170 residents drop-in for 360 degree views of Ginninderra
Canberra residents took the opportunity to ‘fly’ over the drone-captured 360-degree landscape of CSIRO’s Ginninderra property while providing feedback at two community drop-in sessions on August 25 and 27.
The community drop-in sessions at Evatt and Gold Creek unearthed a wealth of ideas and views that will inform and influence the vision and early planning of CSIRO’s future sustainable development at the Ginninderra site.
More than 170 citizens took part in the sessions focused on providing updates, answering questions and gathering ideas to feed into the early planning stages.
Key topics discussed at these drop-in sessions corresponded with the four main areas of interest raised by the community at initial meetings in September 2015, which were: housing; roads and transport; community facilities; and conservation.
“As with our earlier meetings, the ideas and feedback from these drop-ins will be recorded in engagement reports that will help to further shape the vision, principles and concepts that in turn influence the more detailed planning to take place with anticipated joint venture development partner when we get to that stage.”
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.
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.
Topography of Ginninderra and surrounds
The National Capital Plan (NCP) sets out the broad planning principles and policies for Canberra and the Territory, and ensures that they are planned and developed in accordance with their national significance.
One of the NCP’s objectives is to protect the undeveloped hill tops and open spaces which divide and give form to Canberra’s urban areas. People within the community have commented that changes at Ginninderra may put the protection of the hill tops at risk.
Looking at the Ginninderra site in the context of its surroundings, however, we don’t view future urban use as contrary to the National Capital Plan’s objective to protect the undeveloped hill tops. This is because of a number of topographical features.
The site’s topography is an important factor in determining water corridors (flood zones) and visual aspects that can be enhanced with vegetation and link visually to surrounding areas.
When set among the surrounding high points of Mount Rogers Reserve and Harcourt Hill, the site has a relatively low level of elevation with no significant ridgelines. You can see this in the map above.
There are however some higher parts on the site which provide views of different parts of Canberra. At an elevation of 70m across the site, the highest point is located at the northern end of the site (Block 1609). This high point provides views northwest towards rural lots of NSW.
The second highest point is located just to the south of Kuringa Drive (Block 1545). From this point you can see extensive views to the southeast of Canberra, including Black Mountain, Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. Halls Creek and Ginninderra Creek provide the low points within the site.
These inherent environmental features will shape future development at Ginninderra. Based on studies so far, we have already identified approximately 150 hectares of the land to be kept aside for ecological values and open space.
See more site features on the Draft Concept Plan below.