19 September 2023

Work to start soon on Ainslie Group's child care centre after ACAT win

| Ian Bushnell
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Ainslie Childcare proposal

An artist’s impression of the Ainslie Group’s planned childcare centre. Image: Spacelab.

The Ainslie Group is set to begin construction later in the year on its long proposed child care centre after the project finally received the all-clear from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The $4 million, 91-place child care centre is the first stage of the Ainslie Group’s 10-year redevelopment plan aimed at diversifying the Ainslie Football & Social Club’s revenue base so the club can reduce its dependency on gaming machines.

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The North Canberra Community Council took the approved proposal to ACAT twice over a verge crossing, loss of open space and traffic concerns.

But the Tribunal confirmed the development approval with some conditions, including use of the car park entry, a design measure to ensure vehicles do not have to cross double lines in Angas Street and lighting.

The latest ACAT action stalled the start of the project by about six months. It provoked an angry response last year from Ainslie Group CEO Simon Patterson, who attacked the NCCC’s disrupt-and-delay tactics and suggested it was out of step with the broader community.

But on Monday , Mr Patterson would not be drawn on the NCCC, only saying that the Ainslie Group was “happy the matter had been resolved and we can move forward”.

Ainslie Football and Social Club masterplan

The Ainslie Football and Social Club master plan outlines the Ainslie Group’s 10-year vision. Image: Spacelab.

Mr Patterson said the group was looking at a November start for the project, which should take about 12 months to complete.

The Stage 2 residential component outlined in the master plan was still several years away.

“The Ainslie Group has been working with local residents, club members and the wider Ainslie community for the past four years on its plans to redevelop the Wakefield Avenue precinct,” Mr Patterson said.

Those plans beyond Stage 1 would require a Territory Plan Variation and the group was confident that would be approved in about 18 months.

In 2021, the Ainslie Group released a master plan for developing surplus or unused land around the Alan Ray Oval.

It recently followed this up with the Ainslie Plan, outlining the 10-year vision for the 55,000 sqm site.

The plan includes a contemporary clubhouse, improved oval accessibility, a new grandstand, gymnasium and change-rooms, as well as townhouses and apartments for downsizing and ageing in place, childcare and allied healthcare services.

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Townhouses would be two to three storeys, while apartments would match the nearby five-storey Goodwin Village aged care facility.

The plan envisages up to 200 dwellings, but this was only an estimate.

The NCCC has said that it does not oppose new developments in North Canberra, but land zoned as sports and recreation needs to be retained as green spaces.

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