Weston’s $800,000 white elephant a fluro fail

Ian Bushnell 6 January 2020 209

The upgraded Trenerry Square in Weston is not what the community asked for. Photos: Ian Bushnell

It cost more than $800,000, it’s not what the community wanted and nobody uses it. Welcome to Weston’s Trenerry Square, featuring fluro orange and yellow metal seats, concrete borders, some industrial shade structures and, thankfully, a patch of turf.

The idea was a good one – to upgrade Trenerry Square on Brierly Street opposite Cooleman Court but the execution has left the locals nonplussed.

Weston Creek Community Council president Tom Anderson says a combination of unsociable design and poor choice of materials had made the square, completed in March 2018, an uninviting place to be.

He said the metal seats needed a covering so they were not either burning your bottom off or freezing it for more than six months of the year, and they needed to be closer together.

“There’s not a table in there, there’s not two seats close enough together where you can actually have a conversation,” he said. “A mother and two children can’t go and sit there at a table and have morning tea, or lunch.”

The company behind the project, Redbox Design, says on its website that “the refreshed plaza has a unique and contemporary feel created by an arrangement of interesting elements that enhance user experience and inject much-desired vitality into the place.”

Except, according to Mr Anderson, ”it’s a space that is rarely used by anyone.”

Mr Anderson said the council spoke to City Services in June about ways to improve it but had not heard anything since.

While there was initial consultation when the project was first mooted, he said it took six months to get officials to come back to discuss the final design and when they did it was a fait accomplis.

“They came along to a public meeting and said we’ve signed the contract today, prior to any further feedback about what it was going to be like,” he said.

“We’ve got what we’ve got because that was what was decided by City Services, and it’s just not really usable.”

But Mr Anderson said his advice was that it could be improved without much extra cost.

“The infrastructure is there and you can fiddle around with it and make it much better,” he said.

But it will also need more protection from the wind, mainly the westerly, to make it more hospitable.

Mr Anderson said the temporary furniture in Woden Square was a much better outcome than this.

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209 Responses to Weston’s $800,000 white elephant a fluro fail
Ed Haywood Ed Haywood 10:49 pm 13 Jan 20

Whoever decided on it should be made to pay for it. Perhaps then they might think sensibly next time. Or sack them.

Mike Walker Mike Walker 7:03 am 13 Jan 20

I'm sure this is an example of 'hostile architecture', specifically designed so that homeless people can't use it. They have made it so hostile that no one wants to use the space.

As an example of the intended hostility, the seats have two arm rests set in them, that splits the seat into thirds. You can't even sit with your bag right next to you.


Valerie Collits Valerie Collits 6:51 am 12 Jan 20

Terrible waste of money on a hot/cold/exposed area with no shade, no tables and lots of concrete! No one uses it! Coolemon Court is tired and needs a complete upgrade. The ACT Govt needs to listen to the people !

Rosita Johnson Rosita Johnson 9:28 pm 10 Jan 20

Absolutely revolting

Ciara Sheehan Ciara Sheehan 3:29 pm 10 Jan 20

Why didn’t they fix the roads around Coolo instead of making this ugly area??

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 11:57 am 10 Jan 20

Does not seem to have any shade trees. Typical lack of effective consultation. When will the ACT government learn that consultation is more that just telling people what they are going to get.

Benkin Manfish Benkin Manfish 10:02 am 10 Jan 20

Hi I'm Josh welcome to let's game it out Ryan Hemsley

    Ryan Hemsley Ryan Hemsley 10:07 am 10 Jan 20

    Benkin Manfish that's a very apt analogy!

    Ryan Hemsley Ryan Hemsley 10:07 am 10 Jan 20

    Actually a giant Pac Man could only improve it

Oh my God Oh my God 8:35 am 10 Jan 20

$800K somebody is making tremendous profit. ACT gov got con!!!

gositsa gositsa 11:01 pm 09 Jan 20

Yep, pretty well useless. The money would have been much better spent on the tired old playground on the opposite side of Coolo.

Andrea Herrman Andrea Herrman 4:55 pm 09 Jan 20


Aaron T Williams Aaron T Williams 1:11 pm 09 Jan 20

Tim Hollingsworth I love Cooleman court for its non stop shopping in the heart of Western Creek

    Tim Hollingsworth Tim Hollingsworth 6:53 pm 09 Jan 20

    Aaron T Williams it’s ‘Weston’ can def tell your from the north side. Lol

Des Jeremic Des Jeremic 11:54 am 09 Jan 20

Convert it to motorcycle parking.

Arthur Arthur 7:03 am 09 Jan 20

“the refreshed plaza has a unique and contemporary feel created by an arrangement of interesting elements that enhance user experience and inject much-desired vitality into the place.” How many times have we read that drivel. My bet is they’d use the same boilerplate rubbish for a safe injecting room. Come to think of it …

Kaylene Rocha Kaylene Rocha 1:27 am 09 Jan 20

Needs some shade..

Ian Shepherd Ian Shepherd 10:33 pm 08 Jan 20

Pull it up and recycle it at the Woden Light Rail Terminal which looks like being another dud plan also. Build a multi storied car park on the site for all the Molonglo shoppers who come over to Coolo as the Government have dudded them as there’s no prospect of a nice big shopping complex there!

Michael Charlton Michael Charlton 7:26 pm 08 Jan 20

Put the car parks back in that used to be there. Parking is a shortage at coolamon court.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:21 pm 08 Jan 20

Look on the bright side! Several hundred thousand dollars cheaper than Andrew Barr’s Container Village -and no broke businesses involved.

Damien Slingsby Damien Slingsby 6:54 pm 08 Jan 20

Kat 800 grand!

Felix Chan Felix Chan 6:42 pm 08 Jan 20

cant help it when gov still need to "waste" money on openspace n prevent parents from suing from contamination from birdsht.....the world we live in now.....

Someonesmother Someonesmother 6:41 pm 08 Jan 20

What an ugly looking bomb site. There is nothing that would even slightly recommend it as a place to sit and relax. Hot, harsh and looks like a licorice allsort. Not sure anyone would use it apart from skateboarders challenging themsleves on it.

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