11 July 2008

Westfield Belconnen's massive expansion

| paperboy
Join the conversation

I’ve just been looking through the 62 page development application for Westfield Belconnen, and can’t believe it hasn’t attracted more attention in the mainstream media.

For those unaware of the background, Westfield agreed to construct a new look ACTION bus interchange on it’s land in return for approval to redevelop unused land and parking areas around its massive site.

And what a deal they got.

Included in the whole development, (and granted not all of this is Westfield’s) are 3 x 10 storey high rises, and 2 x 18 storey buildings.

The cost must be enormous.

Specifically, on Westield’s existing western carpark, near the supermarkets, will go 350,000 sq mtrs of retail space, and 500 extra car parking spaces. On the vacant block of land between the Luxton street traffic lights and the entrance to Westfield’s loading docks, will go a 10 storey building, with 3 levels of parking and 7,000 sq mtrs of retail space.

In the area to the West of that block, generally known as the place the circus usually sets up it’s big tops, will be two buildings, both of 10 storeys. One with 18,000 sq mtrs of retail and residential space, and the other with 200 home units and 3,700 sq mtrs of commercial space.

The other developments are on the existing car park opposite Magnet Mart for a 3 storey commercial building with some retail; and 2 18 storey buildings on the southern side of Swanson Court, one for ‘mixed use’ with retail and units, and the other with 13,300 sq mtrs of parking and 246 home units.

The road changes include removing the exclusive bus lane near Lathlain Street (to be replaced by retail and parking), relocating the pedestrian bridge from Lathlain Street to the shopping centre, and an extension to Cohen Street.

As I said, for such a huge development, I’m surprised it hasn’t attracted more attention.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

P4rit4 said :

Woww.. I really hope this boosts the value of my apartment!

I’d be more worried about the 6+ year latency on your Internet connection.

Woww.. I really hope this boosts the value of my apartment!

stonedwookie said :

I wonder when construction will start?

According to my wife, who asked Westfield, the mall construction work doesn’t start till February. Two reasons, one is they can’t start till the govt does all the infrastructure work needed, second, they don’t want to start construction in the lead up to Xmas trading.

Apparently its supposed to be finished by October next year.

stonedwookie8:55 pm 11 Oct 09

well the red bridge has been moved no signs of anything else yet hopefully it will start soon.

According to the special TAMS website (http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/about_our_department/community_engagement/community_engagement_activities_and_events/belconnen_town_centre_improvements), the Westfield work is due to start in July 2009, with the closure of Joynton Smith Drive. With this road already been degazetted.

stonedwookie7:57 pm 25 Jun 09

I wonder when construction will start?

I reckon Belconnen has more traffic lights per capita than anywhere else in the world. Dry driving along Ginninderra Dr at any time. You are almost guaranteed to stop at every set.

It has come to my attention that the information (sent out to Belconnen residences and businesses) in the form of the flyer “Belconnen Town Centre Improvements” is actually INCORRECT.

Apparently the sentence “From 2010 buses servicing the Belconnen area will mostly approach the town centre using a route along Luxton Street, …” is INCORRECT.

Apparently this plan was squashed over a year ago (possibly because of Action’s concerns about congestion on Luxton Street)

Will new flyers need to be sent to affected residents?

On the proposed route, buses that currently use the dedicated busway from the north, will have to negotiate FIVE SETS OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS more than they now have to. These are:

1. Intersection of Coulter Drive/Southern Cross Drive/Luxton Street,
2. Intersection of Coulter Drive/Ogilby Crescent/Nettlefold Street,
3 Intersection of Nettlefold Street/Cohen Street
4. Intersection of Cohen Street/Josephson Street
5. Intersection of Cohen Street/Lathlain Street.

And that is just to get to the new Belconnen interchange!!!

Subsequently the flyer statement “The new traffic arrangements will reduce commuter travel times by simplifying bus routes through the town centre” must surely also be INCORRECT. With FIVE EXTRA SETS OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS to negotiate, surely this must impact on travel times, fuel consumption, pollution, traffic congestion, the environment, and the list goes on.

The flyer also doesn’t seem to mention anything about the part closure of Joynton Smith Drive to general traffic between Benjamin Way and the intersection with Emu Bank. I may be missing something here, but I believe this will push much more general traffic onto Luxton Street. With the new interchange located on Lathlain Street, this will surely bring even more traffic through the intersection of Luxton Street and Lathlain Streets. This intersection is ALREADY dangerous. I have witnessed a rider being knocked from his bike here, frustrated pedestrians trying to rush across the road (some with children) and I challenge anyone to do a right turn out of Lathlain Street during peak times. So this intersection should have been the FIRST to get new traffic lights, especially as the temporary bus stops are to be located in Lathlain street.

With the part closure of Joynton Smith Drive more traffic will also be pushed into Beissel Street. Much through traffic already uses this street and with the diverted traffic and the local traffic from the 80 units at 20 Beissel Street and the current construction of over 200 more units at 21 Beissel Street, this street may need to be restricted to local traffic at some time in the future.

