Why I believe Mitchell deserves a light rail stop
22 Jan, 2018
In 2015/16 I was part of a business reference group organised by the then ACT Government run Capital Metro as part of their community consultation in the lead up to the announcement in February 2016 Canberra Metro as the successful consortium to build the light rail from Gungahlin to Civic.
At one of these meetings we were shown the planned route and stops from Gungahlin to Civic as we now it today. The group was quick to point out the fact there was no stop planned at Mitchell and through this must be an oversight. Notes were taken and an action item taken down to go back and look into it. At a subsequent meeting the group was told a stop could not and will not be added in at stage 1 however the foundation for a platform could be added and if data supported it a stop added at a later date.
In 2015 a map with the route and 15 proposed stops to be reduced to 13 was released for public consultation. Some have suggested the public and businesses in Mitchell didn't provide feedback to suggest a stop for Mitchell was required and some of these businesses will argue they were not consulted on this.
Why should Mitchell have a light rail stop? I would pose the question why not? Mitchell is evolving from the old light industrial estate it once was to a mixed environment with retail, services, food and beverage and children's entertainment. There is also an employment base in Mitchell from Public Service Departments where those staff could patronage the light rail from either Gungahlin or Civic.
I get my car serviced at Dyno Tune Mitchell. I have walked down to Flemington Road to catch a bus whilst I don't have my car for the day. How great would it be to be able to catch the light rail back to Gungahlin. With Funland Canberra Kids Playcentre and Kidcity in Mitchell how many kids would enjoy a light rail ride to and from a birthday party there? Bentspoke plan to develop a restaurant and bar at their cannery in Mitchell, imagine being able to catch light rail there and enjoy dinner and a few local beers and not have to worry about driving!
There are so many other fantastic small businesses in Mitchell that could all benefit from greater patronage from people having fantastic public transport to the area. Plus the benefit of those that work there being able to catch public transport to and from work. Adding a stop to Mitchell would also increase the opportunities for more businesses to move in and grow in the area providing further economic stimulus in the area and greater employment opportunities.
I am not sure why the ACT Government had set on 13 stops being the maximum number as suggested by the 2015 consultation. I would have thought they would decide on stops based on the catchment area and economic area not on a set limit. Saying a stop can and will be added at a later date when data supports it doesn't make sense. Where will this data come from? Build it and they will come.
I am yet to see a strong argument as to why there should not be a stop in Mitchell and I would urge the ACT Government to do the right thing and add the extra stop in now. Yes it will increase the current advertised travel times from Gungahlin to Mitchell but I think we can all agree this makes sense.
The Mitchell Traders Association have put together a petition on this and you can sign it here: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/build-a-light-rail-stop-in-mitchell-now I would also encourage you to make comments against our Facebook post.
Current route and stops compared to proposed route and stops released in 2015