The Conservation Council has called on the Government not to approve a development proposal for a sixteen storey hotel comprising of a commercial hotel development containing 233 hotel suites on Garema Place in the city centre, because it does not adequately demonstrate effective integration of social, economic and environmental considerations.

The Conservation Council supports higher density development over ever-expanding greenfield developments, and supports the use of best practice infill development to ensures a high quality of life for all residents, and green infrastructure and space to support nature throughout the city, However, the proposal raises a number of concerns with regards to it location and its sustainability.

The proposal seems at odds with the surrounding area, raising significant over-shadowing issues on Garema Place, an important public space in the heart of the city. Open and green spaces are increasingly important in our town centres as more and more people choose to reside there. They also play an important role for those people who work and recreate in town centres during the working week.

The Garema Place precinct has historic, public and heritage value that should be recognised and protected including from impact of increased height of surrounding buildings. It is inadequate that the building will have a major impact on the public spaces around, but the building proposal has not been amended to deal with or improve the public spaces.

  • The proposed development should be rejected for its inadequate provisions for waste management including waste reduction, reuse and recycling and that it proposes off-site waste management rather that reduction and management at source.
  • The building should be built to better than the current standards for commercial buildings in terms of insulation, energy efficiency, solar access, local generation of energy from wind and solar.
  • The building sustainability report claims that the building will achieve 4.5 Star rating NABERS Energy, which is well below what is allowed for residential building in the ACT and will hamper the ACT to achieve its long-term goals of zero net emissions by 2050.
  • The proposal eliminates all solar for part of the day over an extended region encompassing rooftops of other businesses and Garema Place as far as City Walk. Depending on season and time of day, it blocks out solar energy across most other southern properties, all Garema Place and part of City Walk.
  • The proposal includes additional consumption of gas and makes no provision for electric vehicles, both inconsistent with the ACT Government zero emissions target.
  • The Development Application does not adequately address sustainability, making vague commitments about sustainability but no firm measures for energy, water, materials, ecosystems and waste.

We call for an alternate proposal to be sought to revitalise Garema Place – the “centre of the centre” of Canberra within existing lease conditions, and designed on best practice for enhancing the public realm. A Master Plan for Civic would help to ensure we maintain, preseve and enhance the urban environment for all Canberrans.

See the full Conservation Council representation on DA201833481.