14 July 2022

Parks, libraries, shops, bridges: here's where the cash will be splashed this Budget

| Lottie Twyford
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bridge design

The closure of three bridges in the Umbagong District Park had been a source of growing frustration for the community. Photo: File.

Suburbs across the ACT will benefit from a cash splash in this year’s Budget with everything from bridges, parks and libraries to suburban shops and green waste facilities sharing in $16 million.

It’s part of a program of works the government is touting as its biggest upgrade to suburban facilities and infrastructure.

The upcoming Budget will commit $3.8 million to replace three timber bridges in the Umbagong District Park. Closed since April 2021, the bridges were deemed unsafe during a routine inspection due to timber deterioration.

Frustration had since grown because of the length of time it was taking to replace them.

But the park’s community action group has now welcomed the commitment after criticising the government for its perceived inaction on the matter in December last year.

chris steel cuts the ribbon at the Coombs community centre

Special Minister of State Chris Steel opens the long-awaited community centre in Coombs. But locals say there’s still more work to be done. Photo: ACT Government.

Group co-chair David Sprinkle said the Budget commitment was testament to about 1000 Canberrans who had supported the petition.

“After a rocky start, we’re now very excited and looking forward to the bridges being completed by March 2023 as indicated to us by the government,” he said.

Early planning works for a library in the Molonglo commercial centre will also begin thanks to a $200,000 promise in the Budget.

Residents, who have long been calling for community facilities to be built in the rapidly-growing Molonglo Valley, welcomed the funding.

READ ALSO New Molonglo Valley health centre offers free care to women and children

But the Molongo Valley Community Forum argued the library should not be treated as a standalone project.

Convener Ryan Hemsley said the government should engage in a holistic community co-design process which would take into account all community infrastructure and tie it together.

Minister for City Services Chris Steel said the government wanted to consult with the Molonglo Valley community to hear about what services and activities residents would like to access at the new facility.

But he wouldn’t put a timeline on when the library would be built.

Mr Hemsley said expediting the library construction wasn’t a priority for the forum unless the construction of the entire centre was to be sped up.

“Any acceleration of the library would ultimately be futile unless other parts of the centre were also accelerated in a more timely manner,” he said.

Other projects earmarked in the Budget include a playground and recreation park in Watson to be built at a cost of $2.6 million.

READ ALSO ACT Budget: Lights to make intersections safer in $24 million roads package

Almost $9 million will be allocated to moving a green waste collection and processing and landscape depot from Parkwood Road to a previously announced site on Stockdill Drive at West Belconnen. The move will allow the current site to close and be redeveloped as part of the suburb of Ginninderry.

The government said the facility, able to process at least 17,000 tonnes of green waste a year, could be expanded to manage additional waste at its new site.

Mr Steel said construction could begin as early as next year with a tender to go out by the end of this year.

The Budget has also allocated $1 million for landscaping and paving upgrades at Charnwood Shopping Centre.

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