What next for Floriade

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As mentioned in an earlier post, the ACT Government is under pressure from the National Capital Authority to move Floriade out of Commonwealth Park west.

Many people agree that it is time to rethink some aspects of Floriade. It has been much the same for decades – so yes it is indeed timely to refresh this successful national attraction.

But it does not follow that to bring about a new Floriade that the event needs to be wrenched from its ideal spot and to be scattered across Civic. It should definitely not be placed into Glebe Park — think how people enjoy this green open space all year – sometimes just to have their quiet moment of zen!

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The proposed move of Floriade from beside the lake to Civic is yet another ill-considered initiative from the Chief minister’s business advisors – think the shambles and waste of money that is Westside.

Taking Floriade and scattering it through Civic will not be the event it was. It will become a shadow of its former success. It will not enhance the businesses around Civic. They should not be allowed to take this successful event and ruin it!

Those open spaces in and around Civic should be used more – for smaller events, such as markets, but not for major events.

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We much remember that it was big business that brought about changes to Civic that delivered a ghost town into what was a busy Garema and Petrie Place – think what life would have been like without their big box mall called the Canberra Centre.

As I said in the earlier post, Glebe Park is not an event area – it is a park.

On behalf of the locals who fought the earlier battles to save Glebe Park and those who have made contact since my earlier post, I ask the Chief Minister to stop listening to the lobbyists and instead look elsewhere for creative, intelligent and innovative ideas.

It is indeed time for a change. It is time to consider expanding Floriade to give it a status of an international flower/garden design festival – think the Chelsea Flower Show and several other international garden festivals.

It is time to rethink the use of lakeside sites and to decide which one would be the most attractive for the long-term use as a major event space – for a new Floriade and other major local/national events.

It is time to sort out this ridiculous conflict with the Commonwealth over the use of the lakeside for local events, particularly those with a national focus such as Floriade.

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The community does not agree with the business lobbyists and their simplistic ideas for the use of Civic and Glebe Park for Floriade.

It is time to think laterally about something that would build on the decades of achievement of this lakeside event and be even more attractive than the present Floriade. We should not deny that being by the lake is part of that success and should be in the future.

It is time for the bureaucrats behind the CBR logo and marketing to walk their talk and to deliver something creative. And to leave Glebe Park alone!

This piece was also on RiotACT

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Paul Costigan

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