A suggestion which has apparently been put by the Canberra Central Task Force to discourage car parking in Civic reported in yesterday’s Canberra Times (Wednesday, December 7) should not be built into the broader strategic vision for the rebuilding of central Canberra.
The executive director of the Property Council of Australia (ACT), Catherine Carter, said it would be a mistake at such an early stage in the overall planning to adopt an entrenched attitude against car use.
“The project to rebuild the Civic and to revitalise the city centre must satisfy the needs of all members of the community,” Ms Carter said. “It should not discriminate against any section of the community or take a view to phase out motorists at the early planning stages.”
Ms Carter said it is important to ensure that people are allowed a choice in how they move in and out of Civic, whether they are shoppers, business people or employees who commute in and out of the city each day. \
“New traffic proposals and plans for redevelopment of buildings on a large scale must be coordinated to reflect the needs of all members of the community, including motorists,” Ms Carter said.
Based on the ACT Government’s own figures, around 75 per cent of Canberrans commute each day by car.
Accordingly to Property Council (ACT) President, Greg Lyons, any attempt to impose restrictions on car park availability in Civic will inevitably lead to a decline in the economic health and vitality of the city centre.
“Canberra is a unique city in that it has a low, widely dispersed population across a wide geographic area, and a significant number of people working in jobs that require mobility during the day,” Mr Lyons said.
“It therefore not sensible to restrict or otherwise make parking difficult to find or prohibitively expensive and still expect Civic to be the pre-eminent business district in Canberra.”
Catherine Carter added: “The Property Council is in the process of finalising a detailed parking needs study for Civic and we hope to have the results of that study available shortly. Preliminary indications are that there is a growing shortage of car parking available as a large number of existing car parks are being developed for a range of other uses. For Civic to remain viable it is probable that we will need two more sites suitable for multi-storey car parking structures to be released in Civic in the near future.
“The Property Council will continue to work closely with the ACT Government to find acceptable solutions to the issue of car parking in Civic,” Ms Carter said.
Catherine Carter, Executive Director, 02 6248 6902 or 0412 330 079