4 August 2022

Five-star hotel in mix for diverse Acton Waterfront precinct

| Ian Bushnell
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Malcom Snow

City Renewal Authority boss Malcom Snow at the entrance to the the lake reclamation project. The mixed-use precinct will be developed behind the new urban park. Photos: Michele Kroll.

Another five-star hotel for Canberra is in the mix for the planned estate development at West Basin. Now the section of Lake Burley Griffin has been reclaimed and the boardwalk extended, Acton Waterfront is earmarked to be built over the next couple of years.

City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said the mixed-use precinct would stretch from Parkes Way to Albert Street, with the first blocks to go to market in the 2024-25 financial year.

Mr Snow said it would include a mix of residential types, including affordable and build to rent, commercial offices, retail and hospitality.

“There’ll be sites for one or more hotels,” he said. “We think that’d be a fantastic location for a five-star hotel looking over the lake.”

Mr Snow said about 2000 would live in the precinct, boosted by workers and visitors.

“Government is keen for us to examine and come back with an estate plan which knows about the diversity of land use, which from a city planning point of view is important to the success of any place,” he said. “There’s also a challenge we all have as agencies in relation to contributing to affordability, in particular social housing.”

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He reiterated there would be hundreds of apartments not thousands, and national planning rules would limit building heights along Commonwealth Avenue to four to six storeys, protecting the vistas.

“The long views you get as you travel south towards Parliament House, over Commonwealth Bridge, mean you still would have views of the Brindabellas over Henry Rolland Park,” Mr Snow said.

“Those who suggest this is going to obliterate that view are not correct. There will be no building development from Albert Street, all the way across the bridge to Albert Hall.

“So you’ve still got a very expansive long view of the landscape beyond that whole section of Commonwealth Avenue.”

Acton Waterfront

Acton Waterfront, looking across the park area towards Commonwealth Avenue, where the mixed-use precinct will be developed. The extended boardwalk is on the right.

People would get to the lake through the shared-use precinct via laneways and thoroughfares, with potential new crossings over Parkes Way to the city.

Mr Snow said sustainability would be a feature of the development and the CRA had applied for Green Star community rating.

“We want this to be an exemplar of sustainability and environmentally sustainable design,” he said.

“And we’re prepared to have it independently verified that it is a place that exhibits the best possible standards in relation to sustainability across a whole lot of different dimensions. Whether it’s access to public transport, performance of the new buildings, through to social sustainability criteria related to how we strengthen community.”

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One of the first jobs before the park is built will be to divert stormwater pipes and treat the stormwater using a Water Sensitive Urban Design process before it passes into the lake.

“There’s quite a big city catchment for stormwater which flows through a number of the pipes and all ends up passing through Acton Waterfront into the lake,” Mr Snow said.

“We’re already thinking about how we might do best-practice approaches to treating the stormwater so the water that goes into the lake is cleaner than the water in the lake.”

The new urban park is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The whole project will be at least a decade in the making.

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