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Pesec calls for halt to ACT Government’s apartment plans for West Basin

Ian Bushnell 5 May 2019 34

An indicative illustration of what a developed West Basin would like. File photo.

Independent Senate Candidate for the ACT, Anthony Pesec, has bought in to the row over the proposed development of West Basin on Lake Burley Griffin, saying he will push for a parliamentary inquiry if elected on 18 May.

Mr Pesec called for a halt to planning for apartment development at West Basin, throwing his support behind the Guardians of Lake Burley Griffin, who have opposed ACT Government plans to reclaim part of the lake and develop the area.

Government plans to redevelop West Basin into a residential, business and recreational precinct are moving ahead with the City Renewal Authority seeking a consultant to devise a development plan for the key lakeside area.

The Authority has already flagged the possibility of 2000 apartments as part of a major reshaping of West Basin into a waterfront community connected to the city, and tender documents describe the area as ‘unique’ in terms of the Indicative Land Release Program and Government revenue opportunities.

“Public meeting after public meeting has called for an end to this ill-judged proposal to fill in part of the Lake, one of the most recognisable and loved features of our national capital. Yet the ACT Government and the National Capital Authority press on regardless,” Mr Pesec said.

He took aim at his opponents in the main parties – Liberal Senator  Zed Seselja and former Labor senator Katy Gallagher – for not doing anything to address community concern about the West Basin plans, which he said would severely degrade the environmental, heritage and social values of Lake Burley Griffin.

“The incoming Federal Government should immediately approve the heritage listing of Lake Burley Griffin and its landscape setting to ensure the permanent protection of the lake shores from projects like West Basin which are little more than a blatant revenue grab by the ACT Government,” Mr Pesec said.

“The Kingston Foreshore development is an example of what can happen when commercial interests prevail over good planning. Our national capital values must never again be traded away for short term budgetary gain.”

Mr Pesec said he recently met with the Guardians and was impressed with their commitment to the Lake and its importance to Canberra’s status as a planned city of world renown.

“I support the Guardians’ call for a review of West Basin planning with community involvement,” he said.

Mr Pesec said that if elected to the Senate on 18 May he would press for an inquiry into West Basin by the Federal parliamentary committee on the National Capital and External Territories.


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34 Responses to Pesec calls for halt to ACT Government’s apartment plans for West Basin
ffisher ffisher 9:20 am 06 May 19

Canberra doesn’t really have much going for it in terms of attracting travelers. A city is a city and the world is full of cities consisting of nothing more than endless buildings. The one thing Canberra has is a beautiful vista comprising the Brindabella range and the ‘mountains’ around Canberra. Looking from the lake across to Black Mountain uninterrupted (well almost one building in Acton interferes with the view) is pretty spectacular and should be treasured and preserved. The views to the various mountains from the city are being obstructed/obscured by high rise development already. If this development (for money) impacts on that then it should not go ahead. We should be working to make Canberra the city you come to when you have had enough of visiting cities that are simply buildings where the history and character have been trashed for money.

Arjay Arjay 12:56 pm 06 May 19

Anthony Pesec is happy to talk up the importance of the National Capital Plan, and has recently claimed that it is being “ignored” by the ACT Government.

So why is it that when the ACT Government proposes a development that is entirely consistent with the provision for West Basin outlined in the NCP, he calls for it to be halted?

Is the NCP a hallowed document that should be adhered to at all times, or are we allowed to simply pick and choose which elements should be followed based on personal preference? One or the other, Anthony!

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 6:32 pm 06 May 19

    I do believe that the National Capital Plan (NCP) should be complied with, that is the law.

    However, the NCP is not perfect and is under continuous review. The National Capital Authority is very happy to receive and consider proposals for amendment.

    In this context, I support the view of the Guardians of Lake Burley Griffin that the current NCP requirements for West Basin are flawed. The current NCP objectives for West Basin took effect in 2006 and have been retained in the current version. There are many problems including a serious lack of respect and protection for the Griffin Plans, the heritage of the Lake and the significant vistas across the Lake.

    There are other problems with the current NCP but the issue of immediate concern to me is West Basin.

