Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Shock and outrage at West Basin land swap with Curtin horse paddocks

Ian Bushnell 25 March 2020 83
The proposed lakeside park at West Basin

A render of the proposed lakeside park at West Basin. Image: City Renewal Authority.

A land swap between the ACT Government and the National Capital Authority involving West Basin and the North Curtin horse paddocks has been greeted with outrage by shell-shocked community activists and equestrian groups.

The NCA revealed on its website yesterday 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 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 lake bed to expand the boardwalk, followed by building another lakeside park, landscaped public spaces and eventually residential development.

While the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians were aware of the negotiations, the ACT Equestrian Association was blindsided by the deal which will carve 70 per cent of the North Curtin paddocks off for diplomatic use.

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.

Lake Burley Griffin Guardians representative Juliet Ramsay said the group was devastated and the deal set a frightful precedent.

“We cannot believe the Commonwealth cannot buy land or simply acquire land for embassies, and the fact that it is using the lake bed as a swap deal is appalling,” she said.

”It will be so damaging to the heritage of the lake and its parkland area.”

She said the NCA had avoided following through with the heritage listing of the lake and parklands and the government’s plans would destroy the balance and symmetry of the lake.

The result would be the loss of parkland and 200 trees and the blocking of vistas from Vernon Circle and New Acton, including those from Morris Property Group’s Barracks development.

Ms Ramsay said whatever park is being planned at West Basin would not have parking and would essentially be for residents.

The Lake Burley Griffin Guardians said it would campaign against the Barr Government at the October election and hoped a Liberal government would reconsider the plans for West Basin.

City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said the deal would allow the City Renewal Authority to proceed with the second stage of its plan for a new urban waterfront at West Basin – the Acton Waterfront project.

Following on from the creation of Henry Rolland Park and the construction of 150 metres of new boardwalk, the second stage would extend the lake edge boardwalk by a further 500 metres realigning the lake edge consistent with the National Capital Authority’s 2002 Griffin Legacy plan, as well as two more public jetties.

He said that future stages would be subject to the NCA’s Works Approval and ACT budget bids, and include the construction of a new lakefront park and landscaped public spaces adjacent to the boardwalk that will separate the lake edge from any new buildings.

The North Curtin Horse Paddocks location

The portion of the North Curtin Horse Paddocks that will become a diplomatic estate. Image: NCA.

New buildings would be set back a minimum of 55 metres from the lake edge in accordance with National Capital Plan requirements but smaller public kiosks would be permitted on the boardwalk.

Construction of stage two was scheduled to commence in the second half of the year but may have to be reviewed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the ACT Equestrian Association Christine Lawrence said the horseriding community was shocked by the news.

She said the land had always been attractive for developers due to its position but it was a significant part of a network of paddocks and trails that included Equestrian Park at Curtin and the Arboretum.

Ms Lawrence said people had been using the land since the 1970s and the government had only last year reassured the association that it would not be rezoned.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman has also flatly rejected suggestions that the Curtin horse paddocks would be released for development.

But horse owners will not have to move immediately as the NCA has a deal with Territory Agistment until 2022.

The NCA has told the association that development at the Curtin site would not commence until sometime in 2023/24 because the National Capital Plan will need to be amended and an estate development plan created.

The association will be talking with City Services and the planning directorate about appropriate land to replace what is being lost.

The North Curtin Horse Holding Paddocks are located off McCulloch Street in Curtin. The complex comprises 30 hectares divided into five paddocks.

The NCA said that it has been approached by a number of missions wanting to establish or expand diplomatic representation in Australia and these requests had not been able to be met to date.

With regard to West Basin, it said it was the approval authority and would ensure that all development was of a high quality and well designed.


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
83 Responses to Shock and outrage at West Basin land swap with Curtin horse paddocks
Steven Chaytor Steven Chaytor 12:45 pm 28 Mar 20

I for one am very excited about the West Basin development and the potential to bring the city to lake in sensitive a innovative development, including residential.

Dory Johns Dory Johns 1:08 pm 27 Mar 20

Time for the Barr Government, the Urban Renewal Authority and the NCA to GO

Colette Raison Colette Raison 9:47 am 27 Mar 20

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?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 2:52 pm 27 Mar 20

    Colette Raison well what happened was 12 March 1913 Lady Denman proclaimed Canberra as the new capital of Australia.

    Every decision made since then has taken away bush, even the decision to build the suburb and home you would live in.

    Colette Raison Colette Raison 3:14 pm 27 Mar 20

    Ashley Wright yes a pity. Glad I moved to a village with my horses

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:23 pm 27 Mar 20

    Colette Raison and not doubt destroyed some bush to build your house and stables and everything else.

    Colette Raison Colette Raison 3:30 pm 27 Mar 20

    Ashley Wright no did not build. Luckily the house and out buildings were already there. So we are redoing the gardens and planting more trees.

    Colette Raison Colette Raison 3:31 pm 27 Mar 20

    I like nature rather than concrete. 😊

Sue Sutton Sue Sutton 8:49 pm 26 Mar 20

So over this government catering to ‘exclusive’ enclaves of development rather then governing for all.

