Hands off West Basin

Helen Murray - October 5, 2015

This article was published as an editorial in the Canberra Times on October 5, 2015

The ACT government’s plan for medium-density apartment blocks of six to eight storeys along Commonwealth Avenue and at the nationally significant West Basin site on the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin is unwise. It is overkill. Canberra is an internationally significant city with a unique character. The build environment merging into the local landscape is the essence of the city’s design and is what distinguishes Canberra internationally. This plan is incompatible with that character.

I encourage people to speak up about it. If the plan goes ahead, the character of this nationally significant area will be gone forever.

The ACT government’s desire to integrate the movement of people and create a “vibrant” precinct by the lake is entirely possible without this adverse alteration to the city scape.

Landscape architect Juliet Ramsay (Letters, October2) asks how can packing West Basin with privately owned buildings with no public parking make it “vibrant” for the public and visitors to Canberra? I agree.

The grand Canberra vistas of the beautiful mountains and all their moods are unique in the world. This is a distinguishing feature for travellers along Commonwealth Avenue towards the Parliamentary Triangle and Parliament House, nestled unobtrusively into Capital Hill. It will be lost if this plan proceeds. Let’s see some civic leadership and commonsense before it’s too late.