Ginninderra Project: 2016 Year in review
2016 has been a milestone year for the Ginninderra venture.
In a year that marked CSIRO’s 100th birthday, momentum increased on a project that we believe will leave a legacy for the next 100 years and beyond.
Some of the highlights and milestones across the calendar year are included below.
Our land was reclassified to ‘Urban’ under the National Capital Plan Amendment 86, giving us the opportunity to move forward with planning.
With the re-reclassification, further significant work was undertaken on areas that could be developed on the site and those that would need to be conserved as part of our commitment to conservation.
The decision to reclassify the land also allowed us to approach the market for Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified development partners.
In 2017, we expect to shortlist applicants and ask them to respond with a Request for Proposal, which will include a draft development control plan. Our joint-development partner will also assist us in ongoing discussions with the community and government (both at a territory and federal level).
Affordable Housing Think Tank
Ideas generated at our Affordable Housing Think Tank in April have provided a springboard for further developing our approach to tackling an entrenched national issue. Thirty experts from the housing sector, ACT and federal government agencies, community organisations and CSIRO research teams took part and focused on identifying solutions to make housing affordable for people receiving the lowest 40% of incomes.
The opportunity for different financing and governance models along with design factors and provision of a diversity of housing stock, were among the many potential solutions covered. Participants also put forward a raft of ideas including measures to reduce household living costs in order to achieve life cycle affordability.
We continued our commitment to ongoing community engagement in 2016 and met with many groups and individuals during the year.
In June, we invited experts from several ACT environmental groups for an on-site visit to discuss the heritage and environmental protection issues and opportunities at Ginninderra. We then held a follow-up workshop to seek their initial ideas and advice on managing key ecological values.
We held neighbourhood drop-in sessions at Evatt and at Gold Creek in August, where approximately 200 members of the community attended and provided ideas and feedback.
We also attended community council meetings in Belconnen and Gungahlin, and have met with the Village of Hall & District Progress Association.
Our conversations with the community around our aspirations for the site and the ongoing comments and feedback throughout the year have been invaluable in generating ideas, challenges and potential solutions.
Our team has been working hard to bring all the ideas together and to work on the objectives, benchmarks and measures that will underpin a unique and successful sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
We are committed to carrying out all of necessary due-diligence reports and releasing them publicly when finalised. One of the major ones released in November 2016 was the Ecological Values Report.
The report featured research that has been undertaken over a series of years on our site.
We also released reports that summarised the neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in 2015 and 2016.
We’d like to thank everybody who has taken the opportunity to give us feedback, to engage, and to input to the vision at CSIRO Ginninderra.
The involvement from the community has been fantastic and we look forward to continue working together in 2017.
Project update – September
Our focus this month was on community engagement, with two neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in Evatt and Gold Creek.
The purpose of these sessions was to seek targeted feedback and ideas about elements that were identified as important by the community in the first phase of engagement in September 2015.
These included housing, conservation, roads and transport, and community facilities.
Additional feedback at the August sessions covered topics including the community engagement process, the impact of future development on residents of surrounding suburbs, and CSIRO’s role in relation to planning.
Engagement by the community in these sessions was both strong and constructive, providing a wealth of ideas for further consideration in the planning process.
The sessions also confirmed the importance to the community of:
- Maintenance of a natural environment with green open spaces
- Linking the new area and existing suburbs and key natural features
- Attractive housing with a mix of block sizes, suited to the needs of people across a range of demographics
- Sustainable living embedded in the housing and other facilities
- A good range of community facilities and services within the development
- Improved traffic arrangements
Residents were also able to view the 701-hectare CSIRO property as captured from a series of locations using both 4k and 360 degree cameras mounted underneath a remotely piloted drone. The drone aerial survey led by a team from CSIRO Land and Water and Data61 has produced a visual record and basis for further planning and modelling of development and conservation at the site.
