I received a flyer in Thursday’s mail ‘Our Canberra (Tuggeranong Edition)’ from the ACT Government.
I was interested in the article titled ‘Design for a Revitalised Tuggeranong Town Centre’, as the failed Tuggeranong retail/commercial precinct continues to weigh our region down.
The flyer says “People will have the opportunity to provide feedback on walking and cycling arrangements on Anketell Street as part of the upgrade” (really, just feedback on walking and cycling?). The flyer directs readers to get more information from tccs.act.gov.au, which to my simple skills, is useless. If you type in ‘Tuggeranong Town Centre Revitalisation’ you get no hits – the closest seems to be a 2013 Master Plan.
Last night I saw the same initiative mentioned in Canberra Weekly (Thursday 11 August 2016 edition). This article mentions public consultation sessions on the 12/8, 13/8, and 16/8. Two of these three sessions are during work hours.
- The press release seems a stuff-up as the tccs.act.gov.au website doesn’t provide accessible supporting information, such as the upcoming consultation.
- The forward advice of the public consultation sessions is far too short (just a few days).
- The public sessions are inappropriately timed (work hours).
The Tuggeranong Town Centre is a terrible example of poor planning at its inception, and weak management since in trying to correct it. Rather than the more contemporary Belconnen Town Centre, ours looks very dated, dirty, and a failure. The precinct failed to optimise the water frontage by placing the library and other education/civic facilities on the water’s edge. This is not the highest and best use of the land – perhaps it was ideological thinking. The intermediate low rise office/retail (between the library and the Hyperdome) seems on its last legs.
Now to my observation the heralded $530,000 ‘Revitalisation’ is a smokescreen to the forgotten Tuggeranong ratepayer. It seems to be very small thinking that will tidy the area a little, but will go nowhere to fixing the structural problem of inappropriate land use. If the Government had the gumption, it should, while the area is obviously depressed, resume the land between the Hyperdome and the Library. It should then seek a Public/Private Partnership for a large scale residential/retail development that, over a 10 year period will:
- Properly link the foreshore with the Hyperdome Regional Shopping Centre
- Make best use of the north-facing lakeside area (such as outdoor dining/cafes)
- Include an attractive (to the developer) number of residential units, which would be in a prime location
- Accommodate a new library and other civic uses in a more connected, useful, and appropriate manner (libraries are doing it differently nowadays)
A few new trees, bike lanes and such are welcome but a very short term idea to make it look revitalised. Serious money is needed to set this precinct on the right path for the future, together with some gutsy/sensible decisions.
The lake is really quite nice – fixing this failure could really change the tone of Canberra towards Tuggeranong, and give the new residents something to cheer. I declare I have no property interest or business in the town centre – I just wonder at its failure.