ACT Government moves ahead with West Basin plans

Ian Bushnell 1 April 2020 43
West Basin Stage 2

An illustration of the West Basin Stage 2 project. Images: City Renewal Authority.

A tender has been issued for a consultant to manage the next stage of the City Renewal Authority’s Lake Burley Griffin West Basin development plan on behalf of the government.

The tender comes a week after the National Capital Authority announced the North Curtin horse paddocks land swap with the ACT.

The ACT Government has already contracted Chincivil Pty Ltd to build Stage 2, which involves extending the boardwalk and reclaiming the lake bed. The government is now looking for a project manager for the 18-month construction period and the two-year consolidation phase.

The 2019-20 budget includes $10 million for early work on the project, with a further $25 million allocated across the next two financial years.

The overall West Basin development, described as transformational and a priority project for the government, is part of the City to the Lake concept and eventually will mean the construction of about 2000 apartments behind lakeside parkland and a promenade.

“West Basin is an opportunity to unite Canberra City with the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore,” the tender document says. “This catalyst precinct will set a new standard of the design and realisation of the public realm in the ACT and encourage a rethinking of applicable standards to ensure best practice urban environments.”

Stage 2 involves extending the Henry Rolland Park boardwalk, with the construction of 500 metres of 8.1 metre-wide pre-cast concrete boardwalk and lake wall.

About 2.8 hectares of the lake bed will be reclaimed for future works, requiring about 80,000 cubic metres of fill. It will need to settle and be topped up.

The reclaimed area will be landscaped, subject to a further NCA Works Approval, as a temporary measure until further development is approved.

City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said last week that future stages would include a new lakefront park and landscaped public spaces adjacent to the boardwalk that will separate the lake edge from any new buildings.

Reclaimed area

One idea is to use the reclaimed area as a tree nursery for future stages.

Buildings would be set back a minimum of 55 metres from the lake edge and the tender documents say the reclaimed land would be filled so that it can accommodate building foundations, including those for multi-storey structures. Construction will have to account for basements below the waterline.

The old boat hire building and jetty facilities, former bike hire building, and picnic facilities will be demolished and about 120 trees, mostly willows and poplars, will be removed.

The tender documents say no new permanent tree planting is planned for Stage 2, which will be part of the future Acton Waterfront development. However, the temporary landscape plan for the reclaimed area considers using the area as a tree nursery for future planting there.

West Basin lake edge

The new West Basin lake edge and reclaimed area.

Other works include temporary traffic management measures such as car park closures and temporary realignment of the shared path network, and the installation of boardwalk lighting and furniture.

While the number of apartments envisaged for West Basin has been flagged at 2000, Mr Snow said the master planning previously undertaken for the Acton Waterfront project was being reviewed before any decision was made on its scope, timing and delivery method.

“Building development will proceed in accordance with timing set out in the 2019-20 to 2022-23 Indicative Land Release Program which would see the first blocks of land being released to market in the mid-2020s,” he said.

Construction of Stage 2 is scheduled to commence in the second half of 2020, but this may have to be reviewed in light of the coronavirus emergency.

While West Basin is now ACT land it remains subject to the National Capital Plan and future stages will need NCA approval.


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43 Responses to ACT Government moves ahead with West Basin plans
Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:32 am 12 May 20

It may have been revealed somewhere else already but is stamp duty paid both ways on this sweetheart deal or is there some convenient exemption concession?

Stanleyhistory Stanleyhistory 9:33 pm 11 May 20

This is a typically unnecessary and undesirable land deal by the Barr government. It will destroy the amenity of the West Basin and basically give prime lakeside land to a small wealthy group of privileged residents and deny access to the lakeside by the great majority of Canberrans. There must be better ways to make better use of this area. The present plan seems to be yet another example of how Canberra has been sold out by a Labor/Greens government that we might have expected better of. But no, Andrew Barr sells out to the developers, yet again. But what alternative do we have in the coming election? Canberra has been sold to the developers. Sham, Barr, shame!

mark boast mark boast 3:16 pm 16 Apr 20

I was involved as a member of the public in a consultation on future ideas for this site and I think it was done well as a needs based study. Regardless of the final design I suggest that a key concern will be the transition arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists during the construction period. It will be disruptive but keeping the continuity of the Lake Path will do a lot to dispel criticism of the project and gain a degree of confidence in its execution.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:31 pm 05 Apr 20

“the tender documents say the reclaimed land would be filled so that it can accommodate building foundations, including those for multi-storey structures. Construction will have to account for basements below the waterline.”

