Manuka and environs is one of the prettiest and historic precincts in the inner south. Little wonder that the proposed redevelopment of Manuka Oval and immediate surrounds has galvanised public opinion. Old Canberra has been vanishing before our eyes and local residents and other interested Canberrans guard our remaining heritage jealously.
The current Manuka Oval precinct is a little tired and the pedestrian interface between the oval and the Manuka shops is often downright dangerous.
However, it by no means follows that the solution must be a significant redevelopment of the area around the oval with up to a thousand units, a retail development, demolition of several heritage buildings, and all the associated traffic and parking issues that, even under current arrangements, appear to be worsening by the day. Other issues include the potential impact of the development on the Manuka and Kingston shops, and the fact that Telopea Park school is only metres away.
The Chief Minister has promised a long and comprehensive period of consultation and that no decisions have been made. We will hold him to that.
Another potentially disturbing aspect of the proposal is the linking of the funds needed for the Manuka Oval upgrade with the handover of government land to the developers. This practice makes us uneasy. If the Government wishes to provide funds to sporting organisations it should be through a transparent budget process, not camouflaged in property deals that are not subject to full scrutiny.
The ISCCC is keen to hear your views on this issue – while we do not oppose change for the sake of it, neither do we want to lose something very special which has been enjoyed by generations of Canberrans. Please write to us at info@isccc.org.au or visit our web page www.isccc.org.au
Gary Kent Chair

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