19 February 2024

Up to 1500 homes planned for Causeway, including new public housing

| Ian Bushnell
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The type of medium-density housing the ACT Government wants to encourage in the East Lake precinct. Photo: ACT Government.

Up to 1500 new homes are expected to be built at the Causeway, the first area to be developed as part of the planned East Lake precinct in the inner south.

The ACT Government has released the final Place Plan for East Lake and the first proposed major amendment to the new interim Territory Plan for the precinct.

This will pave the way for the first stages of medium-density development in the Causeway, with the potential for 1200 to 1500 homes.

The first land is expected to be released for development by the 2025-26 financial year.

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The government is also looking at a new Canberra Railway Station to the east of its current site, which could be redeveloped as a mixed-use, multi-modal transport hub that would also include light rail.

East Lake is divided into four distinct areas – the Railway Precinct, Mildura Street Precinct, the Landfill area and The Causeway.

Planning Minister Chris Steel said the government envisaged both mixed-use development and residential development, mostly between four to six storeys high, but eight storeys in some locations.

Mr Steel said this was consistent with some of the housing that has already been built next to the Causeway, including the Kingsborough development in Kingston.

“We’d like to see that type of high-quality medium-density housing provided on the blocks that have not yet been developed in the East Lake area,” he said.

Mr Steel said the new housing would include public and affordable components, so the current 80 or so public housing residents would have the option of staying in the area and moving into new homes.

He said the government had been talking to residents of the 46 homes and many wanted to stay.

“There are large undeveloped blocks which provide the opportunity for sequencing [for] brand new public and affordable housing, which will then provide an opportunity for future development down the track of the existing housing,” he said.

map of East Lake area

The four areas of the East Lake precinct. Image: ACT Government.

Mr Steel said the existing homes did not warrant heritage protection, although some buildings, such as Cargill’s Cottage, did.

He said the Suburban Land Agency was developing an Estate Development Plan for the Causeway and he expected private owners of blocks in the Mildura Street precinct to bring forward their plans.

Community facilities would also be built to support the thousands of new residents.

Space had been identified for early childhood facilities, and there was potential for a primary school in the area to serve the existing and future residents and new facilities such as a new Jerrabomberra Wetlands Visitor Centre.

Heavy rail will be staying in the area despite a push from the Fyshwick Business Association to clear a way for light rail to connect with the Fyshwick industrial and commercial area.

Mr Steel said the government disagreed with the Association on removing heavy rail and moving the station further east.

“We don’t want to see heavy rail removed from the Fyshwick and Kingston area,” he said.

“We still want to see that heavy rail corridor and a station being provided in a central area like Kingston for the Canberra community to access.

“We’d actually like to see both [light and heavy rail] provided, with a new station at Kingston that can serve the community in terms of land releases.”

Mr Steel said a light rail line could run on Bourke Crescent adjacent to the existing heavy rail corridor and link to the bus network, active travel and other modes.

The Place Plan also proposed better links within the East Lake area to surrounding suburbs through new streets, cycle and pedestrian pathways.

The existing Fyshwick CIT campus was also seen as a future innovation precinct, and different recreational uses of the former landfill site would be explored.

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The draft amendment would allow for zoning changes, such as introducing a mixed-use residential zone and new measures to mitigate potential impacts on the environmental values in the area, including the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and Lake Burley Griffin.

It would also provide for community and recreational facilities, including an early childhood education and care facility and a linear park.

East Lake is expected to be delivered over decades and could have an eventual population of 9000 and a workforce of 3000.

The community can comment on the proposed changes in the Draft Plan Amendment A East Lake – The Causeway Area until 5 April 2024, by visiting the ACT Planning Website.

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HiddenDragon7:50 pm 21 Feb 24

This is just another burst of election year hot air.

The long talked about residential development part of this will go ahead eventually, given the large dollops of private profit and public revenue to be reaped, but the Minister and Chief Minister who might deliver the rail/light rail bits are most likely at present engaged in developing their sandpit political skills at kindy.

Deanne Perry6:54 pm 20 Feb 24

We need to stop treating the residents of the Causeway as dispensible nuisances to be moved around without consultation. They are a real community. I would give a lot to live there. No shops or schools nearby, they took the bus route away and the government has let the public houses run down, but it is a great place to live and the government is once again putting dollars before people.
A few years ago I lost my phone at a bus stop. Someone found it and called me. I went to the address and it was in The Causeway. What a hidden gem. I had to wait for them to arrive home and had a chance to observe the neighbourhood. There were kids playing, people visiting each other’s homes and it reminded me of how things were where I grew up in the 1970s. When I got the phone back, they refused a reward – even though they were obviously not well off, and could have easily sold it or kept it.
Some people have lived there for decades yet the government thinks moving them out and scattering them is OK. It is not,

Based on previous ACT Government handling for replacing public housing dwellings and tenants in inner Canberra.

Step 1. Publicly promise to house all the public tenants in fantastic new accommodation in the very same location.

Step 2. Sell off the land to private property developers with very loose contractual terms around existing public housing tenants.

Step 3. Run into some ‘unexpected’ issues around the new developments and replacement housing the previous tenants.

Step 4. Publicly apologise after long delay and negative audit findings, come up with alternative public housing options for them in Molonglo, Tuggers or Gungahlin.

Step 5. Look for next prime land to sell off with some public housing and repeat cycle.

Incidental Tourist5:10 pm 20 Feb 24

If they run extra 100 electric busses to Kingston for free will it be way cheaper than extending tram line?

A typical cash grab by Bah and his cronies to the detriment of traditional Canberra and its quite happy citizens.

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