I’ve had a couple of long conversations with Summernats’ Chic Henry, who is tossing up whether to run in the 2016 ACT election.
He told me that the Liberals want him to stand but one of the reasons he hasn’t yet committed is his age. If he were fifteen years younger he’d have no hesitation, but as it is he’s unsure.
He will make a decision by September or October to leave himself time to do what’s needed, including grass roots pre-election work like knocking on doors.
Chic has quite a lot to say about the light rail plan and the possible closure of EPIC:
“There is more value in promoting the very notion of electric cars, trucks and buses in Canberra to support the clean future.
It was moving along for a while and stalled and as usual, unless people of some consequence drive it, it dies. The late Chris Peters had that vision.
A tram to the airport is wasted effort. There is not likely to be enough housing to support it and as for increased tourist visits, the sun may rise in the west before that time.
Canberra airport has great value as a freight hub especially if a VFT is to ever come to us. On another subject, the MAGLEV Consortium had the best plan, as it was to go towards the Snowy Mountains as a route to Melbourne. Good value in that.
If the proposed light rail for Canberra is to be built, the Community deserves to be shown the extent of the network, especially the proposed corridors. Without doubt, we can expect that Civic will be the hub from which all lines will radiate, with connections to Woden and the Valley, Belconnen and Gungahlin of course.
Consideration must be given to the Parliamentary Triangle, Russell, the Airport, Fyshwick and maybe even Queanbeyan.
These corridors and the supporting bus networks must be presented if we are to believe that the Canberra Community could realistically catch the light rail instead of using their cars.
Such corridors will naturally include bridges, overpasses and possible a tunnel somewhere as well as the resumption of specific real estate.
For example, a line through or close by to the Triangle going towards the Tuggeranong Valley will face two major obstacles, the first being our precious lake and the second, the hill on which Parliament House is built.
Let’s consider the bridge, the cost, the land and the public outcry. Right now we are hearing that the cost of Stage 1 is $800 mil or thereabouts.
Guaranteed it will go north of that and it’s on relatively flat ground.
Imagine what the next stage/s will cost.
We are hearing that EPIC may close and the land dedicated to housing. It is without doubt, valuable real estate but where will EPIC be then located?
What might be the cost of such relocation plus the cost of a suitable patch of ground?
Seriously, it is inconceivable that Canberra does not have a showground, especially one as amazingly multi-purpose as EPIC.
We are led to believe that we, as a community, have above average intelligence.
It is immensely important to visualise the future for town planners, so why not give us the big planning picture with reasonable costing and a time frame.
Just maybe, we might get it. Sadly though, we must suffer the political games that parties play.
The late Martin Luther King once said, ‘I have a dream’.
Chic Henry, proud Canberra resident, says ‘I have a fear. A fear that Capital Metro Stage 1 may be the tram to nowhere as the only stage ever built’”.