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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1692 ..

The Standing Committee on Planning and Environment recommended that report 5 on Stromlo be noted. The committee considered draft variation 244 at a number of meetings ranging from 1 February to 12 April 2005 and has recommended—after much consultation with members of the community, officials from the ACT Planning and Land Authority and other relevant stakeholders—that this variation be noted.

As members would be aware, the village at Stromlo was heavily affected by substantial and tragic devastation during the 2003 Canberra bushfires. Many of the residents have been eager to return to the area and, as such, the committee has recommended that DV244 be noted with some minor variations. In particular, the committee is of the view that the sustainability principle should take precedence over heritage considerations, and supports the rebuilding of the Stromlo settlement and most of the general and detailed planning principles specified in the draft variation.

It is also recommended that the ACT Heritage Council consider the costs of, and benefits of, relocating a few significant examples of the Stromlo heritage items to the site of the ACT government bushfire memorial or the proposed new international arboretum site.

The draft variation aims to create a world-class example of sustainability in the rebuilding of the Stromlo settlement. To do this, the draft variation has included a recommendation that independent advice be sought in relation to the solar aspects, optimum block size, shape and layout and sustainable infrastructure for the settlement. Draft variation 244 proposes to have residential block sizes that range from 1,000 square metres to 2,500 square metres. The committee notes that 2,500 square metres is considerably larger than the block size that existed previously on the settlement.

The low density of the rural settlement is also to be retained and further subdivisions will not be permitted. Draft variation 244 has also included as a general planning principle for the Stromlo settlement that the block subdivision should ensure that the solar advantage and aspect is maximised and guided by the ACT energy guidelines 1993. During consultations with the Stromlo Observatory, including with Mr Mike Bessel, astronomer, it was discussed how lighting would impact on the further functioning of the observatory.

Taking this into consideration, the committee invites the ACT Planning and Land Authority and the Chief Minister’s Department to consider the recommendations of the report on outdoor lighting in the ACT by a former planning and environment committee of the Assembly, and the dark sky policy adopted by the Currumbin ecovillage on the Gold Coast, Queensland, to determine whether similar requirements would be appropriate for the Stromlo settlement.

The committee has also recommended that all short-listed developers and builders liaise with the Chief Minister’s Department and the Land Development Agency, also with the Australian government’s Department of Environment and Heritage, as to whether some or all of the houses at Stromlo should be fitted with photovoltaic systems and have access to the Australian government’s rebate program.

In the past, the Stromlo settlement has been a close-knit community and, with the devastation of the 2003 bushfires, the community has remained close. The

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