Acton Boardwalk Extension

Acton Boardwalk Extension

Work to extend the Acton Waterfront boardwalk by 500 metres and create a new lakeside public park began on 14 September 2020.

The new boardwalk realigns the lake edge so it is consistent with the National Capital Plan and Walter Burley Griffin’s intended configuration for West Basin.

In addition, it will transform the existing underutilized area which is dominated by carparks into a new park that will give people unrestricted access to the lakefront.

The new interim high-quality landscaped park will include more than 200 new trees , lawns and landscaped spaces for people to picnic, sit and enjoy.

Creation of the new permanent 40,000 square metre public park (stage 3), will begin after funding has been approved by Government. The concept designs for the permanent public park will be developed through community engagement and will draw on the Place Plan released by the Authority in 2020.

Acton Waterfront will be a place for all Canberrans to enjoy the wonderful Lake Burley Griffin in the way that its original designers intended. Henry Rolland Park, which was completed in 2018, is clear evidence that it will be a much better used public asset for everyone to enjoy and use.

Plans for the boardwalk were developed in consultation with the community and key stakeholders to capture their needs and ideas for an accessible, connected, people-focused waterfront project.

Local, civil infrastructure specialist firm, Chincivil has been engaged by the City Renewal Authority to undertake the work.


Acton boardwalk extension timeline

Map of the area

west basin map

Project Principles

Project Outcomes
Board walk completed and new lake edge created providing improved unrestricted public access to the lakefront
Landscaped park and amenities for people to gather and enjoy the setting

What you may notice as work occurs

  • New bike route that takes cyclists and pedestrians around the work site
  • Construction vehicles, particularly trucks, regularly entering and leaving the work site
  • Changed traffic conditions and advisory signs directing and advising drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists
  • Removal of ageing and inappropriate vegetation including trees in accordance with the NCA approved Environmental Management Plan for the project sit

Current disruptions

Changed arrangements for bicyclists and pedestrians: A new 3-metre-wide path will safely direct people around the worksite.

For safety reasons cyclists and pedestrians people using the path may occasionally be required to briefly stop at temporary traffic lights and boom gates to allow the movement of construction vehicles and plant.

Pedestrians and cyclists are reminded to be careful and always follow traffic control instructions and advisory signs when using the temporary paths.

Acton Bike Path diversions October 2020

Download the map here.

Project Updates

New path diversion in place for pedestrians and cyclists

Changed arrangements for bicyclists and pedestrian will be in place throughout November. This will include a new 2.5 m wide track will carry people around the worksite.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will work begin on creating Acton Waterfront?

Work on Acton Waterfront has commenced, with Henry Rolland Park (stage 1) opening in early 2018.

Work to create a new lake edge consistent with Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for West Basin (stage 2) began in September 2020, after Works Approval was granted by the National Capital Authority.

The boardwalk extension includes reclamation of a section of lakebed for the creation of a new public park. It is expected to finish 2022.

In addition to completing the boardwalk the City Renewal Authority will build a lakefront beach with amenities at the western end of the new boardwalk.

The temporary landscaped park will give people unrestricted access to the waterfront while the reclaimed land settles.

Work on the new permanent 40,000 square metre public park (stage 3), will commence once funding has been approved by Government. The concept designs for the permanent public park will developed through community engagement and draw on the Place Plan released by the Authority.

Further stages, including mixed-use development and connections across Parkes Way, are still several years away.

What does the development of Acton Waterfront include?  

The Acton Waterfront project is first and foremost about creating a new lakeside public space that gives people direct access to the waterfront and Lake Burley Griffin.

When completed, Acton Waterfront will have more than 40,000 square metres - equivalent to more than six soccer fields - of high-quality public park adjacent to the foreshore. This is in addition to the public open spaces that will be included in future project stages.

Why are you developing Acton Waterfront?  

Renewal of the underutilized land between the city and the lakefront is essential to improving connectivity between Civic and its neighbouring precincts including Acton Peninsular, New Acton, ANU and Commonwealth Park.

Establishing a complementary mix of different uses and activities in Acton Waterfront will be important in creating an active community of residents and workers to help bring activity and daily life to the waterfront.

