Residential development along Canberra’s western edge explored

Preliminary environmental and planning studies into potential sites for new residential development along the western edge of Canberra were released today.

The work, which has been underway since 2020, is part of the ACT Government’s ongoing commitment to housing options for Canberrans.

The research provides initial insights on air quality, site contamination, cultural heritage, bushfire risk, ecological and environmental factors, and the wide range of other limitations and opportunities across the 9,800 hectare area.

The area, known as the ‘western edge’ is bordered by the Murrumbidgee River and Belconnen, Molonglo Valley, Weston Creek and Kambah.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said the ACT Government’s focus is on sustainable urban growth.

“Our aim is for 70 per cent of new housing to be developed within our existing urban area and 30 per cent on greenfield sites, like those along the western edge of Canberra,” Minister Gentleman said.

“Sustainable growth depends on the careful balancing of our need for more homes with environment, heritage, planning, transport and infrastructure considerations.

“Our commitment to a compact, accessible, liveable Canberra means our new suburbs will need good access to town centres, jobs and public transport, as well as the potential for social infrastructure such as schools, shops, and community facilities.

“Environmental factors, such as protecting biodiversity, mitigating the risk of bushfires, storms and other natural risks, and minimising emissions are also key drivers in decision-making,” Minister Gentleman said.

“Identifying new areas for development takes careful planning, these studies are the first step in a significant process.

“To make sure any potential risk of harm to people, animals or the environment can be effectively managed on a greenfield site, longitudinal research is needed. For example, changes in flora and fauna activity or waterflows need to be monitored across different seasons and then verified in comparison to previous years.

“Research into the potential for residential development in the western edge area will still take some time yet. This needs to happen before any decision can be made about where development might be feasible or what that development would look like. Nonetheless, these studies are an important step forward in planning and preparing housing options for Canberrans.

“The ACT Government will continue its investigations into other sites for potential future land release around the Territory,” Minister Gentleman said.

To see the western edge planning studies visit the EPSDD website.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.