Westside container village to close ahead of winter slowdown

Released 21/12/2016

Vendors in the Westside container village at West Basin will be able to operate effectively rent free from 1 January 2017 until the site is closed for business at the end of April, Land Development Agency CEO David Dawes said today.

The decision to close the site before the onset of Canberra’s cold winter months was made following discussions with traders about the National Capital Authority’s decision last month to limit works approval for the site to a maximum of one year. The LDA had applied for a two-and-a-half-year works approval.

“While vendors will be required to pay their usual rent up until the end of their current lease on 31 December the government has decided to charge only nominal rent for the container village’s final four months at West Basin,” Mr Dawes said.

“Our discussions with Westside vendors made it clear that while they would have preferred to stay for a few more years the majority didn’t want to continue through the slower winter months with no long-term reward at the end.

“Given the time it will take to remove the container village, vendors would only have a short period of warmer trading after winter before closing down to allow us to restore the site to its previous condition by the 19 November 2017 deadline.

“As the venue and event manager will not be staying on past the end of this year, and the government will not be engaging in any extra promotion during Westside’s final few months, it is appropriate that the remaining vendors are only charged peppercorn rent for this period.”

Keeping the village open until the end of autumn will give the vendors some time to make their post-Westside plans.  Some vendors have already secured leases outside of the village and will be moving early.

“Although Westside was designed so that it could be relocated, and the government is looking for alternative locations and uses for the container village, there is no guarantee that we can find a suitable location,” Mr Dawes said.

“Vendors’ current leases expire at the end of the year and those who wish to stay will move to month-to-month leases until the site is closed.  Some businesses may choose to close their doors before the end of April.”

The ACT Government took over operation of Westside in August 2015 after its private operator withdrew.

The government had hoped to keep the site open until mid-2019, but the limited works approval from the NCA means the site must be restored to its previous condition by 19 November 2017.

“Westside was always intended to be a temporary venue and it has been successful at drawing people to West Basin,” Mr Dawes said.  

“Thousands of people have visited the village each week, bringing life and vitality to a part of the lake that was previously used for car parking.

“The construction of a 150-metre boardwalk and the new Point Park, adjacent to current the Westside site, will provide another attraction to encourage people to spend time in West Basin after Westside is removed.”

- Statement ends -

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