Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

Home loans made clear

Renew Canberra?

By johnboy 3 February 2011 28

The Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur is kicking off a push to emulate the very successful Renew Newcastle where vacant commercial properties are made available for artistic endeavours.

“It’s a simple, innovative initiative that will bring local arts and music to vacant city areas, improve the life and vitality of the city, improve the creative and night time economy, and help address the perception that Canberra is too formal and sterile,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“The Greens costed three years of funding for the program and put the initiative to Government as a formal submission to the 2011 ACT Budget.

There will now be a 10-day trial of the initiative, under which Canberra’s vacant office space in the city is used for short and medium term arts, music and community projects.

“We’re really pleased the Government will start with a 10-day trial after a year long campaign by the Greens for ‘Renew Canberra’.

“While we welcome the 10 day trial, we believe that ‘Renew Canberra’ needs to be given time to grow.

“The program could be run for 3 years at a cost of $50,000 per year, with an additional $50,000 in the first year for start up costs. This is an affordable arts initiative that would improve the vibrancy of our city,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Canberra’s inner city certainly has room for improvement. But it’s hard to compare it to a de-industrialising industrial city. Is there much we can realistically take from the Newcastle model?


What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
28 Responses to
Renew Canberra?
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
DermottBanana 4:47 pm 26 Aug 11

In Newcastle, the Renew project was primarily about getting special leases drawn up so transient, arty vendors could use properties which were dormant. The rental payments were not particularly lower than normal tenancies, the focus was on the short-term, temporary nature of the arrangements. The background was also that the properties were not idle a few months, but quite often a decade or more.
Canberra’s CBD is a completely different place, and so it’s most unlikely a similar idea could work, especially in the timeframes being suggested by Le Coutier. And if Canberra were serious about doing something of this sort, it’d be a much larger project, and realistically, would need someone with the charisma and devotion of a Marcus Westbury (who set up RN).
Like most successful projects, RN’s being copied around the country by local governments who think they “get it” when they don’t. They’re just trying to leap on the bandwagon without knowing how it works, or how it might work in their community.
Not surprisingly, in Canberra, those leaping aboard said bandwagon are fringe-dwelling politicians.

Gus929 8:57 am 06 Feb 11

PM said :

So let me get this straight – you want to force property owners into releasing vacant areas to artists?

It’s not a question of forcing anyone. It’s putting in place a framework of rules and guarantees so building owners feel comfortable about voluntarily allowing their property be used for short term community/arts use. For free but with rules. It’s a pattern that’s worked in Newcastle, and I believe it’s now working in Adelaide and other cities right now too.

If you’re the owner of a long-term vacant building, especially if it needs a new fitout, then you don’t really have anything to lose, do you? It’s quite common for commercial tenants to take the fitout with them when they move, and/or do a whole new fitout when taking on a lease. Not to mention long-term vacant buildings that are being vandalised, or buildings awaiting demolition where noone even cares what happens to the inside.

PM 10:21 am 05 Feb 11

simsim said :

Yeah, exactly. The important thing for most performing artists (singers, actors, comedians) is just to find a venue where you’re not an annoyance to most of the audience – where the audience don’t want to talk over you. Frankly, we don’t want to intrude on your space any more than you want to intrude on ours.

And if a site isn’t being used for anything else, WHY NOT use it for art for a bit? If there’s a need for it to become something else, go for it… but another failed set of shops is not helping anybody.

So let me get this straight – you want to force property owners into releasing vacant areas to artists?

And to clarify, I was against the demolition of Macgregor Hall as previous posts on the topic will confirm. But that was a communitry space. I don’t believe the government should be involved in property owners’decisions about how that property is used.

wildturkeycanoe 8:30 am 05 Feb 11

The reason these properties are vacant is because they’re too expensive to rent. That said, $50,000 per year won’t get you very much space, especially in a good inner city location. If you were a landlord trying to get $100-$500 per square metre in rent, would you stick a jobless hippy with a bunch of paint pots in there and then take a potential tenant for a walk through? I think not. If you had a group of drum banging, guitar plucking entertainers singing out at 1 a.m I wonder what the upstairs neighbors would have to say about it? Instead of giving these spaces to those that already have a home, how about opening the doors to them that sleep underneath newspapers and beg for their meals everyday. There’s some money well spent.

