Work has started this week on the new City West Bus Layover in Turner with the decommissioning of the dirt car park on the corner of Watson Street and Barry Drive.
The planning authority approved the development application on 6 August despite concerns from nearby residents about a lack of community consultation, loss of parkland and pollution.
Transport Canberra and City Services said local businesses and residents were advised by letterbox drop on 23 September that the project was about to begin.
It said construction would take about six months.
No additional conditions were imposed and the bus layover would be constructed as per the final design plan, TCCS said.
”Noise monitoring and modelling was undertaken as part of the design process, and it determined that the bus layover is expected to operate within the City Centre noise limits. This modelling will be repeated upon the commencement of operations of the layover to ensure noise is within the allowable limits,” a TCCS spokesperson said.
The new layover will provide parking for 25 buses for both short and long duration layovers, a full meal room and toilet facilities for drivers.
It will be twice the size of the current facility on the corner of University Avenue and Marcus Clark Street and its northern section will eat into the Turner Parklands.
The new facility will support changes to the City Bus Station as part of a realignment of platforms and routes integrating with light rail while minimising the number of buses sitting within the City Bus Station precinct.
The proposal sparked a Legislative Assembly petition from local residents fearing that the ”city is coming for their neighbourhood”.
Turner resident Sarah Edson launched the petition, sponsored by Liberal transport spokesperson Candice Burch, as Ms Edson was alarmed at the potential loss of green space, and the possible impacts of traffic management, noise and pollution on the area, particularly with child care and seniors centres nearby.
The notice of decision said that the additional movement of vehicles, particularly buses, would have a limited impact on local traffic movements, and the bus entry/exit is located on Barry Drive which will limit the impact to adjacent residential areas.
It said that the removal of some trees would be offset by new plantings and there was no formal playground or similar facility affected by the development and large amounts of open space remain available nearby.
The Tree Protection Unit (TPU) of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna advised that several large casuarina Cunninghamiana, Quercus species and Eucalyptus melliodora marked for removal be retained where possible and incorporated into the landscaping.
A noise report concluded that the development satisfied relevant noise standards, and that there would be a minimal amount of dust once the project was completed.
”Noting the location, proposed development in conjunction with the existing development and surrounding road network (and use), any pollution impacts are considered limited and capable of approval,” the notice of decision said.
Other concerns raised were that the site was inappropriate, the development would change the neighbourhood, and the impacts of construction.