Probing the polls: school closure confusion and what about the Curtin horse paddocks?

Genevieve Jacobs 30 March 2020 22
West Basin

West Basin will be developed following a land swap with the NCA. Image: File.

It’s been a dramatic week of COVID-19 crisis developments as the virus spreads rapidly around Australia. Here in Canberra, ACT Health is insisting that they have been able to trace the source of infection overwhelmingly to overseas travellers and close contacts.

They say there is no evidence of community transmission at this stage, although health minister Rachael Stephen-Smith and chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman both conceded it was inevitable and that the government needed to prepare for that eventuality.

Schools have been a central point of tension as the Commonwealth continues to insist that they are safe while the states urge all schools to close, an argument that’s now extending to the discussion around childcare centres. In the ACT, government schools are currently on pupil-free days until the school holidays.

We asked you Is it a good idea for schools to close in response to COVID-19?

A total of 758 people voted.

Our poll results were clear. You could choose to vote No, the economic fallout will be dire. There must be other options. This option received 20 per cent of the total, or 154 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, there’s no other realistic option to keep our kids and teachers safe. This option received 80 per cent of the total, or 604 votes.

But while the crisis continues, everyday life does, too. The ACT Government and the NCA made a quiet announcement this week that they had agreed to terms that will enable the always controversial West Basin land swap to proceed.

The NCA revealed on its website that the Commonwealth had secured land in Curtin for the expansion of the ACT’s diplomatic community, either to build new embassies or residences over the next 25 years. The area in question is the North Curtin horse paddocks, and the ACT Equestrian Association says they were blindsided by the deal which will carve off 70 per cent of the land.

The other 30 per cent fronts Yarra Glen on the proposed light rail Stage 2 route to Woden and would be prime land for development along a public transport corridor.

The deal also clears the way for the planned redevelopment of the West Basin area on Lake Burley Griffin in the city, where the building of up to 2000 apartments has been flagged.

The City Renewal Authority’s next planned stage includes reclaiming the 2.8 hectares of the lake bed to expand the boardwalk, followed by building another lakeside park, landscaped public spaces and eventually residential development.

The deal won’t happen immediately: the Equestrian Association and users have until 2022.

Colette Raison said: “Don’t agree with infilling. Used to have horses in the Curtin paddocks. Came home from school. Walked up and had a ride. Great community then. Canberra WAS a bush capital. What happened?”

But Chris Cross didn’t agree, saying: “Outrage?? Makes perfect sense! Better utilise the land that is so close to the city and get rates from all the new diplomatic residences that set up there. Do it yesterday!”

What do you think?

Should the government be allowed to swap the Curtin horse paddocks for West Basin?

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22 Responses to Probing the polls: school closure confusion and what about the Curtin horse paddocks?
Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:26 pm 25 Jun 20

The phrase “world class” is bandied around a bit on this thread. It used to mean “the best of its kind in the world”. Apparently, a lot of people in the Canberra bubble haven’t noticed it yet but things have changed, forever. The CEO of Qantas said today there will be no overseas travel until at least July 2021! Qantas are sacking huge numbers of workers who will probably never work again. How many Canberra public servants have been sacked? Well, none and Barr has incredibly hired more in the vain belief things will return to normal but it won’t and it will get a lot worse. Do any of you watch the current segment on ABC TV ‘s 7.30 report about what is about to happen?

Accordingly, we need to re-define “world class” to mean “the worst of its kind in the world” because that’s where we are headed.

Helen Crombie Helen Crombie 12:22 am 25 Jun 20

No one cares about the horse owners, kicked out of yet another area to satisfy this local government

Vindalu Vindalu 7:12 am 02 Apr 20

Perhaps we could earmark a less prominent hectare or two for a toilet paper factory.

maxblues maxblues 7:34 pm 01 Apr 20

Does the swap mean the horses will be stabled in apartments at West Basin?
Does this also mean the ‘wireless’ tram in this area could be horse drawn?

Mirjam Herzog Mirjam Herzog 5:36 am 01 Apr 20

Chris Cross' pro argument citing the rates income from diplomatic missions is a highly contentious issue as the concept seems to infringe on the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and might therefore not hold up in the long run...

Mark Valerius Mark Valerius 8:39 pm 31 Mar 20

A great idea for space that’s used for sweet FA.

grim123 grim123 9:28 am 31 Mar 20

Gees the Barr govt shills are hard at work on this articles comments.

Drew Reis Drew Reis 9:14 am 31 Mar 20

Bring on West Basin redevelopment! 🥳

    Jeanne Theodore O'Malley Jeanne Theodore O'Malley 10:15 am 31 Mar 20

    If you love a totally concrete Canberra...

Sophia Lawrance Sophia Lawrance 2:31 am 31 Mar 20

And surprise surprise it’s announced at a time when no one can meet to protest this underhanded, sneaky land swap which is typical of this Government. 😡

    Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 1:04 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elroy Jones do you have a vested interest in this.. there are far more worthy infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, convention centre for the good of the public and not for a money hungry developers

    Sophia Lawrance Sophia Lawrance 1:53 pm 31 Mar 20

    Nasty. I’m all for development. I have lived in Canberra forever and my father was a developer that contributed to the building of this beautiful city. However rows of high rise on our lake front is not for “all the people”. Just for the wealthy few. Happy to see Acton developed (that is what it is called now, not West Basin) but with parks and open spaces, cafes etc wide bike paths and walkways. Something for everyone. 😊

    Susie Deards Susie Deards 11:22 pm 01 Apr 20

    Elroy it is unusual - unless your stirring, that you feel we don’t already have a lot of development going on in Canberra - our entire city has undergone restructuring, a new rail, developments by the lake, not to mention the popular ‘urban infill’ - why is it you feel we are being ‘held back’?

Sher Bee Sher Bee 10:21 pm 30 Mar 20

Oh look, there’s a new stadium. I guess this is a form of consultation

    Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 1:01 pm 31 Mar 20

    Elroy Jones so you will prefer to go against the masses and do whatever you want.... go to nth Korea and ask the people there

Chris Tony Chris Tony 9:55 pm 30 Mar 20

Canberran's want this development. This is an exciting time for our city. Also crunch time for the government to show they can deliver a world class development.

    Drew Reis Drew Reis 8:53 am 31 Mar 20

    Chris Tony I completely agree with your statement. We cannot wait for West Basin redevelopment 👍🏼

    Chris Tony Chris Tony 10:16 am 31 Mar 20

    Sophia, not involved in the industry at all. Just care about Canberra wanna see it get better and better

    Steven Chaytor Steven Chaytor 12:46 pm 31 Mar 20

    Completely agree Chris and totally not involved in the industry.

    Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 12:59 pm 31 Mar 20

    Chris Tony total architectural eyesore!

    Sophia Lawrance Sophia Lawrance 1:47 pm 31 Mar 20

    Chris Tony I don’t think rows of apartments blocking the lovely vista from Commonwealth Avenue Bridge to Black Mountain is an improvement. Just saying🤷‍♀️. Have you seen the plans - terrible. I love CANBERRA and have lived here all my life. Not against development at all but West Basin (which is now called Acton btw) should be for low level development not high rise. Enough high rise happening in the burbs.

    Mark Valerius Mark Valerius 8:36 pm 31 Mar 20

    Sophia, the lovely vista. West Basin is a dogs breakfast. Just saying. Can you give a link to the plans please.

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