Mysteryman 12:33 am 05 Feb 11

PM said :

The only reason people think Canberra is too formal and sterile is the frikkin’ politically correct Greens/Labor alliance continuously banning everything that’s fun!

Quoted for truth. They are a bunch of boring dorks.

spinact 9:23 pm 04 Feb 11

Felix said :

I have a proposal for the predictable brigade of knockers

Felix, be careful using the K word if you’re at work

Davo111 8:44 pm 04 Feb 11

i vote against the idea

simsim 8:10 pm 04 Feb 11

Yeah, exactly. The important thing for most performing artists (singers, actors, comedians) is just to find a venue where you’re not an annoyance to most of the audience – where the audience don’t want to talk over you. Frankly, we don’t want to intrude on your space any more than you want to intrude on ours.

And if a site isn’t being used for anything else, WHY NOT use it for art for a bit? If there’s a need for it to become something else, go for it… but another failed set of shops is not helping anybody.

Gus929 5:02 pm 04 Feb 11

hominoid1 said :

Canberra has a very different population dynamic to that of Newcastle…
Canberra Civic is no Brunswick or Fitzroy and urban renewal cannot be forced.

Have you been to the Newcastle CBD? It makes Civic look possibly lively outside of business hours. I’d wager it has less of an immediate urban population as well.

The economic circumstances aren’t the same, but the basic idea has merit here – reuse empty spaces in good locations for art/culture events, for as long as they would otherwise be empty. There are empty buildings in Civic, and (IIRC) the standard Renew terms are that the building owner can always remove the occupants with 30 days notice should a paying tenant actually show up.

Canberra consistently has issues finding spaces for small-scale concerts and other low-budget DIY-style arts events. Most recent example being the redevelopment of Macgregor Hall.

I know a local artist who has been trying to convince a building owner for over a year to let her fix up his (over five years derelict) commercial property and make use of it as an Artist’s Space, via a temporary Caretaker Lease. Giving some formal impetus to this kind of reuse could work wonders.

To the people whinging about how artists “need to be more creative without funds”, this isn’t about funding artists directly but facilitating spaces where they can put something on without requiring massive formal Arts funding to hire a space.

simonleeds 3:07 pm 04 Feb 11

“‘Renew Canberra’”

The festival is not called Renew Canberra. It seems odd that they would have campaigned for it for a year and not know what the festival is called.

PM 11:06 am 04 Feb 11

Felix said :

But PM, I thought Stanhope was supposed to be the Greens’ lap dog. Which is it?

Sure Felix – someone’s got tickets on themselves. Obviously the Greens are the lapdogs because they aren’t the government. No matter how many media releases they distribute, they are the flunkies. The pansies don’t even want to be in government in the ACT.

Did the Greens write the KPIs of the Renew Canberra trial? If not, the trial is almost certain to not succeed.

Stanhope is more irritated than usual as a result of having to pander to the Greens’ whims, but only enough to get by. As long as he keeps outsmarting them (which, to be honest, doesn’t seem too hard as long as trials are continuously announced), the Greens will continue to be seen as unable to deliver for their constituents.

Lin 10:23 am 04 Feb 11

“tell us what the one, single, all-encompassing priority for the entre universe actually is”

42!

Felix 9:47 am 04 Feb 11

But PM, I thought Stanhope was supposed to be the Greens’ lap dog. Which is it?

