News that Bunnings Warehouse will take up the former Masters site at Majura Park may be the first move in a series of plays that could see the relocation of Canberra Railway Station to Fyshwick.
Bunnings staff at the Fyshwick store on Newcastle Street have been aware all year that they would be transferring to Majura Park in 2018.
One staff member said the ACT Government and Bunnings had been in negotiations for some time with the aim of the Government acquiring the site to develop a new railway station.
Bunnings said in a statement that a final decision had not been made on the future of the Fyshwick site, but it was likely that it would continue to trade ‘in one form or another’.
“Team members will either relocate to the new Canberra Airport site or remain at the current Fyshwick store,” the Acting State Operations Manager NSW South and ACT, Robyn Hudson, said.
“We will continue to ensure our team members and the community are kept up to date with any progress on our plans.”
But Bunnings did not respond to questions about whether it had been involved in any negotiations with the ACT Government.
Land between the rail line and Bunnings is vacant and being used as a makeshift car park. Combined with the Bunnings site, it could allow for a rail and bus interchange, car park and integrated mixed use development, as recommended in 2009 by the Railway Master Plan for the ACT.
Moving Canberra Railway Station from Kingston was first mooted by then Planning Minister Andrew Barr in 2007 when he unveiled the East Lake Renewal draft plan.
It provided for options to relocate the railway from Kingston to possible sites near the Monaro Highway, or Newcastle Street west near what is now the Canberra Outlet Centre, or Newcastle Street east.
According to the East Lake draft report, moving the railway station would enable the development of a large parcel of land now occupied by railway yards in Kingston to be integrated within the urban fabric of East Lake. A corridor for future transitway options such as light rail would be retained.
The plan envisaged, high-density residential areas for 9,000 people and light industries, including 5,000 residential units and 16,000sqm of commercial space.
The East Lake area includes the Jerrabomberra wetlands on Lake Burley Griffin’s eastern shoreline; Kingston’s railway line; agricultural land; and historic Causeway Hall at Kingston.
But the proposal was abandoned in 2012 after the site was found to be contaminated with asbestos and a dispute with the Commonwealth over the clean-up bill.
However, the Commonwealth had already remediated the Kingston rail yards.
Possible moves to relocate the manifestly inadequate Canberra Railway Station comes as now Chief Minister Andrew Barr embarks on a massive urban renewal program and negotiations with NSW on a faster, if not high-speed, Canberra-Sydney rail link.
Have you heard about this plan? Does Canberra need a new railway station? Would Fyshwick be a good location?