Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Expert strata, facilities & building management services

How a night mayor can solve Tuggeranong’s nightmare

By John Thistleton - 23 May 2017 9

When dusk settles over Tuggeranong town centre ‘Subvert City’ floods Hamish Sinclair’s mind:

And it all went quiet in the city
And the wind blew down the road
Someone cried out ‘Subvert’
And the people all went cold.

A town planner, Mr Sinclair thinks the debate over densities and more suburbs and master planning to reinvigorate the town centre miss the point. The point is this:
“What the hell do you do when you get to Tuggeranong? Go into a restaurant? No, that’s Erindale. Go to a nightclub? No, that’s Civic. One of the other clubs? Where is the local music scene?’’ says Mr Sinclair.

So he retreats to Canadian punk band Subhumans’ Subvert City, untroubled by the scorn it might imply for Tuggeranong.

“We say go ahead, talk it down, it creates spirit on the south side,” he says with pride. He loves the place, and reckons it is so loaded with potential one day it will explode as a new Braddon.
Increasing accommodation to bring more people to fix Tuggeranong, like a build-it-and-they-will come scenario, is misguided.

“They are here now, and that’s the problem, there already are 90,000 people in the catchment of Tuggeranong and they have got nothing to do in Tuggeranong,’’ he says. Adding another 5000, doesn’t change that.

“Because the fundamental problem of the town centre is, there is nothing there. There is no night time economy, (aside from) a tiny restaurant strip which they persist driving buses through when that could be fixed. There are no clubs. There’s a pub and a bar for 90,000 people.”

Mr Sinclair says Transport Canberra and City Services applying engineering solutions to upgrade the town centre won’t work because the issues that need social solutions have not yet been acknowledged and addressed.

“The community, to a man, his dog and his budgie, wants the buses off Anketell Street,’’ Mr Sinclair says. “Because if you are sitting out there (on the footpath) and trying to have a chat, you have buses going past. And it is not like Braddon, where you have a setback, you are literally a foot-and-half- away from the exhaust of a bus. That’s just unhealthy. It is impossible to have a meeting, or any kind of social intercourse there.”

Mr Sinclair says he is critiquing the planning, and not the government. “The government has to lose that defensiveness, more importantly, planners, not project managers need a voice to give them that feedback that is about change.

“The master plan for the Anketell upgrade is to rip out a planter box with four trees in it, and replace it with four trees in the ground. That’s it. That is going to ‘revitalise’ everything.”
He says people will soon realise the street’s upgrade as an urban renewal project is rubbish. “Even if they get the extra funding, which is unlikely, given it has all been sucked out for light rail up north, pavement is not going to change it.’’

Prolific graffiti points to social problems and the type of crime where 50 cars can be stolen overnight.

“It has a mortgage belt crisis area in North Greenway and Kambah, so yes, it is economically under the pump. It also has a huge number of tradies who operate out there, that live there, a good car culture, evident in the number of burn outs. It has illegal dumping, it has strong environmental groups who want to protect the river. So there is this schizophrenic thing going on down there.’’

But the emerging ‘south’ hooks are not being picked up by anybody, even though a strong creative element has developed, nourished by Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Policy constrained planners are not responding. Urban curators who operate in cultural cities like Paris and London, known as night mayors, could provide better insights into how people interact after dark.

“Essentially you are the mayor of a night time, because the conventional method is to focus on the daytime. All we see is what happens in the day, we plan in the day, planners and governments only think about what it will look like in the daylight,’’ Mr Sinclair said.

On the other hand, a night-time economy based on entertainment and recreation would bring life into the town centre.

Caption: top, graffiti near the Kambah sports grounds next to the Burns club reflecting the south’s culture. Photo: Hamish Sinclair. Above, Hamish Sinclair. Photo: John Thistleton.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
9 Responses to
How a night mayor can solve Tuggeranong’s nightmare
1
dungfungus 10:39 am
23 May 17
#

That’s too deep a concept for us Tuggers people to get a handle on.

2
Rauny Worm 5:35 pm
23 May 17
#

Hamish Sinclair has high asperations for Tuggeranong and that is exactly what we need. He rolls his sleeves up and gets involved. Not just a thinker..and talker. Go Hamish!