Changes in planning controls to improve apartment design, as well as changes to the ACT Government’s planning approach for the precinct, through the Acton Waterfront Place Plan and the City Renewal Authority’s ongoing review of the project’s planning and development principles, means the total number of apartments will be in the hundreds.

What will be the building heights in the later stages?

Under the statutory planning controls set by the National Capital Plan any new buildings on the lakefront must be setback a minimum of 55 metres from the lake wall. This open setback area will be developed as the new public park.

A range of building heights and setbacks is prescribed by the National Capital Plan; a maximum of 16 metres (about four storeys) in the areas adjacent to the new lakeside park, increasing to 25 metres (about six storeys) within a setback zone.

These height and setback controls are set out in the National Capital Plan’s West Basin Precinct Code.

How will new the Acton Waterfront project protect the environment?

A key urban design principle underpinning the creation of Acton Waterfront is ensuring it reflects, reinforces and respects the relationship Canberra has with Lake Burley Griffin and its urban environment as a garden city. As a result, Acton Waterfront will:

  • regenerate and improve the area and environment
  • include well designed energy efficient buildings
  • incorporate environmentally sensitive landscaping, engineering and public space features
  • facilitate efficient, low energy forms of travel and encourage active travel; and
  • create environmentally and socially responsive public spaces that improve the relationship between people and nature.

The area in its current state is primarily surface level carparks with a very low level of environmental importance.

The National Capital Authority, ACT Government and the City Renewal Authority have conducted multiple environmental studies and reviews by independent experts and parliamentary committees. The environmental studies have confirmed the area has a low level of environmental importance. There is no evidence of any significant or important wildlife habitat or endangered species in this area.

The new Acton Waterfront, its public spaces and adjacent foreshore areas will support and attract a diversity of wildlife, including waterbirds.

The Acton Waterfront project will apply water sensitive urban design techniques to improve the quality of stormwater flowing into the lake.

Further consideration will be given to wildlife corridors and access to the lake for native animals through the landscape design of Acton Waterfront.

Acton Waterfront will extend over only a single kilometre of the lake’s approximately 48 kilometres of foreshore.

How will Acton Waterfront incorporate vistas across the lake?

The planning and design of Acton Waterfront will incorporate and take advantage of the views across Lake Burley Griffin from the new public park and boardwalk allowing people to more easily access and experience the lake setting.

The planning of future low to medium-rise mixed-use development will respect the key views that are identified in the National Capital Plan’s West Basin Development Guidelines.

How does this project align with the Griffins’ original plans?

This project realigns the lake wall consistent with the Griffins’ original plan.

Future stages of this project will also realize the Griffins’ vision for the city centre to be connected to formal lakeside public spaces.

In 2004 the national Capital Authority released their Griffin Legacy document which proposed that the West Basin of the lake should be reshaped to the original Griffin alignment. This proposal was incorporated in the National Capital Plan through statutory amendments passed by both houses of Federal Parliament in 2006.

How much will this cost?

The extension of the existing boardwalk by 500 metres in-line with Griffins’ original plan and the required land reclamation will cost approximately $30 million.

Construction of the permanent public park is scheduled to occur after the completion of the boardwalk extension and lakebed reclamation. Funding for the permanent public park will be considered by Government when this stage of the project is ready to be implemented.

What community consultation has there been? 

There has been extensive community consultation on this project for more than 18 years by both the ACT and Commonwealth Governments.

Ongoing community and stakeholder consultation have been central to the creation of the Acton Waterfront project vision, place values and design. This will continue.

In 2020, formal public consultation by the National Capital Authority was undertaken for the Works Approval for the extension of the boardwalk.

In 2019, community and stakeholder workshops were conducted to develop a place plan for the Acton Waterfront area and to receive feedback on early conceptual design options.

Further community consultation will occur in the development of detailed designs for the public spaces and the plans for mixed-use development in future years.

