuggeranongers while in office? Were you actively obstructed?

On the plus side, you’re getting a decent CIT campus next year.

#4
Kalliste12:33 pm, 28 Jul 14

.. Is the ‘middle bit’ of Canberra all of the city, Kingston, Manuka, etc and all of Woden? I wouldn’t really consider a hospital in Woden being a decent distance for someone that lives in Reid, for example.

And with the other commentors, if people don’t use the Hyperdome then how is that the North and ‘Middle bits’ fault?

#5
Madam Cholet12:46 pm, 28 Jul 14

I agree that Tuggers is largely ignored by the Labor government as the residents tend to vote Liberal, however the shopping centre has been relatively recently upgraded – both outside in terms of cafes and eateries which always seem busy, and inside with the old Myer area being renovated and leased to new stores. There’s also new larger shops up the other end of the Hyperdome – Lincraft and the new pet shop place. Maybe people in Tuggers like to shop online these days?

We are also the lucky recipients of a myriad of road upgrades/duplications right now, although the biggest shame is the lack of attention to the Tuggers parkway which has become a crash-fest.

We have a library and we have pools. We have buses which take people to their jobs in the city. We have federal government departments. From memory, the ACT education Dept moved to Tuggers but everyone whinged so much that they sent them back into town.

#6
miz1:25 pm, 28 Jul 14

Gunners has less than half the population of Tuggers. There are 90,000 Canberrans in Tuggers and we are Very Ripped Off. And Pierce, the pseudo CIT we are supposedly getting is not going to have the hospitality kitchens or horticultural facilities that are actually needed-people will still have to go to Reid or Bruce.
As a parent I used to get truly fed up with having to get my daughter to Reid and going to uni at Bruce myself during the week, then spending all weekend driving my children to sport at Bruce, Hawker, Lyneham etc. As someone has pointed out before, Tuggers is as large, nay larger, than Wagga but with nothing like the services available in Wagga.

#7
arescarti421:49 pm, 28 Jul 14

I’m not sure what you’re whinging about, seems like a serious case of ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ syndrome.

Where exactly is Belconnen’s industrial precinct? Mitchell?

What exactly do you want done about the struggling Hyperdome? Force people to shop there? Close down Westfield Woden?

Bringing up the fact that Belconnen has a hospital and Tuggeranong doesn’t is stupid. The ACT only has two public Hospitals serving the entire city, and Bruce/Garran are central to Canberra’s North and South respectively. Tuggeranong is not.

As Madam Cholet points out, there’s a plethora of road upgrades and investment going on at the moment, and as pierce notes, there’s a new CIT coming next year. Both are pretty remarkable considering that the population of Tuggeranong is falling.

On Jobs, the Department of Social services is already headquartered there, despite a more central location making more sense.

Seriously, what’s your problem?

#8
Maya1231:50 pm, 28 Jul 14

miz said :

As someone has pointed out before, Tuggers is as large, nay larger, than Wagga but with nothing like the services available in Wagga.

Yes, but if Wagga didn’t have these services, they would have to drive a lot further than Reid.
I grew up in country towns. We had no services compared to what is available in Canberra. The whine about no services in Canberra is just that, a whine.

#9
pajs3:21 pm, 28 Jul 14

Not really much of a hike from Tuggers to Woden though, is it?

#10
HiddenDragon6:14 pm, 28 Jul 14

“Attention must be given to the economic health of the Valley before bringing in more people. We need a private sector economic food chain to balance the dependence on the public service pay packet.” – that’s a serious issue for the whole of Canberra, not just Tuggeranong.

One opportunity for Tuggeranong may be increased development of housing, reasonably close to the town centre, which is attractive to down-sizers and retirees – and not just those who need a small apartment to spend some time in when they’re not travelling the world. This would be consistent with one of the claimed intentions of the new rates/land tax system and with land values in Tuggeranong still relatively low, there’s the potential for affordable options for people who feel they are being squeezed out of other areas. For people who are retired, or perhaps now only doing part-time or periodic work, commuting to other parts of Canberra should not be such an issue.

Just on a point of detail, the Hyperdome may be struggling, but for most practical, day-to-day shopping purposes, it actually compares quite well with Civic, Woden and Belconnen in terms of the range of shops and accessability.

