5 March 2023

Probing the polls: apartment parking and accommodating the Multiculti masses

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Multicultural Festival

There were plenty of ‘meat on a stick’ options at the Multiculti! Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Should Canberra’s new apartments have parking spaces for everyone? Is that a reasonable expectation when the city is investing in its light rail network and decreasing its carbon footprint?

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman suggested that may well be the way of the future, paving the way for a much greater reliance on public transport. Developers are not averse to the proposal, presumably allowing them to charge more for car spaces as they migrate from necessities to extras.

Many readers disagreed vehemently with the Minister’s forecast, pointing out that the public transport network was nowhere near ready for people to abandon their vehicles.

We asked, Should new apartment blocks have car spaces for each occupant? A total of 1568 readers voted.

Your options to vote were Yes, this is a decentralised city lacking good public transport. This attracted 90 per cent of the total, or 1360 votes. Alternatively, you could choose No, it’s unnecessary, backward-looking and increases costs. This attracted just 10 per cent of the total, or 159 votes.

This week, we’re wondering whether the Multicultural Festival has outgrown Civic.

Canberra’s favourite event has returned, prompting much joy from locals who thronged the city centre, enjoying music, dance, a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of meat on a stick washed down with beer.

Crowds were at record levels, but was it all too much for the 25th anniversary?

READ ALSO Has the Multicultural Festival outgrown Civic? Government ‘reflecting on’ future move

The government estimates about 350,000 people attended, blowing the previous record of 250,000 out of the water. A record 170 different cultures were also represented in 250 stalls along City Walk, including some for the first time, such as Afghanistan and Tibet.

There were also 30 showcases and performances across the Festival’s eight stages. The event expanded into Glebe Park this year, with welcome shade for attendees and stallholders on a sweltering weekend.

But can the city centre continue to sustain three-quarters of the city’s population visiting over a three-day event? Can transport, parking and other services cope with an event of this magnitude?

Plenty of people loved the vibe.

Domenic wrote: “It is the city centre itself that gives the festival the atmosphere that makes it so great. Moving it would see patronage decline (IMHO), which would be counterproductive.

“And yes – the food prices were sufficiently high that my friends and I ate at Locquita Tacquaria instead for dinner. It was faster than waiting in line and cheaper. We still got to saunter through the festival and took in various shows and additional food and bevies as we walked.”

But Alan commented: “Civic road closures still evident two days after the event still impacting regular traders in the area. Maybe time for a relocation?”

Our poll question this week is:

Has the Multicultural Festival outgrown Civic?

View Results

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