While the ACT side of the long awaited West Belconnen and Parkwood development powers along, the NSW side seems to be lagging.
On Friday, July 22, the ACT Minister for Planning Mick Gentleman officially gave his tick of approval for 6500 new dwellings in the West Belconnen division.
Three days later, the suburb names of this new division were announced as well.
The two suburbs will be dubbed Macnamara and Strathnairn, named after an innovative medical scientist and a local, historic homestead.
But over in NSW’s Parkwood, the area hasn’t even been rezoned yet.
The Riverview Group are the developers behind the venture and according to their group managing director, David Maxwell, they lodged their NSW rezoning application back in June 2014.
The NSW Department of Planning has issued the proposed development with a ‘Gateway Determination’ which means the project has potential, but needs to be reviewed.
The developers review was completed in March this year, but Mr Maxwell said they need to consider three additional areas.
“First, there’s an element of environmental work as it relates to the Rosenberg monitor [an endangered species], then there is cultural heritage work in relation to indigenous occupation of the land or use of the land.
“Finally we just need to finalise the flood study along Ginninderra Creek,” he said.
Mr Maxwell estimates this work will be finalised in October this year.
After that there will be a period of community consultation.
“You’d then expect it to go out on formal exhibition for community consultation and comment sometime in the first quarter of next year and then you would be looking for the NSW planning minister to make a determination on the rezoning towards the end of 2017,” said Mr Maxwell.
Yass Valley Council strategic planning manager, Liz Makin, said the ACT side of the development has been much more straightforward.
“The ACT side is also a joint land development venture between Riverview Projects and the ACT government, which is not the case in NSW.
“The NSW land remains in private ownership,” she said.
“The ACT side was always going to be developed first – the infrastructure required on the NSW side needs to come from the ACT – and that needs to be built yet.
Ms Makin said the other critical difference for the NSW side was Ginninderra Falls.
“We have to ensure that we have a framework in place that protects the sensitive environment of the falls while also allowing the falls to be publicly accessible once again,” she said.
This delay may be for the best as there are several community groups who are unhappy with aspects of the development.