Conversations about life in Canberra and the surrounding region continued to thrive on The RiotACT during 2019. Readers were active participants in the discussion, regularly submitting a lively stream of comments on social media and the website.
Here’s a wrap of the stories that attracted the most reader comments in 2019, with articles about transport dominating the list.
Queanbeyan’s Royal Hotel can now stake a claim as having the best steak in Australia, after being crowned home of Australia’s best steak following a nationwide search for the best pub meals. The title comes after Yak Brewing scoured 1890 venues for the best pub meals across five categories including chicken parma, fish and chips, steak, burgers and pork ribs.
Canberra may have spent much of December shrouded in smoke but come the new year, Summernats is set to belch great toxic clouds over EPIC and the surrounding suburbs. It has pitched a drag strip to a diplomatic Chief Minister Andrew Barr, but is this the right move? The proposal resulted in lively discussions on the website.
The ACT Government is set to target private car owners in a bid to reverse rising greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the Government would be encouraging car users to consider other ways of getting around the city.
While the Government said it would focus on helping people to take sustainable modes of transport like light rail, buses and active transport, readers were keen to weigh in with their thoughts.
Nearly 25 years ago, Josip Sladic set up Jo’s Juice, totally unaware of how successful his little stall would turn out to be. He has been a mainstay at the Old Bus Depot Markets for over two decades but during the year we brought you the news that Jo has poured his last juice at the Kingston venue.
The news led to an outpouring of support from Jo’s clients.
Further stages of light rail will include an east-west link from Belconnen to the Canberra Airport, and continue the already planned line to Woden further to Tuggeranong, the ACT Government’s $14 billion Infrastructure Plan confirmed in 2019.
The plan outlines already announced projects such as the $500 million Canberra Hospital expansion, Stage 2 of light rail to Commonwealth Park and Woden, and a new Canberra Theatre, but it also takes a longer-term view of what the ACT requires to service a population of half a million people.
Over 200 footy fans were hit with parking tickets during a Canberra Raiders match at GIO Stadium in August, with inspectors targeting vehicles parking on nature strips and the streets of Bruce. An ACT Government spokesperson said due to the significant amount of illegal and unsafe parking observed at previous events across the ACT, Access Canberra issued 207 infringements around GIO Stadium.
Lachlan Roberts’ article sparked enthusiastic debate about the surprise fines among RiotACT readers.
Despite reports of confusion and longer commutes, the ACT Government believes its roll-out of the new integrated public transport system in 2019 was a success, particularly with the popularity of light rail. Boosted by the month-long free ride with a MyWay card and workers back from school holidays, the light rail reported full carriages during the peak run into the city during the roll-out period.
But how did Canberrans rate the new network? Many responded with their feedback, both positive and negative.
Canberra Airport owner, philanthropist and Canberra Grammar School old boy Terry Snow donated $20 million to his former school in 2019. The funding will be used for a 1,400-seat auditorium, a music centre and a library in the heart of its campus. It is believed the donation is the largest endowment to a school in Australian history.
Architecturally designed to honour the existing Breezeway and forecourt to the school’s heritage quadrangle, the complex will include a 450 square-metre library, a formal entryway and a new assembly and concert hall.
The cost of congestion in the ACT and Queanbeyan is rising. Infrastructure Australia predicts it will increase from $289 million in 2016 to $504 million by 2031. That is no surprise. Of the 178,244 Canberrans who went to work last Census Day, 144,611 went by car. That’s 81.1 per cent or more than four in five people.
But is cycling the answer? Not all readers of The RiotACT thought so.
How would you feel about ditching your car one day a week and taking public transport instead? That’s what the ACT Government suggested as part of its aim of reaching its zero net emissions target by 2045.
The Government said it will provide “incentives” for Canberrans to consider active travel or public transport to move around our city, with transport accounting for more than 60 per cent of emissions, but it seems not all RiotACT readers were on board with the suggestion of leaving the car at home.