Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Get RSM on your side at tax time.

Building height restrictions under review

By GnT - 9 September 2007 43

Unlike other cities, Canberra’s skyscape is lacking those super tall skyscrapers typical of bigger cities. We have had laws since the 70s restricting the height of new buildings to no higher than the Australian War Memorial or Parliament House. However some developers want this restriction lifted to encourage more higher density living in the city, following the advice of a Canadian expert.

Of course there are many voices saying it will damage Canberra’s character and compromise the ‘Griffin Legacy’.

By the way, has anyone ever lived in Vancouver, the “world’s most livable city”?

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
43 Responses to
Building height restrictions under review
ephemerac 11:10 am 10 Sep 07

What’s the problem with Catherine Carter, Gungahlin Al? She makes more sense to me that most of the no-hopers we’ve got in the current local government.

But I digress. I’m all for higher buildings, some higher buildings, in the right locations ie. Civic. Look at some of the recent fiascos where huge bulky government department buildings are too small, even before public servants have moved into them! I’ve worked in one such “purpose built” building, and we had people flung across five different buildings because there wasn’t enough room in the “purpose built” one. If additional height was allowed in certain areas, that could stop that problem.

Personally, I’m terrified of the prospect of the ACT planning mob being given more power than they’ve got now. Its the only thing that makes me hope the libs win federally, so more responsibility isn’t handed over entirely to incompetent local agencies.

VY Berlina – reading the article again, I don’t think it was proposed that relaxing height limits would be for residential. It looks like it would be for office buildings too. Bring it on I say.

Gungahlin Al 9:53 am 10 Sep 07

I couldn’t believe this article.

That’s all Canberra needs – Surfers bloody Paradise in the country. Has anyone stopped to considr just how much additional development is currently allowable under existing planning, particularly around London Circuit and Catherine Carter’s much-bleated about City West? The density of Civic could probably be tripled without adding a single storey to height limits.

The NCA is straying way beyond their brief now, and clearly under undue influence from the PCA, for whom no building could be too high, no profit to obscene.

Bob McMullan at the Gungahlin Community Council recently promised to rein in the NCA influence so the ACT Government can get on with the planning in this city, and a good thing it would be too, I think.

hingo 9:47 am 10 Sep 07

I think the height restrictions need to be kept in Civic so buildings won’t tower over the War Memorial etc. Tall buildings create wind tunnels and is one of the many things that is unpleasant about Sydney. If they want to build skyscrapers, put them in Woden where there are already towering eye sores.

Pandy 9:08 am 10 Sep 07

IKEA is to be built at the airport

Maelinar 8:27 am 10 Sep 07

Canberra wont be a city until theres an IKEA here.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 7:12 am 10 Sep 07

As a long term local, and local property investor, I think that having lots of tall buildings would be a disaster, for several reasons:
1) Initially, developers will only build premium style accommodation, and prices will be very, very high (New Acton in the City STARTS at 520k…).
2) The open airy character will be lost, leading to the same sanitised character of inner city Sydney (the reason lots of Canberrans choose not to live there) – I think is one of those aspects of Canberra people won’t miss until it’s gone.
3) Stuffing so many more people into a smaller area leads to traffic problems like larger cities (except we only have buses for public transport).

I’d much rather see more medium density housing, ranging from basic to premium, spread through existing and new suburbs. This is ensures a nice spread of housing options, will a resulting range of prices (so people can still buy a home to live in). Coupled with this needs to be more ‘satellite’ infrastructure, so there are options for people as far as work and entertainment goes outside the city. As Canberra grows, the city will still be considered premium location, and prices have a LOT further to run before running into resistance. Drawing heaps more people into the city as a policy will simply swamp what’s there (or could be built there), and makes satellite infrastructure hard to justify, when in reality families in the suburbs are who really need this infrastructure.

asp 3:14 am 10 Sep 07

I plan to ditch Canberra for Canada and Vancouver following Uni.

AussieGal83 10:46 pm 09 Sep 07

Yeah I lived in Vancouver in 04. Its an awesome awesome city.

Traitorsgate 10:16 pm 09 Sep 07

Higher density building, and as a consequence high rise buildings are I believe an inevitability in Canberra. The whole concept of decentralization may appear fine on paper but it is IMHO one of the driving reasons behind the long held opinion of many that Canberra while picture post card pretty on the outside, is a city without a soul. The manner in which areas like Civic become virtual ghost towns outside of business hours is eerily reminiscent of some Sci-Fi film, it can be quite off putting to visitors. Granted with the current redevelopment of Civic with an emphasis on high density apartment living this phenomenon that so many people unfortunately identify with Canberra may well change for the better.

Kramer 10:09 pm 09 Sep 07

I think we could have higher buildings, provided the “apparent” height of the building wasn’t excessive. So in low lying areas, you could have pretty high buildings, whereas on higher rigelines, etc you would be limited by the current laws.

gooterz 9:48 pm 09 Sep 07

Maybe then canberra will lost its country town status…

noodle 9:31 pm 09 Sep 07

I personally think it would be great to have greater density in some part of Canberra, Civic is an obvious choice. I grew up in Canberra, then left straight after uni because I thought Canberra “was a hole” and am now back again with my family. It seems to me we could have the best of both worlds here – the city atmosphere that so many people enjoy (and I’ll count myself as one of them) together with easy living in the suburbs. Plus, if we had higher density in Civic it might solve some of the problems with buses etc. A few higher buildings? Yep, I’d vote for that.

ant 9:09 pm 09 Sep 07

Yes, apparently we have to be like Sydney to be a “real” city. OK, let’s not be a city! We’ll be something else.

jemmy 8:43 pm 09 Sep 07

I don’t understand this constant push to turn Canberra into a mini-Sydney or Melbourne. I like the open spaces, the sense of breadth, the airy view to the mountains, the lack of crowds.

Someone made a comment the other day about development being part of Canberra “growing up”. I would prefer Canberra to think of itself as already grown and mature, and to relish it.

ant 8:33 pm 09 Sep 07

But that block of flats near the Lakeside, and that awful yellow thing in Woden are pretty high. And the MLC building! They want things taller than that? I think they are quite tall enough.

1 2 3

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site