13 September 2021

Probing the polls: bus shelter advertising and horse paddock pressures

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Woman riding horse

Are the days of riding horses in suburban Canberra coming to an end? Photo: Sarah Neilson.

Is Canberra’s long history of largely advertising-free spaces under threat? The Greens think so, and they’ve started a campaign to remove advertising from bus shelters, buses and other vehicles.

Their petition generated plenty of debate, but based on our weekly poll, locals are divided on the subject. For all those who welcome a visually clean, advertisement-free Canberra, there are plenty of others who don’t mind a bit of advertising while they’re waiting for the bus and like a clean shelter.

We asked, Should we remove advertising from bus shelters and moving vehicles? A total of 1486 people voted.

Your choices were to vote Yes, it’s a relief to be advertising free. This received 47 per cent of the total, or 705 votes.

Alternatively, you could vote No, this is all getting a bit Big Brother for me. This received 53 per cent of the total, or 781 votes.

This week, we’re wondering about the fate of Canberra’s many horse paddocks as development edges closer to one of the city’s great legacies of open space.

READ ALSO In a city hungry for land, how long can the horse paddocks last?

Ian Bushnell wrote that aged care provider LDK’s proposal for a $143 million residential village and care centre on the old motel site off the Cotter Road may have ramifications for the Cotter Road’s long-established agistment paddocks.

Already, the deal between the ACT Government and the NCA on the North Curtin Horse Paddocks means that, eventually, between the proposed diplomatic estate and development of the remaining Territory land on the light rail corridor, that stretch of the rural landscape will be gone.

Can we retain these prime slices of green space within a rapidly growing city where so many want a standalone house? The government’s preferred means of meeting housing needs is via infill rather than greenfield development, but how long can this go on?

“Why does the population of Canberra need to increase? How will it improve the quality of life for Canberrans?” Chris O’Rourke asked, while James Forge wrote,Do away with the horse paddocks where does it stop? Plenty of golf courses and sports grounds to redevelop too”.

But not everybody agreed.

“It would be great if this land, right next to a major transport corridor and only a stone’s throw from major employers in the parliamentary triangle, could be used for housing people. Might even put some downward pressure on prices!” said Dave Rowe.

Daniel Oleanivan brought up an interesting point: “A lot of people don’t know but the Canberra sewer main goes through that paddock and continues all the way past the zoo and arboretum then through to lower Whitlam, then to the Belconnen sewage treatment. I worked on it 8 years ago in that paddock it has unbelievable pressure and part of it runs through Lake Burley Griffin from Civic. So good luck building anything near that.”

Our question this week is:

Can we save Canberra's horse paddocks?

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Horse paddocks are an important part of the way Canberra feels.

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