24 August 2019

Tuggeranong needs to grow up and shed nappy valley tag

| Michael Weaver
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Hamish Sinclair and Glenys Patulny from the Tuggeranong Community Council say buses going through Anketell St is just one of the issues in the town centre. Photos: Region Media.

Tuggeranong still wears the tag of ‘nappy valley’, but many who operate in the town centre say it has long since grown up and is overdue for a more mature approach to its future.

Some say Tuggeranong has the potential to carry a vibe similar to Braddon, Manuka or Garema Place, but the ACT Government’s recent $3 million revitalisation project has been labelled as little more than roadworks, with no real community consultation.

At the heart of Tuggeranong is Anketell Street, with a laneway to Lake Tuggeranong that has a piece of art leading the way.

Hamish Sinclair, a research fellow at the University of Canberra, says that piece of art is also at the heart of everything that is wrong with the town centre.

Aside from completing his PhD in Canberra’s urban renewal and planning, Mr Sinclair is also a Tuggeranong resident and a committee member of the Tuggeranong Community Council.

He said while the age-old quote about art that “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” rings true, the Tuggeranong community is entitled to feel ripped off by the improvements to the town centre.

“There’s no attempt to establish an identity in Tuggeranong. What’s been done so far is just roadworks. There’s no culturally relevant statement there for the people to identify with.

“The nappy valley has grown up and there’s a different demographic that has a voice on the way it looks,” Mr Sinclair said.

As for the artwork in the laneway towards Lake Tuggeranong, “The artwork was never chosen by the community and never developed by an artist,” he says. “It’s simply a stock item purchased by the government and forced into a public space.”

Hamish Sinclair, right, would like to see more investment in a night-time economy for Tuggeranong.

Mr Sinclair says what’s needed is an investment in developing a strong night-time economy in Tuggeranong.

“I think one of the biggest problems is that we’ve got government planners that don’t take into account of how you create a night-time economy and that’s the fatal flaw in the design,” he says.

“You can’t really call what’s there a night-time dining strip like other areas such as Braddon or Manuka and even Garema Place, which have thriving night-time economies. In Tuggeranong, all the fast-food franchises are down on the lakeside and not on the main strip.

“If you were looking for a nightclub or somewhere to socialise after dinner, there’s really only the Irish pub around the corner and not very visible.

“This is supposed to be a town centre for 100,000 people. It’s got less activity than a rural shire. It’s like going to Crookwell.”

President of the Tuggeranong Community Council Glenys Patulny said while there have been some improvements to the town centre, lots more could be done.

She said the biggest issues facing Tuggeranong’s coming of age are upgrading the bus interchange, buses going through Anketell Street and the town centre’s connection to the lake.

Ms Patulny said while there are plans to better connect the lake to the town centre, it’s presently “a bit of a dead area”.

President of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Rauny Worm said that while the town centre looks great, it doesn’t provide a space for anything other than more traffic movements.

“We were expecting more of a shared zone that takes into consideration spaces for recreation and meeting places. There is a lot of traffic in the town centre already, so creating more traffic movements seems to defeat the purpose,” Ms Worm says.

“The space between the town centre and the lake is being wasted and would be better served as a shared zone and as a place to appreciate.”

Mr Sinclair says it’s not all doom and gloom for Tuggeranong and he hopes there is renewed interest in the area’s urban renewal. He also hopes the kids who were once wearing the nappies will now lead the way on their community’s look and feel.

“A few years ago, there was a project called T15 where young planners and planning students came together and made a plan for Tuggeranong.” Mr Sinclair said their vision, which included the establishment of a sports and community hub, has since fallen on deaf ears.

“The community is wanting to do something special for the area. The Tuggeranong Arts Centre has done its bit, so there’s definitely a determined view that just needs to be harnessed and it’s now up to the agencies involved to step up.”

While the improvements to Tuggeranong have been welcomed, some say more could be done.

Lake Tuggeranong and the Tuggeranong Valley.

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Tuggeranong really needs some tlc.

A town clock that doesn’t work and of course the tower in Homeworld that used to light up until the lights broke and the owners didn’t fix them.

And possibly the worst public art in Canberra – the black plastic “pipes” near the bus depot at the corner of Athllon Drive and Reed Street South.

The Tuggeranong landscape is possibly the most scenic of the Canberra town centres, but the area has been left to go to ruin.

Capital Retro8:50 am 27 Aug 19

“How do we know we are growing older when the Town Centre clock hasn’t worked for over a decade.”

Actually, last time I looked there were two clocks on that Four Seasons faux-clock-tower and they were displaying different times. That’s the vibe in Tuggers.

HiddenDragon6:45 pm 26 Aug 19

“Some say Tuggeranong has the potential to carry a vibe similar to Braddon, Manuka or Garema Place”

It would take an unusually skilful (by Canberra standards) balancing act to maintain the relative convenience of a mall-focused town-centre like Tuggeranong for everyday shopping and services (including some light industrial stuff) and combine it with something of the appeal of gentrified/yuppified places like those – which have lost (if they ever quite had it) that convenience.

Put half the money they spend on Gungahlin and it would be up to spec. Tuggernerong valley would make for a great recreational hub.

Capital Retro4:02 pm 26 Aug 19

“Hamish Sinclair and Glenys Patulny from the Tuggeranong Community Council say buses going through Anketell St is just one of the issues in the town centre.”

If the Tuggeranong Community Council did its job properly this wouldn’t have happened.

There seems to be no focus to improve or upgrade Tuggeranong at all.

Either ACT planners are totally inept or the ACT government hasn’t properly invested resources into the area.

Considering ACT Labor powerbrokers have previously stated that they need to ignore Tuggeranong and ensure they win ACT elections by directing government funding, investments and focus into other parts of Canberra, I think the cause of Tuggeranongs issues are the lack of investment and future planning.

Good to see the Tuggeranong Community Council are finally raising their voice, they have been long viewed as a bunch of light weights by Territory Ministers.

Unless you live in Gungahlin I can’t see any reason why people would vote for ACT Labor.
A choice between a party that doesn’t spend money and another party that only spends money in one district.

Don’t want to always be negative but was hoping for more than a widened footpath. Looking at what they had recently done in Woden with adding a new restaurant precinct I was hopeful they were doing the same. Very disappointing and a wasted opportunity. Come on ACT Government govern for the whole of Canberra please.

Capital Retro8:25 pm 24 Aug 19

This article is specifically about the Tuggeranong Town Centre and that should be pointed out clearly.

The rest of Tuggeranong is totally ignored by the Tuggeranong Community Council.

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