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Downer to get a much needed revitalisation

By johnboy - 16 December 2011 13

downer plans

The Economic Development Directorate has unveiled plans for the ACT Government to buy up Downer shops and return it to being a community hub.

The strategy takes into account the ACT Government’s proposed purchase of the former shops, the rezoning and subdivision of the former school site – with the view to permitting residential and commercial mixed use development – and strengthening the use and integrity of the existing sportsgrounds, community and heritage facilities.

A project reference group has been established to assist in the development of the strategy. The group consists of members from a range of representative organisations including; the Downer Community Association and North Canberra Community Council; current users of the Downer local centre precinct; and other key stakeholder representatives. The group’s meetings are chaired by Ross McKay, Director, Project Facilitation, Economic Development Directorate.

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13 Responses to
Downer to get a much needed revitalisation
sepi 11:57 pm 21 Dec 11

Downer shops is nice becuase it is not on a main road, and has a nice courtyard type feel – with huge purple agaspathus plants and some sort of orange flowering vine. The shop building is nothing special (and now falling apart) but the space is nice. There used to be a cafe and an indian restaurant, but I think they wound up when the supermarket went.

The building next door used to be the CSIRO headquarters right at the start of Canberra.

Hackett shops has two cafes now and a good IGA.

betto 9:15 pm 21 Dec 11

I’ve never understood why there couldn’t be a successful cafe in the Downer shops. Places like Chifley have ‘destination cafes’. If you made it excellent, people would come, especially because of the abundant parking. There’s also the people who use the oval and the community hall. Something like Cafe Bones in Leichhardt in Sydney would work great for people with pets.

It’s a really good space in there, I hope they use it well. But if they are building, I’m glad I’m moving out of my flat near the Downer shops next month… construction noise wouldn’t be fun.

poetix 8:30 pm 21 Dec 11

Paul0075 said :

I am all for some revitalisation in Downer. But truly hope they keep the old shop buildings. Canberra needs to retain some older character sometimes. The older suburbs are what do it for me when I think of Canberra, and changes to these older suburbs needs to be considered very carefully.

I don’t remember anything particularly attractive about the Downer shops. But I can’t believe that a cafe couldn’t do well in Downer. Some change is obviously necessary (as you say) as there’s nothing sadder than an empty area that used to have shops.

Hackett is also pretty uninviting. (I’m not talking about the houses, or location, but the lack of a thriving centre to the suburb.)

Deref 6:26 pm 21 Dec 11

Paul0075 said :

I am all for some revitalisation in Downer. But truly hope they keep the old shop buildings. Canberra needs to retain some older character sometimes. The older suburbs are what do it for me when I think of Canberra, and changes to these older suburbs needs to be considered very carefully.

Fully agreed. We don’t have a lot of history here, so those rapidly-disappearing older suburbs are all we’ve got. The total destruction of beautiful old Kingston to make way for blocks of flats was a disgrace.

stonedwookie 5:41 pm 21 Dec 11

o well at least theres a 711 now im gonna get a doughnut tomorrow

Tetranitrate 9:55 pm 20 Dec 11

screaming banshee said :

Does the site need to be purchased back, isn’t one of the lease conditions that it must be used for the purpose of the lease and if they fail to do that surely they could be evicted from the lease and the govco could just resume the site.

Just like Giralang never mind..

God forbid that leaseholders who refuse to renew subleases in an effort to intentionally run-down a site and show utter contempt for the conditions under which they acquired the site, all in the hope of having it rezoned to reap a massive windfall gain actually be made to suffer for their actions.

Essentially this is the taxpayer making sure these cretins get at least some of their $$$.
Whoever owns it deserves to lose every cent for what they’ve inflicted on the community, same as should have happened in Giralang. (not that it happened there, but they certainly deserved such a fate. They wilfully and needlessly ruined businesses that people spent years and years building up, eg the Tavern)

sepi 9:04 pm 20 Dec 11

I checked today and found out that Majura primary in Watson is at capacity, and expected to grow each year for the next 5 years (demountable classrooms here we come), nth ainslie is close to capacity and expected to grow in the next 5 years.

Where are all these new kids being born going to go to school?
At this point reopening Downer as a schools seems more useful than turning it into affordable housing.

Joker 8:17 pm 18 Dec 11

I went to the meeting organised by the ACT Gov at the Downer hall on 14 December.
They were selling the redevelopment of the Downer school site as affordable housing for core community workers, police, fire fighters, and ambulance officers.
Essentially what I gathered was that the ACT was going to transfer the lease to CHC Affordable housing and they’re going to develop the site and sell a small percentage on the market and rent the rest at discounted rates. During the meeting I got the impression that core community workers would not really be able to afford to buy any properties although they could rent at a discounted rate which would still be unaffordable.
What it sounds like is they’re going to use the properties as collateral for their business and not affordable housing.
A couple of business owners from the Downer business centre voiced their concerns that they had not received an invite to the meeting which struck me as being odd.

The demographics of Downer is changing and we should really consider keeping the school as an option for the future and considering the current housing downturn and high number of properties on the market does it really make any sense adding more housing stock?

screaming banshee 4:12 pm 18 Dec 11

Does the site need to be purchased back, isn’t one of the lease conditions that it must be used for the purpose of the lease and if they fail to do that surely they could be evicted from the lease and the govco could just resume the site.

Just like Giralang never mind..

Paul0075 2:15 pm 18 Dec 11

I am all for some revitalisation in Downer. But truly hope they keep the old shop buildings. Canberra needs to retain some older character sometimes. The older suburbs are what do it for me when I think of Canberra, and changes to these older suburbs needs to be considered very carefully.

sepi 7:58 am 18 Dec 11

damn – I thought commercial and mixed use development must mean shops or cafes.

on second thought though, I think they should re-open the school. inner north schools and pre schools are filling up (or full), and every few years they tell us it is a baby boom (this year is one today;’s paper says). Where are they going to put all these kids when they go to school?

dtc 9:57 am 17 Dec 11

sepi said :

Ooh goody – I think!

Does this actually mean proper shops at Downer and keeping the courtyard, the parking and the oval?

Or is is mostly units with a couple of shops below.

I doubt there will be any shops given the expansion to Dickson. I guess during the development it will be less hassle just to go to Downer than to deal with the construction site, but after that its a good spot for bankruptcy.

The plan doesnt mention shops, just community use of the existing building that previously housed shops.

sepi 11:20 pm 16 Dec 11

Ooh goody – I think!

Does this actually mean proper shops at Downer and keeping the courtyard, the parking and the oval?

Or is is mostly units with a couple of shops below.

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