#11
miz6:27 pm, 28 Jul 14

It’s not ‘whining’ when there is genuinely an uneven distribution of infrastructure and services.

#12
miz6:29 pm, 28 Jul 14

It’s not ‘whining’ when there is a genuinely uneven distribution of infrastructure and services.

#13
Raging Tempest7:05 pm, 28 Jul 14

People don’t shop at Tuggeranong because its full of cheap tat $2 shops. No Myer, DJs or quality clothes or shoe shops. So we go to Woden, which is only marginally better, or Civic. As long as the owners insist on driving it into the ground and treating the locals like poor bogans, it will be shunned in favour of other places.

#14
wildturkeycanoe8:35 pm, 28 Jul 14

“Tuggeranong has a struggling shopping centre” – What makes it struggle? Looking at retail shops available for lease in Tuggers there isn’t exactly an abundance or oversupply of vacant shops compared with any other area of Canberra.
“a minor industrial precinct” – So you call Hume, less than 5km away from the main shopping center a minor industrial area? Belconnen has similar with Mitchell and Central Canberra has Fyshwick. Size for size, the commercial area of Tuggeranong is pretty much the same as Belconnen too.

“Whoops! Am I missing something here? No hospital” – Yes, but Canberra Hospital services the area the same way Calvary services west Belconnen and all of Gungahlin.
“no university, no decent CIT presence” – Unfortunately the Territory Plan has left you with no space suitable for such, so there isn’t any way to solve it without the government re-zoning some natural reserves for Community Facilities. Perhaps the westward expanse could be a learning precinct?
“no vibrant private sector, a struggling major shopping centre.” – Again, I wonder what the evidence and reason is for this. Every time I have been at the Hyperdome, it has been pretty full of people. At least you have a Big W. Perhaps because the local shops are so far from any competition, customers are held to ransom with higher prices, thus causing a decline in business? Just a thought.

#15
JC8:41 pm, 28 Jul 14

miz said :

It’s not ‘whining’ when there is genuinely an uneven distribution of infrastructure and services.

So what exactly is missing that makes sense to be in Tuggeranong?

#16
gooterz9:03 pm, 28 Jul 14

An ACT Labor government committed to pushing the ACT public service out to gunners (when most of them probably live in Tuggeranong).

A bus service that takes an extra half an hour to get to Tuggeranong on the weekends because it is routed past a local shops in Erindale.

None of the street’s footpaths have been updated in 30 years, and very lousy use of the lake.

There was an attempt to update the frontage of the Hyperdome but failure to fix the traffic issue of the main street screwed it up. The main street in Tuggeranong should be one way and made into a mixed pedestrian area.

The other issue is that much of Tuggeranong was developed all at once. so the demography of Tuggeranong is fairly much constant. Its a huge failing of the way property is allocated in the ACT. There should be many stages of development spaced over 10-20 years. Belconnen and Gungahlin are still growing but Tuggeranong has only increased by a few expensive apartments.

Its also interesting that Tuggeranong is seen as second class yet still pays similar rates to the rest of Canberra.

What Tuggeranong really needs is light rail out to jerra (inside the ACT) and develop that area under the flight path into a commercial zone.

#17
dungfungus10:02 pm, 28 Jul 14

JC said :

miz said :

It’s not ‘whining’ when there is genuinely an uneven distribution of infrastructure and services.

So what exactly is missing that makes sense to be in Tuggeranong?

Public expenditure.

#18
Maya12310:30 pm, 28 Jul 14

gooterz said :

An ACT Labor government committed to pushing the ACT public service out to gunners (when most of them probably live in Tuggeranong).

A bus service that takes an extra half an hour to get to Tuggeranong on the weekends because it is routed past a local shops in Erindale.

None of the street’s footpaths have been updated in 30 years, and very lousy use of the lake.

There was an attempt to update the frontage of the Hyperdome but failure to fix the traffic issue of the main street screwed it up. The main street in Tuggeranong should be one way and made into a mixed pedestrian area.

The other issue is that much of Tuggeranong was developed all at once. so the demography of Tuggeranong is fairly much constant. Its a huge failing of the way property is allocated in the ACT. There should be many stages of development spaced over 10-20 years. Belconnen and Gungahlin are still growing but Tuggeranong has only increased by a few expensive apartments.