Another separate (but related issue) is the lack of pedestrian access/steps between Luxton Street and Joynton Smith Drive. When I submitted my concerns about this to ACTPLA (during approval for the units at 21 Beissel St), ACTPLA agreed with me that this should have been addressed and that it was their omission in not requiring the developer to do this. I was hoping that when the “Belconnen Town Centre Improvements” emerged, that ACTPLA would have enough ‘internal continuity’ to include steps/pedestrian access on the southeast corner of the Joynton Smith Drive/Luxton Street flyover. Alas ANOTHER opportunity missed!!!

seekay said :

Was there ever a time when Belconnen didn’t look like East Berlin?

Do town planning students get taken there and told “whatever you do, don’t ever come up with anything like this”?

Actually there are planning texts with photos of the mall as the definition of bad public space planning.

I’m sure Westfield will do well out of it, lets hope we end up with a more pedestrian friendly spaces might make it a place people actually want to go.

The bus interchange becomes a ‘lavish’ new look facility within the extended Westfield. As I read the DA, it will be located approximately where the red pedestrian bridge is at the moment. Keep in mind that under the new look plan, that area to the west of the Mall will be a three level section, with parking, bus interchange and retail. As JC correctly pointed out, that section is currently owned by the ACT Government. It’s the key to the whole deal.

So whats the deal with the bus interchange?

Deadmandrinking2:27 pm 13 Jul 08

Wiki says the Cameron Offices won an award and was an example of ‘brutalist architecture’. F-king hell, they look like something out of B-grade sci-fi movie in my opinion.

The Belco art shown on the plans looks like the stuff on GDE

Because WBG’s vision of people living and working in their own town centre doesn’t happen. People may live in Woden and work at ABS, or live in Belco and work at Centrelink. We need to understand that people aren’t going to move house every time they move jobs. Also, to create a vibrant town, it needs to interact with residents from outside it – have them eating out Belco’s restaurants, drinking at its pubs etc…

A few more points from me – and one that is unlikely to have much support from the RA crowd – good to see that there is discussion of public art, and that it will form part of the development. Now I agree with many that the art along the GDE is atrocious – it is not engaging at all, however the stuff that has gone up through civic over the last few years has been rather good.

Why have light rail when no one needs to leave Belconnen as they walk from their high rise apartments 800 meters to their high rise office block?

Having just had a skim read, my thoughts are that the development (well its not a DA but a conglomeration of multiple developments) will be a boon for Belco. I hope that Belco development doesn’t stop at 2x 18 story towers, but continues with more high density development in and around the town centre. It will necessitate additional infrastructure considerations (light rail?), and slightly enhanced use of the foreshore as public space – both parkland and social businesses (ie cafe’s, bars, clubs, restaurants).

That being said the only “design drawing” of the 18 storey building was a boring rectangular tower – hopefully a more interesting design – perhaps landmark architecture could be commissioned.

Just one point of order, the western carpark is an ACT government carpark not Westfield. So the new bus interchange and the extension to the mall are being built on ACT Government land. In anycase who cares it is good for Belco I reckon. Pity there are not more carparks allocated though, there are times when parking is a nightmare at Belco and with more of the Government carparks near the mall to go it could get worse.

Weaselburger10:37 am 12 Jul 08

At least they might Finally get rid of some of the Derelict Buildings around the place and hopefully make something useful of the old Cameron Offices Site. But What about all the construction around the Immigration Building? are they Going to finish that project first, or will Belco end up looking like a half constructed city?

School Holiday timing has naught to do with it, this has been out for a long time, as evidenced by the tatty and weatherbeaten development notification outside the mall!

Before things like the ABS building belco looked a lot worse! I for one am all for this. Having been a belconnen resident since 1991, I think it is great that the place is slowly being developed.

I actually had a look at it a few weeks ago, and I was concerned about the road out the back, the one that runs parallel to the bus only road. From the plans it kind of looked like access to Ginninderra Drive, Totterdell Street etc will be restricted? Hopefully a new access for that will be created. I use that road, albeit occassionally.

Was there ever a time when Belconnen didn’t look like East Berlin?

Do town planning students get taken there and told “whatever you do, don’t ever come up with anything like this”?


Belconnen/Gunagahlin has no views to block-out and so 18 storyes would be great.

Tuggeranong, the back drop of hills will preclude the building of 18 storey building. If however the TC had been built at Erindale, it could have been feasable.

18 storeys?? Does anyone want this? Anywhere in Canberra?

Entirely predictable. After this, it’ll be the hyperdrone’s turn.

surprising lowy isn’t adding a 35000 seat football stadium on the roof for future a-league use…


I love sustainable progress.

And look NO provision for light rail.

Jonathon Reynolds6:32 pm 11 Jul 08

Let me guess… not much coverage… must be school holidays.
The perfect time to put documents out for consultation… when nobody is around to complain.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.