Environment and Planning forum key activities report January 2016 - February 2016

SINGLE CONSERVATION AGENCY

Following the Ministerial reshuffle announced in January, Minister Gentleman was given the task to lead a project to create a single ACT conservation agency.

After considering a number of options, Minister Gentleman recommended that the best way to achieve a single conservation agency would be for ACT Parks and Conservation Service to merge with the Environment and Planning Directorate (EPD). The Chief Minister has agreed that this occur from 1 July 2016. While the new agency will be formed on this date, Minister Gentleman is now responsible for the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Staff in these agencies have been working closely together for several years now so this will only strengthen the ACT Government’s ability to deliver good environmental outcomes for our parks, reserves, softwood plantations and rural lands.

There will be no impact to our key stakeholders and the community groups that we work with. It is business as usual for all our programs and services.

DICKSON MIXED USE PROPOSAL (COLES SUPERMARKET)

A reconsideration application for the Dickson mixed use development (including Coles supermarket) on Block 21 Section 30 Dickson was received on 26 February 2016.  The revised application is currently open for public notification from 4 March 2016 until
1 April 2016.

An amendment application was also received simultaneously for the temporary car parking lot on Section 72 (north of the Dickson swimming pool), with a reduced number of car parking spaces to retain more trees.  The amendment application is also on public notification coinciding with the substantial application for the supermarket.

TUGGERANONG’S NEXT-GENERATION SUBURB

A new suburb could take shape between the Tuggeranong town centre and the Murrumbidgee River. 

There’s been strong demand for new property in Tuggeranong with a positive reception to the new Southquay development. The ACT Government is committed to continuing to provide more housing options close to the town centre. This will in turn breathe new life into Tuggeranong town centre stimulating urban renewal in the area.

The government will need to investigate this area further to determine its suitability for development and would, of course, ensure that any development protects the area’s high environmental and heritage values.

The land is in a prime location, next to shops, employment and services, so residents living here would be no more than one and a half kilometres from the town centre. This would be a great place to live with a choice of housing, unique recreational opportunities and better community facilities all close to the city’s main transit routes.

The government will discuss with stakeholders and local residents how best to gain their views, using best-practice community engagement methods to reach deep into Tuggeranong and the wider community.

DV346 RESIDENTIAL SOLAR ACCESS PROVISIONS

Comments are invited on Draft Variation 346 (DV346). DV346 proposes to simplify the solar access rules that control the extent to which shadows cast by development on one block impact a neighbouring block.

The proposed changes will better meet community and industry needs while ensuring adequate solar access for residential development, protecting the solar access of neighbouring blocks and encouraging the design of houses with good solar amenity.

The changes would apply to dwellings constructed on mid-size and compact blocks approved on or after 5 July 2013 and to all large blocks.

In order to protect the interface between new and existing homes in Coombs and Wright, the existing Coombs and Wright Precinct Maps and Codes will not be affected, but any new estates or sub-divisions in these suburbs would need to comply with the new provisions.

The draft variation was developed in consultation with industry and community representatives.

Written comments are invited until COB 7 April 2016.

STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT

Every four years, the State of the Environment report is released and is an important benchmark publication to check in on the local environment status. This year, the report was jointly launched at the Black Mountain Peninsula with the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Simon Corbell and the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Ann Lyons Wright. The report highlights the need to reduce our large ecological footprint and the pressures on the ecosystems that support us, as our most significant longer term challenges. The report also acknowledges the many progressive policies we have. The full report is available at www.envcomm.act.gov.au

DRAFT ACT CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGY

The public consultation period for the draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was opened by Minister Corbell on 22 February 2016. The consultation will run for a six week period until 3 April 2016.

There are several ways to get involved in the consultation process, including:

  • Completing the online questionnaire and leaving your feedback;
  • Registering and contributing to the on-line forum;
  • Sending a more detailed submission to the project team via the online link, or
  • Email: climatechange@act.gov.au
  • Post: Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Environment and Planning Directorate, PO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601
  • Call: Access Canberra on 13 22 81

Your feedback will be documented in a consultation report that will inform the final Adaptation Strategy. All comments will be made publicly available, excluding personal information, unless specifically requested by the author.

EASTERN QUOLLS IN CANBERRA

Over three days last week, Eastern Quolls were reintroduced to the ACT after being presumed extinct for over 50 years from mainland Australia. On the Tuesday evening at the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, Minister Fitzharris, the Threatened Species Commissioner and various researchers and interested parties from CSIRO, the ANU and ACT Government watched with delight as wild quolls from Tasmania were released with quolls from a breeding program in Victoria. The quolls are another key native animal to be introduced to the Sanctuary—and eventually the wider environment—to return our environment to some of its pre-European diversity.

SAPPHIRE WIND FARM

On Friday 4 March, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell announced the final successful proponent of the second round of the wind auction process. Sapphire Wind Farm in northern New South Wales, to be developed by CWP Renewables, will bring the total renewables contracted by the government to around 80%. The wind farm will be operated from headquarters here in the ACT, making Canberra a national hub for wind energy asset and operations management. The company will also contribute to significant research and innovation in Canberra.

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