22 February 2024

Government seeks team to turn Acton Waterfront park design into reality

| Ian Bushnell
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Artist impression of Acton Park

An artist’s impression of what’s planned for Ngamawari, the Acton Waterfront park. The permanent park is due to open in 2028. Image: Aspect Studios.

The next step in delivering a great public park at the Acton Waterfront has been taken with the ACT Government seeking a landscape architect and consultancy team to develop the approved design to be construction-ready.

To be called Ngamawari, Ngunnawal for ‘cave place’, the park will be developed on land reclaimed from Lake Burley Griffin and abut the new boardwalk at West Basin.

Early works are already under way on a temporary park with grass, trees and pop-up infrastructure for recreation, which will be developed first as the reclaimed land settles, opening in 2025-26.

The full permanent park is expected to open in 2028.

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The successful tenderer will build on the design developed in 2022 and 2023 by a consortium led by Aspect Studios after consulting the local community and Traditional Custodians to shape a park that raises the visibility of Ngunnawal history in Australia’s capital.

map of development

The park is scheduled for completion in 2028. Image: Aspect Studios.

Ngamawari will provide opportunities to learn about Ngunnawal history and culture, with native plantings, bush tucker gardens, and a Ngunnawal-themed nature play space that includes adventure and water play.

It is also envisaged as a place for events, markets, exhibitions, community gatherings and activities.

The tender document says the park will have significant tree coverage for shade, lawns, meadows, hardstand areas for events, a community plaza, accessible paths, an active travel share-way, furniture, small shelters and barbecues.

There will also be two pavilions with gender-neutral toilets, change rooms and two commercial opportunities, such as a cafe.

artist's impression of pavilion

An artist’s impression of a pavilion for the park. Image: Stewart Architecture.

Ngamawari will include Ngunnawal-inspired public art spaces to be curated by Western Australia public arts consultancy FORM as the park’s First Nations curator.

In collaboration with the Ngunnawal community, FORM will deliver a series of concepts through construction, which will be integrated into the park for the 2028 opening.

Artist impression of Acton Park

An artist’s impression of what the nature play space could look like. Image: Aspect Studios.

The tender document says the artworks will seamlessly integrate into the landscape design. They will be fabricated off-site and installed during the final year of construction as a part of the civil works contract.

The new park will also have to integrate with the proposed mixed-use development to be built behind it on the current car parks.

When the Budget was handed down in June, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the government would be bringing forward land releases for new housing, including at the Acton Waterfront.

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City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said the tender was an exciting opportunity for innovative designers.

“Ngamawari will be a new destination park visited and valued by all Canberrans. It will contribute greatly to our vision of making Canberra’s City Centre a great place to live, work, and visit,” he said.

“The design created in partnership with the community honours the Traditional Custodians and elevates sustainability, accessibility and inclusion, active travel, and integration with public transport throughout the future park.”

The National Capital Authority gave the green light to the project and naming of the park last November.

The NCA will also deliver a new pedestrian path from the Acton Waterfront to the National Museum of Australia.

Expressions of interest close on 23 March.

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You lost me at “gender-neutral toilets”.

Incidental Tourist5:26 pm 26 Feb 24

We already have new Henry Rolland Park nearby. It looks fantastic except for little detail … it’s always empty. It will be quite ironic if an empty new tram will terminate at new deserted park.

Simon Cobcroft12:36 pm 26 Feb 24

If you look closely at the top and bottom pictures, they seem to have been generated using AI, as the people’s arms and legs aren’t quite right and the figures don’t sit right in the painting. And what is going on with the boy putting his hand on the bum of another boy in the right-hand side of the lower picture?! Or is it the other way around, as it’s hard to tell whose legs are whose – a classically freaky AI-generated Escher picture.

Is this the new thing for the ACT Government? Quickly whip out exciting AI pictures of the latest thought bubble?

Artists impression very conveniently left out the rows and rows of concrete jungle that will sit behind this park. Same old Barr the Builder

Lack of gendered toilets isn’t inclusive at all. This means no men’s urinal, no parents room.

The trees won’t be native. Anywhere the government wants developers to build apartments never has native trees.

Missing from the picture is multi story apartments behind this. We build the foreshore and the developers get higher prices.

This will get treated as the backyard for the apartments and non locals have nowhere to park and no direct route to city.
Light rail stage 2a will service these apartments to gungahlin. This is the only purpose of 2a, while 2b is never to be built.
Purposely designed not to be practical.

Amanda Kiley1:59 pm 23 Feb 24

Spend-happy Labor at it again. And again I ask, where is the money coming from? They have already found an additional $380m deficit. “The territory’s forecast deficit is expected to reach $782 million at the end of the 2023-24 year, the government’s mid-year budget review has revealed. It was initially expected to be $442 million. Revenue is estimated to be $7.5 billion this year, which is $189 million lower than what was forecast in the budget” (CT, 8-Feb-24). But, they will be voted in again, because, apparently, the majority of Canberra thinks they do a good job.

There hasn’t been any serious alternative government for a very long time. I don’t really care who’s in but hope Lee can improve the standard of competition.
All the money is supposed to come from real estate development. That’s why sensible planning has taken a back seat for years.

Capital Retro12:17 pm 23 Feb 24

Like, are they serious?

How many deaths have their been in Canberra over the last 20 years from falling eucalypti’s yet the artist’s impression of the “nature play space” has several of them.

How many deaths have there been?

