Work to upgrade the Fraser and Dunlop shops in West Belconnen will begin soon after the release of a tender for the two projects.
The 2019-20 ACT Budget provided $800,000 for improving infrastructure and amenity at the two ageing local shopping centres after they were identified as being in need of a facelift.
Redbox Design Group prepared a preliminary plan, design report and cost estimate for an upgrade at Fraser part of the Local Shops Upgrade Feasibility Study 2017.
Safety, access, landscape and public amenity improvements were identified as key priorities.
At Fraser, key pathways and existing stairs will be improved to make them safer and more accessible for people with disabilities, and furniture will be installed in the existing courtyard.
Landscaping will include new retaining walls around the courtyard garden bed, new trees planted in the existing car park and a new path connection.
At Dunlop, a public notice board will be installed and new shade sails erected over the playground in the open space behind the shops to make it more family-friendly and attractive to use throughout the year.
The tender document says timing is critical for these projects, with the upgrades at each centre expected to be delivered within one financial year and completed in May 2020.
City Services Minister Chris Steel and Deputy Chief Minister and Member for Ginninderra Yvette Berry visited the Fraser shops on Friday (6 September) to announce the two projects.
Mr Steel said local shops were important community hubs that created a sense of belonging and provided opportunities to gather.
“However ageing public infrastructure can have the opposite effect. We will continue investing in new public infrastructure as our city grows,” he said.
The Government hoped these kinds of upgrades would breathe new life into some of Canberra’s older local shopping centres.
Ms Berry said suburbs such as these were right on the edge of the city and sometimes the community felt left out of the decision-making processes of government.
She said residents could see funding being spent in their area and that made a difference to the community.
“It is great to see the Government investing in local infrastructure right across the city, including in West Belconnen where I am from. It’s investments like these that make sure our local suburbs remain great places to live,” she said.
Ms Berry said these centres could also serve the growing areas of West Belconnen such as Strathnairn and Ginninderry.
Construction is expected to begin early in 2020.