Friday, June 05, 2009

Walter Burley Griffin battles ASIO Plans

The Walter Burley Griffin Society features in "ASIO bugs Canberra" on the Canberra edition of ABC TV 'Stateline' Friday 5 June at 7.30pm by reporter Melissa Polimeni. A new ASIO headquarters building is proposed between East Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way. Brett Odgers, Canberra chair of the Canberra chapter of the society was interviewed as the proposed building conflicts with Griffin's plan for the city. The Society made a submission to a parlimentary committee opposing the development, Professor WEIRICK, President, Walter Burley Griffin Society gave evidence to a parlimentary committee about this, 6 August 2008 and there was an earlier submission. Griffin would have approved of this action, having had to face many battles with the Canberra bureaucracy over his plan for the city.
... 4.25 The project conceived by the NCA to kick‐start the Constitution Avenue development is the new headquarters for ASIO and the Office of National Assessments, funded in the 2006‐2007 Budget.

4.26 This high security, highly secretive building complex is proposed for the grassed woodland site east of Anzac Park East. The very idea that this project will contribute to ‘a diverse and active grand boulevard lined with shops, cafes’ and ‘provide a mix of land uses that contributes to the creation of a 24 hour community with dynamic activity patterns’ (Amendment 60, p.2) is of course, absurd.

4.27 The ASIO/ONA building complex, with something like a 300 m frontage to both Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way, will be a fortress secured with razor wire, security cameras and crash barriers.

4.28 This is a very bad idea and should be abandoned at once. The ASIO/ONA complex should be removed to a remote location like Campbell Park.

4.29 To forestall a repeat performance on the part of the Federal bureaucracy, the ‘National Capital Use Zone’ should be reduced to the immediate surrounds of the Russell Defence Precinct and Constitution Avenuezoned for mixed commercial/residential uses throughout.

4.30 Amendment 60 proposes a wall of new buildings, 8‐storeys high, along Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way, approximately double the height of the Anzac Park Portal Buildings, rising above the tree canopy of the ‘Bush Capital’ (Amendment 60, pp.11‐14).

4.31 This will change the Central National Area forever. Above the sweep of green canopy trees, there will be a prominent wall of buildings on Parkes Way – not a unified composition like the 1960s Portal Buildings, but an assemblage of different buildings.

4.32 It is a matter of great concern that the ‘Parliament House Vista’ is only proclaimed to the south side of Parkes Way – see diagram on p.3 of Draft Amendment 60, August 2006. This diagram has been omitted from the final NCA document. Clearly a new wall of buildings on the north side of Parkes Way will form the dominant urban edge to the views from ParliamentHouse and other vantage points in the Parliamentary Triangle. ...

From: Walter Burley Griffin Society Submission, Professor James Weirick, President, Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc., 22 February 2007, for the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee On The National Capital & External Territories, Roundtable Public Hearing, Griffin Legacy Amendments 56, 59, 60 and 61 to the National Capital Plan, Parliament House, Canberra,
23 February 2007

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