Its also interesting that Tuggeranong is seen as second class yet still pays similar rates to the rest of Canberra.

What Tuggeranong really needs is light rail out to jerra (inside the ACT) and develop that area under the flight path into a commercial zone.

gooterz said :

A bus service that takes an extra half an hour to get to Tuggeranong on the weekends because it is routed past a local shops in Erindale.

I’m sure you are not alone with this. I live in the inner south. My bus, winds along the ‘scenic’ route through the suburbs on the way to Civic, past offices, both Manuka and Kingston; not even close to direct.

gooterz said :

None of the street’s footpaths have been updated in 30 years, and very lousy use of the lake.

Only 30 years. My suburb was built in the 1950s and 60s, which makes 30 years seem recent. Take a look on the map and compare the older inner south with newer areas re pedestrian/cycling paths. At least you have them.

gooterz said :

There was an attempt to update the frontage of the Hyperdome but failure to fix the traffic issue of the main street screwed it up. The main street in Tuggeranong should be one way and made into a mixed pedestrian area.

I’m sure people all over Canberra could come up with complaints about their areas if they chose to. So what is your point here? I don’t see how this particular example should be a reason to give as to why Tuggeranong is bad.

gooterz said :

Its also interesting that Tuggeranong is seen as second class yet still pays similar rates to the rest of Canberra.

Really! You say this without saying what your rates are. Mine are over $2,300 for a 640 sq metre block, in not a flash area. And you are paying what?

We could all have a whine if we wanted to.

#19
Maya12310:33 pm, 28 Jul 14

gooterz said :

An ACT Labor government committed to pushing the ACT public service out to gunners (when most of them probably live in Tuggeranong).

I should have said, I do agree with your first comment.

#20
260411:03 pm, 28 Jul 14

Belconnen has really come along in the past few years. Increasing density in the town centre and a major re-vamp of the Belconnen Mall has really brought the place to life. We went to Belconnen Mall for dinner the other Saturday night and could barely find a carpark. The restaurants there were packed.

In Tuggeranong, South Quay should result in an increase of the population in the town centre, which should help local businesses and make the town centre more vibrant. Unfortunately, the owners of the Hyperdome most likely don’t have the capital to undertake a major overhaul – which it is starting to need after nearly 25 years of operation. A change in the mix of businesses there might help – Cherry Bean Cafe is a welcome addition and a few more good quality eateries like that should help draw local residents away from Woden.

#21
gooterz12:05 am, 29 Jul 14

Maya123 said :

gooterz said :

None of the street’s footpaths have been updated in 30 years, and very lousy use of the lake.

Only 30 years. My suburb was built in the 1950s and 60s, which makes 30 years seem recent. Take a look on the map and compare the older inner south with newer areas re pedestrian/cycling paths. At least you have them.

Sorry, I was meaning the hexagon pavers all around Tuggeranong, even in the Tuggeranong town park design it was raised as an issue. Most of Belconnen around the mall has been updated, Most around Woden has been updated. Most around civic has been done several times. Pretty sure I saw them redo the glebe park paving twice in 2 years.

For some reason the malls in Canberra like to go out rather than up which means things like the bus interchanges are poorly placed. The most I’ve seen done to Tuggeranong is a couple of coats of different colour paint to the chairs at the interchange that always smells like wee probably because there aren’t any easy to find public toilets.
Surprisingly Myers went downhill after they closed the entrance at the interchange.

As for the bike paths, yes we have them, South side is a lovely place to live and walk around. However I don’t really see the need to put on road cycle lanes next to actual cycle paths. (Lucky they only did a half asked job of it. Putting the bike signs on the road with no lanes.

Maya123 said :

gooterz said :

There was an attempt to update the frontage of the Hyperdome but failure to fix the traffic issue of the main street screwed it up. The main street in Tuggeranong should be one way and made into a mixed pedestrian area.

I’m sure people all over Canberra could come up with complaints about their areas if they chose to. So what is your point here? I don’t see how this particular example should be a reason to give as to why Tuggeranong is bad.

Perhaps because we always get the cheapest option. No thought or planning. Instead of fixing the roads just put In speed bumps in all the suburban streets.
Instead of updating the main street leave it all up to the mall to do.

