Executive Summary of the Weston Park Master Plan

Weston Park is one of Canberra's most important parks. Its central location adjacent to Lake Burley Griffin provides a recreational and cultural focus within the Canberra open space system; a place for the whole community and an important tourist destination. In many ways Weston Park epitomises the planned urban landscape approach taken in Canberra: the way the park is spatially organised and planted, the facilities found there and the presence of the Yarralumla Nursery which played a fundamental part in the development of Canberra’s landscape character.

This report is a response to a brief issued by the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, ACT Government, calling for a master plan that recognises the significant heritage values of Weston Park. This master plan responds by making recommendations that are consistent with the Conservation Management Plan for Weston Park.

The implementation of the master plan will deliver more than just physical improvements. It is a key step in maintaining and enhancing Canberra’s key competitive strength as a city – its liveability and status as the nation’s capital. Cities with well developed open spaces offering a high level of amenity are not only attractive to live in, but they support lively and healthy communities that value environmental responsibility, social interaction, active recreation and cultural expression.

The master plan provides a direction for new initiatives as well as for managing existing resources and assets. As the amenity of the park is improved and new activities and facilities introduced, more people will be attracted to the park, justifying increased expenditure for new capital works, management and maintenance. The master plan sets a long term vision and recommends actions that can be further investigated and implemented as resources allow.

The report describes the site and some of its distinctive qualities, including its prominent location, convenient access, open space qualities, distinctive heritage and cultural values, recreational opportunities, varied topography, aspect and plantings.

Three coordinated systems comprising movement, activities and environment are described as a means of organising the spatial arrangement of activities and environmental zones within the park.

Considered together, these form a consolidated master plan for the park. Implementation of the recommendations will occur over time as capital funding becomes available either through successful budget bids or via other agency or commercial contributions towards partnership projects. All of the recommendations contained within this master plan report are subject to funding being available and confirmation that the works are needed.

The master plan was prepared by Oxigen Landscape Architects + Urban Designers. Susan Conroy assisted with consultation and Duncan Marshall with the heritage component.