What could possibly go wrong?

    JC JC 2:19 pm 06 Apr 20

    You missed this bit:“ Buildings would be set back a minimum of 55 metres from the lake edge ”

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:34 am 12 May 20

    Is that the existing lake edge or the proposed one?

Tjilpi1 Tjilpi1 5:26 pm 05 Apr 20

The ACT Government denied all the way along that tjey would not be building over the existing lake bed … that it will all be jsed for parkland. Now it has been exposed at last that they will be building multistory buildings where there is currently lake (i.e. at the jetty). Cynically, they are pushing ahead with this when we actually will not need thousands more apartments in a post-Coronavirus dystopian Canberra. This is a real estate project for the developers, not a nation building project for people.

meomi meomi 8:40 am 05 Apr 20

This is horrible! There are many water birds and insects nest in the plants along the lake, now all become concrete! The concrete path doesn’t work well in local climate, it is either too hot and glaring in summer, or encourage wind sweeping through the foreshore. Have any of the government officers went to the lake on a windy day? The foreshore need more trees, plants and soft edges for the good of human and animals! And how will the site deal with the storm water ? Is the polluted water from new development just going to be washed into the lake?

    JC JC 2:07 pm 06 Apr 20

    You do know where this is don’t you? The current foreshore where this is planned is far from this pristine ecosystem you are talking about.

    As for stormwater again you realise the lake itself is part of the stormwater system as it is. So why wouldn’t it flow into the lake like it does now, in particular from the carparks that currently fill the vast majority of this land.

jof50 jof50 6:52 am 05 Apr 20

I’m looking forward to a new park on the lakefront to replace the sea of asphalt that passes for public open space at the moment. Canberra needs a waterfront connection with its city centre rather than turning its back to the water. I’m looking forward to seeing sailing boats from city streets and the building heights,- despite silly descriptions of it as “high rise” – will ensure the place remains human scale. The disinformation peddled by those who would leave Acton the way it is are proof of the adage that you don’t let facts (and a better city) get in the way of your zealotry.

    BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 9:36 am 10 Apr 20

    Sydney’s CBD literally faces the harbour but unless you’re boarding a ferry or a cruise ship, i.e. you go to the very edge of it, you wouldn’t know it was there.

    Please explain why the CBD needs to face the water at West Basin. It’s not as if the lake is an essential part of the supply infrastructure for Canberra, as the harbour was for Sydney’s CBD up until 100 years ago.

    And really, haven’t we worked out yet that the notion of a CBD, of which Canberra was designed to have several, not just the one in North Canberra named Civic, is becoming much less relevant in the 21st century.

Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 6:10 pm 03 Apr 20

We can't afford this at this time....put it on ice. The Government has just spent how many millions which we don't have

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 8:15 am 05 Apr 20

    Craig Elliott that’s what you said about the tram

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 4:52 pm 05 Apr 20

    Elroy Jones and if you look at the ACT audited financial statements you’ll find net financial liability, net debt, net operating balance, etc are all on a disastrous trajectory (thanks to them Tram?. This current crisis may well bust the land development Ponzi bubble that’s been propping up the woeful state of ACT finances.

maxblues maxblues 1:49 pm 03 Apr 20

Instead of pussy-footing around by reclaiming only 2.8 hectares of the lake, the Barr government should dismantle the Scrivener Dam and return the lake area to its former sheep paddock glory. Then, fill it with apartment blocks. It would certainly make the tram bridge a whole lot shorter. You know it makes sense.

    switch switch 6:55 pm 05 Apr 20

    Can we get the Lancaster out of the War Memorial to do the dismantling?

Emmac Ph Emmac Ph 11:36 am 03 Apr 20

I love that there are no buildings in the plan just like no wires for the tram propaganda, smoke and mirrors

Ruth Brown Ruth Brown 11:20 am 03 Apr 20

With all the city's parking spaces being turned into high-rises, where will future Floriade visitors park? How will no parking for Floriade affect the tourism revenue of the city, and can we really afford it?

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 8:15 am 05 Apr 20

    Ruth Brown there’s a tram stop being built out the front and any above ground park is being replaced with sub-terrain parking.

    Ruth Brown Ruth Brown 8:24 am 05 Apr 20

    Elroy Jones Interstate coaches can't fit in underground carparks. I catch the tram to work & haven't seen anywhere between Gungahlin & the city with a carpark big enough to hold the Floriade crowd.

