Page 200 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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government in 2013. Significant conservation gains occurred through the creation of new nature reserves and the provision of funding for land management, research and monitoring of threatened species such as the superb parrot, the regent honeyeater, the striped legless lizard, the golden sun moth and the threatened ecological communities of box gum woodland and potentially natural temperate grassland.

One of Gungahlin’s great benefits is its immediate access to nature reserves such as Mulligans Flat, a reserve enjoyed and used extensively not just by the residents of Gungahlin but by the whole Canberra community. What this means is that the extent of urban development in Gungahlin has been reduced, with significant environmental benefit, and the impacts of development are being appropriately managed, as well as training policies being updated accordingly.

The Environment and Planning Directorate is continuing to work to review policies to ensure that the territory plan and its codes can facilitate housing affordability, urban consolidation and sustainability.

In November 2010 a planning study was completed for the Gungahlin town centre. The outcomes of the planning study were then implemented, through territory plan variation 300, in 2011. The territory plan variation incorporated a suite of planning controls and changes that were recommended in the planning study to allow for mixed use development, much-needed employment opportunities and essential public infrastructure.

The town centre was originally designed with an urban village approach. This means that it provides a different shopping experience to other town centres in the ACT, with a cluster of six medium-sized retail blocks rather than a single, large shopping mall. This allows for more on-street retailing and a mix of dining and cafe options. Planning for the Gungahlin town centre recognised this as a significant point of difference to promote a more walkable and accessible town centre. The planning study was prepared at a time when almost half of the town centre land was developed or planned for development. It established a new street network and land use zoning with a strong focus on public transport and providing land for future employment opportunities.I am pleased to add that several key development outcomes have been realised since the planning study was completed. These include the Gungahlin enclosed oval and Gungahlin Leisure Centre, both of which have been very enthusiastically received by the Gungahlin community. Alongside this we have also seen the opening of the state-of-the-art facilities at Gungahlin College, which incorporate a very well used public library with community IT facilities. In addition to this, a new community healthcare facility has been opened and the valley ponds have been developed and completed.

The ACT government is supporting the economic viability of the Gungahlin town centre by developing a state-of-the-art office building. In addition to providing over 8,000 square metres of office space to accommodate 650 staff, the development will also include a 90-place childcare centre, retail and commercial units, a cafe, A-grade car parking and the first Access Canberra shopfront. Construction of the four-storey office building is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for occupation in April this year.

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