A former chief of defense has blown up approval of a $ 500 million redevelopment of the Australian War Monument in Canberra.
Retired Admiral Chris Barrie has been a staunch opponent of the big project and fears it will completely undermine the national institution.
“I think the game is over in terms of the fact that it’s going to happen, but I’m afraid it will no longer be a memorial,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
“It may be a place of entertainment, but I don’t think it will be the place of remembrance I grew up with.”
Mr Barrie said the redevelopment would turn the memorial into a theme park.
“I remember the place of remembrance to which I took visitors as unique around the world,” he said.
“Trying to turn it into a theme park or a hangout, regardless of the words we want to use, is not right.”
Mr. Barrie is very concerned that future generations of Australians in the pursuit of a ‘bigger and better’ attraction will lose the opportunity to quietly reflect on the country’s military history.
‘We have a lot of theme parks in this country. We do not need another park. ‘
The National Capital Authority nodded for early works at the memorial, including the demolition of Anzac Hall.
At least 140 trees will be removed as part of the redevelopment, which will eventually be replaced by 250 native trees.
The NCA, which has published a 1,200-page consultation report, received 601 submissions during its consultation process, of which only three support.
Important concerns were the need for expansion, removal of trees, the impact on heritage values and costs.
The memorial argues that the project will address constraints to the existing use of the building, enhance the experience of the general visitor and veterans, and maintain its importance as a national cultural institution.