Brewer, Peter: War Memorial’s former director urged that any changes to the important site be made to “hasten slowly” and with complete consultation

Peter Brewer

War Memorial’s former director urged that any changes to the important site be made to “hasten slowly” and with complete consultation‘, Canberra Times, 25 September 2019 updated

Update 29 September 2019: A full version of Director Nelson’s letter to the Canberra Times (27 September).

Update 27 September 2019: Director Nelson responds, particularly with a correction on the status of the 80 trees. He also notes that the Purdon consultancy report is on the Memorial’s website. The National Capital Authority has advised that its formal consultation on the car park project will commence soon and be published on the Authority website.

Former War Memorial Director, Steve Gower, interviewed about proposals to do away with 80 trees to build a car park mainly for workers on proposed Memorial extensions. ‘A consultation report on the so-called “early works” will be made public soon which will outline a preliminary plan to remove the trees and excavate alongside Poppy’s Cafe and create multi-level parking for 123 cars, mostly for staff involved in the subsequent major construction phase.’

“I think it’s disgraceful and cavalier to remove so many trees and disturb the site this way without proper heritage and environmental considerations,” [Gower] said. “Not just the building itself but the setting in which it sits is of national significance. Any change to the surrounds of the building and its woodland setting will have a major visual impact … This is not just Canberra’s building; it belongs to all Australians,” he said.

Local residents also interviewed.

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