At the crowded Lake Burley Griffin Guardians public meeting 27 July, Government officers claimed that extensive public consultation on the West Basin development had been held. But the major part of the development, the building estate for apartments and businesses was excluded from the Foreshore consultation. This is the most dramatic and damaging impact —the blocking of lake vistas by proposed 4-6 storey high buildings yet it involves lake infill to support the first row of apartments. The Governments keep claiming thousand of people consulted yet almost everyone the Guardians has spoken to at their West Basin stands no nothing about the building estate and are horrified by it
The NCA’s own approved 2009 heritage management plan for the lake clearly notes the adverse impact of City to the Lake (CttL) on West Basin as—the reduction of views to the lake from the north, reduction in open space, and impacts on the established parkland setting and character of the lake. The expert report was deliberately ignored by the NCA and ACT Government to favour the West Basin building estate.
The Governments keep rolling out the trite Griffin Legacy spin. The reality is that fifty years after the Griffins’ plans, the lake basins were realigned by experts to create our beautiful lake with its intact perimeter parklands. The creation of a ‘Griffin Legacy’ foreshore arc will give our extant West Basin a potato shape and decrease its size to almost half that of East Basin, while destroying almost all of its parkland.
Heritage protection of Lake Burley Griffin and its surrounds should be the absolute duty of the NCA responsible in protecting Canberra’s national significance but the blighting the lake’s vistas is the blighting of national significance.
Although heritage protection is a foremost objective of the Guardians that does not mean mothballing Acton Park, West Basin. We definitely support low impact developments such as coffee shops on the lakeshore and an aquatic centre that is not of a monstrous scale. We support recreation facilities for youth such as a skate park and a place where young adults can meet and make a noise such as the Acton Pop up Village (preferably without its container-slum ambience).
West Basin’s Acton Park is vitally important as a release valve for city dwellers to recreate. As well, it is a valuable location for events such as festivals, markets, concerts, group get-togethers and more. Importantly it has grass that can absorb runoff and spaces where large canopy trees can counteract ever-increasing heat build-up from urban concrete. Acton Park has an informal charm providing a different experience to the manicured gardens of Commonwealth Park and the harsh concrete of the central southside terraces.
Read the LBGG meeting proceedings.
Check out the West Basin Charter to guide a decent vision for the West Basin parklands.