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Tuggeranong – The Cinderella of the south

By John Hargreaves 7 September 2015 33

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There was no surprise that the latest survey of migration in Canberra had Tuggeranong losing so many of its burghers to Gungahlin. Tuggeranong is indeed the Cinderella of the South and always was and always will be.

This is because the planners, pollies and mandarins both commonwealth and territory have decided it shall be so.

I saw a huge migration in 1996/97 when the small business sector was decimated here after 7,500 public service jobs disappeared from the region.  The trickle-down effect killed off many support industries and I doubt if the Valley has really recovered.

This has been exacerbated by the uncertainty caused by the federal governments, of both persuasions, over staff reductions and staff movements to more salubrious digs closer to the seats of power. Moving ACT public servants to Gungahlin has given life to that newer area – to the detriment of Tuggeranong.

That the city should be home to the majority of public servants is a fallacy and given we are now in the e-age, the distribution of these jobs can be linked to the vibrancy of a particular town centre, not its continued disadvantage.

Whilst I don’t wish to deny Gungahlin its fortune in receiving a host of public servants, I do think that the errors of previous governments in relation to the sentencing of Tuggeranong to be a series of “dormitory suburbs” should be addressed first.

Let us see the unequal distribution of job and activity attracting facilities in the regions and one will see why Tuggeranong doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the promises of pollies. At this stage, I declare that my pessimism is drawn from my frequent and fruitless rantings, beggings, pleadings, bullyings and entreaties on behalf of the Valley over 15 years.  And I see that my erstwhile colleague Brendan Smythe, and my successor MLAs of all three persuasions have fared no better.

Let’s compare Belconnen and Central Canberra with Tuggeranong.  Central Canberra being from Watson to Mawson.

There is a private and public hospital with the addition of another in the UC in Belconnen, there are two private hospitals and one public hospital in Central Canberra.  There are no hospitals in Tuggeranong.

There are significant industrial opportunities in central Canberra through Fyshwick, Phillip and Mitchell, Belconnen has a thriving industrial area.  Tuggeranong has a very minor industrial presence in Greenway and there is Hume which is not part of Tuggeranong anyway.

Belconnen has a thriving retail area, Civic has the retail and entertainment hub of Canberra, and Tuggeranong has a struggling Hyperdome.

Belconnen has the Stadium (of some different name each season) and the AIS.  Central Canberra has the Lyneham Sports complex, Manuka and Phillip Ovals, Tuggeranong has Greenway Oval which is rarely used by elite sports.

Belconnen has a university and a major CIT presence, Central Canberra has three universities and the major CIT presence, Tuggeranong has a very minor CIT presence.
Some years ago I did a rough tally of the numbers of public servants in each of the town centres and the order was something like Tuggeranong 4,000, City, 12,000, Belconnen, 12,000.  These figures are probably rubbery now but the ratio remains the same.

The private sector follows the public sector because that’s where the discretionary spending is.  We are seeing Woden starting to suffer because of the threat of Commonwealth public servants being moved out of the area.  This is a fact of life in Tuggeranong.

But not all is doom and gloom. You may remember that Cinderella was the most beautiful of the three sisters. And so it is for Tuggeranong in relation to the other two. Check out the photo.

Cinderella was rescued by a handsome Prince.  Well, we are waiting Prince Charming.  All we see at the moment are cane toads promising the world.

I love the Valley because it is beautiful, it is quiet, it has just enough entertainment for my selfish self and its citizens are welcoming.

Tell you what though.  A tram from Woden to Tuggeranong along Athllon Drive would be a good idea!

BTW… the introduction of medium density housing into the town centre precinct is helpful.  Let’s see more of it.

It is said that “if you build it, they will come”.  See what happened in Gungahlin, in Molonglo.  Heaps of new homes and people falling over themselves to buy up big. What about Tuggeranong?  Its aging infrastructure, its aging housing, its lack of decent facilities will sentence it to the forever sleep that the Sleeping Beauty suffered. Again, the need for a handsome Prince.

The creation of a new West Tuggeranong across the Murrumbidgee will actually create a two-tiered system in the area with the newbies living on one side and the Cinderellas on the other.

