Grasp the nettle

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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: JUNE 9 2017

Caroline Le Couteur's piece ("Best practice community consultation needed", CT, June 4, p19) is very pertinent to the current West Belconnen cross-border urban development.

As plans show housing coming very close to the Ginninderra Gorge and its two falls, an Assembly inquiry is urgently needed. In deputation, we have already asked for the planning committee to have an inquiry; Caroline Le Couteur is its chair and its four members include Suzanne Orr, Tara Cheyne, Nicole Lawder and James Milligan. The association's vision is to have a park centred around the falls and covering both sides of the Ginninderra and Murrumbidgee gorges, which lies on NSW territory.

The hearings therefore need to also invite submissions from Yass Valley councillors and NSW politicians, since they are soon to be voting on the "rural to urban" rezoning process.

Of course, decent housing setbacks and buffer zones are essential; as well as the cessation and restoration of an unsightly quarry close to the upper falls. Moreover, most of us are generally unaware that these falls were vital Aboriginal ceremonial locations. In ACT's past, public inquiries for new urban developments were always mandatory. It is high time now for the Assembly to grasp the nettle.

Dr Chris Watson, Ginninderra Falls Association president

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