Dickson News

Braddon and Dickson get a $13.9m upgrade

3 June 2020

Local businesses, residents and visitors to Braddon and Dickson are set to benefit from a major upgrade to their streets thanks to a $13.9 million investment by the ACT Government.

The retail and hospitality districts in Dickson and Braddon will get a makeover to make them safer, more accessible and more attractive.

Two locally based teams had been appointed to undertake the public space plan and design works with SMEC to lead the Braddon upgrades and AECOM leading the Dickson project.

The streetscape works will improve the accessibility, safety and quality of the public spaces in two of Canberra’s favourite entertainment and dining precincts.

Public space plans and detailed designs for the upgrades will draw upon the Braddon and Dickson place plans, completed by the Authority in 2019, which included more pedestrian-friendly footpaths, new street furniture, improved lighting and quality landscaping to strengthen the distinctive characters of each place.

A separate procurement will take place for contractors to deliver the physical upgrades identified in the detailed designs.

The place plans for these two areas involved extensive community consultation and the designs for the upgrades will reflect the communities’ aspirations in those plans.

SMEC and AECOM will also check back in with the local communities to ensure their designs for these important areas will result in high-quality and engaging public spaces that improve access, increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, and create a more attractive public environment that better supports the community and local businesses.

The upgrades will make these popular areas more accessible by providing improved parking options, facilitating active travel choices and creating better connections to neighbouring areas and light rail.

This initial funding will create public space plans for the broader commercial precincts, including community engagement, and the first stage of detailed designs and construction in each area.

The first stage of physical works, which will include Lonsdale Street Braddon, between Cooyong and Girrawheen streets, and Woolley Street, Dickson, will start after the final designs are completed.

The Authority will work with the project leads and local businesses to minimise the impacts from the construction work required to help make these great places even better.

This includes discussions around timing and staging of works to reduce potential impacts on local businesses.

Place managers to help improve Dickson’s public spaces

27 May 2020

The City Renewal Authority has appointed a place management team to help improve the public environment in and around the Dickson Group Centre.

Dickson is the second location within the City Renewal Precinct to have a dedicated place manager after the appointment of a city place manager last year.

Capital Space Innovation, represented by Jhay and Tiina Mann, has been contracted to provide place management services following a public tender process. Jhay and Tiina are former local business owners and have a long-standing commitment to the Dickson area. Jhay and Tiina have contributed to community events and movements for Dickson including Jhay being a former Dickson town team president. Living in the local community they are committed to the growth and success of the Dickson Group Centre.

City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the duo’s local knowledge and experience will be of great benefit in the efforts to make the group centre’s public spaces better, cleaner and greener.

“It is fantastic to have Capital Space Innovation on board to assist with the continued revitalisation of the Dickson Group Centre,” Mr Snow said.

“Jhay has been an active member of the Dickson business community for a number of years and his enthusiasm for making Dickson better has been influential in a number of place improvements and events over recent years.

“Dickson is an important centre, not only for the local community, but also for many people in Canberra. It is centrally located on the light rail route and is one of the best restaurant destinations in the ACT. Our new place managers will play an important role in working with government, the local community and local businesses to help Dickson reach its potential as a premier destination for Canberrans and visitors.”

Since starting in March, CSI has conducted an audit of the existing public spaces at Dickson Group Centre. The authority will work with CSI to manage the presentation and activation of public spaces in Dickson.

“Dickson Group Centre has fantastic potential and the appointment of a place management team to ensure a higher standard of maintenance, cleaning and activation in its different public spaces, will make a significant impact on its presentation,” Mr Snow said.

“This will complement longer-term investments we are making including the upcoming streetscape upgrades that will help bring to life the vision identified in the Dickson Place Plan.”

Having had a long-time connection with Dickson, Jhay said he and Tiina were looking forward to working with the local community and businesses to help make the area even better.

“Dickson is well loved by the local community and has been seen as the epicentre of the inner north for many years,” Mr Mann said.

“We look forward to helping improve the functionality of the public space so it meets the demands of a growing local community as well as creating a sense of pride and ownership that will see Dickson reach its potential as a premier destination for locals and visitors alike.”

Eleven trees successfully transplanted to Dickson and Lyneham

25 November 2019

trees craned onto a truck
Tree being craned onto a truck during the move.

Eleven semi-mature trees that would have been lost to development have been transplanted in Dickson and Lyneham as part of a demonstration project.

The City Renewal Authority partnered with Transport Canberra and City Services, and Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development, to plant seven semi-mature Chinese Pistachio trees around the seating and grass at the playground adjacent to Lyneham Wetland, next to Sullivan’s Creek bike path, and four Manchurian Pear trees in the newly upgraded Dickson Pool forecourt area. The trees are anchored into the ground by guy ropes as they adapt to their new homes. It is likely the ropes will be in place for the first three to six months.

