Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, and Treasurer, Andrew Barr, yesterday announced a range of initiatives in the 2014-15 Budget that will improve urban amenity and public spaces across Canberra.
“Canberra has a high standard of public amenity and it is important that we continue to invest in our growing city and maintain it as well as deliver new services that support our communities and town centres,” said Mr Barr said.
“The 2014-15 Budget provides $9.6 million over the next four years for the delivery of new assets such as traffic lights, street lights, community paths, stormwater drains and road pavement in the new suburbs of Bonner, Forde, Harrison, Casey, Crace as well as West Macgregor, Molonglo and North Weston,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Canberrans spend a lot of time outdoors exploring our impressive nature parks, as well as enjoying our parks and suburban areas. A particular focus of this Budget for the community is on improving recreational opportunities and encouraging Canberrans to lead healthy, active lives.
“The ACT Government is committed to providing safe and accessible play spaces for Canberra families and has provided $0.5 million for the prioritised program of playground upgrade works.
“To complement the ACT’s Healthy Heart policy $0.1 million has been provided to replace and upgrade open space fitness equipment in John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen and Tuggeranong Park as well as $0.3 million allocated for safety upgrades in Canberra’s skate parks.
“To contribute to the Tap into Water Everyday campaign, a further $0.14 million has been provided for drinking fountains and refill stations equipped with bottle refill nozzles, increasing access to fresh water and encouraging Canberrans to make healthy lifestyle choices.
“The Government will deliver a number of walking and cycling projects across the ACT as part of a
$2.5 million program that will build on existing walking and cycling infrastructure programs funded in previous budgets. The works undertaken will include implementing the Strategic Cycle Network Plan, improving path links to public transport, improving the age friendliness of suburbs and increasing cycle lanes through the reseal program and road pavement line marking changes.
“$2 million over two years has been allocated to local shopping centre refurbishments in Cook, Rivett and on Mannheim Street in Kambah. Upgrades will include a combination of lighting, parking and landscaping improvements that will not only improve the safety and accessibility of the shopping precincts, but will also enhance their function, amenity and viability.
“The Bulky Waste collection trial has been extended with $0.4 million provided to continue the trial, which provides one annual collection service for eligible concession card holders.
“Security at Recycling Drop Off Centres will be improved though improved signage and CCTV security to audit and reduce illegal dumping.
“$20 million is provided in the Budget to improve travel and amenity in the Civic to Gungahlin corridor and help prepare for the Capital Metro light rail. Specific projects will include road, path, drainage and intersection works as well as alignment preparation,” Mr Rattenbury continued.
“$1 million from the walking and cycling funding will help deliver routes in the Strategic Cycle Network Plan. Currently, feasibility studies are being undertaken at six locations including the Dickson to City corridor. This funding will deliver improvements identified in these studies.”
“The Budget provides $4.099 million over four years for the set up and ongoing operation of a Canberra Connect Shopfront as part of the ACT Government’s office block in Gungahlin. The Shopfront, which is expected to be open in April 2015, will increase access to government services,” Mr Barr said.
“The Shopfront will use electronic-only payments and an open plan model to deliver improved customer wait times and allow customers to more easily interact with staff promoting higher quality conversations and improved service delivery for complex needs.”
Mr Rattenbury said Cook Shopping Centre will be spruced up with upgrade works identified in a forward design process previously undertaken in consultation with local businesses and lease holders.
“Cook Shopping Centre will receive minor upgrades as part of the $2 million initiative to refurbish local shopping centres. Priority areas such as lighting, parking and pedestrian linkages will be improved and new street furniture, bike racks and bins provided.”
Mr Rattenbury said a range of road-related projects have been funded to improve the safety of motorists and vulnerable road users. These include $10 million over three years for an upgrade at the intersection of William Slim Drive and the Barton Highway and $0.8 million for strengthening works on bridges along the Barton and Monaro Highways.
“As part of the two year $2.5 million initiative to improve walking and cycling infrastructure, new community paths and cycle lanes will be delivered to provide connectivity to schools to help achieve a number of targets of the Healthy Weight Initiative, specifically the Ride or Walk to School Program,”
Mr Rattenbury said.
Schools on the northside that are participating in the program and will be explored for connectivity issues include Amaroo School, Harrison School, Macquarie Primary, Palmerston Primary and
Kingsford Smith Schools, just to name a few.
Other highlights for the northside include:
· $0.872 million over four years to conserve an area in Macgregor West (Jarramlee) to monitor and improve the golden sun moth and natural temperate grassland habitats;
· $0.462 million over three years to extend the Gungaderra Grasslands Nature Reserve and Mulunggari Nature Reserve to offset the impact from development at Exhibition Park in Canberra;
· $0.27 million to revamp Majura Pines as an improved recreation venue;
· $0.175 million for a major upgrade of the playground at Corroboree Park in Ainslie; and
· $0.1 million to improve outdoor exercise equipment in open spaces including John Knight Memorial Park.
“The Budget provides $0.5 million for the construction of additional car parking facilities at the Weston Creek Group Centre to cater to the increasing demand on the Weston Creek Group Centre from residents of Weston Creek and the expanding Molonglo Valley,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Additional car parking spaces will be provided on Dillon Close and Liardet Street in Weston, with a portion of these allocated to Park and Ride. Existing parking will also be reconfigured to optimise space, with short-term parking to be located adjacent to the group centre and long-term parking to be located on the periphery.
“$0.9 million has been allocated to fund the construction of a new bus station in Erindale. The existing bus station has out-grown the demand for public transport services in the area and this upgrade will see a more modern, user-friendly bus station that will revitalise the area and support the growing patronage from the east and south east areas of Canberra. It will commence the centre’s transformation into a new transport hub, better connecting the centre to other town centres and Canberra more broadly.
“Rivett and Mannheim Street Kambah shops will receive minor upgrades as part of the Government’s $2 million Shopping Centre Upgrade Program which will include a combination of lighting, parking and landscaping improvements as identified through previous consultation with local businesses and lease holders.
“Another highlight for the southside is $0.4 million in funding for the installation of intelligent ‘ramp metering’ traffic signals at the Cotter Road northbound on-ramp to the Tuggeranong Parkway,” said Mr Rattenbury. “The ramp metering signals will manage the rate of vehicles entering the Tuggeranong Parkway which is important to ensuring smooth traffic flow conditions. This will be particularly important as the Molonglo development progresses. This funding will supplement the $300,000 provided by the Federal Government in 2013-14 for this project as part of the Nation Building Program.
“Work will also continue in the Molonglo Valley to protect the local environment from potential impacts of residential development in the area and enhance the natural habitat. The Molonglo Valley is known habitat for the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard, the Swift and Superb Parrots as well as natural temperate grassland and box gum woodland communities. The Budget provides $3.52 million to deliver a four year program of projects in the Molonglo Valley to meet the ACT Government’s commitments in the Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance (NES Plan),” Mr Rattenbury concluded.
(Media Release Shane Rattenbury & Andrew Barr)