KEEP IT GREEN

In­dus­try ex­perts say Es­planade devel­op­ment will cre­ate un­wanted com­pe­ti­tion

NT News - - FRONT PAGE - JU­DITH AISTHORPE

IN­DUS­TRY groups have backed a call to keep the Es­planade as lush green park­land but be­lieve more could be done to at­tract peo­ple to the area.

Prop­erty Coun­cil of the NT ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ruth Palmer and Cham­ber of Com­merce NT chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Ire­land be­lieve cau­tion should be taken with any ad­di­tional hos­pi­tal­ity or com­mer­cial ven­ture on the Es­planade, as it would only add to an al­ready sat­u­rated mar­ket and un­nec­es­sar­ily com­pete with ex­ist­ing busi­nesses.

An NT News poll with al­most 500 votes re­vealed 46 per cent of re­spon­ders wanted to keep the park­land as is while 37 per cent were in favour of some devel­op­ment. It comes as the RSL head­quar­ters pro­posal near the Ceno­taph con­tin­ues to di­vide the com­mu­nity.

Ms Palmer said cur­rent zon­ing of the Es­planade did not al­low for devel­op­ment.

Events such as GleNTi and Graze are cur­rently held in the space.

IN­DUS­TRY groups have backed a call to keep the Es­planade as lush green park­land but be­lieve more could be done to at­tract peo­ple to the area.

The Prop­erty Coun­cil of the NT ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ruth Palmer and Cham­ber of Com­merce NT chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Ire­land be­lieve cau­tion should be taken with any ad­di­tional hos­pi­tal­ity or com­mer­cial ven­ture on the Es­planade as it would only add to an al­ready sat­u­rated mar­ket and un­nec­es­sar­ily com­pete with ex­ist­ing busi­nesses. An NT News poll with al­most 500 votes re­vealed 45 per cent of re­spon­ders wanted to keep the park­land while the re­main­der were in favour of some devel­op­ment, food trucks or com­mer­cial ven­tures.

It comes as the RSL head­quar­ters pro­posal for the carpark land near the Ceno­taph is di­vid­ing the com­mu­nity.

Ms Palmer said cur­rent zon­ing of the Es­planade did not al­low for devel­op­ment.

Cur­rently, events such as the Greek GleNTi fes­ti­val, Graze and weekly Parkruns and boot­camps are held in the space.

“The Es­planade is ful­fill­ing its re­quired pur­pose and ac­ti­va­tion as a unique and spec­tac­u­lar green space on the edge of the Darwin CBD,” she said.

“Com­mer­cial and hos­pi­tal­ity uses are only a very short dis­tance from the Es­planade through­out the en­tire CBD.

“No­tably there are prop­er­ties cur­rently on the op­po­site side of the Es­planade Bi­cen­ten­nial Park that are va­cant or un­de­vel­oped.

“If ac­ti­va­tion is so ea­gerly sought for

the Es­planade, this is the area that should be en­cour­aged to be ac­ti­vated for these uses. Darwin CBD cur­rently has an un­prece­dented abun­dance in va­cant and un­der-utilised land.

“De­vel­op­ing and thus re­duc­ing the Es­planade green space will not only erode the park amenity … but it will fur­ther de­grade the com­mer­cial mar­ket by adding more sup­ply.”

The views were echoed by Mr Ire­land who said: “Build­ing more restau­rants and cafes at this time would serve to in­crease com­pe­ti­tion in a mar­ket that is al­ready sat­u­rated through lack of pa­tron­age.”

He said green space was in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to Darwin and the Es­planade pro­vided that in prox­im­ity to the CBD.

“The devel­op­ment of the bath and board­walk con­cept, which would have lim­ited im­pact on the Es­planade’s vi­tal green space, would cre­ate an at­trac­tion that would en­cour­age re­peat vis­its from lo­cal fam­i­lies and tourists alike,” he said.

Darwin coun­cil re­cently ap­plied for a grant from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to help fund the Lameroo Baths but it was knocked back. The Coun­cil in­tends to ap­ply for the grant again in May.

The Darwin City & Water­front Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion said it was sup­port­ive of de­vel­op­ments that pro­mote the eco­nomic growth and vi­brancy of the city and would en­hance the im­age of Darwin.

Chief Min­is­ter Michael Gun­ner said Darwin had the most com­mer­cial po­ten­tial right now on its doorstep and en­cour­aged busi­nesses on the Es­planade to make the most of the green space.

“The po­ten­tial of our CBD and our iconic Es­planade is lim­it­less,” he said.

The Darwin Es­planade Pic­ture: Che Chor­ley

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