Belconnen Circus Precinct moves forward

The redevelopment of the Lake Ginninderra foreshores continues with an update from the Suburban Land Agency (SLA). The process is a bit esoteric, but the process will decide which – if any – cycle infrastructure we will get in Belconnen along Emu Bank. It is not clear what the cycle infrastructure requirements are, which is worrying.

The Circus Sites Precinct is not so much being sold but rather the SLA has developed in 2020-2021 a Place Design Brief. The process is similar to that followed in the Molonglo Valley for the local Wright shops. The SLA seems to be happy with the outcome there and hopes that it will pay off in Belconnen.

In 2021, the Suburban Land Agency released land for sale and development in Belconnen Town Centre through a two-stage tender process. The Belconnen Lakeshore land release is made up of The Circus Sites Precinct together with the Former Belconnen Water Police site (Block 29, Section 149 Belconnen) at Emu Inlet Waterfront. The first stage, a Request for Proposal (RFP), was released to the market on 17 June 2021 and closed on 7 October 2021.

Belconnen Lakeshore land release update, Suburban Land Agency. 12 April 2022, accessed 21 April 2022.

The Request for Tender (RFT) is a 2 stage process. The 1st stage is a beauty competition, where the SLA tries to identify likely private partners. The Place Design Brief explains what is expected. The 2nd stage is to narrow down the proposal to produce the desired outcomes. It is not clear to me how the price of the land is being established.

SLA is currently finalising stage 2 RFT documentation and are planning to release the RFT in May to the selected tenderers invited to participate in the stage 2 RFT.

Belconnen Lakeshore land release update, Suburban Land Agency. 12 April 2022, accessed 21 April 2022.

The nature of the 2nd RFT is a little hard to imagine. Only the following information is available.

The RFT currently being finalised will include:

1. More detailed project delivery requirements that tenderers will be required to address in addition to the Place Design Brief. 

2. More detailed development and design information including on-site and off-site public realm improvements to be included in the sale and development of the land.

3. A requirement to respond to how the liveability of apartments will be addressed with a view to achieving improved liveability outcomes. 

Belconnen Lakeshore land release update, Suburban Land Agency. 12 April 2022, accessed 21 April 2022.

Note here that cycle infrastructure is never mentioned, and it was not mentioned in the previous steps either.

2004 Benjamin Way missing link

The CBR Cycle Route C5 is the new name for a cycle path built by the predecessor of the NCA between Belconnen and the Lake Burley Griffin and provides a Principal Community Route between Belconnen Town Centre and the City.

The CBR Cycle Route C5 infamously ends halfway along Benjamin Way. This is typical of the bike infrastructure built in Canberra – the bike paths generally stop at the edge of the town centre. A more recent example is the Principal Community Routes to Gungahlin Town Centre (C7 and C1). The Molonglo Group Centre Concept Plan also has bike paths stopping at the edge of the Molonglo Town Centre precinct. We have learnt nothing in 40 years of building town centres.

The Belconnen public consultation, 16 February 2004, requested the completion of the bike path along Benjamin Way to Emu Bank. This request has been echoed in every consultation since, including the consultation for the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan, the consultation for the Belconnen Bike Way, the SLA “Circus Precinct” consultation from 2020.

Why is 18 years not enough?

Benjamin Way missing link (CBR Cycle Route C5). Public consultation notes, Belconnen Session, Monday, 16 February 2004, Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure, Roads ACT, 2004.
Benjamin Way missing link (CBR Cycle Route C5). Public consultation notes, Belconnen Session, Monday, 16 February 2004, Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure, Roads ACT, 2004.

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