Protecting the Future of Lake Burley Griffin and its Lakeshore Landscape

Lake Burley Griffin Guardians - May 4, 2016

As the Commonwealth and the ACT move towards an election for seats in the Parliament and the House of Assembly, the Guardians seek your commitment to the protection of Lake Burley Griffin and its lakeshore landscape.


Lake Burley Griffin Guardians (the Guardians) is a non-profit organisation committed to safeguarding Canberra’s iconic landmark, Lake Burley Griffin and its surrounding lakeshore landscape. The aim of the Guardians is to ensure the social, aesthetic, historic and ecological values of the Lake and lakeshore landscape are conserved for future generations. Lake Burley Griffin and its Lakeshore Landscape has national importance and a National Heritage Listing is the most suitable protection from adverse impacts. The Guardians support development that serves the needs of all the Lake’s users but retains and improves the values of the Lake and lakeshore setting.

The Guardians stress that the Lake and its lakeshore landscape, cherished not only by Canberrans but all Australians and overseas visitors, is being incrementally diminished by divided responsibilities, successive developments and continually changing land-use practices. The Guardians seek your input with respect to the challenges regarding the overall management of Lake Burley Griffin, and in particular — the proposed development of West Basin and Grevillea Park.

Current Issues

1. Need for a Lake Burley Griffin and Lakeshore Landscape Master Plan

The development of an overarching integrated master plan and associated management plan is needed to secure a protected future for the Lake and its lakeshore landscape regardless of government ‘ownership’. An assessment of National and Commonwealth Heritage significance is needed to ensure the values of protected.

2 West Basin Development

Currently there is a development proposal for West Basin that has the potential to adversely impact and set a dangerous precedence for lakeside development (

The proposal will allow for buildings of 6-8 storeys or even higher, creating a “wall” of mbuildings screening the Lake from view and permanently alienating most of the parkland to private ownership. It will unbalance the parkland perimeter of the lake by adding an urban estate into the lakeshore landscape and will damage the balance of the lake’s parklands that have been cultivated for over 50 years to link the City across the lake.

Proposed road planning for access to the site across Parkes Way appears to have been indefinitely postponed. If the proposed private development comes before the Parkes Way barrier is addressed, all traffic into the area will be via Albert and Corkhill Streets on Commonwealth Avenue creating congestion.

In addition, the Guardians are opposed to the piecemeal way in which the proposed development is being progressed. It is disingenuous to advertise for development approval of a proposed major lakeshore development involving some infill of the basin while providing no details of the building estate that will be facilitated from reclaiming part of the Lake. We seek an honest and open planning process rather than commenting on piecemeal bites of the project.

Proposed City to the Lake West Basin development. (Source
Proposed City to the Lake West Basin development. (Source

A revised proposal is needed to redesign the development to diminish the extent of the proposed estate, reinstate a much greater area of public park with a continuous perimeter to the basin, remove the large unidentified building on the west of the basin that extends into the lake, reinstate the public viewing terraces at water axis that were present in all the early plans (1911-2004), retain mature trees, keep open vistas to the lake, accommodate different activities for public use and provide adequate parking for the disabled and people with young children.

3 Grevillea Park Subdivision

Grevillea Park has been subdivided into four blocks for large boat-shed construction. The design approach for this development was poor. The Park is narrow and linear and four boat sheds would take up nearly all the foreshore. If all are built, there will be no access for the public to utilise and enjoy the parkland and lake beach for informal recreation and occasional large gatherings.

No more than the two currently approved boat-shed sites on the lakeshore at the western extent of the park should be developed on the waterfront. Further boat sheds could be built behind the two on the western section on the understanding that the access road will need to be rerouted landwards. The remainder of the open lakeshore (currently set aside for two more boat-sheds) should be dedicated and further developed for community public park use only.

Public Comment and Political Response

Lake Burley Griffin Guardians is an expanding network of committed members with links to other groups with similar concerns about the Lake. We hope that ACT politicians, Federal and Territory, current and future will appreciate our concerns and the growing public disquiet over encroachment of development on the lakeshore and support our endeavours for a fair and sensible outcome. We are dedicated to working with government to ensure recognition of public interest in and ownership of the Lake.

With regard to our discussion on 3 serious issues affecting Lake Burley Griffin and its Lakeshore Landscape we seek your response to the following set of questions:

  1. Will you commit to Lake Burley Griffin and its lakeshore parklands remaining forever as Canberra’s central national space with public parklands that belong to all Australians?
  2. Do you support the creation of an overarching integrated master plan and management plan that secures a protected future for Lake Burley Griffin and its lakeshore landscape?
  3. Will you support National and Commonwealth Heritage assessments and listing for Lake Burley Griffin and its lakeshore landscape?
  4. Do you support the National Capital Authority maintaining control and management of all of Lake Burley Griffin and its lakeshore landscape environment with adequate funding for greater lake management responsibilities?
  5. Will you support a review of the West Basin development proposal with a view to much wider community involvement and discussion on issues. These issues include greater public access, larger public open space areas including a continuous public open space perimeter to West Basin foreshore, open vistas to the lake, and public use that includes adequate parking for the disabled and people with young children?
  6. Will you support safeguarding the two sites at the eastern end of Grevillea Park for community use without boat sheds?


Please email your response to

Statement Prepared by the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians Incorporated
13 April 2016, authorised by Juliet Ramsay (convenor)