2 July 2020

Gold Creek Homestead site on market again, with heritage protections

| Ian Bushnell
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The Gold Creek Homestead site

The Gold Creek Homestead site: important links to the past and significant green space. Photo: Suburban Land Agency.

The Gold Creek Homestead site is up for sale again, but this time its heritage value will be protected through a precinct development brief put together by a community panel, including the Gungahlin Community Council.

The Suburban Land Agency last tried to sell the 4.775-hectare site in 2018 but without any conditions, and a campaign by the GCC and the National Trust forced it off the market.

The SLA pitched the community-zoned Block 109 Section 23 in Ngunnawal as suited to a retirement home or other community uses, with the site able to support 160 residential care beds and up to 30 supportive dwellings.

But the GCC and the National Trust feared for the homestead and surrounds which, although not heritage-listed, were considered a significant link to the area’s past and valuable green space.

The Community Facility zoning provides for a mix of health and community uses such as aged care living, a retirement village, supportive housing, health facilities, education facilities, a community activity centre, cultural facilities, childcare and other complementary uses, or a mix of different uses.

The SLA is asking for innovative concept designs and development proposals in response to the Precinct Development Brief, and all tender proposals will be assessed against the community’s brief and other criteria.

Minimum requirements will apply to the redevelopment of the site, such as a minimum of 5 Green Star Communities Rating, 30 per cent tree canopy cover and 30 per cent permeable surface cover, and a public footpath and cycle link through the site to better connect the local community to the precinct.

Proposals must respect the historic nature of the site and establish a benchmark community precinct.

The SLA offers three possibilities: an arts, education and cultural hub; intergenerational community hub for residential aged care; or a health, sports and recreation precinct.

The Gold Creek Homestead site

The Gold Creek Homestead site was a former sheep station. Photo: File.

It says the site, anchored by historic buildings and loved by the local community and surrounded by open space, is well-positioned to become a new creative community hub where the former glory of the homestead is celebrated in events, courses, programming, markets, accommodation, offices and arts.

The site’s location and prominence in the community also make it a great proposition for a benchmark aged care precinct in an area lacking such facilities, the SLA says.

On the third option, the SLA says the Gungahlin district has developed at such a rate that social infrastructure and services have struggled to keep up, and Gold Creek Homestead could be home to a new health precinct with a hospital, ancillary services, emergency, childcare as well as indoor and outdoor recreation facilities.

”The existing buildings would anchor this precinct with a distinct character and sense of place,” it says.

The Precinct Development Brief says, among a long list of requirements, that a development must retain and repurpose the stone cottage, kitchen and slab hut, and as much as possible, the original landscape elements including the stone seat, windmill, and stone pond located in the grove of trees to the rear of the house.

The rural character must be maintained and significant trees retained, and it must also maintain community connection to the site and encourage public use of some of the facilities and invite public participation in activities.

New buildings must be sympathetic to the landscape, minimise the visual impact and retain views.

The name for the future development should reflect the site’s cultural heritage, including using the names Gold Creek or Gold Creek Homestead. The tender closes on 10 September 2020.

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