The latest drop-in sessions follow five years of preparation and investigation that led to the approval (in May 2016) for CSIRO’s Ginninderra Field Station to be classified as ‘Urban’ under Amendment 86 to the National Capital Plan.
As with all of our engagement with the community, we are committed to taking on board the comments received in future planning and design processes.
Feedback received from these sessions will be included in the briefing materials for the Request for Tender process to ensure that potential future development partners are mindful of the community’s expectations.
If you were unable to make it to the sessions, or have further comments or questions, we invite you to complete our community feedback form.
Project update – June
After some key announcements in early May, over the past month we have been working with community conservation groups and taking the first steps towards finding a joint venture development partner.
Following the decision regarding Amendment 86, we commenced an Expressions of Interest process where we asked for responses from suitably qualified development partners to work with us to deliver a new benchmark in sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
Expressions of Interest to join CSIRO as a Joint Venture Partner closed on May 23 and we are currently undertaking an evaluation process before shortlisting ahead of a formal tender process.
As part of CSIRO’s commitment to the conservation and restoration of natural values on the Ginninderra property, we have been working actively with the Ginninderra Catchment Group’s grasslands restoration project.
Recently we joined the Ginninderra Catchment Group, Landcare groups, the Rural Fire Service, community experts and volunteers to conduct autumn burning of five experimental sites across the Ginninderra property.
The findings of this community-driven project will provide the scientific evidence base to inform best-practice future management of native grasslands at Ginninderra.
As part of our ongoing engagement activities, CSIRO hosted a site visit with member groups of the Conservation Council last week. This was attended by representatives from the Friends of Grasslands, Ginninderra Catchment Group, and Conservation Council’s Biodiversity Working Group.
CSIRO remains committed to working with all key stakeholders and an event is being organised to update the community and to continue our conversations in the second half of July. More details on this will be made available in the coming weeks.
Exploring Ginninderra’s past, present and future
After more than half a century of dedicated scientific research, CSIRO’s Ginninderra Field Station is entering a new phase. Planning and engagement has commenced to deliver a new benchmark in liveable, sustainable and resilient urban development.
The Ginninderra Field Station was established in 1958 as a site for plant and agricultural research. This was in anticipation of the closure of the Dickson Experiment Station to make way for urban development in that area, which eventually occurred in 1962.
As with the Dickson site, the Ginninderra Field Station has now been surrounded by urban development and is no longer optimal for CSIRO’s agricultural research. In 2011 CSIRO started considering options for Ginninderra’s future use.
Rather than simply sell the property, CSIRO saw Ginninderra as a great opportunity to bring its research together to make a difference, not only for local residents and the ACT, but for other Australian cities, people, industry and the environment.
The sustainable urban development of Ginninderra presents an opportunity for positive social, environmental and economic impact for the ACT and Australia, while generating revenue for the reinvestment into CSIRO innovation and research infrastructure.
In December 2012, CSIRO sought advice from the National Capital Authority about the correct process for seeking an amendment to the National Capital Plan. Through this, a long-term vision to deliver a new benchmark in sustainable urban development has arisen.
It’s a vision that has emerged through engagement with CSIRO’s science capability, undertaking environmental and heritage investigations, and initial conversations with the community, and one that will continue to evolve and bring lasting benefits.
CSIRO staff first met with ACT Government officials in July 2014 and have met regularly since then to discuss the possibilities for the potential development of the Ginninderra Field Station for urban use.
These meetings confirmed that the site presented an opportunity for greenfield development, which has been supported by the NCA’s response to the key issues considered as part of Amendment 86: ‘The CSIRO Ginninderra site presents an opportunity for greenfield development that can make use of existing infrastructure and services, and provides a more suitable alternative to cater for the growth of the city than other greenfield sites.’
CSIRO’s engagement with community groups, nearby residents and industry associations began in August 2015, coinciding with the land’s inclusion as part of Amendment 86.
