Sometimes no matter how much we want something, real life just gets in the way. So it is with Ginninderra Falls, the beautiful bit of Kakadu right here in Canberra that has been closed for 10 years now despite everyone involved wishing it wasn’t.
In a recent RiotACT poll, 90% of you said you think Ginninderra Falls should be open to the public.
Local adventurer about town and supernatural investigator, Tim the Yowie Man wants it to be open to the public.
Landowners John and Anna Hyles have stated that they would like it to be open to the public again too, but in 2004 after three lawsuits by people injured on the site, insurance became unavailable or at least prohibitively expensive for the Hyles family to continue public access. Speaking to the Canberra Times, Anna Hyles said that the site could be made safe with upgrades such as walkways, rails and public facilities such as toilets but to get this kind of money requires the kind of funds only available to developers such as Riverview Group.
Recently, the Hyles family announced that they have been negotiating with developer Riverview Group to sell the beautiful 80ha of their property including the waterfall to form part of a residential development that will include magnificent park land, likely to take the form of a conservation area rather than formally recognised as National Park for the time being. Riverview Group spokesman David Maxwell told the Ginninderra Falls Association that 600 hectares of the rezoned land would be set aside for the conservation area, linking wildlife corridors from Molonglo River to the Murrumbidgee River and along Ginninderra Creek to Mulligans Flat. While the Ginninderra Falls Association would prefer to see a Murrumbidgee – Ginninderra Gorges National Park, the current proposal is a first step.
So we may now rejoice as a way has been found to re-open the falls! But there are many steps ahead.
The entire development needs to be approved. The ACT government are supportive and are beginning talks with the NSW government and Yass Valley Council. Early indications from NSW are positive but the wheels may spin slowly.
The first priority for the developers will be to get some houses built and sold, with the budget for completing the parkland set to come from the housing development.
The whole process could take up to a decade though, so start thinking about who you know that might like to live out there and make sure they are ready to move when the housing plan opens up!
(Photo by Justin White)