So OK guys and gals, the federal election is next year, so is the ACT election.  Let’s see the colour of your money and the breadth of your vision.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Tuggeranong – The Cinderella of the south
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rubaiyat 10:58 am 14 Sep 15

miz said :

JC, Pretty sure I specified South Tuggers (Banks, Conder, Gordon). Rubyat, even the light rail guy on 666 a few weeks ago indicated his clear puzzlement at the choice to start light rail in Canberra with an obvious commuter route Not directly linking any major tourist hubs etc. he basically said it would only be viable if there is a real plan to build across the entire city – and we all know that will never happen because it will be j affordable, despite government protestations.
Look, I am very much pro- public transport (bus every day to work and have lived in other States) and am a naturally left leaning politically, but this light rail is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

You haven’t seen my posts then on the route that I believe should be the first stage, Inner North and round the lake, but the anti-light rail posts here are just that, anti-light rail period, not discussing the route.

The posters are anti-anything that has never been built in Canberra or outside their (seemingly petty) experiences and against any alternative to eternal freeways out to distant dull suburbia. Far from considering the “Bush” in the ‘Bush Capital” an admirable thing they see it as something to flattened and smothered in a carpet of MacMansions and bitumen.

Whilst I certainly would not select the chosen route as the first stage, it will very likely work and Gugahlin has no real alternatives short of more expensive, dated and soul destroying freeways to connect to the City.

JC 9:16 am 14 Sep 15

miz said :

JC, Pretty sure I specified South Tuggers (Banks, Conder, Gordon). Rubyat, even the light rail guy on 666 a few weeks ago indicated his clear puzzlement at the choice to start light rail in Canberra with an obvious commuter route Not directly linking any major tourist hubs etc. he basically said it would only be viable if there is a real plan to build across the entire city – and we all know that will never happen because it will be j affordable, despite government protestations.
Look, I am very much pro- public transport (bus every day to work and have lived in other States) and am a naturally left leaning politically, but this light rail is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

What makes south Tuggernong so special it needs better buses to Woden. Other distant suburbs, West Belconnen, Gungahlin for example don’t have them either, so what is so special?

As for the light rail guy, he is very wrong, especially if he called the Gungahlin route a commuter route. A commuter route would be Belconnen to City or Tuggernanong/Woden to the city. The route to Gungahlin is pretty much suburban and it is viable because of the residential development that has taken place along the route. Elsewhere not viable at this stage.

But yeah does need to go into the triangle for the tourist access and for the workers who don’t work in the city.

miz 12:06 pm 13 Sep 15

JC, Pretty sure I specified South Tuggers (Banks, Conder, Gordon). Rubyat, even the light rail guy on 666 a few weeks ago indicated his clear puzzlement at the choice to start light rail in Canberra with an obvious commuter route Not directly linking any major tourist hubs etc. he basically said it would only be viable if there is a real plan to build across the entire city – and we all know that will never happen because it will be j affordable, despite government protestations.
Look, I am very much pro- public transport (bus every day to work and have lived in other States) and am a naturally left leaning politically, but this light rail is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

JC 10:08 am 13 Sep 15

miz said :

It would have been smarter to use light rail to link South Tuggers, which has poor services, to Woden (the geographic centre of Canberra).

Really? There are about 8-10 express buses an hour from Tuggernong to Woden off peak week day. About the same as there is from Belconnen to the City. Gungahlin to the City had 4 buses an hour. SO how many more buses do you want?

Or when you say Tuggernong are you talking Kambah, Wanniassa etc to Woden? Different story there, but no different to Harrison/Franklin to the City, Cook/Aranda to the city, or any inner north or inner south suburbs to the city.

And said it before but the light rail is NOT about servicing Gungahlin to Civic, it is there to service the corridor from Gungahlin to Civic, which as been build as a high density commuter route. Without that density along Athlon Drive and Adelaide Ave no point building it Tuggernon to Woden and the City or to Belconnen to City unless Belconnen way is developed with high density housing.

As opposed to the open routes that link Tuggernong, Woden, Civic and Belconnen.

rubaiyat 9:35 am 13 Sep 15

miz said :

It would have been smarter to use light rail to link South Tuggers, which has poor services, to Woden (the geographic centre of Canberra).

That truly would be nowhere to nowhere.

At least Gungahlin is from nowhere to somewhere with interesting stuff en route, and the already commenced infill, hotels, high rise and offices to add to that.

Sparse, distant suburban South Tuggeranong and bland, badly designed Woden will be what they are for a long time to come and may never change until a lot more growth and infill takes place.

It was a monumentally failed idea to give Canberra so many Town Centres, none of them big enough to get traction beyond suburban blandness. Typically the planners were doing a “Me too” from their uni days, just as they did with all the freeways, building them long after all the obvious problems with them had been demonstrated elsewhere.

Build on Canberra City as a real heart and reinforce the changes to consolidation and inner city living that is already apparent. Pretty obvious stuff, although not obvious to some.

rubaiyat 8:59 am 13 Sep 15

Just to prove that it isn’t reason that drives these arguments, up until only recently those against Light Rail were using the Gold Coast Light Rail as an example of why it should NOT go ahead in Canberra.

