Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Things they could fix in Canberra #8

There are a few things that bypass Canberra that are for the general good. One of these is the Hume Highway. On the way from Melbourne to Canberra, the Hume Highway should also bypass Holbrook and Tarcutta (which according to the wikipedia article will be done in 2012), but that is not the reason I am writing right now.

The main reason for this post is that Canberra gets bypassed too much, by sporting events, by international entertainment acts and cultural events. This is a general observation, as occasionally, there are some interesting events that do occur within Canberra. For the cultured art set, there is currently a french art exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. For the sports set, there is the occasional international rugby match or football (soccer) match - unfortunately from the last few soccer matches I have seen, they have been the reserve sides. When it comes to international entertainment acts, most of these will be scheduled for other major cities, but not in Canberra. Working near Canberra City, I have also noticed that Canberra does not attract the busker crowd that I have come to enjoy in Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall and Melbourne's Southbank area. I would expect Sydney to have similar areas.

I do understand why events and acts do not come to Canberra. If I was a company (or even a busker) attempting to maximise profits, I would not haul my exhibition / equipment and performers to a city where the population appears to be stagnant at around 350,000 people. It's just not worth it.

This is a big shame. I think Canberra has spent some money in infrastructure, and has some nice, clean and modern stadiums and arenas to present these acts. Maybe the root cause of this bypass mentality is the small size in population.

I keep hearing in the media that the people that govern Canberra are trying to attract families to come and live in Canberra. While this is somewhat of a noble hope, it is also greatly flawed. With the current situation of how Canberra obtains water, it would not cope with a doubling in population. It would simply run out of water to live. People would have to change their habits of water consumption. The town would stop looking so green. Parliament house would need to stop being watered. Would the politicians want a "nice" meeting place, or do they prefer to have the population of the town around them alive?

Every capital city in Australia (with the exception of Darwin) has a population over 1 million people. Going back to my original thought, those cities are able to sustain shows and events. With these acts and events bypassing Canberra, it subtracts from its character and its atmosphere - giving more credit to the comment that "Canberra is a city without a soul".

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