Page 4599 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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report in July this year. The committee discussed the draft variation to territory plan No 165 at meetings held in July, September, October and November this year.

The committee, the ACT Planning and Land Authority and the government are all committed to the need for open space areas in and around the city. ACTPLA has identified and assessed open spaces in the territory plan. These spaces are a treasured aspect of the ACT landscape. Open spaces in the ACT can be seen in many forms. Some of the words I will include have been taken from the submissions of key stakeholders.

Open spaces form a key element of our bush capital and garden city, making Canberra a capital city like no other. They provide breathing space for the spirit; they are beloved by residents and envied by visitors; they meet important community needs in a physical and aesthetic sense; they provide places for health promotion and linear recreational activities such as running, cycling and horse riding; they allow for the planting of large shade trees, which add a sense of permanency and security; they absorb pollutants and increase oxygen levels; and they provide opportunities for community involvement in management, encouraged by a sense of ownership. Those are just a few examples of the ways in which the submissions supported this draft variation to the territory plan.

The aim of this variation is to determine whether sites should become part of a designated open space network with full statutory protection; whether they should be given enhanced protection because of their public space values; or whether the existing land use policy should be retained. The committee received five submissions in total during the consultation period into DV 165 but there were also a number of relevant submissions received for DV 231. Some of the concerns raised were in relation to the suggestion by the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Rosemary Purdie, that there is a need for policy development in relation to the urban forest of the future, to provide explicit objectives regarding the nature of the urban forest, to be achieved through deliberate tree plantings—native or exotic—in new suburbs.

In keeping with the objectives raised through the submissions, the committee has made only a couple of recommendations. The committee recommends that the ACT Planning and Land Authority review open space and landscaping requirements applicable to the commercial land use policy in the territory plan as part of the planning system reform process. The final recommendation by the committee is that ACTPLA review the land use policies applicable to Percival Hill in Nicholls, Stirling Park in Yarralumla and section 51 in Aranda. The committee would like the various apparent anomalies to be reviewed. If they were to be incorporated into the Canberra Nature Park as hills, ridges and buffers with a Pc overlay, which is a nature reserve overlay, that in turn would mean that those areas would be better protected. Still in relation to the final recommendation, we are also of the opinion that all—not just part—of blocks 33 and 34 of section 78 in Griffith be designated urban open space, as it is a much loved children’s playground and has a significant number of mature trees.

In the final part of the recommendation we request that block 42 section 78 in Griffith also be designated urban open space or, if not, that the area to be designated be better clarified. As committee chair, I would like to thank all those involved in the consultation process and, in particular, the committee office and the committee secretary, Hanna Jaireth.

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