This first round of engagement with the local community in September 2015 included three drop-in sessions at Gold Creek, Evatt and Charnwood and involved more than 220 people. This is only the beginning, as CSIRO aims to involve more of these people and groups in the conversation about how we can design and work together for a liveable, sustainable and resilient urban area.
On 5 May 2016, classification of the Ginninderra Field Station to ‘Urban’ as part of the National Capital Plan was approved. This decision paved the way for CSIRO to seek Expressions of Interest (EOI) for a suitable development partner.
Following the closing of the EOI on May 23, CSIRO is evaluating and shortlisting suitably qualified developers, ahead of a Request for Proposal process later in the year.
CSIRO is excited about the opportunity to continue to work with the community, government, research partners, and other stakeholders, to create something unique at Ginninderra.
CSIRO is also committed to continuing the discussions with ACT Government agencies to harmonise with future planning goals and aspirations.
Future steps for the Ginninderra project include a site visit with conservation groups and workshop in June, community forum in July, additional community meetings in early 2017, as well as planning, approvals and detailed design in 2018. The earliest that any development could commence on the site is in 2019.
Since we provided our last project update in April, there have been a number of significant events that have allowed the Ginninderra Project to progress.
National Capital Plan Amendment 86 Approval
On Thursday 5 May Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, Paul Fletcher approved Amendment 86 to the National Capital Plan.
The decision to classify the current Ginninderra Field Station to ‘Urban’ as part of the approved changes to the National Capital Plan is the next step towards an initiative that will be incredibly significant for the ACT community and for reinvestment into Australian science and innovation infrastructure.
Since we sought initial feedback from the NCA about the possibility of an amendment in December 2012, we have undertaken three and a half years of due diligence on the 701 hectare site, along with a range of environmental and heritage studies.
We are very excited about the potential of continuing to work with the community, government, research partners, and other stakeholders, including conservation, heritage and advocacy groups, to create something unique and remarkable at Ginninderra.
Expressions of Interest
Following the decision regarding Amendment 86, we have commenced an expressions of interest process, where we have asked for responses from suitably qualified development partners to work with us to deliver a new benchmark in sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
We look forward to receiving Expressions of Interest from potential industry partners who share our aspirations and vision for the site.
Through a process of science, community and stakeholder engagement, a vision is emerging for sustainable urban development at the Ginninderra Field Station that sets new standards in the way that it handles energy, water, waste, housing design and affordability, transport, community connection heritage and environmental protection.
CSIRO is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified development partners for the planning, development and subsequent sales of its land located at Ginninderra in the Australian Capital Territory.
Based on due diligence reports and the identified values at Ginninderra, CSIRO’s initial assessment of the development potential of the site, which has been compiled in collaboration with specialist scientists and stakeholders, identifies:
· developable land (360.8 ha, or 51% of total area),
· potential developable areas under CSIRO review (129.4 ha, 18%),
· areas primarily protected by current legislation (130.9 ha, 19%), and
· additional areas CSIRO has determined should be managed to further protect the ecological and heritage values of the site (80.5 ha, 12%).
This initial assessment is only indicative of the development potential and may be subject to change.
The request for the expression of interest is the first stage of a possible two stage process.
Expressions of Interest are now open and will close at 2pm on 23 May 2016 with all relevant information available on AusTender.
The future of stormwater at Ginninderra
The population of the ACT is projected to grow to half a million people by 2033.
With this urban growth and the changing climate we can expect an increased demand for water and the generation of more stormwater and sewage.
CSIRO is committed to sustainable urban water management and undertaking research that will help reduce the demand for potable water supply in our cities. This includes research on various aspects of reducing water use and making better use of available rainfall, stored and potable water and waste water streams.
“Urban stormwater is a relatively untapped resource that could help Canberra meet its future water supply requirements,” said CSIRO Researcher Dr Declan Page
CSIRO examined the feasibility of a range of stormwater harvesting and irrigation options in Canberra during 2007 to 2009, working with the ACT and Commonwealth Government’s on Phase 1 of the Canberra Integrated Urban Waterways Project.