3
wottaway 7:13 pm
25 May 17
#

That’s more common sense than Canberra canbeara. It made me laugh to read about ‘rejuvenating Tuggeranong’, when I left town there were four houses in Kambah and nothing else through to Tharwa.

4
Queanbeyanite 11:34 am
26 May 17
#

I agree with Rauny, Go Hamish!
You have to get the local council out of residents back pockets and stop writing cheques you can’t afford to cash, so you can spend it on local stuff.
‘Spend it and they will come.’
Love the line about the local council replacing 4 trees.

5
bj_ACT 11:34 am
26 May 17
#

When I heard Terry Snow as owner of the airport had become the 59th richest person in Australia, I had to wonder just how much money he has made at the expense of outer areas of Canberra like Tuggeranong?

When I worked in Government a decade ago, we were moved from Tuggers to the airport. Just like a number of other organisations and businesses were. When I see so many closed shops and business inside and surrounding the Hyperdome and empty office spaces that once housed ACT and Federal workers, I wonder what the flow on effect of the airport expansion has been on the Tuggeranong town centre.

I noted a big shift of Tuggeranong workers to the airport area in the ABS 2011 Journey to work data, it will be interesting to see how the 2016 data looks when it’s released later this year. My bet is Terry has attracted more workers out his way and made more money at the expense of other outer Canberra town centres.

6
steveu 9:01 pm
28 May 17
#

I suspect with the latest electoral boundary changes, nothing will happen for tuggeranong in the foreseeable future. ACT govt needs to work with building owners to come up with solutions to re-invigorate the town centre, and better serve the community. Developing both sides of the lake and integrating t as a feature, combined with a light rail hub on drakeford drive would be a good first step.

7
JC 9:23 am
29 May 17
#

bj_ACT said :

When I heard Terry Snow as owner of the airport had become the 59th richest person in Australia, I had to wonder just how much money he has made at the expense of outer areas of Canberra like Tuggeranong?

When I worked in Government a decade ago, we were moved from Tuggers to the airport. Just like a number of other organisations and businesses were. When I see so many closed shops and business inside and surrounding the Hyperdome and empty office spaces that once housed ACT and Federal workers, I wonder what the flow on effect of the airport expansion has been on the Tuggeranong town centre.

I noted a big shift of Tuggeranong workers to the airport area in the ABS 2011 Journey to work data, it will be interesting to see how the 2016 data looks when it’s released later this year. My bet is Terry has attracted more workers out his way and made more money at the expense of other outer Canberra town centres.

Spot on, the snow factor had been immense. That said the location of Tuggeranong town centre was poorly thought out. Though the early 1980’s we had a totally different view of what a town centre should be and mostly that revolved around shopping centres and cars. So tuggers had their mall and carpark plus Bunnings and carpark plus lots of other shops and carpark.

Parts of Belconnen town centre have the same issue. Only saving grace for belco is the proximity to UC and the fact the eastern part of the town centre eg the UC side was not covered in shops and carpark so have now been redeveloped into housing.

8
ffisher 12:53 pm
29 May 17
#

It seems almost unsolvable but at least this man has given it thought, which is what the planners should have done in the first place. They have repeated the same mistakes at Gunghalin – a truly awful place – restaurant/cafes right next to cars and buses and now trains and a Bunnings in the town centre opposite a school and library. I’m always struck by the fact that these town centres dont optimise their ponds or lakes or views – where are the tree lined pedestrian avenues from the shops to the water or the view with eating, dancing, drinking along the way!

9
Maya123 6:14 pm
29 May 17
#

ffisher said :

where are the tree lined pedestrian avenues from the shops to the water or the view with eating, dancing, drinking along the way!

Or as I saw recently in the UK, a mall with one of its entrance paths through an ancient cemetery. The result is that the cemetery had turned into, in effect, a park for the mall and people sit on the grass and eat lunch among the graves. The big old church has opened a cafe inside to cash in. (It still runs services too.)
It’s been ages since I have visited Tuggeranong Mall, but I seem to recall the shop frontages were wider than in many other malls. This is a design flaw in my opinion, making the walk between shops larger and losing something in atmosphere because of it.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Search across the site