The final Curtin Master Plan is published: mainly good, must be implemented

The final version of the Curtin Group Centre Master Plan has been released by ACT government directorate for Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development.

The plan is here (PDF document, 12.4 MB)

The plan contains a lot of the community interest and input from years of work by people in and around Curtin. The building heights around the small central square are set at maximum 1 storey or 5 metres around 3 sides, and a setback then up to 5 storeys on the fourth southern side. This should maintain much of the sunlight in the square through the year. There can be a 5 storey building at the southwestern corner which will unfortunately cast shadows in the afternoons in spring and autumn, when children and parents are in the square, but the plan keeps this building height back to the edge in line with the Coles building line (not its awning).  The plan shows the opportunities for developing business and accommodation around the centre, while keeping the heart of its community, urban village character at the centre.

Now this plan needs to be implemented as regulations and enforced in practice, because the square is so small that we cannot allow it to be nibbled away at the edges. The plan talks about improving waste management, service access, car parking and pedestrian access. It emphasises the idea of using the Radburn principles of openness and working with the green spaces for pedestrian and cycle access through the centre and into the neighbourhoods of Curtin. This is a successful place for living and working and playing, a good plan will keep this working and not need to make places from scratch.

There are opportunities for development around the centre. The plan shows ways of developing to 6 storeys on the existing hotel area in the southern side of the centre, at a good distance from the square. This is shown to allow good green areas and business frontages at the human scale for people to use the centre, encouraging access as walkers and cyclists, and being an attractive place for car users as they park cars and become local pedestrians.

The government must also follow up implementing its share of the plan, and make investment in managing services, maintaining and improving the infrastructure of roads and car-parking, green spaces and pathways in Curtin as for the good of everyone in Canberra. This plan is the start of showing where and how – it also needs to be implemented in actions.

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