Bigger, better Kippax Fair step closer but loss of open space will rankle

Ian Bushnell 19 May 2020 17
Kippax Fair

Another milestone has been reached in the proposed redevelopment of the Kippax Group Centre. Photo: Supplied.

The price may be the loss of some open space but hopes are high that West Belconnen residents will finally have an expanded Kippax Fair Shopping Centre that will be suitable to the community.

Both the Belconnen Community Council and the owners of Kippax Fair have welcomed the ACT Government’s recommended draft Territory Plan Variation for the Kippax Group Centre.

BCC chair Glen Hyde acknowledged DV361 was not perfect and not everyone in the community would be happy, especially at the proposed rezoning of 16,000 square metres of open space to accommodate a bigger centre.

But he said that after five years of continuous consultation and a final push over Christmas when the process appeared to have stalled, about two dozen concerns had been cut to less than a handful.

“We know that in order for the Kippax precinct to have a shopping centre that will be able to comfortably deal with another 30,000 residents over the next few decades we will lose green space,” Mr Hyde said.

“We were always opposed to just a willy-nilly approach to it but some of the compromise aspects of the redesign gave us a great amount of confidence that this time around the community is being listened to. Yes, we’re still going to lose a substantial proportion of the bottom field to the expanded centre [but] that’s got to happen anyway.

”If we can get some control over what’s happening this time around we think that’s a good thing.”

The Kippax Fair owners are looking to expand across the Holt playing fields with a new supermarket, more retail, restaurants and residential.

Mr Hyde said a design that offered more flow for pedestrians, commuters and motorists, underground parking, the relocation of the skate park away from the centre and residential units instead of a blank wall on the north-east of the expansion was a big improvement on previous proposals.

As well as various rezonings, DV361 proposes two new access corridors including a new road and a separate pedestrian path connecting Moyes Crescent to Hardwick Crescent east, to improve the access, circulation and movements throughout the centre.

DV361 retains the existing two-storey height limit in the group centre while introducing three and six-storey height limits in selected locations.

The loss of open space dominated consultation submissions so Mr Hyde acknowledges the community might still be unhappy but he believes more playing fields will come on stream will compensate.

”Nobody wants to see open space lost but the compromises are all-round. The fact [is] that we do have Higgins online, an opportunity to get the Ginninderry precinct playing fields up and running over next couple of years, and hopefully in a decade we’ll have a combined playing field for Molonglo and West Belconnen,” he said.

There are also playing fields in the south-eastern corner of the Kippax Group Centre not being used or irrigated which could be reinstated, as cited in the consultation report for DV361.

Mr Hyde said the council had asked the Kippax Fair owners to launch its pre-DA consultation with the community.

”We don’t want them to put [the development application] to the community until it’s at a point everyone agrees it’s ready to go out,” he said.

Centre owner Philip Christodoulou said the detail of DV361 would now be considered as it awaited information from the government on the release of a number of Territory-owned blocks adjacent to the Centre before preparing a development application.

“We know the community supports this development. Considerable work and public consultation has been invested in the Kippax Group Centre Master Plan since it was released in 2015, and we have worked closely with the local community, the Belconnen Community Council, and other stakeholders to refine the design for the expansion of the Kippax Centre and the invigoration of community assets,” he said.

“The community can rest assured that we are ready to start once all the planning processes are ticked off.

“We are encouraged by the support shown for the project by the Minister, the government more generally and the Planning Authority. We look forward to its further progress as we work to resolve the outstanding issues then move on to preparation of a DA which can then be shared with the community for feedback.”

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17 Responses to Bigger, better Kippax Fair step closer but loss of open space will rankle
Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 9:26 pm 21 May 20

The ovals have alreafy been replaced by upgrading the ones in Higgins. They were football fields not parks.

Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 1:55 pm 21 May 20

Isn't there about 2 football fields worth of carparking at Kippax? Why not build a multi storey or some basement carparking, and have lots of space to expand without sacrificing community greenspace?

Jason Eyles Jason Eyles 11:30 am 21 May 20

Desperately needed to satisfy tomorrow's customers, Ginninderry, Strathairn, Whitlam, even potentially towards Murambatemen. It could bring diversity in retail and better facilities for locals.