Nightshade 9:01 pm 03 Feb 11

Zippyzippy, could you give some examples of things happening in Newcastle as part of this program?

hominoid1 7:09 pm 03 Feb 11

Policies should be carefully evaluated before lifting them from another city because they have been successful in that municipality. Canberra has a very different population dynamic to that of Newcastle and this program, although notable, probably won’t suit Civic. Civic is deserted outside of business hours, especially the western area. Art projects will not create vibrancy on their own. Civic suffers from a range of issues including the very disliked public transport system, low population density and un-affordable accommodation in the surrounding suburbs. Canberra Civic is no Brunswick or Fitzroy and urban renewal cannot be forced.

PM 4:10 pm 03 Feb 11

Felix said :

Onya ZippyZippy!

I have a proposal for the predictable brigade of knockers; tell us what the one, single, all-encompassing priority for the entre universe actually is, then explain to me how every cent you own and every breath you take has been totally and permanently dedicated to this great task ahead of everything else, then I’ll be willing to take your comments seriously.

Hang on – no need – I can work it out – just find something the Greens support and turn 180 degrees from that and, axiomatically, all truth and light will be revealed. Silly of me to have missed something so obvious.

If the ACT Greens take a stand for something rather than act as Stanhope’s lap dog I’ll take your comments seriously.

housebound 4:06 pm 03 Feb 11

zippyzippy said :

It’s about … getting bureaucracy out of the way to make sure it can go ahead.

And that is why the ACT bureaucracy will fight tooth and nail against it.

Felix 4:04 pm 03 Feb 11

Onya ZippyZippy!

I have a proposal for the predictable brigade of knockers; tell us what the one, single, all-encompassing priority for the entre universe actually is, then explain to me how every cent you own and every breath you take has been totally and permanently dedicated to this great task ahead of everything else, then I’ll be willing to take your comments seriously.

Hang on – no need – I can work it out – just find something the Greens support and turn 180 degrees from that and, axiomatically, all truth and light will be revealed. Silly of me to have missed something so obvious.

PM 3:56 pm 03 Feb 11

zippyzippy said :

PM said :

Come off it. Is this a big priority? Does Civic need more taxpayer-funded art? Why do people need to be paid to enjoy art or to play music? And what about the town centres?

The only reason people think Canberra is too formal and sterile is the frikkin’ politically correct Greens/Labor alliance continuously banning everything that’s fun!

Hey, there you are! I was wondering when the people were going to arrive who say that any positive, new idea is stupid. Yeah! I was missing you for a minute.

Just one extra comment: this type of project costs next to nothing. It’s about facilitating a relationship between building owners and artists, and getting bureaucracy out of the way to make sure it can go ahead.

Oh – people who use sarcasm on the RiotACT! How lovely! I’ll put on the kettle.

1. It’s not a new idea. It was done in Newcastle. It’s being misapplied in Civic.
2. It’s not positive.

So as far as I’m concerned the idea deserves to be criticised.

This plan is keeping the old-style bureaucracy, and adding an additional choice of bureaucracy to the menu. And when was the last time you heard anybody in the street say, “Goodness, I wish our city’s artists and building owners had a better relationship!”????

Unfortunately there seems to be an awful lot of creative people out there who refuse to be creative without funding. You know what would cost less? Playing a musical instrument in a park, just for the fun of it, or for the enjoyment of others. How about sitting down to paint a street-scape?

Hang on a moment – Having trouble doing that without a permit, you say? Geez, maybe that’s because of the big-government mentality which exists in this town. Ban something people used to do for free, then step in and save the day. Public service medals for everyone!

Anyway, this is probably another one of those morsels Stanhope clandestinely drops to the Greens who are slavishly waiting under the dinner table, like the Nightrider “trial”, as thanks for supporting his government. I wouldn’t hold my breath for the three year funding, luvvies. Stop licking Stanhope’s balls and learn to bark.

LadyxBec 2:50 pm 03 Feb 11

As someone who lived in Newcastle, I can’t say enough how amazing the renew project it. It was not so much about de-industrialising, as making use of the vast areas of slightly run down, empty buildings in the inner city – something Canberra has its fair share of as well. I say go for it!

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site