Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
National Capital Authority
GPO Box 373
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr Smith
Draft Development Control Plan 15/04 - Amtech Estate
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
FOG has responded to earlier referrals and calls for public comment concerning the Amtech site, e.g. EPBC referrals 2014/7327 and 2012/6320. The site contains an area of endangered Natural Temperate Grassland (NTG), and also populations of the endangered Striped Legless Lizard (Delmar impar) and Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana).
FOG supports a number of the provisions in DCP 15/04, in particular those that protect the endangered NTG and fauna on the site. FOG acknowledges and is strongly in support of paragraph 9.7. It also supports the native landscape treatment proposed along the Canberra Avenue and Monaro Highway frontages.
FOG notes that the DCP has specified maximum building heights for any development (paragraphs 4.1 and 4.2) and has specified that the buildings adjoining the NTG area are limited to RL590. It is in support of these provisions, due to the potential negative impact of tall buildings on the NTG area.
FOG has one concern about the current wording of the DCP, in relation to the Landscape Design section. In paragraph 9.1, mention is made of “deciduous trees in a managed lawn setting” for the ‘Estate entrance landscape feature’. FOG is aware that some deciduous trees can spread easily and become weeds in nearby natural areas, e.g. Chinese Pistachio.
Another concern relates to the “native tree groups” shown in Figure 5 along the edge of the NTG area (i.e. along Canberra Avenue and the corner with Hindmarsh Drive). It is important that the species selected for these plantings are compatible with the conservation values of the NTG area. For instance, a dense planting of additional non-local tall trees would not, in FOG’s view, meet this criterion, as more of the Golden Sun Moth habitat would be shaded (particularly in winter) and some native species have the potential to become weeds (Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) being an example).
The Design Standards for Urban Infrastructure on the TAMS website (at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/roads-transport/Development_Approval_and_Applications/development_applications/design_standards_for_urban_infrastructure - note that this standard is currently under review) provide a list of suitable species for the ‘Estate entrance landscape feature’. With regard to the plantings immediately adjoining the NTG area, a similar issue has arisen in the Molonglo development – FOG is aware that a list of suitable plants for such areas has been developed and should be able to be obtained from the ACT Government.
8 June 2015