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Kingston Foreshore – a magnet for people and nature

Ian Campbell 12 November 2018
Kingston is an environment that has been reborn. Photo:George Tsotsos

Kingston is an environment that has been reborn. Photos: George Tsotsos.

As spring starts to stir Canberra’s dormant trees into bloom, the Kingstone Foreshore is embracing the new season after being a warm, comforting retreat during the winter months.

The many apartments that dot this oasis create an energy that flows through to the dozens of bars, cafes, and eateries that draw people from across the Territory and surrounding regional areas to live or relax.

“I love Canberra and I enjoy the city, but there is something about the foreshore that reminds me of ‘not Canberra’ it’s kinda like the South Coast; everybody likes coming out here,” says Jeremy, a regular at The Dock.

“There is just something nice about having a beer in front of the lake.”

As our days grow longer and warmer, the outdoor eating areas that encircle this former industrial site are coming into their own, the gas heaters and crocheted knitted blankets that have kept patrons cosy are being rolled away and replaced by the natural warmth of the sun.

As part of the passion behind The Dock, Glenn Collins knows Kingston Foreshore and its people well.

“The majority of our clientele is very local, people love that they can stroll down to the pub, get a good feed, a nice drink, and over the years we’ve seen really good friendships form by hanging out at the local pub.”

The many apartments that dot this oasis create an energy that flows through to the dozens of bars, cafes, and eateries. Photo: George Tsotsos.

The many apartments that dot this oasis create an energy that flows through to the dozens of bars, cafes, and eateries.

It’s an environment that has been reborn, a site that was once home to power generation, government printing, and bus mechanics is now a restored ecosystem, a magnet of people and nature.

“The loop around the lake and the wetlands are a really nice running track,” says local Benn Ratanakosol.

“I spend all my time here, it’s such a great community, you see people walking their dogs, everyone is in a good mood.”

This environment, community, and vibrancy hasn’t just happened, it’s a vision that grows from the first seeds of the capital.

The Kingston Foreshore we now love dates back to Walter Burley Griffin in 1911. The new momentum that started in 2000, follows Griffin’s original vision for the East Basin,  a recreational and functional boat harbour with a fully landscaped public foreshore and vibrant waterfront promenade.

It’s design and planning that strata manager, Chris Miller from Vantage Strata appreciates.

“The strata manager’s role, if you boil it down to its true components, is managing what’s in a building, and looking after the infrastructure that houses people’s homes and businesses – and affects their day to day lives,” he explains.

Chris says working with developers upfront in the early stages of a new building or precinct is key to its long-term smooth running which ultimately plays into people’s enjoyment and comfort.

Kingston Foreshore has access to the amenity and the lifestyle that people want, my job is to make that effortless for people,” he says.

“This is a living, breathing community, and it’s an exciting vibrant place to come to.

“That energy and amenity attracts a range of people to live here from downsizers to young couples.”

Jonathan Draper, the owner of Local Press, one of the foreshore’s favourite eateries says the relaxed atmosphere suits visitors and residents.

“The LP Breakfast is a favourite for people, we have taken elements from previous menus and put them on the one plate, it flies out the door, it’s our version of the big breakfast,” he smiles.

With the support of the community, Jonathan has opened a second business within the precinct on Giles Street – Local Press Wholefoods, a bulk food grocery store designed to reduce waste and plastics for residents.

“People are getting used to how the system works, bringing their own jars and topping them up, it’s working well.

“There is a really good community down here, we get a lot of the same customers every day, there is a nice local vibe to it,” Jonathan says.

Bec and Penny are young mums and part of that community. The boardwalk and pathways combine with the range of cafes and food options to make catching up with young ones easier.

“It’s nice being by the water and getting some sun,” Bec says.

“There is lots of space to walk around and send the toddler off on his little balance bike and lots of yummy places to eat,” Penny adds.

This environment, community, and vibrancy hasn't just happened, it's a vision that grows from the first seeds of the capital. Photo: George Tsotsos.

This environment, community, and vibrancy hasn’t just happened, it’s a vision that grows from the first seeds of the capital.

There’s more to come in the future for this different way to live and connect, with the Kingston Arts Precinct taking shape around the Canberra Glassworks and Old Bus Depot Markets.

The vision and the reality will see workshops, gallery spaces and offices for arts groups, visiting artist accommodation, landscaped plazas for outdoor entertainment and events, and generous parking provisions.

There is also an element of opportunity about Kingston Foreshore that is part of its pull in the years to come. With people still moving in to create a home here, the future is really being shaped by the community that is coming together.

“From my position in strata management, if each of the apartment buildings here existed as an island, there would be real opportunities missed, that collaboration has in fact created a community, these people have an association with one another and they recognise the benefit of working together,” Chris Miller, Vantage Strata says.

The Kingston Foreshore is one of Canberra’s most popular dining and recreational precincts. The waterfront hub is bursting with restaurants, cafes and bars, has access to some fabulous running tracks and walking loops, and the peaceful wetlands are just nearby. Ian Campbell dropped in to learn more about what attracts people to the Foreshore and asked them what they love about the precinct. Their answers? Space, sunshine, a place to relax, a picturesque environment and a strong sense of community. Hit play to take a look.

Posted by The RiotACT on Thursday, 18 October 2018

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