Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614


Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate


Dear Sir/Madam

Reference: Draft Integrated Plan for Red Hill Nature Reserve and Surrounds, November 2019

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia, included related fauna species. 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 welcomes the draft Integrated Plan for the Red Hill Nature Reserve and its surrounds, believing that the plan sets out, with some reservations expressed below, the information required on which to make the decisions about future developments in the area covered by the plan. The maps provided are most helpful. FOG is also pleased with the consultation that has taken place to arrive at this point, including the sessions held to discuss the draft plan and the series of meeting held prior to the Legislative Assembly resolution. FOG supports many of the recommendations expressed in the plan. Our submission focuses largely on ecological issues and hence the absence on comments on some matters discussed in the plan, beyond our competence, should not be seen as endorsement.

General comments

FOG acknowledges that the Federal Golf Club’s survival is predicated upon it finding an efficient and economical watering system, which is beyond its current resources. FOG acknowledges that the proposed club-retirement village partnership, to include a retirement village with a maximum 125 units on the current golf course, provides the club with an ideal solution. The proposal is likely to provide a pleasant residential village for its residents consistent with a good environmental outcome - the proposer has indicated that landscaping would extend and enhance the surrounding ecological values. Should the proposal not go ahead, the Golf Club might be forced to close its doors or seek a less favourable partner. Should the club close, the area occupied by the golf course could be returned to its former woodland structure, an outcome which FOG would support. However, the broader community might find this an unacceptable option.

While what is proposed is likely a good outcome for both the club and the proponent, the proposal is at the cost to existing ecological assets, especially as the proposal requires constructing an additional road via Kitchener Street. FOG considers that answers to the following issues should be addressed:

Ecological values within and around Red Hill Nature Reserve and links to other areas

FOG supports proposals in the plan to protect the ecological values within and surrounding the Red Hill Nature Reserve as well as formalising existing links and corridors to other open space areas. In particular, it supports:

Capping of the old Deakin tip

FOG supports the proposal to cap the old Deakin tip and to seed the surface with native grasses. Concerns about asbestos and possibly contamination are issues that obviously need to be considered.

Rezoning of Deakin Section 66 from the Territory Plan

FOG strongly supports the proposal that the vacant land behind the Deakin Offices and Telstra exchange should be rezoned in recognition of its ecological values and the opportunity taken to remove contamination. It also supports undertaking the remedial work with that taken in relation to the capping of the Deakin Tip. However, FOG queries why the land should be formalised as open space buffer rather than included in Canberra Nature Park.

Yours sincerely


Geoff Robertson
30 December 2019