Aspen Island Upgrade

Project Type
Australian Capital Territory

Aspen Island is located on the north eastern side of the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. Connected to Kings Park by a pedestrian bridge, Aspen Island is the largest of three islands and is a public outdoor community facility, accommodating public events and private functions. Importantly, Aspen Island is the setting for the National Carillon, the largest carillon (a musical instrument made up of cup-shaped bells that is usually located in a bell tower of a church or public building) in Australia. The British Government gifted the National Carillon to Australia in 1960.

Improving the Island's amenity

In January 2019, the National Capital Authority (NCA) initiated a project to improve the amenity of the island and complement the National Carillon. The upgrade was completed in May 2020.

Refurbished picnic areas now accommodate social gatherings

In January 2019, a Feasibility Study for upgrades to Aspen Island was conducted to identify improvements to the island’s amenity that would increase its usage. The NCA Events Unit had previously acknowledged the Island’s shortfalls in meeting community needs. Feedback found that, to enhance ease of use, several features of the site would need improvement.  Some of these improvements included an all-weather (hard surface) pathway, access all around the island (as opposed to only some of it) and improvements to the gradient of the grassed listening area (specifically the creation of a flat area to allow ease of sitting and hosting events).

Based on the community feedback and study recommendations, NCA worked with their Events and Planning Unit, a Heritage consultant and Open Space Contractors to plan, develop and implement the project. AMA Projects were appointed to deliver the project.

Additional beach sand has been added to expand the space

The Aspen Island upgrades include:

  • The installation of a perimeter path to enhance accessibility and encourage active use of the area by pedestrians, runners and cyclists.
  • Landscaping to improve crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), including a lowered landscape mounding. This landscape change means a person running on the far side of the island can now be seen from the shoreline. Prior to this, the mounding and vegetation hid them from view.
  • Beach enhancements, including the enlargement of the space with additional beach sand added.
  • Refurbished picnic areas to accommodate social gatherings, strengthening opportunities for community connection.
  • The planting of additional trees to encourage the active use of outdoor spaces through access to shade and green space.
  • Integration of a flat grassed public open space in the centre of the island, accommodating up to 500 people. This area can be used for private and functions and public events.
  • Installation of six power and water outlets stations around the island to facilitate events, and pop-up vans on the island.
A perimeter path encourages active use of the area by pedestrians, runners and cyclists

The Aspen Island upgrade has enhanced the community facility’s sense of place, engaging people through features that support active movement and social connection in a safe and inviting public open space.

Project Team

  • The National Capital Authority – Client and project manager
  • AMA Projects – Head Contractor

Project Cost

  • $1.7 Million

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