Alex Elliott Alex Elliott 5:58 pm 26 Mar 20

This sets a precedent for more apartment blocks to go up in more areas around the lake. The Barr Government has very little regard to community wishes. I know who I WON'T be voting for this year.

Mark Goodman Mark Goodman 3:47 pm 26 Mar 20

All part of the ACT Government's zero emission policy. An absolute falsehood.

Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 3:09 pm 26 Mar 20

This is so they can hand the lakefront land to the developers and to extend the concrete “park” few people use because it has no facilities, shade, cafes or character of any description!

Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 12:11 pm 26 Mar 20

NCA looked at the curtin land back in 2007 as the ideal site for embassies. It just takes politics longer to understand planning.

Chris Cross Chris Cross 12:06 pm 26 Mar 20

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!

Ann Eldridge Ann Eldridge 11:19 am 26 Mar 20

Most of the horse paddocks are under huge electric wire so unsuitable for building but I always thought such valuable land will always be looked at closely by this government!

Christine Palmer Christine Palmer 7:45 am 26 Mar 20

And yet the West Deakin diplomatic area remains mostly empty and desolate. Fill this up first! If the countries allocated to this area don’t build within two years hand the land to other countries who can show they are ready to go and will build.

    Joyce Michell Deady Joyce Michell Deady 6:26 pm 26 Mar 20

    I totally agree, not to mention the block bordering State Circle, Flynn Drive and Alexandria Dr, which I thought was part of the Chinese Embassy but now sits empty with construction clearly begun but abandoned.

    Christine Palmer Christine Palmer 6:27 pm 26 Mar 20

    Joyce Michell Deady I think the Russians are meant to be building there.

    Jeannou Zoides Jeannou Zoides 1:06 pm 27 Mar 20

    the Russians or Chinese?

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 5:44 am 26 Mar 20

Time to change my vote to Liberal.

Kerry Dent Kerry Dent 11:32 pm 25 Mar 20

Canberra just doesn’t have the population for this level of development in Western Basin. Consolidate what we have. We will need to reestablish existing businesses after the Covid-19 pandemic, we don’t need to build more things to remain empty.

    Chris Tony Chris Tony 5:57 pm 26 Mar 20

    Kerry, Canberra has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country. Students struggle to get accommodation every year. It's a battle for all the new gov employees to find suitable housing every year.

    That was my case coming here to. So competitive to get a place to live. So from my experience, Canberra definitely needs more housing.

    Just wanted to share a different piont of view. As I know alot of people need more housing options here. But I do agree that projects need to be done better with a focus on more community space at ground level.

    Our old office stock does sit empty but in contrast new office buildings get snapped up pretty quickly. So perhaps we could try focusing on repurposing buildings

    Kerry Dent Kerry Dent 7:42 pm 26 Mar 20

    Chris Tony But this is not affordable housing. I used to work at the NSW Tenants Union so I have renters interests at heart. Also it is also a lot commercial development along the waters edge.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:10 pm 26 Mar 20

    We need to return to the option of the old hostel system. This would be a great option for students and other young workers to have somewhere to live as they start out in life. Even an option for some older workers. When I first came to Canberra I lived in the YWCA hostel on Mort Street for eleven months. It was a great time and I made friends with other young people living there. Later I lived in Hotel Acton hostel for five weeks between other accommodation. It was great to know that option was available. It took the stress off of where to live.

Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 11:02 pm 25 Mar 20

Good!! This is common sense. Get on with it

Reb Eb Reb Eb 10:34 pm 25 Mar 20

For the uninitiated- who owns and manages the horse paddocks, who has access to them, for what purposes? Thks

Lou Brooks Lou Brooks 10:16 pm 25 Mar 20

Annie Visser just like we always said they would.

Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 10:16 pm 25 Mar 20

Geocon for sure, well done Andrew Barr

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 9:46 pm 25 Mar 20

Sadly, not surprised. It is an election year though. Let’s not forget that.

    Annabel Dobson Annabel Dobson 10:30 pm 25 Mar 20

    Gabriel Spacca agree. We fought this once before and against all odds we won with our Save Open Spaces campaign, you can fight it again

Brian Hogan Brian Hogan 8:42 pm 25 Mar 20

Another gov looking after foreigners before Australians

Mark Huppert Mark Huppert 8:33 pm 25 Mar 20

Horse paddocks don't belong in inner Canberra.

    Jackie White Jackie White 10:21 pm 25 Mar 20

    Says who? Why not?

    Mark Huppert Mark Huppert 10:30 pm 25 Mar 20

    Jackie White Me. The land is adjacent to the diplomatic residential area in inner Canberra. The land there is scarce and expensive. Horse paddocks belong in areas like Hall and Tharwa.

    Annabel Dobson Annabel Dobson 10:32 pm 25 Mar 20

    Mark Huppert that’s ridiculous. They’ve been part of our urban landscape in Canberra for 40 years, and they’re integral to our bush capital lifestyle. I’m guessing you don’t own a horse!!

    Jackie White Jackie White 10:33 pm 25 Mar 20

    Big whoop for you. I say they do. They are part of the charm of this city - having farmland and bush around makes it delightful.

    Mark Huppert Mark Huppert 10:34 pm 25 Mar 20

    Annabel Dobson Of course not. What would I do with a horse?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2020 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | riotact.com.cn | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site