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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Woden Experiment to reinvigorate town square

The ACT Government is planning to reenergise Woden Town Square through the #WodenExperiment, a six-month activation expected to start in March.

“The Woden Experiment is part of the ACT Government’s efforts to invest in better public places in our town centres, and to support urban regeneration as our city grows,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said.

“The community provided their ideas and input on the concept designs during the consultation and this has informed the designs now being constructed.”

The public can expect to see a variety of installations popping up, including natural sculpture elements for play, smart benches, and spaces for small picnics and gatherings. Funding for the project is $1 million.

The Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) has welcomed the initiative but would also like to see investment in permanent infrastructure to build a thriving community space.

“This could include cafe seating and play areas for all ages, a fun interactive water feature, a permanent stage and a large screen,” WVCC president Fiona Carrick said. “Of primary importance is the supply of power to enable events and activity; this will be our priority going forward.”

To reinvigorate the area, Ms Carrick said the town square also needs an anchor tenant that “will bring significant activity to the area throughout the days and evenings”.

She said the ACT Government should deliver its 2015-16 Budget measure – CIT Modernisation – which stated “CIT is actively seeking opportunities to provide a community campus in the Woden Town Centre”.

“There are numerous opportunities available to establish a CIT in the unleased office space on the perimeter of the square,” Ms Carrick said.

“We would also like the government to invest in an indoor multi-purpose sports hall in the area for all the benefits that recreational activity brings to the community and the surrounding small businesses.”

Further to the #WodenExperiment, the WVCC would like to see Woden Town Centre declared an urban renewal precinct under section 35 of the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017 and establish an entity to deliver design-led, people-focussed urban renewal.

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