Ginninderra

How CSIRO science could shape Ginninderra’s future

During the community consultations CSIRO has conducted so far, we’ve been asked a number of questions about how CSIRO might continue to be involved in the Ginninderra site moving forward.

We are still early in the process of requesting the land be reclassified to urban, but we have already identified approximately 150 hectares of land that is to be kept aside for ecological values and open space.

Preserving green space and integrating this into the eventual design of the space is not the only way CSIRO will be involved in the project. We aim to continue our involvement in providing scientific, evidence-based recommendations for the site’s future development.

This could include a variety of recommendations – from shared spaces to help enhance the development of communities, to environmentally sustainable energy, water and building design. We hope that implementing cutting edge research at Ginninderra can provide a model and better understanding of urban environments that can be applied across Australia.

In order to understand whether these measures are effective, of course some monitoring would be required. This could take the form of sensors installed in energy or water systems, or surveys conducted with residents of the area. We view this as an opportunity to work collaboratively with the community, as we have done in our science for many years.

If they wished, households in the area could have the opportunity to contribute to a long-term science program with CSIRO to help collect data on energy use, water use, and liveability of the area. For example, contributing knowledge and information on energy and water use could help us use these resources more sustainably Australia-wide and even globally.

All CSIRO research involving people is bound by extensive ethical guidelines to ensure the welfare of participants, and is always voluntary. Read more about CSIRO’s Ethical Human Research Guidelines.

Trialling new urban design is not unique in Australia. The Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project in Western Australia is working closely with researchers on a four year project with Curtin University’s Cooperative Research Centre to test sustainable, affordable living options for the next generation of Australians. It incorporates aspects of sustainability and design through shared spaces to reduce both the environmental impact and cost of these houses.

Eco-living features will be incorporated into all aspects of the design, including: a climate responsive layout, lightweight and sustainable building design, solar power, water and energy monitoring to identify opportunities to improve efficiency, underground rainwater tanks and low water use landscaping. Read more about this project.

Any development at Ginninderra is still years away. When it comes time to start building, we’ll have more in-depth research to inform CSIRO’s own science.

Planning for the future

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Retaining green spaces and corridors and protecting Ginninderra’s ecology has already been raised by many community members during the consultations so far.

As part of the process, we are conducting environmental studies to fully understand the Ginninderra landscape and ecology. At 701 hectares, it is a large piece of land with variations across the site. While studies are still ongoing, environment and conservation are a key consideration for the site.

Based on studies so far, approximately 150 hectares of the land is unlikely to be developable due to its topography, heritage and ecological values, and will likely remain open space.

This will provide valuable recreational and conservation areas, as well as preserve some of the views of the hills and ridges currently experienced by adjoining suburbs. These open spaces will also allow for wildlife to continue traversing the property.

Alongside the farmland on the site is a diverse ecology, including protected species such as the golden sun moth and box gum woodlands along with many other plant and animal species.

A program for ongoing management to support critical ecosystem services, biodiversity, and cultural values will be developed. With the support and research of CSIRO scientists, the approach to conservation management will take into account multiple factors, as part of an overall avoidance, mitigation and offset strategy. This will include measures to restore and support conserved areas.

Offsetting measures, if required, would seek to establish compensatory areas as close to the location of the impact as possible and would follow the established Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 offset policy.

The project team working on the biodiversity assessment aspect of the project were responsible for preparation of the Gungahlin Strategic Assessment and are also presently working with the Riverview Group and ACT Government (LDA) in preparation of the West Belconnen Strategic Assessment.

The team has a detailed appreciation of the broader opportunities and constraints in the wider area, providing consistency between these connected parts of the landscape.

The Ginninderra site is an important part of Canberra and we look forward to working with local residents, conservation and community groups on the future of this land.

If you have any questions or suggestions on the environmental management of Ginninderra, please contact us.

Community feedback and September drop-in sessions

CSIRO scientist Guy Barnett speaking at the Charnwood drop-in session.

CSIRO scientist Guy Barnett speaking at the Charnwood drop-in session.

 

During September we held three drop-in and information sessions in Evatt, Gold Creek and Charnwood to listen to your comments and answer your questions about the future of the Ginninderra Field Station.

The focus was discussing the CSIRO proposal with residents living in the suburbs surrounding the Ginninderra Field Station: Fraser, Evatt, Spence, McKellar, Giralang, Crace, Nicholls and Hall.

It was fantastic to see so many people who wanted to find out more about the Ginninderra site and speak to the project team. A total of 224 people came along, which shows the high level of interest from the community.

In addition to attendance at events, we have also received over 60 written comments and questions via comment forms and email.

It’s important for us to understand community views in order to make the right decisions for the site in the future.

Thank you for coming along, asking questions, and for your understanding in relation to questions we don’t have the answers to yet.

From the feedback we’ve received so far, a number of clear themes have emerged. These themes include:

In addition to the drop-in sessions held in September, we’ve also spoken to local groups such as community councils, environmental associations, industry bodies, welfare and social service organisations, and businesses. These discussions will be ongoing and if you are part of a local group that would like to meet with us, please let us know via the contact page.

The comments and feedback we have received so far will be de-identified and passed on to the National Capital Authority (NCA) as part of their consultation phase on the reclassified use of this land.

The NCA consultation process started on 1 October 2015 and runs until 13 November 2015.  You can find out more about leaving feedback or attending an event on the NCA website.

While we welcome your comments at any time via the contact page, we won’t be holding any CSIRO drop-in sessions during the NCA consultation process.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring some of the key themes in more detail in the News section of this website, so check back each week for updates.

Don’t forget if you’d like updates straight to your inbox you can subscribe to our monthly email updates.

We look forward to continuing the conversation about the future of the Ginninderra Field Station.

What’s next?

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has accepted our request for the Ginninderra Site to be considered as ‘Urban Area’ in the National Capital Plan Draft Amendment 86 released in September 2015.

But we are still only at the beginning.

This request paves the way for new opportunities for this land’s use. While it’s too early to know exactly how the land would be used, an urban area classification allows for future uses including residential, commercial, community services, recreation and conservation areas. We will continue to request input from you, ACT residents, on the future of this site.

Our consultation sessions held it Evatt, Gold Creek and Fraser were well attended with more than 300 people taking the time to talk to us about their ideas for the future of the site.

We’ve also met with community groups, conservation groups and residents, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend a meeting or a drop in session. Your feedback means a lot to us and will help shape the future of the site.

The National Capital Authority will be running its own consultation process for 6 weeks until 13 November 2015. For more information and to leave comments or feedback visit the NCA website.

If you have any further suggestions, concerns or ideas regarding the future use of the Ginninderra Field Station, please submit your feedback to the NCA or directly to CSIRO. You can contact us directly through the contact page.