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Will Dickson shopping center development become a slum?



Jack Kershaw, has stated that the Dickson shopping center development will end up as small bedsits placed atop new supermarkets.

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He further stated that the ACT Government has overstepped the mark by allowing developers to place too many units in this project.  This has resulted in several units not having windows in the bedrooms.

Redevelopment of the carpark outside Woolworths is on the cards.  It will house an Aldi and Coles supermarket, opposite Woolworths, underground parking, a loading dock, waste collection facility and an apartment block five storeys high.  

Small traders at the center are concerned about maintaining their businesses due to parking restrictions during the construction period of the overall project.  The project will make use of around 220 workers, with 200 vehicles when it is at its peak and this will result in the loss of 237 car spaces.  

Residents lodged complaints about the public comment period having occurred during the holiday season, hence the deadline has now been extended.

The initial plan was to cut down 27 trees in a small park close to the Dickson pool area to allow for more parking spaces. This was stopped by resident protests, which called for further negotiations regarding the use of the space for parking.

The apartments are to be priced from $325000 for single-bedroom units and may appeal to Asian investors with children studying at the University of Canberra or ANU. The marketing literature appears to be targeting the Asian market as it states that each unit comes with an Electrolux wok and induction cradle.

According to Mr. Kershaw, the placement of the units right above the loading docks was a first for Canberra. He said that they had a perfect opportunity for urban renewal, however, there was concern that Antill Street would be blighted. He stated that the street is being treated like a service lane as it is extremely rare to have this type of loading dock on a main street.

According to residents, the problems facing the new development include:

  • Around 800 cars per hour coming out of the basement parking lot of this new development during peak hours  
  • The units are due to face south, omitting sunny balconies suitable for clothes drying
  • Many city residents will no longer make use of the library due to dust, vibration and noise during construction, which is a threat to the viability of the library

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