Heritage studies in focus
There has been a lot of interest in the heritage studies that CSIRO has carried out before and since it requested the NCA land classification amendment of the Ginninderra Field Station.
CSIRO engaged specialist consultants in late 2013 to undertake several heritage studies in relation to its Ginninderra Field Station. The two key heritage reports that have been undertaken to date are:
- Stage 1 Heritage Assessment (reporting finalised 2014); and
- Stage 2 Heritage Management Plan (currently in progress).
A brief overview of each of these heritage reports is provided below.
Stage 1 Heritage Assessment
The Stage 1 Heritage Assessment (HA) assessed the study area containing Aboriginal heritage values that meet the threshold for nomination to the Commonwealth Heritage List (CHL). The northern portion of the study area, CSIRO Block 1609, is included on the ACT Heritage Register as it contains several Aboriginal heritage sites.
A recommendation of the Stage 1 Heritage Assessment report included to prepare a Heritage Management Plan (HMP) for the site (see Stage 2).
Stage 2 Heritage Management Plan
A draft Stage 2 Heritage Management Plan (HMP) was prepared in early 2015 based on the site’s use as a Field Station.
As the option for future development of the land became a possibility, CSIRO decided to update the Stage 2 HMP to address the potential change of land use to urban. This change in land use also involved further seasonal ecological surveys and a Stage 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).
As part of the Stage 2 HMP, consultation with the four Representative Aboriginal Organisations (RAOs) was undertaken.
The consultation was undertaken as part of an additional field survey in October 2014, to re-assess and record the true geographic location of previously identified Aboriginal heritage sites.
The final draft of the Stage 2 HMP, was completed in November 2015. The HMP was reviewed by CSIRO and is currently awaiting the findings of the summer ecological surveys and Stage 2 ESA for incorporation.
The ecology and ESA reports are due in the first quarter of 2016. Once updated to reflect these additional studies, the Stage 2 HMP report will then be reviewed by CSIRO and comments will be incorporated into the final Stage 2 HMP.
The Stage 2 HMP report will then be circulated to the RAOs for their review and comment and once attained, CSIRO will undertake final sign off on the report.
This is consistent with CSIRO’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy, which outlines an ethics framework for demonstrating understanding and empathy of indigenous issues and values. It is therefore not appropriate for CSIRO to make this report available until we have the consent of the RAOs.
In addition to the two main heritage reports, the Stage 1 Heritage Assessment and the Stage 2 HMP, a specific Environmental Site Assessment Heritage Management Plan was also developed to assist with the Stage 2 Environment Site Assessment subsurface works.
CSIRO voluntarily appointed a site auditor for the ESA works. This appointment extended the time required to develop the Sampling Analysis Quality Plan (SAQP) for intrusive investigations.
During the SAQP process, CSIRO wanted to ensure the four RAOs were proactively informed and comfortable with the investigation works to be undertaken.
Accordingly, a specific ESA HMP was developed to manage the ESA intrusive works in an informed and sensitive manner. The ESA team negotiated with the site auditor, along with environmental and heritage consultants to ensure the test pits were in suitable locations, avoiding areas of potential Aboriginal sensitivity. As part of the ESA works, all four RAOs were consulted, with the presence of an archaeologist to supervise the works undertaken in November 2015.
Summary of Approach
The above heritage reporting and continued engagement and consultation with the RAO’s reflects CSIRO’s commitment to manage heritage and environmental values in line with Commonwealth and Territory legislative obligations.
Sustainable urban development at Ginninderra
Earlier this year, CSIRO hosted a workshop bringing together scientists from around Australia to discuss best practices in sustainability and their visions for future development at Ginninderra.
In this video, researcher Guy Barnett talks about how CSIRO scientists have been involved in the project so far, and how we could create a model of sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
Read more about how CSIRO scientists can help shape future development here.
Community feedback and September drop-in sessions
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:
- Interest in maintaining the environmental value of the site, including retaining green spaces and corridors and continued protection of protected or endangered species
- The inclusion of community facilities and open spaces in any future development
- That any future development should be sustainable and well-planned, and consider large block sizes
- The need for additional services, for example schools, shops, sports facilities and medical services
- Consideration of traffic and road infrastructure, noting current safety and congestion issues on the roads bordering the Ginninderra Field Station
- CSIRO’s ongoing involvement in the future development of the site
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.