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Mount Ainslie revamp – let’s improve but not go over the top

By Alexandra Craig - 15 December 2015 45

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Last week the government announced plans to hold a design competition for a revamp of the Mount Ainslie summit.

At the moment, there’s not a lot up there. Some benches, an info sign, some parking spots and that’s about it. And I reckon that’s exactly how it should stay.

I’m not opposed to new benches or new signs or new landscaping, but there has been mention of the possibility of having a cafe or restaurant built up there.

Minister Rattenbury did say “I don’t think anyone in Canberra would want to see anything gaudy on this landscape, anything that was over the top,” but I think if a cafe was allowed to be built up there, it would look tacky and would ruin the peacefulness of Mount Ainslie.

I know they want to attract more people to visit Mount Ainslie, but if there was a busy cafe up there and a lot of noise, I wouldn’t go up there anymore. I’d go to Mount Taylor instead. I don’t go for a run up a mountain to be met by a billion people at the top.

If people absolutely must have a coffee when they get to the summit, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing some kind of agreement in place with a coffee van and them being allowed to turn up on weekends or something similar.

Mount Ainslie is a nature reserve. Months of construction on a new facility I think would be just awful. I would avoid like the plague. Let’s keep Mount Ainslie as it is.

What’s Your opinion?


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45 Responses to
Mount Ainslie revamp – let’s improve but not go over the top
Maya123 6:50 pm 16 Dec 15

dungfungus said :

Acton said :

An attractive cafe with an outdoor eating area and viewing platform to take visitors to, or to relax at after a walk from the base, is too much to hope for. With their antics at the Yarralumla Brickworks as a precedent, this ACT Government, led by the LDA and Property Council, can be expected to propose that the restoration and renewal of the Mount Ainsle summit will be funded by the construction of nearby eight-storey apartment blocks, doubling the size of the suburb, removing views and destroying the habitat of local wildlife. Anyone who opposes this urban densification shall be branded a nimby.

“An attractive cafe with an outdoor eating area and viewing platform to take visitors to”
That sounds like Maccas but there must be some Euro-centric outfits out there that will appeal more to Andrew Hipster.

“attractive” – which MacDonalds have you seen that matches that description?

dungfungus 6:01 pm 16 Dec 15

Acton said :

An attractive cafe with an outdoor eating area and viewing platform to take visitors to, or to relax at after a walk from the base, is too much to hope for. With their antics at the Yarralumla Brickworks as a precedent, this ACT Government, led by the LDA and Property Council, can be expected to propose that the restoration and renewal of the Mount Ainsle summit will be funded by the construction of nearby eight-storey apartment blocks, doubling the size of the suburb, removing views and destroying the habitat of local wildlife. Anyone who opposes this urban densification shall be branded a nimby.

“An attractive cafe with an outdoor eating area and viewing platform to take visitors to”
That sounds like Maccas but there must be some Euro-centric outfits out there that will appeal more to Andrew Hipster.

Mess 3:57 pm 16 Dec 15

“would ruin the peacefulness of Mount Ainslie”

Every time I’ve been up there it’s either full of people in Lycra, or drunk teenagers. Neither of which falls within my definition of relaxing.

madelini 3:23 pm 16 Dec 15

Masquara said :

People should have to walk to see the view, then they can retire to have a coffee with perhaps bush looking toward Mt Majura as the outlook.

As opposed to now, when they can drive?

Acton 2:21 pm 16 Dec 15

An attractive cafe with an outdoor eating area and viewing platform to take visitors to, or to relax at after a walk from the base, is too much to hope for. With their antics at the Yarralumla Brickworks as a precedent, this ACT Government, led by the LDA and Property Council, can be expected to propose that the restoration and renewal of the Mount Ainsle summit will be funded by the construction of nearby eight-storey apartment blocks, doubling the size of the suburb, removing views and destroying the habitat of local wildlife. Anyone who opposes this urban densification shall be branded a nimby.

Ten_Inches 1:23 pm 16 Dec 15

Maybe relocate some of the undesirable elements from the Northbourne Ave Light Rail corridor, up into and around Mt Ainslie, as opposed to having them right next to an Early Childhood School and Childcare Centre

Southmouth 1:17 pm 16 Dec 15

Mt Lofty. We’ve copied their silly one trick tram, might as well copy their lookout as well.

Alexandra Craig 12:23 pm 16 Dec 15

rommeldog56 said :

Shhhhh Alexandra.

You shouldn’t talk about such things. Next you know, the ACT Gov’t will densify Mount Ainslie and run the tram up there too. Come to think of it, the views from multi story sardine cans would be spectacular.

Ha ha, maybe we could have a cable car system that goes to the top!

Maya123 9:41 am 16 Dec 15

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. A cafe at the top would be a good idea.

madelini 9:27 am 16 Dec 15

A fear of change shouldn’t stand in the way of utilising what is a wonderful spot in the City. Having a small to medium sized café at the summit would improve Mt Ainslie – particularly in winter, it would give people somewhere to go so that they can still take in the view without having their hands and faces go numb from the wind. There is underutilised land near the top of the lookout, that could be perfect. If you take Red Hill as an example, they have the downstairs café (Little Brother) open for breakfast and lunch, and On Red for fancier dinners. Even when the car park is full, it never feels packed because it’s still an open space.

Mt Ainslie would benefit from a Little Brother-type café. It makes it more welcoming – and those who are opposed to some of the best bits of Canberra being made a bit more popular are welcome to Mt Taylor, Mt Tennant or Mt Majura.

dungfungus 8:01 am 16 Dec 15

And only access to be via foot, bicycle or funicular railway from Gungahlin, powered by 150% renewables, of course.

wildturkeycanoe 6:38 am 16 Dec 15

Totally agree. Minimalism is the key to keeping Mt. Ainslie a place people would enjoy the most. An experimental trial of a portable coffee cart would tell us if it was viable to have a cafe there, but it should not be reliant on the philosophy “build it and they will come”. Even then, the top of the mount should be kept clear of any extra clutterings and things like shade or services be built lower so that the panoramic views remain unobstructed. You can’t sky gaze with the lights from a canteen blinding your peripheral vision.
Another thing they need to consider is traffic flow, if they want to get more people to visit. Where is everybody going to park? There is no public transport so all the tourists and locals will have to drive up there and then what?

rommeldog56 11:41 pm 15 Dec 15

Shhhhh Alexandra. You shouldn’t talk about such things. Next you know, the ACT Gov’t will densify Mount Ainslie and run the tram up there too. Come to think of it, the views from multi story sardine cans would be spectacular.

Masquara 7:51 pm 15 Dec 15

Ideally, I’d agree – but there’s going to have to be some compromise. There should be no music and any structure should be set well back and be like an eco-lodge, with minimum impact – treated like a wilderness shack with composting toilets and take-away waste infrastructure. People should have to walk to see the view, then they can retire to have a coffee with perhaps bush looking toward Mt Majura as the outlook. The trouble is, can we ensure that any contract awarded to a food provisioner won’t be able to be stretched out to something “gaudy” OTT and noisy.

creative_canberran 5:49 pm 15 Dec 15

You want the best lookout in the city to be under utilised so you don’t have to share. There not going to turn it into a damn nightclub. A tasteful pavilion and shaded look out area would be an asset. Whether they build something larger like on Red Hill, well, that could work too.

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