Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 360..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
A letter from Mr Smyth to me in July 1999 was very instructive and is very important to this motion today. Mr Smyth explained that the boundary between the residential land use policy part of the defined land and the hills, ridges and buffer area on Percival Hill was only an indicative boundary and that the detailed boundary would be determined at the implementation stage. He said:
It was always recognised that there would need to be adjustment of the boundary following more detailed planning.
He also made a statement which is critical to this motion today when he said:
The variation to the Territory Plan (that is, when the area became defined land) requires the remnant woodland community on the western face of Percival Hill to be retained. The high ecological value of these trees is recognised and trees will be retained as a significant component of the planned open space system.
Despite Mr Smyth's fine words, the developer, which remember is a joint venture with the government, has proceeded to prepare plans for 15 town houses in the last intact remnant woodland at the southern end of Percival Hill and to have these town houses connected to the existing street network by a new road that was not originally intended to be built through the woodland. This area was supposed to be joined to the roads in the other direction near the National Dinosaur Museum over land that was cleared years ago.
I understand that PALM maintain that no development application has been lodged for these town houses, which is odd, given that the area has already been pegged out by the developer. In fact, the developer has already built the connection point for the access road in Schow Place. This was done when this area was built at a previous stage. Perhaps the development company is just assuming that they will get approval as they did for the rest of Harcourt Hill.
The whole development of Harcourt Hill has been quite destructive of the native trees in the area in which it has been allowed to occur under the cover of the defined land provisions of the Territory Plan. First, there was the bulldozing of the trees on the side of Percival Hill. Since then, as each new stage of the subdivision has been built, further remnant native trees have been removed.
The original layout of the subdivision has been changed markedly from the original plan variation without any public review. It is true that the government required the open space on what is called Temperley Ridge in the middle of the estate to be expanded, but I doubt whether this would have happened if there had not been a public outcry about the destruction of the trees on other parts of the estate.
The expansion of the Temperley Ridge open space does, however, show that it is possible for the government to alter the subdivision plans and not do just what the developer wants. I also understand that the government stopped residential development on a strip of land next to the second hole at the northern end of the estate on the grounds that it was too close to the fairway.