A push from residents groups in the ACT seeks to have the territory’s long-standing backlog of unassessed heritage nominations fast tracked and its heritage assessment process overhauled.
At last count, 136 nominations for the protection of some of Canberra's most historic sites are being processed by the ACT Heritage Council, but there is concern that delayed action could result in their deterioration or demolition, or the private sector walking away from development opportunities.
Among these, the Kingston and Barton Residents Group has urged the listings for Telopea Park, Manuka Pool, Manuka Oval precinct, the Forrest Fire Station and the Kingston shops be updated to include solid conservation management plans (CMP) that will ensure their protection and maintenance.
The Forrest Fire Station precinct, which includes the Fire Station and seven houses was designed by Edwin Henderson and Cuthbert Whitley and opened in 1939. They are the last remaining examples of Government sponsored functionalist residential architecture in Canberra. Image: Canberra House
This backlog and the current heritage assessment process in the territory is causing an uncertainty being felt by both the public and the private sectors, and National Trust ACT heritage committee member Eric Martin believes it should be overhauled.
"There's frustration all around, it's not just Trust people or people concerned about heritage, it's also property owners and developers because they face uncertainty as well," he told Fairfax Media in January.
"There's no doubt there's been some buildings nominated to the register that have also been demolished before an assessment was completed - there was one in Forrest nominated for its architecture that was demolished a few years ago."
The concerns were reportedly exacerbated when Grocon and GWS made an unsolicited bid to redevelop Manuka Oval, but this was rejected by the government.
A CMP is currently being developed for "Manuka Circle Precinct", which includes the oval, pool and Manuka Arts Centre but it is uncertain when it will be complete.