25 July 2016: Clare Sibthorpe
The first suburbs for the West Belconnen and Parkwood development will be named Macnamara and Strathnairn, after a pioneering medical scientist and a historic local homestead.
The development, which achieved rezoning on Friday, is a joint venture between the ACT government and Riverview Developments and will see close to 6500 homes plus a 360-hectare nature reserve.
The area is adjacent to Holt and West Macgregor, next to the West Belconnen tip and extending close to Ginninderra Falls. The development will also include retail and community infrastructure.
ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry said Strathnairn was named after a historical homestead that sits in the first stage of the development. It has been used as a community arts facility since 1977 and provides working spaces for artists, crafts people and community groups.
The property was part of a land grant to 19th century explorer Captain Charles Sturt and was a grazing property in the 1920s. It became known as Strathnairn in 1934 when it was given to Ian Hamilton Baird, whose family farmed the property for 40 years.
Macnamara is named after medical pioneer Dame Jean Macnamara, who contributed to the development of a polio vaccine, Ms Berry said.
Dame Macnamara cared for children suffering from polio and trained doctors in the management of the disease as honorary medical officer in the physiotherapy department of the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne from 1927 to 1959.
Land sales for stage one of the Strathnairn development are expected to begin early 2017, with two more suburbs set to be announced - one in the ACT and one in NSW immediately adjacent to the territory's border.
The dwellings in NSW would be built over the next 30 to 40 years and would include a second 220-hectare conservation corridor, bringing the total number of homes to 11,500.
Last week, the Ginninderra Falls Association Committee reiterated concerns about the protection of the Ginninderra Gorge and Ginninderra Falls, with set-backs reaching within 100 metres from the upper falls area.
Ms Berry said the Riverview Group had consulted with the community thoroughly and was taking on board any concerns.
"This is a conversation that has been happening in West Belconnen for about eight years, and there has been a lot of work in making sure the community gets a say in how this development moves forward," Ms Berry said.
"Most importantly this development will have an environmental and cultural conservation trust to make sure that the river corridor and some of the environmental and cultural issues around here are managed properly as part of this development and that has been very important for the West Belconnen community."
Ms Berry said the development would help alleviate the issue of housing affordability in the ACT.