16 November 2021

Dickson Pool reopens for summer, but major parking concerns remain

| Max O'Driscoll
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Exterior of Dickson Pool facility

Parking is hard to come by at Dickson Pool. Photo: Region Media.

“Want to split an Uber to the pool?”

This question may soon become a reality for users of Dickson Pool after the facility reopened for the summer on Monday, 15 November.

Operators say the current decrease in parking options in the area, caused by the Dickson Village development, is going to make finding nearby parking extremely difficult for patrons of Dickson Aquatic Centre and customers of nearby businesses.

The area was already struggling with parking during the pool’s closure for winter, and operators are expecting thousands of patrons a day once the weather warms up and the pool reopens.

Dickson Aquatic Centre spokesperson Taryn Langdon said parking was already at a “real premium” prior to the commencement of the Dickson Village construction.

“We’ve got some concerns around how Dickson in general is going to cope with the influx of people coming to the pool,” she said.

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“You can see already just walking through the Dickson precinct that people are having to park a lot further away from where they want to be.”

Dickson Aquatic Centre’s management team is concerned would-be patrons will head to the pools, fail to find a park and then leave, and be deterred from returning again in the future. Of particular concern is the holiday swimming programs which see a number of people coming and going at the same time.

“Our holiday programs, where we teach a lot of kids to swim during the summer, rely on their parents bringing them for their half-hour lesson, and we know its challenging in any case to get a park sometimes, but we’re worried kids will actually miss their programs because they can’t get a park and be dropped off at the pool,” said Ms Langdon.

The operators wrote to the ACT Government about the parking situation in July 2021, and a representative came out to have a look and listen to their concerns. But unfortunately a solution is yet to be raised.

“The reality is we have an issue with not many solutions,” said Ms Langdon.

“We’re having to open with the view that we just need to encourage people to find other modes of transport to come to the pool, but also be patient when looking for a carpark.

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“We also have issues for our staff who will need to park in the area. They’re worried they won’t be able to park and come to their shift.”

Dickson Pool has a long, storied history with parking issues, particularly throughout really hot periods in summer. The Dickson Village development will only exacerbate this situation.

Despite this, management is optimistic about the summer ahead, particularly with a number of Canberra’s other public pools closed.

“We feel this summer is going to be better than ever,” said Ms Langdon. “We’ve got six holiday programs running throughout the summer for all those families who have missed out on ‘learn to swim’ during lockdown.”

Construction of the Dickson Village project is not expected to be complete until September 2023, meaning this parking issue will remain for at least one more summer beyond this season.

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William Newby5:38 pm 18 Nov 21

Prices for taking the family for a swim has reached a level now where they may as well replace the car parks with helicopter landing pads!

So much inexplicable anger about improvements being made to Dickson shops.

Scott Anthony2:54 pm 17 Nov 21

Canberra is a ‘Designed City’ with satellite city centres by design and a road network and plenty of parking designed in.. Its Labor who let their developer mates build on top of all that planned parking, then they want electric cars with nowhere to park them let alone try to charge them with 90% of new developments being apartments with no parking or charging facilities… But at least the Unions made loads of money, as did Labor via its donations…

Great rant, but time to realise this is 2021 almost 2022.

And for the record Canberra was NOT designed that way. The original design did not have any of what you suggested, the design of Canberra has revolved over the years.

What you talk about is the 1960’s change by the NCDC which set in motion the car dominated city that we have now. This design just followed the urban design trends of the time, but you know what trends change and that design is no longer appropriate to the way we live and in fact the whole principle of that design which is live, work and play in your own town centre never worked.

Of course that plan has changed now to better match how we need to live now and going forward. But to say Canberra was designed like the NCDC utopia of the 70’s is laughable.

Yet when an alternative approach to providing additional parking was proposed a few years ago, a vocal element of the community screamed and yelped like nothing else because it would of necessitated some trees being cut down.

You can’t have it both ways….

Pour one out for the ‘dickson parklands’.

I miss those days Heavs of the weekly repeated ad nauseum articles about those wonderous ‘parklands’….. 😛

Those articles have moved on to wider pastures in the City News, spreading the joy about the demise of everything good in Canberra.

Yeh i’ve notice the diktats have shifted over to that platform. Such wisdom in one person… amazed they haven’t decided to run for election given they appear to know a whole lot better on everything than everybody else 🙂

Happily we have ‘pool, hospital and 34 parks for kippax’ on this thread. Almost a full bingo card.

Heavs you talking about Vanessa who thinks West Belconnen is seperate from Belconnen and as such needs everything a town centre should have.

The Hero of Hardwick Street. The Champion of Charnwood. The Drake Brockman Defender

I want to know why West Belconnen doesn’t have dedicated separate bike lines on every road? Also each West Belconnen citizen should get $20k each from the government for solar panels

Because it’s in the West it only gets sun after 12 and that’s unfair and should be compensated. Also, why do the people of royalla get all the massive solar farms? Why can’t we have one near that Pegasus riding school or in the grass paddocks up behind Dunlop with power only being used for West Belconnen homes?

With only a passing mention of public transport this could be a lot more helpful. You don’t need to drive to the pool. In much if the inner north, following a bike path will get you there, and for everyone else it is not hard to get a bus or even drive to your nearest light rail stop. I don’t think it is good o reasonable to expect a place like Dickson to have an unending supply of parking.

Scott Anthony2:55 pm 17 Nov 21

Despite Canberra being a planned city with parking designed in, where do people put the things they buy at these shops to take them home.. Jam them in a Tram to Belconnen..?

When I buy things I usually put them in my panniers, and busses have nice boxes for shoppers to put their things in on their way home. The trams don’t, but it is easier there to keep your bags with you. Occasionally, a car is necessary to take things home, but not to carry your towel and goggles to the pool!

Well Scott people in other parts of the world do just that, what makes Canberrans so special or different?

I lived in London for a few years and would get my groceries and carry them home on the bus. Like almost everyone else.

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