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First of Dickson Flats demolitions underway

By Charlotte Harper 24 February 2016 6

Dickson demolition

If you were in the vicinity of the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre on Northbourne Avenue yesterday morning, you could’ve stepped into its carpark and watch part of the demolition of the first of the controversially doomed Dickson Flats.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was on site as the demolition got underway shortly before 8am, answering questions about the pace of development on the site.

“Sometimes it takes a Chief Minister to push a little bit harder, in order to get a little bit more done, more quickly in this city, and I’m prepared to do that, particularly in relation to this corridor,” he said.

“People have been crying out for change for nearly as long as I’ve lived in this city, and now it’s time.”

Mr Barr said he the site would become “a high quality mixed use development” that would be predominantly residential.

“It will be a key point in the redevelopment of Dickson,” he added.

Andrew Barr at demolition site this morning.

The Chief Minister said the Northbourne Avenue redevelopment process would see the Government continue “the largest renewal of our public housing stock in the ACT’s history”.

“We will replace every public housing dwelling ‘roof for roof’, providing accommodation that is appropriate to the needs of contemporary public housing tenants, many of whom are among the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.

Owen Flats, on the western side of Northbourne Avenue, were also now vacant and a tender for their demolition would soon be issued. It was anticipated that these buildings would be coming down by the end of the year.

Mr Barr said the sale of the public housing stock was part of the Commonwealth’s Asset Recycling Initiative and the ACT would receive a 15 per cent bonus on the sale of these properties. The total proceeds would be directly invested in cutting congestion and creating jobs through the light rail project.

National Trust spokesman Eric Martin told ABC radio yesterday that the heritage values of the buildings had not been fully identified and considered and that the Government had not followed due process in its dealings on the matter.

In November, planning Minister Mick Gentleman used his call-in powers to approve the demolitions and rule out appeals against the move.

What do you think, are the towers an eyesore or an important part of our heritage that we will regret losing with hindsight?

This story was first published on Tuesday, February 25 but updated, including time references, on Wednesday, February 26.

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6 Responses to
First of Dickson Flats demolitions underway
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gooterz 8:28 pm 29 Feb 16

Do the buildings represent our future economy?

london 3:31 pm 27 Feb 16

About time. All are an eyesore when driving into Canberra but it is a pity they weren’t taken care of instead of being left to get into this state.
Certainly won’t miss the window dressing.
I guess those complaining of heritage value never thought to spruce them up.

AndrewA 10:11 am 25 Feb 16

Whilst I absolutely appreciate why some see the flats as heritage examples of International Style in Canberra the fact remains that they are ugly and relatively ill-regarded within the community.

I don’t think the article mentioned also that they are retaining one of them for said heritage value. (How it’s going to look for one of the old flats to be surrounded by new development I’m not sure).

The fact is that Canberra is trying to move forward, especially along the corridor, and despite their heritage value the flats haven’t done anything to improve the atmosphere and feel of Northbourne for quite some time – certainly not a heritage example that Canberran’s are particular proud of and wish to show off on our main corridor.

Kalliste 10:02 pm 24 Feb 16

Finally.. I mean they were looking really nice with all the windows smashed for the last few months but thankfully they’ll now finally be gone.

dukethunder 7:33 pm 24 Feb 16

mcs said :

Good riddance I say – an eyesore is putting it nicely.

Couldn’t they have just done a nice walk through video, come up with some holograms and then have an exhibition at the Canberra Museum, for those that think they have some resemblance of heritage value.

Agree totally! Is it too late to find some asbestos in the remaining “heritage sites”? 😉 perhaps an out of control fire in a meth lab?
Or make the heritage types pay to move the buildings out of the city creating Canberra’s, terribly dull, version of this

mcs 2:44 pm 24 Feb 16

Good riddance I say – an eyesore is putting it nicely.

Couldn’t they have just done a nice walk through video, come up with some holograms and then have an exhibition at the Canberra Museum, for those that think they have some resemblance of heritage value.

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