Perhaps you can list them?

I am so happy the artist’s impression shows no steps or stairs. The death rate on those is over 160 times that from trees (all types and activities). When will steps be banned?

Capital Retro9:46 pm 23 Feb 24

A child at a school in O’Connor and a man on a footpath in Curtin, but you knew that didn’t you?

Capital Retro11:18 am 24 Feb 24

Obviously people will use steps and stairs generally hundreds of more times that they will be in contact with trees.

Steps are banned in places where they will directly impact on some users. Have you heard of “the house with no steps”?


@Capital Retro
Interesting, CR. I can find two references to ACT deaths related to trees – the genus not being specified:
– in 2001, a student at Brindabella Christian College died after falling from a broken tree branch, that then crushed him.
– then in 2004, a man was killed by a falling tree as a violent thunderstorm, described as a mini-tornado, lashed Canberra causing widespread damage throughout the city.

Are these the two deaths to which you refer? If so, I’d be interested to hear how you are able to attribute these deaths to falling eucalypti and also how, based on these two tragic accidents of nature, you are able to condemn the eucalyptus genus (all 700 plus species) as a whole.

You’ll have to do better than that CR.
Links and dates for these deaths.

Then we can compare them to the myriad other risks that people are faced with each day and that don’t suffer the level of pearl clutching you often descend to.

Perhaps you might have some statistics that have led you to such a fervent standpoint also…..

Capital Retro7:18 am 25 Feb 24

I assume you have used Google to try and discredit me, again. Just because everything I say can’t be confirmed by your electronic sources try and understand that not everything that has happened in this world is recorded online and indeed some things have been expunged. You call yourself a “free thinker” but you have to rely solely on the internet to chisel out things to contradict me. I have better things to do with my spare time.

The examples I gave were from my memory. I also recalled another incident about 20 years ago when a friend was killed by a falling eucalyptus tree on his farm at Williamsdale.

Can you tell me what variety of your 700 eucalypti are depicted in the artist’s impression?

So your evidence is
“Dude, just trust me”.

The reason I also ask for links is because there is research on deaths from falling trees/branches in Australia.

Research that you clearly haven’t read.

Research that shows that the deaths from that cause is minimal, with typically a couple each year in the whole of Australia from all trees.

A level of risk that is far exceeded by numerous other causes that you don’t blink an eye about.

I’m not trying to discredit you, CR – you do a fine job of that yourself with your feeble attempt to present unsubstantiated facts to bolster your outlandish positions. Yes, like many on here, I do check facts – both mine and those of others. It’s called research, CR … you should try it.

Free thinking is fine, it’s the basis for many debates on here. However fabricating evidence, not based on fact but rather your memory, and not expecting to be challenged is simply foolhardy.

… and no, I don’t know which of the 700 plus species of eucalypti are depicted in the artist’s impression. I’m happy for you to plug that gap in my knowledge. It will supplement the knowledge I gained in my research, i.e. I now know there are over 700 species of eucalypti.

Capital Retro4:01 pm 26 Feb 24

Not all facts are on the internet JS.

@Capital Retro
Yes – but all facts can be substantiated … something you are regularly unable to do with your “supposed facts”.

“Not all facts are on the internet”.

So how exactly do you personally know the prevalence of deaths due to Eucalypts in different jurisdictions?

It’s rare to see someone so thoroughly out the ridiculousness of their own arguments…..in their own comments.

Here you go CR.


Capital Retro8:46 am 27 Feb 24

Looks like there are no “deaths” recorded since 2015 on that dodgy wiki list so my statement that “not all facts are on the internet” is proven.

As I said before, I recall the ACT deaths I have referred to from memory and one was a good friend.

I really don’t care what you think chewy.

Yes, there are no deaths shown in the paper after the period that they were reviewing. Are you dense? Do you think it should magically update itself?

And how exactly do you know that the deaths you claim to “remember” aren’t included in the lists?

You seem to be suggesting that your failing memory is more relevant that coroner’s and death records.

Once again, did you even read the findings? If you have a critique on the methodology, it would be interesting to hear it. The amount of yearly deaths from trees failing are small and significantly exceeded by many other risks you don’t care about. Vastly more people die from your beloved coal mines and power plants than from trees failing for instance.

It’s a wonder you can leave your home being so worried about things. Although I suppose there’s also many other risks within your house that exceeds the risk of trees as well.

Capital Retro, so you read your own posts.

My source for my early comment was the paper now cited by chewy14. As for “more steps”, while my comment was partly in jest, it is not inapposite. Have you walked around your suburb, or through Civic? There are more trees, and in any case the main causes of death from trees involve trying to cut or climb them (or both), and still the rate is low and has been for roughly 150 years of records.

GrumpyGrandpa4:58 pm 22 Feb 24

Wow. Looks lovely.
Can the government now do something about the persistent blue-green algae in Lake Tuggeranong?
It’s putrid ! 🦨

Tuggeranong got a $10 sixty minute makeover and fixing Lake Tuggeranong gets a mention every election year

Gregg Heldon1:10 pm 24 Feb 24

I live near the sea scout hut. It smells and the algae now looks like an oil slick has taken over the lake.

Capital Retro3:56 pm 24 Feb 24

Could that be sump oil?

Gregg Heldon7:55 am 25 Feb 24

Aquamarine in colour, so no.

Capital Retro4:02 pm 26 Feb 24

It may be “Add Blue” then?

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