Page 825 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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In 2014 parts of Jarramlee Nature Reserve were forced to close due to the detection of severe and ongoing ground subsidence issues. This was associated with poor backfilling practices during the decommissioning of the west Belconnen sewage treatment facility in the 1990s. Restoration works commenced in 2022 to remediate and restore the area using best practice native grassland rehabilitation methods. The first task was to remove the tonnes of debris and material that was left on the site, to prevent the subsidence issues and ensure that the material did not become an unwanted legacy for future generations.

A naturalised swale structure was created to seamlessly blend with the natural topography of the area and direct water flows down Ginninderra Creek. Then the disturbed three-hectare area was further restored with native species to enhance biodiversity values, including additional habitat for the golden sun moth. Over 25,000 native tube stock plants have also been established in the area and 130 kilos of native seed has been used to restore grassland for the golden sun moth.

In collaboration with Transport Canberra and City Services, a new public space was established as part of these works to showcase the rich ecological and cultural significance of the Jarramlee area, particularly the important connection for Ngunnawal people. I am pleased to advise that these restoration efforts have now been completed and are open for community access. Jarramlee will once again protect and conserve places that are significant to Ngunnawal people, as has been the traditional way for tens of thousands of years.

Being on the doorstep of the suburb of west MacGregor, Jarramlee is a perfect location to share Ngunnawal culture and tradition with the growing Canberra community. Ngunnawal culture and connection to country not only needs to be celebrated in iconic places like Namadgi National Park but should also be celebrated in the urban area. The restoration works at Jarramlee have provided opportunities for Ngunnawal people. The cultural importance of grassland habitat is expressed through a series of artwork designs which are incorporated into the landscape plan. These designs were produced by sisters Kristal and Jazz Matthews of Wilay Designs, a Ngunnawal business that creates original works inspired by their Ngunnawal culture and family.

As with any project of this nature, the completion of construction works is by no means the end of the project. The ACT government has a long-term commitment to continue monitoring and reporting on the environmental benefits of remediation of the contaminated site and the success of the habitat restoration actions.

Jarramlee is a fine example of what can be achieved through collaboration between government agencies, the private sector and the community. The final result is testament to the spirit of cooperation and willingness to go beyond business as usual that all those involved brought to the project. It provides many layers of benefits and meaning, from the habitat for endangered species, showcasing and interpretation of Ngunnawal culture, an opportunity for the community to connect with nature, improved management of our precious water resources and a showcase for what collaboration, considered planning and thoughtful and skilled implementation can achieve for our city and community.

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