Approval by the ACT government for the current buffer zone area west of Belconnen to be rezoned for urban development ("Nod for 6500 new homes", July 23, p1) opens the way for urban development to extend across the border into NSW. Surrounded by the Murrumbidgee River gorge and the Ginninderra Creek gorge, this section of NSW is totally inaccessible from NSW.
While the proposed conservation area along the Murrumbidgee is quite wide in the ACT section, it is considerably narrower in the NSW section and even narrower along Ginninderra Creek. The reopening of Ginninderra Falls will be the greatest attraction but the defined conservation area around it is the smallest.
This unsolicited development proposal depends on the ACT government providing infrastructure for sewers, water and electricity, as well as various services to the NSW portion when it gets underway. A cross-border agreement is in preparation to cover the complexities involved in such provision and associated continuing responsibilities.
For the sake of Canberra ratepayers, it is to be hoped this cross-border agreement is comprehensive and watertight to avoid regular disputes with the Yass Valley Council. The NSW section will not go ahead without the agreement by the ACT Government to provide such services. Yet the ACT government refuses to discuss the NSW part of the proposal on the grounds that it is NSW land and, therefore, outside the ACT's responsibility. Surely the two sections must be considered as a whole.
Robyn Coghlan, Hawker
The Murrumbidgee forms an important wildlife habitat and corridor, and with Ginninderra Falls and Gorge has an unrealised potential for sensitive and low impact recreation and tourism. The Riverview development should leave more open space beside the Murrumbidgee and especially Ginninderra Creek, where houses are planned within 100m. I suggest at least a 500m reserve beside both streams, with houses far enough away that they are not visible to people walking along the river or creek.
Insufficient regard has been given to siltation ponds for urban runoff, the need for a fire management zone between corridor and houses, and the continuity of a wildlife corridor.
Dave Kelly, Aranda