The ACT Government is scoping a major investment in the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), which includes an opportunity to relocate CIT from Reid to the Woden Town Centre.
Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Meegan Fitzharris said the ACT Government will work closely with CIT to commission an independent assessment of sites in Woden that could accommodate a new CIT campus.
Minister Fitzharris said “positioning CIT with a major presence in the heart of Woden has the potential to enhance the town centre”.
It is a move that is welcomed by the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC), who believe agglomerating a CIT and social infrastructure in the town centre will “bring activity and provide confidence to the private sector to invest in the area”.
WVCC suggests a viable site for CIT that meets a number of objectives could be the surface car park north of the bus interchange. According to the WVCC, “while this site is accessible to all areas of Canberra, it significantly improves access to higher education for communities living in Canberra’s south”.
The former Woden CIT site, located on Ainsworth Street in Phillip, is currently earmarked for demolition. The Development Application for the site says no future land uses have been proposed at this stage.
However, the WVCC opposes the demolition as it “eliminates any opportunity for a refurbishment and re-purposing of the structurally sound Commonwealth built structures”. Instead, they would like to see a Master Plan developed for the Canberra Hospital that includes consideration of annexing the former CIT site by ACT Health to ‘future proof’ health services against future land constraints at the hospital.
In addition to the CIT proposal, Minister for Community Services and Facilities Chris Steel said the government is “making transformational investments in Woden in this year’s Budget”.
“A revitalised town centre is being supported by the ongoing investment in light rail, funding to redevelop the Woden Bus Interchange, planning and design for a new Woden Community Centre, as well as the ongoing investments in the Canberra Hospital, the new Woden bus depot and the popular Woden Experiment,” he said.
Notwithstanding this investment, the WVCC is advocating for a plan to guide private and public expenditure in the Woden Town Centre, including a multi-purpose sports stadium, an aquatic centre and an arts centre.