After starting work on upgrades at Campbell and Duffy shops, the ACT Government is embarking on the next phase of its $65 million suburban development program at Kippax and Charnwood shops.
It also wants to hear from West Belconnen residents and visitors about what would make their local shops better.
A preliminary design for upgrades at the Kippax Group Centre has been released for comment as well as improvements to public spaces at the Charnwood Group Centre, including new landscaping and better paving to make the area safer.
Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the design at Kippax focused on Hardwick Crescent between Luke Street and the service station because there was broader redevelopment planned by the private owner of Kippax Fair that was still progressing through the planning system.
He said it was based on previous consultation in line with the Group Centre Master Plan.
“We found people wanted better pedestrian connections from Hardwick Crescent through to Kippax Fair and across the car parks, and we’re delivering that into the designs,” Mr Steel said.
“This local street has a number of takeaways and cafes and we want to really make it a much more vibrant street for people to visit.”
Work will include landscaping, new trees and garden beds, and widening the verge of Hardwick Crescent to provide more room for outdoor dining to entice people and improve the space for businesses.
Mr Steel said new paving would address safety issues at Charnwood by removing trip hazards.
He said some trees would also have to go but would be replaced with a different species which did not produce roots that lifted the pavement.
The Campbell and Duffy upgrades will be complete by the end of this year. Work is expected to start next year at Kippax and Charnwood, followed by consultation on the 15 other local shops to be upgraded by the government before the end of the term.
Parking is a big issue at Campbell as it becomes busier with new developments including Campbell 5.
Mr Steel said the area at the back of the shops would become a formal carpark to allow for more spaces.
The canopy cover would also be increased with new tree plantings. Combined with landscaping, the space would be more attractive and cooler in the warmer months.
The area would also be repaved to provide better access to businesses.
Hello Cafe owner Barney de Andrade said parking was the key issue as the demographics of Campbell continued to change and the area became busier, especially with more families living in the suburb and shopping locally.
He would like to see the shops rival Manuka and Kingston.
“In the past, you’d only come to Campbell if you really had to, if there was a particular doctor you had to see,” he said.
“But now people are coming just for a coffee or for entertainment. The nightlife has changed. It’s quite vibrant here at night. So yeah, things are happening.”
Mr Steel said final designs for the Tuggeranong Foreshore upgrades, the new Casey community recreation park and a range of playground upgrades in four suburbs would be released soon, before construction started in the new year.
More suburban infrastructure projects including new dog parks for the north and south of Canberra would also be released for community input before the end of the year.