BTW: whoever thought it would be a good idea to put two tent like rooms next to a crossing is an idiot. (out the front of the hyperdome).

The current gov even said they wouldn’t develop Tuggeranong anymore, but have sense changed that a little bit.

#22
screaming banshee6:05 am, 29 Jul 14

Maya123 said :

gooterz said :

An ACT Labor government committed to pushing the ACT public service out to gunners (when most of them probably live in Tuggeranong).

I should have said, I do agree with your first comment.

A lot of them probably live in gungahlin too, but gungahlin doesn’t have any federal depts

#23
qbngeek1:49 pm, 29 Jul 14

I have to agree with those that ask exactly what you did to make a difference? This seems like nothing more than a whinge for the sake of whinging.

Since we are whinging, I might have a go.
- I have no footpath outside my house, the nearest footpath is about 200-250m away.(But this suits me fine as I can manage on the road or the grass as can everyone else in my street)
- There is no drain along my street, instead there is a trench that runs to the creek at the bottom of the hill. (but it means I can drive onto my yard from anywhere, park anywhere and it can’t fill with leaves and mud)
- We have no shopping centre. (but we do have a main street full of shops and the shop keeps know my name, I ask how their kids are and they will put stuff on credit if I forget my wallet or the atm is not working)
- We have a single recreation ground that has to contain soccer, rugby, league, cricket, tennis and any other sports. (but I know where to find my kids)
- We have a hospital that is understaffed and needs more funding (but the staff are friendly and always willing to help)
- We have a K-12 public school and a k-6 catholic school, no uni or tafe, enrolments are always low and most kids go to canberra or goulburn once they get to year 7 (but I know all the primary teachers, am on the P&C, help out with carols and raffles and shows and can use the basketball court on weekends with my son)

Instead of focusing on the negative, try looking at the good things about life. Overall Braidwood is a brilliant place to live and visit. I also lived in Tuggernong for 4 years and there where many positives about living there

#24
Ryoma4:41 pm, 29 Jul 14

Raging Tempest said :

People don’t shop at Tuggeranong because its full of cheap tat $2 shops. No Myer, DJs or quality clothes or shoe shops. So we go to Woden, which is only marginally better, or Civic. As long as the owners insist on driving it into the ground and treating the locals like poor bogans, it will be shunned in favour of other places.

I do wonder if this general topic has something to do with it. Another poster mentioned that much of Tuggers was built at roughly the same time, and presumably this means that much of it is looking run-down to more-or-less the same extent (I don’t know this for sure, am just extrapolating from these other comments).

Presumably back when Tuggers began, at a similar time to Woden, life was quite different in a number of ways; the supermarket duopoly was not as dominant, and there were sprinklings of shops scattered through the suburbs in various parts of Canberra by the National Capital Authroirty or whoever back then. I’d also imagine that, outside of Civic, the retail offer was likely very similar across Woden, Tugeers, and Belco.

No doubt the plan was also that further Federal and ACT Government employment would end up down in Tuggeranong. But, as with many things in Australia, the way we plan things often locks us into path dependence. Presumably, other departments found that their existing staff did not want to move, or they found a need to be closer to other areas of government. Businesses invested in the locations where there were more customers, and in time, so did governments in terms of facilities and infrastructure.

Then the ACT got self-government, and the free market way of doing things intensified; places like Kingston and Braddon, with central locations, saw property values (and percieved lifestyle benefits) rise. As a result, so did the land prices. Tuggers remained a relatively cheap place to own a larger block of land on which to plonk 3 and 4-bedroom houses. However, it may be that businesses saw little reason to invest in the Tuggers region, perhaps because the people buying the blocks of land had little disposable income left over from moderate gross incomes?

And now it is likely that for many people, where they choose to shop is a choice. Beyond the weekly grocery run, I personally find much of Australian retail pretty bland, and so I buy some things online. I’m aware that this does rob our local retailers of trade, but in many cases, I’d rather see their space turned over to something better – especially more housing. Along these lines, (and admitting I live up north near Gungahlin) I have absolutely zero reason to visit Tuggeranong. To me, it is just another town centre – even though its setting is nicer than elsewhere.

I’m not looking to blame anyone for this, or to run anyone down. Tuggeranong, given its population, likely does deserve greater investment. The catch is, given how strapped both the Feds and ACT Government are, where will the money come from? It seems to me that Tuggers is facing the same types of issues as many of our smaller regional towns in trying to attract investment and employment beyond the housing sector.