Yes Westfield has become a lot quieter with Covid and great retail online. But do the people of West Belconnen really want to travel south for great shops?

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 10:36 am 21 May 20

“The price may be the loss of some open space, but ...”

That’s been the mantra for Canberra development for the last 10 years.

One day the good burghers of Canberra will wake up and find there is no more open space.

Amanda OBrien Amanda OBrien 7:42 pm 20 May 20

Bring it on! With all the development going on in West Belconnen/Whitlam, a revamped Kippax Fair will be greatly utilised 😊

Colin Vine Colin Vine 5:43 pm 20 May 20

Kippax does not need to expand. It has two craps shops (Reject Shop and the overfull fire hazard one next to Aldi) already. If you can’t get what you need at Kippax surely you can take the 10min bus ride to Belco?

    Amanda OBrien Amanda OBrien 7:43 pm 20 May 20

    Colin Vine have you seen the development happening out there? Whitlam and Ginninderry. A newer, bigger and more inviting town centre is needed 😊

    Colin Vine Colin Vine 7:56 pm 20 May 20

    Kippax is very inviting. The ability to slip in and out of the supermarkets without being forced to pass any other stores is the best thing about it.

    Perhaps the new suburbs should have a shopping centre constructed as part of the development?

    Mat Barber Mat Barber 11:02 pm 20 May 20

    Agree with colin, I'm in Gungahlin and I despise having to go to the marketplace to get groceries because of the stuff around with parking, smaller centres where you can park outside and walk straight into the supermarket are great.

    Imo they could just turn Kippax fair into a 3 story building with shops lower level and a level of apartments or something to fund the redevelopment.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:18 am 21 May 20

    Mat Barber who is to say that will change?

    The whole thing is a change to the territory plan of what is allowed not what might end up there.

    Plus there would be not guarantee the owners of the current shopping centre would get the land to expand, it might go to another group, so you might end up with two centres a bit like Gungahlin with its 3 or 4 different centres.

Reb Kon Reb Kon 5:22 pm 20 May 20

Why? Why expand into green space when the surrounding town centre could be redeveloped to accommodate increased retail?

Kippax town centre is in need of a revamp but I don't think increased mall space is the answer. Have a look at how empty Belco mall is and ask yourself why we think we can sustain another 10000m2 of retail in an economic climate that is seeing even the giants struggle.

If Kippax fair actually were so concerned, they could renovate the current space. They can't even maintain the toilets in the current facility.

They wouldn't dare push an agenda like this in the inner north or south. This isn't what's best for west Belconnen.

    Rosie Jennings Rosie Jennings 5:28 pm 20 May 20

    Rebecca Ebbott clean up and utilise what is already there.

    Amanda OBrien Amanda OBrien 7:45 pm 20 May 20

    Rebecca Ebbott Belco mall is usually very busy. Even this week it’s been packed and the areas that have been quiet for the last month or so are re-opening and getting foot traffic back. A bigger and better Kippax will be great and just in time for all the development happening out there 😊

    Reb Kon Reb Kon 7:54 pm 20 May 20

    So many retailers were heading under pre covid.

    Toys r us, Harris scarfe, myer, there is so much empty space and there will be more to come. I'm not completely against redevelopment, I just think that there is a hell of a lot more you could do to reinvigorate the town centre and provide different retail opportunities before eating into green space.

    I mean they tried to stop development in manuka for a single tree, but we are happy to roll over and donate 2 football fields and a skate park?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:45 pm 20 May 20

    Rebecca Ebbott how do you propose to get all the surrounding owners to get together and redevelop?

Vanessa Jones Vanessa Jones 5:03 pm 20 May 20

Looks like the BCC is just a PR arm of the ACT government...... How many posts of Tara Cheyne does the BCC Facebook page do, compared to all 5 Belco area MLAs..... Weird..... The BCC is govt funded via ratepayers and should be fair and objective....

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:06 pm 20 May 20

    Vanessa Jones funny thought you wanted more facilities for “West Belconnen”.

    And where in the article is Tara Cheyne mentioned. Even the BCC gets just a fleeting mention.

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