Given the obvious success of the GCLR even the local News Limited newspaper has switched tunes and now pretends it wasn’t white-anting and propagandising against it all along.

Where are the knee-jerk opposition going to go now? I’m hard put to think of where Light Rail hasn’t worked, whereas the demonstrated appalling failures of freeway construction abound everywhere.

rubaiyat 8:42 am 13 Sep 15

miz said :

Rubyat your comment about the Gold Coast tram is very misleading. The Gold Coast route supports loads of travellers including millions of tourists. The gunners tram is commuter-ville and will duplicate what is already the most well services public transport route in Canberra. It is costly and unnecessary.

As I have pointed out Canberra gets 4.5 million visitors a year and has actual offices and employment, not lots of retirees fleeing the southern cold.

I have also pointed out in amazing researched detail (unlike some who just say stuff) the ludicrous amounts of money being spent on roads and minor changes to existing roads, that only add to the traffic and pollution, with absolutely no return are what is truly “costly and unnecessary”.

It is a stupid argument to always say that everywhere is different, of course it is, that doesn’t make it not feasible here, or we would have absolutely no infrastructure, ever.

What we have in common however with the Gold Coast Light Rail is that it got exactly the same reaction from exactly the same demographic, old, mostly male, stuck in cars, no imagination, who despite being old can’t remember that EVERYTHING around them did not exist at one stage. Often the infrastructure preceded development, in fact in Canberra often by decades, in this case it will fill in much faster.

As I keep repeating the existing LIBERAL National Party Mayor in the Gold Coast was one of its most vocal critics and now is its most vocal supporter, because in an excellent choice of words he said “It has been a REALITY Study”! And it has proved to be even better and more successful than the planners hoped.

miz 5:09 pm 11 Sep 15

It would have been smarter to use light rail to link South Tuggers, which has poor services, to Woden (the geographic centre of Canberra).

miz 5:07 pm 11 Sep 15

Rubyat your comment about the Gold Coast tram is very misleading. The Gold Coast route supports loads of travellers including millions of tourists. The gunners tram is commuter-ville and will duplicate what is already the most well services public transport route in Canberra. It is costly and unnecessary.

chewy14 3:55 pm 11 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

I’m confused.

I was lead to believe by so many of the posters here that Tuggeranong was the very model of the ideal urban design.

Remote from the centre of the city, sprawling across the countryside far away from everywhere else, even its own town centre, broad expanses of expensive freeways the only mode of transport, impossible to get around without a car, and not just empty of any redeeming features but also devoid of life.

Just the way that those who chose it, want it.

Well it’s definitely better than most of the other new areas but definitely needs some infill densification around the major transport corridors and town centre.

The main problem however is the fact that West Murrumbidgee was never built leaving the town “centre” located on the fringe of the development area instead of in the middle where it was designed to be.

I wonder what could possibly fix that problem? Hmmmm.

Demolish the Brindabellas and sell it off as 420m2 blocks with cheek to cheek Macmansions?

Close, just missed it by about 20kms. And 420m2 blocks? Must be a luxury development then.

rubaiyat 3:02 pm 11 Sep 15

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

I’m confused.

I was lead to believe by so many of the posters here that Tuggeranong was the very model of the ideal urban design.

Remote from the centre of the city, sprawling across the countryside far away from everywhere else, even its own town centre, broad expanses of expensive freeways the only mode of transport, impossible to get around without a car, and not just empty of any redeeming features but also devoid of life.

Just the way that those who chose it, want it.

Well it’s definitely better than most of the other new areas but definitely needs some infill densification around the major transport corridors and town centre.

The main problem however is the fact that West Murrumbidgee was never built leaving the town “centre” located on the fringe of the development area instead of in the middle where it was designed to be.

I wonder what could possibly fix that problem? Hmmmm.

Demolish the Brindabellas and sell it off as 420m2 blocks with cheek to cheek Macmansions?

rubaiyat 1:35 pm 11 Sep 15

Just looked up the stats for the Gold Coast Light Rail which runs 200 trams a day over a 19hr period from 0500 to midnight.

With over 18,200 passengers a day, and growing, that is 91 passengers per tram or 30% of their rated capacity.

As it stands the network can cater for 75,000 passengers a day with room to easily double that by running more frequent services or longer hours.

rubaiyat 1:06 pm 11 Sep 15

My mistake.

That solitary train fatality was for the whole of NSW not just Sydney.

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