Preparations for the tree transplant began in May 2019 when the roots of the trees were pruned by an experienced arborist to manage the root zone and help stimulate new root hairs to grow. In early November, relocation of the trees from the development site to their new homes was undertaken. A transplant aftercare program is now being implemented for the 11 new trees. Smart soil sensors have been installed to regularly monitor the soil moisture to help ensure the trees remain healthy and adapt to their new environment.

This project has demonstrated a tree transplanting technique when development requires trees to be removed. Retaining or transplanting mature trees has many environmental, social and economic benefits for the community, including immediate shade and cooling to key locations, providing homes and shelter to existing wildlife, and a level of amenity that would take a younger tree years of growth to equal.

As part of the Dickson Section 72 Urban Renewal program the community feedback to date has indicated strong support for improved shade and landscaping. You can take part in a survey via https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/dickson-section-72/dickson-swimming-pool-forecourt-upgrade .

View the full case study for this project here.

trees being transported by trucktrees in Lyneham

Trees on a truck ready for transport.                                                Trees at their new home in Lyneham.

Trees given a new home in Dickson and Lyneham4 people, tree being lifted out of the ground for pruning

30 October 2019

Ten semi-mature deciduous trees in Dickson are being given a new home thanks to a tree transplanting project that will relocate trees from a development site in Dickson (within Section 72) to the Dickson Pool forecourt and a playground next to the Lyneham Wetlands.

The City Renewal Authority is leading this collaborative tree transplanting trial project, demonstrating how trees can be protected and transplanted as part of urban renewal and development. Stage one, which involved careful root preparation and pruning, occurred in May 2019. The second transplant stage will take place over the week beginning 4 November 2019 and involves carefully boxing up the trees where they are growing and moving them by truck down to their new homes for planting.

Four Manchurian Pear trees will find a new home at the Dickson Pool forecourt in partnership with the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, and six Chinese Pistachios will be moved to the playground near Lyneham Wetlands in partnership with Transport Canberra and City Services. The mature trees will provide more places for shade in these public spaces as well as contributing to reducing urban heat in Dickson and creating a greener, more welcoming environment overall.

An experienced arborist is involved in running the project to ensure the trees have the best opportunity to thrive in their new homes and smart sensor technology will be used to monitor soil moisture over the next year to manage watering and drainage.

If you’re interested in learning more about the process, visit this page in the upcoming weeks as we’ll provide a detailed overview of the process involved in the tree transplant which begins on Monday 4 November 2019.

Spicing up Dickson with the Great Woolley Street Feast

28 October 2019

Pork belly bao with popcorn chicken, succulent dumplings, mouth-watering falafel and aromatic noodle soup are just some of the delicacies to indulge in during the inaugural Great Woolley Street Feast, spicing up Dickson on Saturday 9 November.

The Great Woolley Street Feast is the final event of the City Renewal Authority’s Woolley St. Project, a series of temporary trials designed to create a more appealing, pedestrian-focussed place for the community in Dickson’s best-known dining district.

City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the project had received positive feedback from the community so far about many of the public street improvements, installations and events occurring in Woolley Street over the trial period.

“Through our previous engagement work, we heard that the community wanted things like festivals, events and public street changes in the Dickson area. We listened to that feedback and have been trialling different activations along Woolley Street to give the public and businesses a better, brighter Dickson,” Mr Snow said.

“In addition to the streetscape improvements, installations and temporary traffic modifications, the street has recently hosted a diverse series of events to coincide with the warmer spring weather, including a community concert, martial arts demonstration and ping pong tournament. Over the coming fortnight we have the Woolley Street Night Markets, Origami and Paper Festival, and Bonsai and Plant Sale, all culminating in the Great Woolley Street Feast.”

The feast will feature eight quality restaurants in Dickson where diners grab a bowl, visit the participating vendors to refill, and take a seat at Canberra’s banquet dining table the length of Woolley Street while enjoying live local music.

The participating restaurants include Dickson Dumpling House, Super Bao, Alara’s Turkish Pide Grill House, Mekong River, Chonqing Street Noodle, Wukong Hot Pot, A Bite and Co.BAR, while drinks can be purchased from the on-street bar supplied by Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill.

While the street will be closed to traffic for the feast, all other restaurants and businesses along Woolley Street will be open for regular business, with plenty of parking still available around the Dickson centre. Active travel and public transport options are also encouraged such as parking a little further away and walking, cycling, catching the bus or the light rail.

“The feast will be a truly multicultural community experience and a fantastic way to conclude our events program for the Woolley St. Project,” Mr Snow said.

“All of the activities have been designed to improve the accessibility and amenity of the public spaces in Woolley Street, and we need to hear from the community what they thought and what they liked. This feedback will help guide future, long-term improvements to this key place in the City Renewal Precinct.”