Maybe the local residents group can argue for looser zoning regulations, or something similar, so as to create conditions that will improve its relative attraction compared to other parts of Canberra?

#25
rommeldog566:18 pm, 29 Jul 14

I think that we in the ACT are a bit spoil for services. What gets me is what I believe is a total imbalance between spending on Tuggers compared to the rest of the ACT. However, given that Tuggers voted more Lib than Labor/green at the last ACT election, its not that surprising is it.

I hope that the remaining ACT Labor MLAs are looking over their shoulders in the run up to the election in 2016 ! They seem totally incapable of redressing that imbalance.

#26
John Hargreaves Ex M6:36 pm, 29 Jul 14

Thank you to all posters. To answer just one question which was “what did you do about it?” The answer is I made a pest of myself at any opportunity to advocate for Tuggers, with limited success. But that does not stop me wanting to have a conversation opened up again from time to time. Again, thanks to all posters.

#27
dungfungus8:28 am, 30 Jul 14

rommeldog56 said :

I think that we in the ACT are a bit spoil for services. What gets me is what I believe is a total imbalance between spending on Tuggers compared to the rest of the ACT. However, given that Tuggers voted more Lib than Labor/green at the last ACT election, its not that surprising is it.

I hope that the remaining ACT Labor MLAs are looking over their shoulders in the run up to the election in 2016 ! They seem totally incapable of redressing that imbalance.

The Labor MLAs in Brindabella will all be wiped out by a runaway tram in the next election.
Mick Gentleman is poised to repeat history.

#28
Primal10:07 am, 30 Jul 14

The recent sale of Homeworld to new owners could usher in some further commercial growth. The offices to the east of Anketell still seem to be underused, though.

#29
pink little birdie2:37 pm, 30 Jul 14

Previously when I lived in Tuggeranong I would go northside for places like Civic for eating and shopping which there was not the number of eateries in Tuggeranong. Belconnen had Toys’r’us and lincraft.
There was nothing in Tuggernong that Belconnen didn’t have. The toy shop Tuggeranong square used to have was good but small and out of the way. I used to prefer shopping at Big W as opposed to Kmart so I prefered Woden. But then Tuggeranong got a Target so it was a mute point.

When my frienship circle was based in Kambah, Wanniassa and Lanyon our main shops was Tuggeranong but there were a few shops Woden had that Tuggeranong didn’t and Woden had slightly better styles and quality of clothes.

I now live in Belconnen cos that close to my work and it’s easier. I occassionally go to Tuggers for family dinners (Erindale and Anktell st) it’s much better now there is a JB and a Big W. But Tuggeranong is a little bit warren like so it seems it takes forever to get anywhere and there’s not a lot of natural light.

I tend to have not a lot of disposable income so I rarely spend time just shopping and if I do it’s lunch times near work or really specific items at speciality stores in gold creek or Fyshwick.

Nest renovation of Tuggeranong should be up and with Natural light. and an actual park just outside the doors. (it’s a long way to the park) The lack of green space near the centre is annoying along with the lack of natural light . and have coffee shops near the park

Or the y could just install Vitamin D lights in the centre.

#30
Holden Caulfield3:34 pm, 30 Jul 14

You have ignored Gungahlin because it suits your argument to do, I suspect.

Tuggeranong had it pretty good compared to Gungahlin during their respective establishments, IMO.

The position of the Hyperdome, pretty much at the southern end of Tuggeranong, probably hasn’t helped either. From Wanniassa it’s not much more effort to go to Woden, for example.

I always assumed the appeal for Tuggers was the access and views to the mountains. Otherwise, it’s not like it has suddenly been moved further away from the rest of Canberra. It’s always been bl**dy miles away.

Even Gungahlin, oft derided for being so far away, has around half of its suburbs around the same distance from Civic as Phillip.

I’d argue Tuggeranong is much better catered for with road infrastructure than Gungahlin. GDE is a poor imitation of the Parkway and the fact it was built under the eye of local government also affected its timeliness and probably its effectiveness too.

I’ve never seen the appeal to Tuggeranong myself. And pretty much for all the reasons mentioned. They’re not new.

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