12 April 2024

Flights of fancy over City Hill give government plenty to think about

| Ian Bushnell
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 Butterfly Aviary entry

The Butterfly Aviary entry may not get up but wouldn’t it be lovely? Images: ACT Government.

A butterfly aviary or pavilion on City Hill? Now that’s an idea.

Imagine entering the warm, green confines in the middle of a Canberra winter and being embraced by a kaleidoscope of colour and the soft wings of a butterfly as it alights on your shoulder.

Almost therapeutic.

Alas, expect something more prosaic.

Consultation has closed on what the public might like to do with the until recently rabbit-infested mound that provides visual relief from the roads around it and a focus for the city but is hardly used.

The ACT Government wants to make City Hill park a more welcoming, comfortable and engaging space that acknowledges its heritage, including its Ngunnawal connections.

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Its heritage listing meant that ideas needed to respect and reinforce the current design and role, and the flagpole and Canberra Centenary Obelisk be retained.

But that didn’t stop people of all ages and abilities coming up with some novel suggestions and stretching the boundaries.

From kids’ drawings and paintings to intricate graphic designs, contributors have given the government plenty to think about.

For some, that hill is just begging for some underground treatment.

One envisaged an underground electric bus route and station with a commercial precinct with lifts to the surface where people could take a sculpture walk.

Another public transport-inspired idea proposed an underground light rail loop with skylit subways. And of course an underground car park had to be there.

Others solved the pedestrian access problem with sky bridges across Vernon Circle.

Some proposals had little love for the conifers, wanting a native garden or a rewilding of the hill to promote biodiversity.

 Butterfly Aviary entry

This submission involves native perennials to encourage biodiversity and connect the community to nature.

Then there were the pools, one indoor and another below ground bathed in sunshine from a skylight.

What about a spiral walking and running track to the summit and Indigenous yarning circles?

One design included 3D gateways at the six entrances with platform lookouts.

The most common infrastructure suggested was furniture such as benches and tables, and some sort of food and beverage offering, whether that be a cafe or pop-up facility and playgrounds.

One kid’s submission said simply: skate park, sandpit and swings.

But a couple included sport or fitness areas, and a yoga/meditation zen zone, specifically for older people.

Others wanted an amphitheatre and stage for community events.

For the the puzzle fans and the contemplative, there was an earth-wall maze and labyrinth.

READ ALSO Wanted: Family descendants with connections to Queanbeyan’s Ellamatta cottage

The government will now assess the submissions and provide feedback on the next steps.

The consultation will also inform the Canberra Civic and Cultural District and help the government understand the park’s role between the Acton Waterfront development, the Canberra Theatre Centre redevelopment and connecting light rail.

To view all the submissions visit the YourSay website.

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How about the government fix up Garema Square and City Walk. Maybe also don’t close popular small businesses like the Green Shed City which brough life and a wide range of Canberrans into this area.

Capital Retro4:19 pm 15 Apr 24

Well, now the rabbits have been exterminated all that needs to be done is put in more public toilets at the nearby Canberra Theatre to cater for seniors with bladder issues who have to leave the queue to go across the road for a pee.

That will get rid of the urinal smell and make it more pleasant for the homeless people living there.

The way the world is heading a bomb shelter would be the go?

I was going to suggest a cemetery but didn’t get around to it.

Capital Retro4:45 pm 15 Apr 24

That is consistent with the vibe in Civic.

It could become the Dead Centre of Canberra.

Excellent. Hadn’t thought of that.

Doesn’t the hill have the rarest trees? Surely there are protected?

Mike McGettrick4:22 pm 14 Apr 24

A roller coaster which would be able to take the tram.

Be even better if they just left the place alone. We don’t HAVE TO do something with everything!

Amanda Kiley9:33 am 15 Apr 24

BINGO! Completely agree.

Build the worlds tallest tower. Might be cheaper than light rail for a pet project

Leave the green mound alone, and cut our rates.

Agreed. This is so unnecessary, what a waste of money

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