From Canberra Times 31 December 2013
Having spearheaded urban renewal in Brisbane and Adelaide, the National Capital Authority’s new chief executive says Lake Burley Griffin is underused around the edges and on the water’s surface.
The NCA is certain to approve a controversial slipway for maintaining power boats at Black Mountain Peninsula and will work with the ACT government to develop the lake’s edge and City Hill.
Former National Capital Development Commission planner Malcolm Snow, who left Canberra in the 1980s, is back as the NCA chief, pledging to ”do more with less” in the financially constrained authority, including exploring new ways of revenue raising. He begins work on January 13.
Meanwhile acting chief executive Andrew Smith says the authority’s board has considered consultation reports for the slipway, which replaces an old one removed to make way for Kingston Foreshore.
Opponents of the Black Mountain location said that if allowed the boat workshop would set a precedent for intensifying development around the lake.
But Mr Smith said the authority found no impediment to reject the ACT Land Development Agency’s project.
Mr Snow said the lake was a critical element to Canberra’s nationally significant areas and like Brisbane’s South Bank, where he was chief executive for six years, offered even more scope for people using and enjoying it.
”It’s very attractive for a whole range of reasons,” Mr Snow said.
”What Lake Burley Griffin misses at the moment is the opportunity for further activation and further use of that water body, on its margins and on the water body itself.
”It’s an asset [with] a lot of unrealised potential about it. There are the day-to-day issues with blue-green algae which operationally present a challenge.”
In a city renowned for many planning critics, one of the most persistent is architect Jack Kershaw, who says the ACT government is ”barging ahead” developing the City Hill precinct, aided by loose Commonwealth planning regulations.
”The NCA has sat back and ticked off pretty much anything the ACT wanted to do,” Mr Kershaw said.
He hopes Mr Snow, a qualified planner, landscape architect and project manager, exercises more oversight of the territory’s City-to-Lake Plan, new site for the Legislative Assembly and preparations for a new convention centre and hotels stemming from that project.
Mr Snow said working in nationally significant areas was tremendously exciting. He would examine what scope there was for the private sector in urban revitalisation.
He said great urban revitalisation projects across Australia had been achieved through strong collaboration with the private sector.
Although he had a five-year contract to work as a general manager for the City of Port Phillip, Mr Snow said he could not pass up on the opportunity to return to Canberra, where he had met and married his wife.
”Quite frankly I just like the city, it has a great setting.
‘It’s still very much a work in progress. Cities are never finished, as we like to say.”