    You can read about this in much more detail at: http://lakeburleygriffinguardians.org.au/media/LBGG-SoR-Urban-Design-West-Basin-03.04.19.pdf

Anthony Pesec - Independent ACT Senate candidate Anthony Pesec - Independent ACT Senate candidate 2:16 pm 06 May 19

I do believe that the National Capital Plan (NCP) should be complied with, that is the law.

However, the NCP is not perfect and is under continuous review. The National Capital Authority is very happy to receive and consider proposals for amendment.

In this context, I support the view of the Guardians of Lake Burley Griffin that the current NCP requirements for West Basin are flawed. The current NCP objectives for West Basin took effect in 2006 and have been retained in the current version. There are many problems including a serious lack of respect and protection for the Griffin Plans, the heritage of the Lake and the significant vistas across the Lake.

There are other problems with the current NCP but the issue of immediate concern to me is West Basin.

You can read about this in much more detail at: http://lakeburleygriffinguardians.org.au/media/LBGG-SoR-Urban-Design-West-Basin-03.04.19.pdf

    Arjay Arjay 3:21 pm 06 May 19

    Anthony, the Lake Guardians don’t give a toss about any of the Griffin plans and never have. They are a loud, unrepresentative rabble of self-appointed gatekeepers who have taken it upon themselves to dictate how the lake should be enjoyed by people who actually live here. 95% of their complaints can be boiled down to “I don’t personally like this change” and should be treated as such.

    I am a Rabbit™ I am a Rabbit™ 3:46 pm 06 May 19

    Hi Anthony,

    Are you willing to declare if you have any vested interests in the area – such as property?

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 6:31 pm 06 May 19

    Hi Rabbit. I don’t own any property near West Basin.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:22 pm 06 May 19

It may well be that this proposal would result in another distinctly sub-optimal development, and that people who know and care about the “Burley Griffin Vision”, heritage and environmental values etc. will be disappointed at best, and mortified at worst, by what would result from it – but a little city council/regional government which was set up on the assumption that it would be heavily reliant on land sales (and which has fewer taxing options than larger and more economcally diverse jurisdictions) has to get the money from somewhere.

With the latter issue in mind, the best thing an independent Senator for the ACT could do would be to press for a parliamentary inquiry into the medium/longer term fiscal viability of the ACT – and options for addressing a fairly obvious trajectory, particularly if there are to be relatively strict “national interest” limits on further development.

With even more pressing signs about the fiscal viability of the NT, and to some extent, Tasmania, some strategic action in the Senate on this question would be timely and of broader relevance.

    ffisher ffisher 9:33 am 07 May 19

    Barr was happy to tout the “Burley Griffin Vision” to saddle us with a light rail to nowhere resulting in a dysfunctional bus/transport system. Like everything, its a case of cherrypicking.

Bolbi Bolbi 8:04 pm 06 May 19

The government has produced a strategy that says they will delink parking from commercial development and not require apartments to have a minimum number of parking spaces. The people living here will be absolutely dependent on walking, cycling or public transport, so you would want to be sure major shops are extremely convenient.
If you want to visit the area from outside, you will be dependent on the same ways of getting in. I don’t think it will be viable to bring your kayak in on public transport. Of course, the government closed the boat and surf ski hire place a few years ago, so usage has decreased in recent times.
In the government’ strategy, they claim they will increase canopy from 19% to 30%. This won’t be done by protecting treed areas such as West Basin but will instead be lining roads and cycleways. The government describes the treed areas as “underutilised”. Beware any clumps of trees, they are a waste of space which are better used for apartments.
Floriade is likely to become unviable in its current location due to the reduction of nearby parking. Required used of public transport will not be popular with tourists. This is likely the real driver why they want to relocate Floriade.
The balloon festival is likely to become unviable due to the need to go up to 1000ft if within 300m a populous area. That’s a significant chunk of the basin and means balloons have decreased flight path options.

chewy14 chewy14 2:21 pm 07 May 19

Well there goes any chance I had of voting for this guy.

“Public meeting after public meeting has called for an end to this ill-judged proposal to fill in part of the Lake, one of the most recognisable and loved features of our national capital”

Public meetings filled with a tiny minority of self selected NIMBY’s who don’t want to see anything happen on empty and vastly unused land unless it solely benefits themselves.

Also a wildly ironic statement from Pesec talking about a lake foreshore that’s only 50 years old. Perhaps we should go back to the river, which was also one of the most loved features of our city before development and progress created the lake.

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