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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Community feedback on new CIT Woden campus released

When it comes to the proposed new CIT Woden campus, the community would prefer a low, spread-out campus with “prominent green space” to one that is stacked, a new survey has found.

A document detailing a snapshot of the results of the ACT Government’s first public consultation on the new CIT Woden campus and bus interchange has been released this week.

The public sentiment expressed in the survey, conducted in June 2020, reflects strong desire for a low, sprawled campus that’s well integrated into the town centre, architecturally striking and home to accessible, prominent green space.

A total of 402 surveys were completed from a mix of community, CIT staff and students, and Transport Canberra workers, with two-thirds of the respondents “completely in favour” of the project.

When asked whether they preferred a massed (spread out) or stacked (built up) campus, the largest group of respondents preferred a massed design.

When asked their preference on the height of the building, participants preferred six to 12 storeys, followed closely by one to six storeys.

Concerns expressed around building up too high were: the building height blocking sunlight to parts of Woden; loss of openness in surrounding residential and commercial premises; the campus could end up being dark and shady next to its neighbours; and visual impact on the Woden skyline.

Regarding the size of the building’s footprint, the loss of green space was the biggest concern for participants (68.06%), however, integration with the local area was also important.

When considering how the open space was to be utilised, participants strongly supported gardens, parks and activated green spaces rather than the space primarily being utilised for commercial activities.

For the adjacent bus interchange, a well-lit space with a feeling of safety and security was of most importance to the public.

“Getting rid of that eyesore of a bus interchange at Woden can’t come soon enough. The current interchange is horrible to use, feels unsafe at night, and it’s freezing in winter waiting for a bus,” was some anonymous feedback offered during the survey.

Transport Canberra staff surveyed were invited to answer four further questions specifically relating to their requirements around the bus interchange.

The design aspects most important to them were: functionality; availability of appropriate facilities for bus drivers and other Transport Canberra workers; and consideration of pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the interchange.

Transport Canberra staff expressed concern about enough designated layover spaces for transport vehicles and not enough internal space for staff to rest.

A priority for them is that the campus design focuses on providing streamlined access between the mode of public transport and the target destination.

With the facility slated to open in 2025, this community feedback provides input into the early design development of the campus and interchange.

Construction of the new Woden bus interchange is slated to commence in 2021 and be complete by 2022; following that, construction work on the CIT Woden campus will begin in 2022 and take approximately three years.

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