A little while ago, I wrote a few pieces about Braddon. In amongst the many different aspects of the suburb, I brought up the concept of significant changes to Haig Park. The reason for this park, being a windbreak, has now become a thing of the past and the city needs to reconsider how this valuable green space could be redesigned and configured to serve the locals far more than at present.
The park itself is not a friendly place to be any time of the day or night and can be a terrifying experience for those residents who need to cross over it. There is not enough lighting and because of its reputation for strange goings-on, it remains very unfriendly. The trees were planted in regimented rows as if it is some form of military parade. With the intensification of residential units in the surrounding areas, this green space needs to be to become a space used by many people any time of the day or evening.
However there is much wider agenda at play here. In my opinion, this park is key to what could one day be the North Canberra Greenway. This would mean linking the green spaces presently alongside the drain from Hackett via Dickson, the Lyneham Wetlands, though O’Connor to Turner making the left turn into a newly designed Haig Park.
The planning for the total Greenway could happen any time now with the delivery being staged over many years as various sections are upgraded. Along the way the Dickson Drain should be modified to return it to a waterway with linear parklands each side and with links into the Dickson shops as well as into the many neighbourhood streets.
Another key to this is the section of land in Dickson, presently officially classified as Section 72. This needs to be retitled as the Dickson Cultural Parklands. There’s a battle ahead for the resident as the ACT Government’s developers have already marshalled their friends to have this valuable community site rezoned to allow for even more multi-unit developments. I will return to this story another day.
North Canberra Greenway could start at the top with the popular Dickson Wetlands and have separate paths for walking and for cycling. Along its length should be several playgrounds, picnic spots, a selection of public artworks, increased greenery and landscape designs and anything else that would make the whole walkway attractive for people to get out and take a walk or ride and to undertake exercise in the fresh air.
If you look at a map of this part of Canberra, the basics for a greenway are obvious as most of the proposed route is already coloured as if it is a long linear park.
So what next? Somehow we have to find a leader with vision amongst those who wish to be considered in the next ACT Government elections. That person or persons should be asked to commit to the planning for the North Canberra Greenway. And while we are asking questions, maybe even ask if they could commit to resident friendly planning and development and to put in place new structures to bring about developments that avoid the constant clashes with residents. Is that too much to ask of politicians who wish to be elected?
So back to the topic for today: With some creative thinking and intelligent planning, the North Canberra Greenway could be a huge benefit to the ambience of these established suburbs along with encouraging even more outside healthy activities.
Will the politician with leadership please step forward – I am more than happy to discuss this in more detail than allowed for through this post.