As reported in The Canberra Times on 30 March 2010 “The controversial Canberra Immigration Bridge proposal is dead. Its proponents … have abandoned their plans to commemorate the contribution of migrants to Australia by building a 400m footbridge across Lake Burley Griffin.
Instead, the group will push for a land-based monument within the Parliamentary Triangle.
… The announcement is expected to be hailed by the yachting and rowing fraternities which lobbied hard against the bridge because it created an obstruction to lake users, as well as heritage groups which thought the bridge was contrary to the vision of Walter Burley Griffin because it cluttered the lake.”
Last year the Walter Burley Griffin Society was involved in the inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee of the National Capital and External Territories into the Immigration Bridge Proposal. The Society made four written submissions and gave verbal evidence to the parliamentary committee. Professor James Weirick’s 43 page submission provided an historical and analytical case study of the structural collapse of the current administration of the National Capital Plan.
This news of the proposal being abandoned is very welcome, as the proposal if constructed would have impeded the main central area vistas, altered the shape of West Basin and Griffin’s lake symmetry, detracted from the Water Axis, obscured the diagrammatic separateness of the Parliamentary Triangle and potentially transformed West Basin into an uneven shaped pond to embrace intense development from the expanding CBD.
The Canberra Times reported that the NCA’s chief executive Gary Rake had said that while the National Capital Plan did make provision for a pedestrian bridge in the general location spanning from Acton Peninsula to near Lennox Gardens, any bridge there would ultimately have a negative impact on the heritage values as outlined in the heritage management plan for the area.
The Society’s president Professor James Weirick has said: ‘The Walter Burley Griffin Society supports the creation of an Immigration Gallery and Meeting Hall at the National Museum of Australia as a living celebration of the immigration story in Australia’.