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Glebe Park is not for Floriade – it’s a park!

By Paul Costigan - 7 October 2015 40

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More than thirty years ago there was a very vocal community campaign to halt the complete takeover of Glebe Park.

The proposal by a large development company in partnership with the then government (how things change!) was to take out the trees and to change the northern section the park to an event space for a garden show titled The Tivoli Gardens. There were several other things to go in the southern parts of the site (it was much bigger then).

The business sector plus the government of the day set out to convinced the community that doing away with this historic green space and plonking this new event there would bring people into Civic, boost business and be a major tourist attraction.

In the end the larger proposal was killed off. The casino, hotel and convention centre went ahead on the southern sections.

As a consequence the sensible and logical decision was made to establish a flower show down by the lake in Commonwealth Park West. This is Floriade as we know it today.

Canberra benefits hugely from this annual event and its location is perfect. It is down by the lake and allows for people to get there without disrupting any neighbourhoods. It is a brilliant outcome! It is a local, national and international success story.

Disturbingly we now have the totally insane situation whereby the National Capital Authority (NCA) has decided that 2017 will be the last year that Floriade is to be held on this lakeside site.

The ACT Chief Minister when faced with this dilemma has chosen to ignore history, ignore the local community (again) and has chosen to risk opening up yet another fight with the local communities.

Mysteriously the ACT Government looks as though they are about to reignite a fight that the community had won in the early 1980s.

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The site being proposed is Glebe Park. The case for this site is that having Floriade in Glebe Park would bring people into Civic, boost business and be a major tourist attraction. History is being repeated!

Gradually the residents are being softened up for the change of venue of Floriade from the lakeside park managed by the NCA on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

Articles are being placed in the local paper with the help of journalists. The business sector is onside as they see no harm with interfering with this local heritage site, that just happens to be a wonderful parkland and is loved by and used by so many people.

Surely the Chief Minister and his bureaucracy have learnt from their experiences with Westside, Dickson, Yarralumla and Telopea Park. Surely they have come to realise that the Canberra community actually cares about our urban spaces and in particular our open spaces and wonderful parklands.

Locals will not be thankful to the Chief Minister and his development bureaucrats if one day they are confronted with hundreds of thousands of tourists arriving in the neighbourhood looking for parking. They will also be very resentful if this fabulous park is taken over for most of the year for an event such as Floriade – which is fabulously successful where it is right now.

Surely it is time that the ACT Government put a permanent claim on the use of Commonwealth Park West for a multitude of Canberra events such as Floriade.

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Glebe Park is a park. It is not and should never be turned into an event space for Floriade that will take over major parts of the space for most of the year given the plant preparation time, the event itself and then the time it takes to remove all the stuff required.

Glebe Park is a gem on the side of Civic. It is a beautiful green space that is enjoyed by all sorts of people.

I say to this Chief Minister: Get someone outside your bureaucracy to talk to you about the value to the community of parks such as Glebe Park. Maybe even go for a stroll and have your lunch there several times and observe just how wonderful it is to be in a park.

That’s what parks are for. For enjoyment — and it is amazing what benefits such a place has on busy people’s health and well-being.

Please do not even think about letting this happen.

What’s Your opinion?


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40 Responses to
Glebe Park is not for Floriade – it’s a park!
Maya123 6:17 pm 08 Oct 15

Glebe Park to me is too small and unsuitable. If Commonwealth Park is no longer available, a suggestion would be Telopea Park and Bowen Park combined. Lake frontage and near the bus markets, which could be utilised during the event. Buses run along Wentworth Avenue. Plus Kingston Shops are close. Plus some hotels.

MichaelP 6:03 pm 08 Oct 15

If Commonwealth Park is not available and somewhere close to the city is needed, I suggest the triangular bit of land in Turner bounded by Watson St, Masson St and the drain that turns into Sullivan’s Creek just over Barry Drive. It appears to be currently unused at the moment, except for a bike track that goes through the centre, which could remain. The drain could be converted into a water feature with ponds and water flowers, giving a much-needed innovation for the rather tired Floriade concept.

I agree Glebe Park is too beautiful and too well used now to be taken over for Floriade.

tim_c 4:14 pm 08 Oct 15

Ok, so NCA has said “not in Commonwealth Park” – have you got any constructive suggestions Paul, other than “not in Glebe Park”?

rosscoact 2:02 pm 08 Oct 15

yellowsnow said :

rosscoact said :

Build the tram and hold it in Gungahlin. It is a beautiful part of the city and has a lower whinger-to-square-metre ratio than most other places

LOL!!!! Surely you jest. It’d be like moving the Chelsea Flower Show to Kazakhstan.

Nice country, home to Borat and other friendly people, but kind of remote and devoid of trees

And there you have the second criteria proven while the first is inarguable.

rubaiyat 1:45 pm 08 Oct 15

yellowsnow said :

LOL!!!! Surely you jest. It’d be like moving the Chelsea Flower Show to Kazakhstan.

Wasn’t that already suggested?

Oh sorry, that was Tuggeranong.

Nilrem 1:09 pm 08 Oct 15

yellowsnow said :

rosscoact said :

Build the tram and hold it in Gungahlin. It is a beautiful part of the city and has a lower whinger-to-square-metre ratio than most other places

LOL!!!! Surely you jest. It’d be like moving the Chelsea Flower Show to Kazakhstan.

