In response to the concerns and fears regarding Barneson Boulevard, I have put together this piece to help explain how and why decisions were made.
Winding back the clock
In 2012 we started a consultation for a City Centre Masterplan.
After 120 separate consultations, including 3 major workshops, we sent it to the Planning Minister for incorporation into the Planning Scheme. This meant another round of public consultations.
It was then relegated to the status of background document by the then Minister.
The current Chief Minister made a promise that the City Centre Masterplan would be included in the Planning Scheme.
One of the major projects of the Masterplan was Barneson Boulevard. This project built on land use planning work undertaken many years ago.
It is to be the third entry into our city and seeks to relieve some of the congestion currently being experienced on Bennett St.
It is envisaged as a Boulevard which travels at the urban speed of 50kmph, catering for pedestrians and cyclists and utilises existing road reserve.
Impact on Frog Hollow
The impact on Frog Hollow Park is negligible.
The road is not taking parklands.
It is taking already identified road reserve. This road reserve is not maintained by our parks people and the rest is the car park near the Arts Precinct.
Frog Hollow Park will benefit from being clearly identified and more accessible by pedestrians and cyclists.
It does not necessarily mean that more cars will come into the city.
That will only happen when we experience more population growth. It is more likely to distribute the traffic flow more evenly throughout the city.
This translates into:
• less congestion
• less braking and idling
• more cyclists with better connectivity.
Car Park in Cavenagh Street
Yes, it will, in the early stages end at a carpark in Cavenagh St.
However, let’s stop for a moment and think about the possibilities this brings to this site and its activation.
This is a significant site in the City.
It could be the site of an underground car park, including a bus terminus, and bike end of journey facility.
On the surface, there could be a purpose built Library housing both the NT Library and the City Public Library. There is room for the creation of a pocket park around the heritage tree. Along with the libraries, we could have much needed community facilities which are currently missing from the City, for example, a community hall.
The fact that the then federal member, Natasha Griggs, fought for us to achieve federal funding to assist in the building of the road, the fact that the NT Government has also committed to its development, is a great example of 3 levels of government working together to achieve better amenity for the city.
Whilst there is some initial angst, and I do understand the concerns and fears, Barneson Boulevard is a positive development for Darwin and it will not destroy the heritage that is Frog Hollow.