Planning for the long-anticipated East Lake urban renewal project is moving into its final stages with the release of a tender for a lead consultant to guide the development of the ACT inner south area.
The strategically located site between Kingston and Fyshwick, bordering Jerrabomberra wetlands, has been earmarked for medium-to-high density residential development for years.
The site covers parts of the suburbs of Kingston, Fyshwick and Griffith, and includes Canberra Railway Station, the Mildura Street industrial/commercial area, and the growing Canberra Avenue east-west corridor linking Canberra with Queanbeyan.
Earlier studies envisaged 9000 people living in the precinct, and 3000 people working there.
According to the tender documents. the ACT Government is looking to release land between the railway corridor and the wetlands, with an initial target of 650 residential dwellings in 2025-2026.
The consultant will design a Place Plan and Indicative Development Concept, and provide a Planning Report to support a variation of the Territory Plan to facilitate the project, and an Estate Development Plan.
Housing types will include townhouses, terrace houses and other ‘missing middle’ medium-density housing, with higher densities in strategic locations around transport infrastructure and services.
The aim will be for a mix of public and affordable housing, long-term rental accommodation, such as Build to Rent models, and multigenerational housing, incorporating adaptable ‘universal design’ to create a diverse community.
The consultant will have to work within the demands of the ACT’s climate change and living infrastructure policies, including the net-zero emissions and tree canopy targets.
One issue that might face opposition is the goal of reduced private parking to cut reliance on private vehicles and to minimise traffic congestion, although the ACT Government expects the area to be fully integrated into active transport links such cycling paths and public transport, including possibly light rail, which could link with a new interstate rail line.
Housing is not the only land use envisaged for the East Lake area. The government hopes it can also include an innovation hub, leveraging Fyshwick CIT as part of business and industry activity in the precinct.
The lead consultant will need to supply an economic analysis, environmental and heritage assessments, and a Conservation Management Plan.
But it won’t have to worry about the thorny issue of contaminated land from former industrial use and dumping that thwarted earlier plans – that is being handled separately.
A priority will be integrating the precinct with Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, including walking and cycling paths, and planning for visitors, incorporating shared community facilities for Ngunnawal culture, values, heritage and business.
The lead consultant will need to work with other projects such as ACT Planning System Review and Reform and development of District Strategy for the Inner South, and the Kingston Arts Precinct, which is now back in government hands.
The ACT Governments expects the Final Place Plan and Listening Report to be delivered by 31 August, 2022, and the Final Planning Report by 30 June, 2023.
The tender closes on 15 February, 2022.