Linking Canberra to the Lake offers the opportunity to make whole the city centre, reaffirming its role as the centre of the region and enabling Lake Burley Griffin’s public foreshore to become more integral to the city’s life. The project establishes a development framework for the broad southern flank of the City which is largely undeveloped, incorporating a series of civic initiatives. The project area stretches from the West Basin to Anzac Parade including, Parkes Way, Canberra Olympic Pool, the existing convention centre and large surface car parks.
The project can be compared, in ambition and scope, to major waterfront projects in other Australian cities such as Barangaroo, Docklands in Melbourne, Southbank in Brisbane and Perth waterfront. City to the Lake initiates a robust and memorable public domain and waterfront in line with the Griffins’ conception of a gentle urbanity; a memorable landscape setting, compact blocks, a civic spine, and continuous access to a lakefront marked by distinct urban and landscape places.
The project incorporates learnings from the most progressive cities which have reversed their motorway dominated ways such as San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Barcelona, Seoul and Toronto. They have either demolished or undergrounded their inner-city motorways to allow much improved access to their waterfronts.
In order to ‘future proof’ the plan, potential locations for the Australia Forum, a new 30,000+ seat rectangular stadium and an aquatic centre have been identified in consultation with a Project Reference Group (PRG). However the plan can proceed to implementation while reserving these sites. The PRG comprised representatives of Canberra Business Council, National Convention Centre and Convention Bureau, Canberra CBD Ltd, Museum of Australia, Australian National University, Property Council, key professional institutes, National Trust, Lake Users Group and Heart Foundation.
Rather than turn its back on the Lake and Commonwealth Park the City will embrace these wonderful assets of the national capital – not remote and segregated but unified with the centre of the City.