In addition to reducing demand for potable water, stormwater harvesting has the potential to provide stormwater quality improvements, flood mitigation, urban habitat outcomes, and has the potential to improve the aesthetics and the recreation value of urban parks.
The stormwater harvesting options that were considered included; use of existing lakes and ponds, the construction of new ponds, through to options that involved combining stormwater with water stored in aquifers or with reclaimed water.
This CSIRO research was used by the ACT Government to support the feasibility through to detailed design and construction of three pilot stormwater harvesting and reticulation projects, namely Inner North Canberra, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong.
The Inner North Stormwater Reticulation Network in the Sullivan’s Creek Catchment is Canberra’s first neighbourhood-scale stormwater harvesting and managed aquifer recharge system. Urban stormwater is captured and treated in constructed wetlands and then pumped though a reticulation network for irrigation of urban green spaces.
The ACT Government is currently trialling managed aquifer recharge as part of this Inner North scheme, which involves the injection of stormwater into a bore, where it is stored in underground aquifers and retrieved when required during peak irrigation.
CSIRO has considerable expertise in this innovative urban water technology, having recently completed a large study on Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options (MARSUO) commissioned by the Goyder Institute for Water Research.
The aim of the study was to provide water managers and the community with the data needed to make informed decisions on stormwater harvesting and storage.
“Stormwater could be treated to a drinking water quality and not just used for open space, third pipe or industrial uses. The costs of doing this, however, are similar to the costs of conventional potable water supply,” said co-author of the study Dr Page
“Nonetheless, the MARSUO study shows that water quality/safety issues can be effectively managed in line with the National Water Quality Management Strategy”.
It is early days to consider stormwater options in the Ginninderra project, as we await the outcome of the land reclassification decision under Draft Amendment 86 of the National Capital Plan, which is required to consider the potential future urban development of the site.
Having said that, Ginninderra Creek and Halls Creek and their associated riparian areas are significant features of the Ginninderra site and the broader landscape.
“Ensuring the retention of adequate space for stormwater capture and treatment, providing green corridors along water courses, and implementing water sensitive urban design throughout the site, is all of paramount importance”, said Dr Page.
CSIRO researchers are currently investigating the water resource potential at the Ginninderra site and the types of stormwater use options. As noted in a previous update, one of these future uses will likely include the provision of water to support the cooling benefits of healthy vegetation to combat the Urban Heat Island effect.
As the project progresses, CSIRO looks forward to interacting with key stakeholders such as the ACT Government, Icon Water, and Ginninderra Catchment Group, as well as neighbouring communities and businesses, to discuss stormwater options.
Over the past month the project team has continued its environmental and heritage studies so this important information can be further refined while the land reclassification decision under Draft Amendment 86 is pending.
Once we are aware of the outcome of this process, we will consider the next steps for the project and communicate this to our stakeholders.
You can read more about the process in detail on the NCA website.
We expect to find out more about the outcome of the request later this month or in April.
In the meantime, CSIRO scientists have been collaborating to establish the best ideas and innovation for potential application in a sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
The Ginninderra Project team is continuing to work with the community, government, research partners, and other stakeholders, to create something unique and remarkable at Ginninderra.
Over the past month the project team has continued its environmental and heritage studies so that this important information can be obtained concurrently to the land reclassification process that is ongoing.
We are waiting on the outcome of Draft Amendment 86. Once we are aware of the outcome we will consider the next steps for the project and ensure we communicate this to our stakeholders.
You can read more about the process in detail on the NCA website.
We expect to find out more about the outcome of the request later this month or in March.
In the meantime the Ginninderra Project team will continue to work with the community, government, research partners, and other stakeholders, to create something unique and remarkable at Ginninderra.
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.