The Great Woolley Street Feast is on 9 November 2019, with the first sitting at 6:00pm and the second sitting at 8:00pm. To book a ticket at a sitting or view the remaining events, visit www.dicksonCBR.com.au/events.

Woolley St. Project to create a better, brighter Dickson

3 September 2019

A large entry installation, picnic tables, play equipment, a public alfresco dining area, and events and activities will spice up Dickson over the next three months as part of the Woolley St. Project.

The Woolley St. Project is trialling actions developed from the Dickson Place Plan to improve the accessibility and amenity of the public spaces in Dickson’s best-known dining district.

City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the Woolley St. Project would trial public space upgrades and activities that build on Dickson’s established strong identity to help inform more permanent long-term improvements.

“The City Renewal Authority worked closely with the local community to create the Dickson Place Plan, a road map to strengthen and improve Dickson’s identity as the area continues to evolve and grow,” Mr Snow said.

“Some of the actions in the plan, developed in consultation with the community, included festivals, smaller events, public streetscape changes along Woolley Street and public art. We are now ready to start testing a range of temporary improvements to public spaces along Woolley Street.”

The initial works include the construction and installation of a decorative entry gate at the southern entry to Woolley Street, picnic tables and street furniture, a temporary events pavilion, festoon lighting, cherry blossom trees, interactive play elements, a long alfresco dining area and the conversion of a small stretch of parking bays into short-stay bays for convenient quick takeaway pickups.

From mid-October, a plaza will be installed while the area will be buzzing with events and activities such as a community concert, martial arts demonstration, takeaway movie night, ping pong tournament, night markets, paper festival and bonsai workshop, culminating in a Great Woolley Street Banquet.

“The activities and events have been designed to encourage both residents and visitors to explore and engage with local businesses. The feedback from all our temporary projects will give us important information to inform the long-term renewal of the area,” Mr Snow said.

“Together, we hope to create a better, brighter Dickson for people to work, live, play and experience, now and into the future.”

The Woolley St. Project, an initiative of the City Renewal Authority, is being implemented by Complete Constructions Australia, Place Laboratory, Sweet Potato, Threesides Marketing, Show Pony Events and NS Group.

Community events, parks and street upgrades to revitalise Dickson

19 December 2018

A new plan to help the Dickson group centre grow and thrive includes temporary changes to make Woolley Street and the village area more people-focused.

The Dickson Place Plan has been created in collaboration with the local community and builds on the area’s existing character.

City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the actions in the plan included annual  festivals, smaller events, temporary streetscape changes, increased public art and the creation of a Dickson-specific grants program.

“Dickson already has a strong identity and we want to make the centre an even more enjoyable and exciting place to be,” Mr Snow said.

“The short, medium and long-term actions in the Dickson Place Plan are a road-map to help strengthen and improve Dickson’s identity as the area continues to evolve and grow.

“As well as community-driven events and activities the City Renewal Authority is also looking at a trial project to upgrade the public spaces along Woolley Street, as well as a temporary park within the Dickson village area with hang-out spaces, skate facilities, games and play spaces.”

Implementing the actions in the plan will require co-operation between government, the community and the private sector.

“Some of the actions in the place plan are for government to undertake but others will be delivered by the community or the private sector,” Mr Snow said.

“Creating a great place requires a committed community and Dickson is well placed, with a highly-engaged and motivated community.

“Establishing the MyDickson Town Team was a result of the engagement process to create the place plan and the City Renewal Authority looks forward to working alongside these dedicated community members to help Dickson reach its potential.”

The 29 recommended actions in the Dickson Place Plan range from short-term temporary improvements to larger, permanent changes.

“A place plan is a living document and we don’t need to implement all of these actions to be successful so we expect these actions to change and adapt as Dickson evolves,” Mr Snow said.

“We have already started working on several of these actions, including supporting the establishment of the town team, and we will continue to work with other government agencies, the community and the private sector on other actions in the place plan.”

The My Dickson Town Team is holding a street party on Wooley Street this Friday (21 December) and the City Renewal Authority will be on site 4pm-6pm to discuss the place plan.

Click here to view the Dickson Place Plan.

Community-led Town Team to make Dickson more fun and connected

21 September 2018

The City Renewal Authority is assisting a group of residents and businesses to create an independent “Town Team” to stage community events and organise improvements in the Dickson Group Centre.

Local residents, traders and groups embraced the idea of a Town Team during the City Renewal Authority’s engagement process for a Dickson Place Plan.

The Town Team group will have its first annual general meeting on Tuesday 25 September, with the intention to incorporate shortly afterwards, and is looking for more locals to become involved.

City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the format had worked well in other cities and he was pleased to help introduce it to the ACT.

