August saw Canberrans and local businesses continue to adapt to life during COVID-19 restrictions, with a few new announcements for the ACT, too.
Tulip Top Gardens wouldn’t let COVID-19 restrictions stop them from delivering their popular tulip garden experience to the public – even if it meant revamping its entire business model. The spring destination, located at Bywong NSW, was informed on Friday 31 July it could only permit 20 people into the venue at any one time due to NSW restrictions. Deciding that the family owned and run business wasn’t viable at this capacity, marketing and administration manager Molly Rhodin immediately started thinking of ways to bring the experience to the public, including virtual online tours.
Proving that Canberrans couldn’t get enough of the drive-in during COVID-19, the University of Canberra (UC) drive-in cinema announced in August that it would return to the campus after a successful event during O-Week. This time, the wider community was invited to enjoy a night at the movies, with a choice of four different screenings.
In alarming news, four magpie attacks resulting in injury in the ACT meant the begrudged swooping season began early this year. Usually starting around early September, magpies show their protective behaviour of their young by swooping passers-by. The MAGPIE ALERT APP showed Canberrans being swooped as early as the end of June, but the hostile behaviour looked to have really ramped up since the beginning of August.
The Government announced plans for a new CIT facility and public transport interchange for Woden, to be built over the next four years. The $250-300 million works are expected to begin on the interchange in mid-2021, and on the CIT campus in 2022. The Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) raised some concerns about the project, including accessibility and connection with the rest of the town centre.
In more news of local businesses making the best of a bad situation, Murrumbateman winery Four Winds Vineyard turned their smoke-tainted grapes into gin. The Canberra region’s wine industry was handed its fair share of challenges this year, with smoke from the summer’s horror bushfires tainting crops and rendering many a grape unusable, as well as drought and COVID-19. Not wanting to leave tonnes of precious grapes “for the birds”, owner and CEO Sarah Collingwood said she looked into what else the grapes could be used for.