Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Mr Andrew Smith
National Capital Plan
National Capital Authority
GPO Box 373
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr Smith
Draft Development Control Plan No. 10/07, Block 799 Gungahlin
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 more than 200 members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
In reading this draft Development Control Plan (DCP), we were disappointed to find no mention of the Natural Temperate Grassland (NTG) site that lies between Wells Station Road and block 788. NTG is listed as an endangered ecological community in the ACT. While this site is very small (and half lies on the other side of Wells Station Road), it is an NTG site in conservation category 3. The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (the CSE) noted in her Report on ACT Lowland Native Grassland Investigation that the site (GU07 in her report) has deteriorated and is threatened by weeds. However, that is no reason to completely ignore the conservation values of the site.
In reading the DCP, we noted (on page 6) that there would be no vehicle access to the block from the Federal Highway, and that access to the block will be from Wells Station Road only. In other words, access will be through the NTG site. In addition, any development activity on the site will inevitably have a significant impact on the remaining NTG on the nature strip during the construction phase.
To date the site appears to have been allowed to deteriorate due to a lack of management (the CSE reports that there is no management plan for the site), to the point where its conservation values are at risk. Now it is being completely ignored (again) in this DCP. FOG’s view is that the potential impact of any development in this area on the NTG site needs to be included in the development proposal, and a conscious decision about the site’s long term viability and future be made.
If a decision is made to develop this area (with consequential destruction of the NTG site GU07), then this needs to be acknowledged and suitable environmental offsets need to be provided elsewhere in the Gungahlin/Belconnen area.
5 November 2010