Representatives of the ACT Government visited ANUSA yesterday to seek input on the planned redevelopment of Haig Park. The park, which lies between Civic and Fenner Hall, has historically been a word of warning among students, due to poor lighting and a history of crime and harassment.
The Government representatives were highly receptive to students’ calls for improved lighting in the park. They explained every tree in the park was heritage-listed, creating some difficulty in removing vegetation to increase lighting. However students were assured that “community safety is government’s first and foremost job – any time safety is a risk, heritage is a secondary concern”.
Many students were surprised and pleased by the representatives’ suggestion that powerpoints and WiFi be added to the park, and raised the possibility of using it as a study space.
The meeting also discussed more open community spaces, and the possibility of hosting events and performances in the park. Queer* Officer Gabriel Scott recommended the government “reach out to queer and women’s groups to run their events there, groups who feel the space is most unsafe – so they feel it’s a place they can be safe in.”
“More food van-type spots like the Hamlet” are also being considered. Government representatives informed Observer that the food truck Mandalay, despite receiving mixed feedback from the community consultation, was considered an important feature to preserve.
The draft proposal for the park is scheduled for release in May, and approval and funding for the project will be decided early next year. Government representatives requested that any students with suggestions or comments submit them to www.yoursay.act.gov.au.