Nice country, home to Borat and other friendly people, but kind of remote and devoid of trees

Floriade has got pretty lame. Tents spruiking things most people don’t want. Overpriced, bad food. The same crappy country fair rides. Why not open it up to every nursery in the ACT, they could each have an exhibit? It could be a useful, interesting, vibrant garden show.

yellowsnow 11:04 am 08 Oct 15

rosscoact said :

Build the tram and hold it in Gungahlin. It is a beautiful part of the city and has a lower whinger-to-square-metre ratio than most other places

LOL!!!! Surely you jest. It’d be like moving the Chelsea Flower Show to Kazakhstan.

Nice country, home to Borat and other friendly people, but kind of remote and devoid of trees

rosscoact 6:03 am 08 Oct 15

Build the tram and hold it in Gungahlin. It is a beautiful part of the city and has a lower whinger-to-square-metre ratio than most other places

gooterz 10:09 pm 07 Oct 15

How much does it cost to run?

rubaiyat 4:58 pm 07 Oct 15

Dreadnaught1905 said :

rubaiyat said :

I appreciate you raising the need for more and better parks, in the City particularly with the increased residential density. Haig Park can completely redone, and many of the dead car parks should be converted to full parkland, with parking underneath, as in many towns in France. These should take the pressure of Glebe Park as virtually the only usable green space that doesn’t have cars all over it.

I completely agree with the idea of moving the fundamentally ugly carparks underneath usable, wonderful and refreshing green spaces in the city. Unfortunately, I suspect that such a thing would be cost prohibitive for our current — and likely almost any future — ACT government.

‘cos concrete and asphalt are so attractive….

I assume the car parks would be multiple levels deep and extremely lucrative. There seem to be a lot of people out there who can’t add up, but want you to store their 2 tonne means of getting to the city all day, at great expense.

Dreadnaught1905 2:35 pm 07 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

I appreciate you raising the need for more and better parks, in the City particularly with the increased residential density. Haig Park can completely redone, and many of the dead car parks should be converted to full parkland, with parking underneath, as in many towns in France. These should take the pressure of Glebe Park as virtually the only usable green space that doesn’t have cars all over it.

I completely agree with the idea of moving the fundamentally ugly carparks underneath usable, wonderful and refreshing green spaces in the city. Unfortunately, I suspect that such a thing would be cost prohibitive for our current — and likely almost any future — ACT government.

‘cos concrete and asphalt are so attractive….

rubaiyat 12:47 pm 07 Oct 15

Bowral holds its superior Tulip Time in the small Corbett Gardens.

The major landscaping and beds do not have to be, nor should they be, temporary.

The specific bulbs put in can be changed, but I think the beds should be fixed. In Corbell Gardens they are mounded to form steep displays clearly appreciated by people at ground level.

The distinguishing differences between Bowral’s Tulip Time and Canberra’s Floriade is aesthetics, principally the lack of it in Floriade with its rent a fence, turnstiles and tatty marquee village.

Glebe Park has a bounding iron railing fence and quality gates. I am sure that if talented landscapers are employed, a more permanent and thought through effort in Glebe Park would work. The commercial part could be housed in the southern Conference Centre end, which could be demolished and restructured as a better less ugly purpose built light largely glazed structure for the annual event plus other major events.

A really big proviso is that the lawns are protected and that the LR gets extended down Constitution Ave to provide the principle transport access.

I appreciate you raising the need for more and better parks, in the City particularly with the increased residential density. Haig Park can completely redone, and many of the dead car parks should be converted to full parkland, with parking underneath, as in many towns in France. These should take the pressure of Glebe Park as virtually the only usable green space that doesn’t have cars all over it.

astrojax 11:58 am 07 Oct 15

suerly weston park would a far more preferable location than glebe park – which as paul rightly points out is a ‘park’ and a real green gem adjacent to the bustle of civic (where you can take children to burn off energy during shopping expeditions) that should never be compromised. i also agree that it is too small and entirely unsuited to the needs of the flower spectacle.

weston park is also on the lake, though access could be a problem – so i’m sure would never happen with the likely strong advocacy against it by the affected yarralumla residents. but that would be for a few weeks a year, so perhaps the nca could adjudge against them. anyway, a thought.

but hands off glebe park, ffs!

Mysteryman 11:01 am 07 Oct 15

I don’t like Floriade. I think it’s had its day. But I’d rather see it stay right where it is, than take over the city centre. It makes no sense to move it away from the lakeside, and it make even less sense to destroy one of the few planned, landscaped, and well looked after parks in the city. Not to mention the added congestion it will undoubtedly cause in an increasingly congested part of the city.

miz 10:13 am 07 Oct 15

I want to thank you Paul for being such a great advocate for what most Canberrans truly think about planning in this town. Sadly a number of our MLAs seem completely captured and blinkered by their respective departments and this means they are not truly representative. And I totally agree about the value of green space to the community.
I wonder, would there be a better location in another town centre for Floriade? As a Tuggers resident I would personally be delighted if the ACT Govt considered putting Floriade (or other desirable events) in Tuggeranong, e.g. using land adjacent to, or incorporated into a part of, our lovely Tuggeranong town park. Tuggeranong is easily accessible via the Monaro Hwy, the Tuggeranong Parkway, Atthlon Drive and Erindale Drive, AND it has a lake and the wonderful Brindabellas – it would be a great advertisement for Canberra and would resolve the Glebe Park issue (Glebe Park being too small and unsuitable anyway, I would have thought). The other eminently suitable location would be the swathe of defence land in Weston Creek.
The govt just has to think a bit more laterally instead of focusing on Civic all the time.
PS has anyone noticed the NCA is trying to change Civic into ‘City’? This is simply daft, as Civic is just one of a number of town centres in Canberra which should all be treated equally by the power that be. Plus, removing ‘Civic’ is to deny our history. How dare they try to erase our history?

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