“Town Teams work because they are people who have a very strong connection to their area and a genuine desire to make real improvements,” Mr Snow said.

“Town Teams are ‘doing’ organisations and this group will work collaboratively to run events and make small physical improvements to its local area for the benefit of the community.”

Dickson business owner Jason Mann said the time was right to establish a Town Team.

“Dickson already has a number of committed advocates who are passionate about the area and we’re looking for additional motivated people to join the Town Team in helping make Dickson a stronger, more enjoyable community,” Mr Mann said.

“If you have an interest in Dickson would like to make an on-the-ground contribution to your local community then joining our Town Team is a great place to start.”

The City Renewal Authority commissioned place makers Spaced Out to identify improvements, events and actions that could strengthen the Dickson community and make the area more active, accessible and attractive.

Spaced Out managing director David Snyder agreed that Town Teams could have a big impact in Dickson.

“We are really excited and confident about the future of the Dickson Town Team,” Mr Snyder said.

“Dicksonians have a lot of pride in their suburb and it’s a very capable community, so a Town Team makes a lot of sense.

“Town Teams play a huge role in activating town centres in other parts of Australia.  In Western Australia, Town Teams coordinate large festivals, weekly food markets, urban art projects and street murals. The Vic Park Collective Town Team has even developed an urban forest strategy.”

To get involved in the Dickson Town Team please contact Jason Mann at jhay@mydickson.com.au

The City Renewal Authority is supporting the establishment of the group by funding Spaced Out Placemakers, PLACE Laboratory and the Town Team Movement organisation to provide set-up support and advice.

The draft Dickson Place Plan, which will identify events, activations and public realm upgrades to improve the Dickson Group Centre, will be released for community feedback later this year.

Community makeover to give Dickson shops a facelift

25 August 2017

The Dickson community is being invited to help to re-imagine the courtyards at the group centre during a seven-day makeover later this year.

A public planning workshop led by the Dickson Village Traders on Tuesday (29 August) will set the tone for the makeover, which will take place from 19-25 November.

The seven-day community-led facelift, which has funding from the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development will be featured in the Canberra Design Festival and aims to transform the courtyards into more people-friendly spaces.

Dickson Traders Association spokesperson Jason Mann said the working group was keen to engage with the community to help create a space that would make people linger, play and connect.

“We have some exciting plans to demonstrate how much can be achieved in just seven days,” Mr Mann said.

“The seven-day makeover event will be community led so we have planned interventions that are affordable and can be implemented by volunteers.

We are looking for some community input into how we can make these interventions really work for the local community.

“The workshop on Tuesday gives us a chance to get into the detail of how we can implement some simple but effective improvements, like pavement stencilling, yarn bombing or the installation of new seating, planter boxes or fairy lights.

“If you are passionate about your community, want to improve the experience at the Dickson shops, and can help during the makeover, then we’d love to see you at the planning workshop.”

The Dickson courtyards makeover planning workshop is on Tuesday, 29 August, from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Register your interest at MyDickson.com.au

Sale of ageing government office block presents Dickson renewal opportunity

11 August 2017

Dame Pattie Menzies House

The sale of the ACT Government’s Dame Pattie Menzies office buildings in Dickson is another step in the group centre’s ongoing renewal as a vibrant residential, commercial and retail centre.

The two Dickson buildings were sold by tender for $15 million to Merrylin Lindland Pty Ltd.

The ACT Government has a three-year lease on the two buildings - which house the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate – with two additional one-year options, to allow for construction of a new government office building on the nearby motor registry site.

City Renewal Authority interim chief executive Gary Rake said the 3.5 hectare site would be a fantastic urban renewal opportunity after the ACT Government lease ends.

“This site has great potential to complement the ongoing renewal in and around the Dickson group centre,” Mr Rake said.

“The location of this site makes it a really wonderful opportunity for future urban renewal that can really add to the ability for people to live, explore and enjoy the area.

“It is situated conveniently next to the new Dickson bus interchange, adjacent to the Wooley Street dining precinct and just a very short stroll from the Dickson light rail stop.

“The area surrounding the site is already home to significant renewal activity, with new high-density residential developments under construction a stones thrown in both directions and a new development set for the old motor registry site across the road expected to begin soon.

“With its central Canberra location, proximity to the new light rail line and a wide variety of dining and entertainment options, Dickson is a booming area in the city renewal precinct and the sale of this site provides a great opportunity for further renewal.”

The site is zoned CZ2, which allows for a variety of uses including commercial, residential and retail.

The Dickson precinct code allows for buildings up to six storeys high.

The sale is part of the Commonwealth Government’s Asset Recycling Initiative, which provides a 15 per cent bonus to the ACT Government on the sale of ageing public infrastructure.