APPROVAL of the development applications for light rail from Gungahlin to City as well as from City to Russell by the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate was last month welcomed by Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell.
"These approvals are an important milestone for Capital Metro and a big step toward the start of construction next year on Canberra's first light rail route," Mr Corbell said.
"Through public consultation the Environment and Planning Directorate received submissions from the community, government agencies and utility providers, raising points to be considered in the assessment of the development applications. The directorate has considered all submissions in making their decision to approve the DAs.
"Obtaining DA approval for the optional Russell Extension is a prudent measure that puts the ACT Government in the best position to proceed with the extension to Russell should that decision be made," Mr Corbell said.
The optional Russell extension for phase one of Capital Metro is expected to increase light rail patronage by more than 30 percent if it goes ahead. It would also provide a CBD link to thousands of employees working on Constitution Avenue and in the defence precinct.
"From Russell we would be perfectly placed to extend the Light Rail Network to other key parts of our city, including the airport, the parliamentary triangle and other destinations south of the lake," Mr Corbell said.
Environment and Planning Directorate development application approval will allow construction to begin next year on territory land. Approval for parts of the project on land that falls under the National Capital Plan, such as parts of Northbourne Avenue and Constitution Avenue, will be lodged with the National Capital Authority in coming months.