A summary of communication and consultation activities previously conducted for the project is provided below:


  • Griffin Legacy document released by the National Capital Authority


  • Consultation on the Griffin Legacy draft amendments to the National Capital Plan
  • Amendment 61 incorporated into the National Capital Plan after approval by both the House of Representatives and Senate


  • Project Reference Group established


  • City to the Lake community consultation
  • City Plan consultation, including City to the Lake proposal by the Land Development Agency


  • West Basin waterfront design consultation
  • Strategic Urban Design Framework displayed at consultation sessions and online
  • Stage 1 Works Approval application submitted to National Capital Authority including community consultation


  • NCA Works Approval granted for the construction of Stage 1.


  • Community votes on a name for the new park from four shortlisted names. Approximately 1500 people vote.


  • Henry Rolland Park is officially opened with approximately 10,000 attending many providing feedback on the new park and future plans for Acton Waterfront.


  • Stakeholder and community workshops held to help develop the Acton Waterfront Place Plan helping to establish the project vision, principles, and objectives.
  • Acton Waterfront Place Plan released.


  • Stage 2 Works Approval application submitted to National Capital Authority including community consultation
  • Works Approval granted for Stage 2.

In addition to the formal engagement activities, the City Renewal Authority has extensively corresponded, discussed and sought feedback from key stakeholders and the community on the project on an ongoing basis.

What is currently in the area where Acton Waterfront will becreated? 

The current Acton Waterfront project area is predominately surface car-parking and underutilised low-quality public spaces.

Once completed Acton Waterfront will have as its key feature a more than 40,000 square metre high-quality public park adjacent to the foreshore. This is in addition to the other public spaces that will be included in future stages.

What public facilities will there be?

Acton Waterfront will incorporate high-quality public spaces and facilities including a new jetty, picnic and toilet facilities and kiosk-style buildings for low-key uses such as cafes and equipment hire.

Temporary public toilets will be provided during the construction of the boardwalk extension.

What materials will be used to infill the lake?

The land reclamation method will be a ‘wet fill’ method. This method has been chosen based on a review of the potential fill techniques by the consultant geotechnical engineer. To undertake the reclamation, the fill material to be used will be predominantly rock ranging in size from 5mm to 75mm.

What is the boardwalk made of?

The boardwalk is constructed of high quality, pre-cast concrete panels, each of which measures 8.1m long and 2m wide.

The outer 2700mm margin uses a ‘cooler’ coloured bluestone exposed aggregate finish. The darker coloured margin has lines of 6mm full depth saw cuts that allow light to penetrate the structure from the water below. A grooved 300mm wide tactile paver in a contrasting colour is set flush with the pavement surface and 600mm in from the lake edge. A similarly contrasting 300mm high by 2000mm long pre-cast seat element with a honed finish, replaces the grooved insert on every sixth panel, to further define the water’s edge.

Will the construction affect residents, visitors and workersin the area?

The ACT Government is committed to minimising disruption to the community during construction. Mitigation measures will be taken to control noise, dust and lake water quality.

Regular updates about the construction and impacts on the public will be provided by the City Renewal Authority website and social media channels.

Will there be car parking at Acton Waterfront?

Yes, a car parking plan will be developed to ensure there is an adequate supply of public parking for people visiting the waterfront once it is completed.

Existing public parking areas will be maintained during the construction of Stage 2 works.

What are the construction hours/days for work on the site?

Standard construction hours for the project are permitted and will apply between 6am to 8pm Monday to Saturday.

Will cyclists have access around the lake during theconstruction period?

Yes, footpath diversions are in place for people to walk, run and cycle around the West Basin during the entire construction period.

What will happen to the existing trees?

A formal tree assessment by a specialist independent arborist assessed that most of the existing trees were in poor condition. A small number of trees (approximately 10%) were assessed as being in good condition. Where possible, the Authority will retain any mature tree that is considered worth keeping, however, construction and land engineering requirements will require the removal of some trees.

The assessment recommended that no trees could be transplanted successfully.

None of the trees to be removed are rated as Exceptional in their condition.

The permanent 40,000 square metre public park will transform the existing surface carparks and surrounding underutilised land through high quality landscaping, new public amenities and events.

The interim park will be planted with more than 200 new trees.

Henry Rolland Park which opened in early 2018 included 23,000 new plants.