Plan to move railway station
A new passenger railway station could be developed near the contentious $100 million Epicentre shopping development at Fyshwick under a draft urban renewal project unveiled by ACT Planning Minister Andrew Barr yesterday.
The East Lake Renewal draft plan provides for options to relocate the railway from Kingston to possible sites near the Monaro Highway, or Newcastle Street west near Epicentre, or Newcastle Street east, or outside the ACT.
A huge retail development is being constructed on the Epicentre Estate, including 135 Direct Factory Outlet shops and 28 bulky goods stores. It has triggered a bitter legal row between developers Austexx, the ACT Government and the losing bidder for the site, Canberra Airport. A spokesman for Austexx said the railway station would not have any impact on the development and an airport spokesperson declined to comment.
A rail masterplan for the ACT is being prepared, considering associated users and the regional context of rail in the ACT including passenger and freight requirements.
According to the East Lake draft report, moving the railway station would enable the development of a large parcel of land now occupied by railway yards in Kingston to be integrated within the urban fabric of East Lake. A corridor for future transitway options would be retained.
The Government is for the first time employing the CSIRO in planning a high-density urban village at East Lake which it says will be the most sustainable in Australia and possibly the world.
Work is expected to begin in 2009. Over the next 30 years, high-density residential areas for 9000 people and light industries, such as IT firms and retail shops will be rolled out, creating jobs for 3000 people. The development will include 5000 residential units and 16,000sqm of commercial space.
The East Lake area includes the Jerrabomberra wetlands on Lake Burley Griffin's eastern shoreline, one of the most important waterbird habitats in the ACT; Kingston's railway line; agricultural land; and historic Causeway Hall at Kingston.
Canberrans have only eight weeks to respond to the plans.
Mr Barr said the redevelopment project was first raised in 2004 and there would be more opportunities for people to comment after the consultation period.
CSIRO sustainable communities initiative director Sean Rooney said the organisation's expertise would be applied to a complex range of social and environmental sustainability issues arising from the redevelopment.
The sustainable communities initiative is running throughout Australia from 2007 to 2009, responding to changing climate, environmental degradation and social and economic disadvantage.
According to the CSIRO, no one sector has the answer to these problems and solutions lie in integrating skills, resources, knowledge and passion from across all sectors.