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 2:24 pm 05 Apr 20

    Ruth Brown that’s because they’re underground (where they should be!!) DA won’t get through this Gov without serious attention to parking.

    Ruth Brown Ruth Brown 1:03 pm 06 Apr 20

    Can you tell me whether coaches from interstate are going to be likely to fit into these hidden underground parking areas (wherever they may be) when they can't into any other underground parking areas?

Ken Beck Ken Beck 11:10 am 03 Apr 20

Look at all the construction holes appearing in the city, the rock and fill have to go somewhere.

Avril Pounds Avril Pounds 10:36 am 03 Apr 20

I think all major decisions should be put on hold until the coronavirus pandemic is over. I'm hearing too many stories of governments rushing through controversial decisions whilst the general public is distracted with covid-19 issues.

    Emmac Ph Emmac Ph 11:35 am 03 Apr 20

    Avril Pounds it’s what they with lots of things- distract and then make changes that don’t benefit the average person. Unfortunately people don’t pay enough attention, we’re all too busy trying to pay off loans and keep up with the Jones’ these days.

    Maria Greene Maria Greene 12:22 pm 03 Apr 20

    Avril Pounds and while you can't hold citizens protest meetings

    Brent Sloane Brent Sloane 12:54 pm 03 Apr 20

    Avril Pounds This has been on the agenda for a very long time and has been through years of work and consultation. It’s not being rushed through.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:32 pm 03 Apr 20

    Avril Pounds think you will find this is business as usual not rushing things through.

Greg Minjoot Greg Minjoot 10:31 am 03 Apr 20

Proposed colour of water in Lake Burley Griffin.

Dale Harding Dale Harding 10:27 am 03 Apr 20

Yep fill the lake in around that area, build lots of concrete high rise things, then we won’t need a tram to cross the lake

    Ian Barges Ian Barges 2:35 pm 03 Apr 20

    Dale Harding but you need the tram to Woden with all of its new high rise buildings too.

    Dale Harding Dale Harding 3:07 pm 03 Apr 20

    Ian Barges just drain the lake build a tram line over the river flats and you would not need another large long bridge

Vander Leal Vander Leal 10:22 am 03 Apr 20

Like the frog in the boiling pan people don't realise someone is cooking you...

There's no city... IIt was designed not to be... This is a forced high density. Remember that when your job moves to civic (if it didn't already during Barr's years) and you sit in your car during a traffic jam, when you pay $20+/day to park your car so someone can break in and the police to tell you "sorry, we don't have resources to allocate to your (now common and irrelevant) case".

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 10:35 am 03 Apr 20

    Yes... Because every office job will move to the city and pay the associated higher rents because Andrew Barr told them too 👍

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 10:49 am 03 Apr 20

    try Wagga?

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 11:31 am 03 Apr 20

    This is putting high density housing in the city so there's less traffic?

    Vander Leal Vander Leal 1:52 pm 03 Apr 20

    Jesse Mahoney yes... like what happens in every major city... high density reduces traffic... what about we all live in a single 500 stories building built by GeoCon? So we'll all ditch our cars and use only lifts... look, solved all our problems...

    Vander Leal Vander Leal 1:55 pm 03 Apr 20

    Brent Hutch do you believe the government departments are really worried about the price tag? They tried to move the whole Home Affairs from Belco to Civic, didn't they? Where are all the Woden APS working from now? Ohh... Really? Civic? By emptying the town centres, all other business will move to Civic as well... enjoy your boiling pan. :)

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 2:33 pm 03 Apr 20

    Vander - they put out a tender to relocate Immi to be closer to Parliament. In the end they stayed in Belco and the elements of Home Affairs which were in the City, relocated to the Airport. So the City lost workers due to that.

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 2:36 pm 03 Apr 20

    So you're against apartment living Vander, fair enough. You don't need to live in one. But if the people that do live in apartments had to live in lower density houses, we would be building a lot more houses on the fringe to accommodate them and further adding to your gripe about traffic. Your solution doesn't sound much better than your problem.

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 5:33 pm 03 Apr 20

    His solution doesn't sound better because he has no understanding of community planning.

    Mark Valerius Mark Valerius 7:12 pm 03 Apr 20

    Woden isn’t empty of APS. Plenty still work there.

Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 10:20 am 03 Apr 20

At 2.25 https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/canberra-lake-springtime-sixty-four

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