Late call to save Kippax green space from centre development

Ian Bushnell 15 March 2018 7
kippax fair

The Kippax Fair shopping centre. The group centre’s proposed expansion will mean parts of the Holt district playing fields will be lost. Photo: File photo.

A rearguard action has been mounted to avert the development of the Holt district playing fields proposed in the Kippax Group Centre Master Plan as the public consultation period comes to a close.

A separate proposal from the owners of the Kippax Fair shopping centre also plans to expand on to the ovals but West Belconnen community activist and former independent candidate for Ginninderra, Vanessa Jones, says with smart design it was possible to preserve the area’s green space and provide the shops and services that the growing suburb requires.

Ms Jones said that while the community panel, that engaged during the consultation, indicated support for the Master Plan’s proposal to allow the centre to expand on to parts of the ovals if recreational facilities were moved to the nearby Higgins Ovals, she had not found anybody who supported the plan or agreed with the loss of green space.

“I went to the 2015 meeting of the Belconnen Community Council and they presented both the Government plans and the Kippax Fair plans and it seemed to me the Government subtly and quietly wanted that building on the oval, and the community panel has come back and affirmed that,” she said.

“All the people I meet want our ovals improved for sport and leisure usage.”

Ms Jones said the community had a choice. “Do we do just a big splat development over the oval and concrete a certain percentage of the oval, with apartments on top, or do we do some clever design on the car parks? That’s the choice,” she said.

Ms Jones said that while apartments were an attractive proposition because they were profitable, she would prefer professional offices and medical services on top of any new shops.

She said the community welcomed a bigger centre and would like as many shops and services in West Belconnen as possible but not at the expense of its green space.

A recommendation for part of the surface car park to the west of Woolworths be rezoned to open space to allow for a small ‘people’s park’ was tokenistic, she said.

“It’s very worrying when they offer a pretty little playground and take a huge amount of the ovals for development,” she said.

Her recent Canberra Ideas Facebook page on the issue generated many comments and she has written to local MLAs asking where they stood on the issue.

However, with West Belconnen being safe Labor territory, she believes it tends to be taken for granted.

Ms Jones said other areas such as Yarralumla were much more successful in fighting to keep its green spaces, but that the issue was one for the entire Canberra community.

Comment on changes to the Kippax Group Centre Draft Master Plan close on 16 March.

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7 Responses to Late call to save Kippax green space from centre development
Maddison Farrawell Maddison Farrawell 9:46 pm 16 Mar 18

how about stop cramming houses so close together in the new suburbs and just build new shops in them. Like how thing used to be.

Lisa Syrek Lisa Syrek 7:59 am 16 Mar 18

Vanessa must not have spoken with everyone, in winter the fields are dangerous, they turn to a muddy bog, no water runs off and this is the season of highest use for those fields! Comments are made from other Canberra Sporting clubs about the terrible conditions of the grounds. The 3 old fields up the other end will not fit the existing field sizes. Maybe Vanessa can come visit the fields in winter after we have had rain and see the conditions 1000’s of Rugby League and Oztag players have to play in, oh and let’s not mention the ground hire fees we have to pay for these fields! Higgins is a great option, new field and facilities for our next generation 👍

    Vanessa Jones Vanessa Jones 12:59 pm 16 Mar 18

    Hi Lisa, I live near Kippax and I walk through the ovals most days. I have asked for footpaths through the ovals, as my shoes often get very muddy! Trust me, I know how much these ovals need improving. As I say in the article, people in the area want our ovals improved. I have asked MLAs for a bike track, benches, bbqs, picnic tables, and a dog park within the Kippax/Higgins/West Belco area, on our ovals, so we can use them more. Nothing much has yet been done. I encourage you to write a cc email to our 5 MLAs saying what you want done. We need so much done out here, and I hope we get some footpaths and improvements, I see the ovals each day and I wish they were much better. I grew up in inner Sydney with well equipped parks and ovals, and I know how well it can be done. We could have some beautiful green spaces like Centennial Park, for all people to enjoy, every single day. That park area has sports fields, a bike track for kids, playgrounds, cafes and leisure areas. Cheers.

Lexie Donald Lexie Donald 7:37 am 16 Mar 18

Kippax needs updating the plans incorporate green space

It least it not high rise or tiny block huge house development

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 11:42 pm 15 Mar 18

This is the ACT. The colour green will not be tolerated!

Brad Fraser Brad Fraser 8:58 pm 15 Mar 18

Are the sports fields behind still used or have they gone into disrepair?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:21 pm 15 Mar 18

    The two right behind Kippax Fair are still used. Further down there are three ex hockey fields that have not been kept as sports field for a long time. Wouldn’t be hard to bring them back to life you would think.

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