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Ginninderra Falls should open soon if nearby land rezoned for development, says owner

Jasper Lindell, Hannah Sparks

Canberra Times 22 June 2019

The owner of the long-closed Ginninderra Falls says she is "busting" to get the site open again and a time frame proposed by the developers of the Ginninderry project could be too slow.

Landowner Anna Hyles said she was open to negotiating with Riverview Projects on a sale or lease of the site if the Yass Valley Council decides to rezone nearby land for residential development.

 Sitthixay DitthavongThe owner of Ginninderra Falls is 'busting' to see the site reopened. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Mrs Hyles said she would look at plans for opening the falls sooner than proposed by the developer if Riverview's time frame is too long.

"We're dealing with a lot of trespassing issues and we are hoping that by having a rezoning that we can move forward with a plan for that area," she said.

Mrs Hyles said she felt public pressure to open the "beautiful site" and it should not take up to a decade to make it publicly accessible if the nearby land was rezoned for residential development.

"Once the final decision is made, assuming the current masterplan is accepted in its entire form, the result will be fantastic and I'd like to see [the developers] move forward with a plan for the falls far quicker," she said.

Riverview Projects would seek to fund the reopening of the falls in five to 10 years as a recreational and educational destination if the area is rezoned for the Ginninderry development. 

The falls have been closed to the public since 2004, following public liability concerns.

The developer has been consulting with the Ginninderry Aboriginal Advisory Group on sites near the falls with cultural significance that should be restricted from public access.

Riverview conservation adviser Jason Cummings said the group was part of discussions to identify locations for designated swimming spots, walking trails and lookouts.

 Rohan Thomson
Riverview projects conservation adviser Jason Cummings, pictured at the falls in 2017. Picture: Rohan Thomson

Dr Cummings said in terms of biodiversity, the falls were in good condition but the site needed infrastructure to make it publicly accessible.

The falls sit within an environmental conservation zone but an area of land adjacent to the conservation corridor has been proposed as a special activities zone, which could allow a tourism centre, restaurant and cafes.

"There would be a development application for any sort of facilities in that proximity to the water way. The Yass Valley Council would have another chance to say no," Dr Cummings said.

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