A 160-hectare nature reserve will be carved out of the new Gungahlin suburb of Kenny, the 39th in the Canberra Nature Park network.
The ACT Government has released Draft Variation 379 to the Territory Plan, to change the zoning of Gungahlin rural block 820 and part of the Old Well Station Road to create the Nature Reserve, which will protect native ecosystems and serve as an environmental offset.
The 2013 Gungahlin Strategic Assessment required the creation of the Nature Reserve from the south-western part of the suburb of Kenny in recognition of significant box gum woodland and the habitat of the striped legless lizard.
The new park will avoid a potentially significant impact to the striped legless lizard, and retain 90 per cent of Kenny’s box gum woodland and the majority of the 300 large, old trees.
The Conservator of Flora and Fauna said surveys in 2012 found the adjoining Block 739 supported a moderate to high-density population of Striped Legless Lizards and consideration should be given to extending the nature reserve overlay to this block and blocks 655, 821 and 822 to further protect the species.
The Conservator also urged that the reserve be given a Ngunnawal name.
The Heritage Council said the establishment of the Nature Reserve would mean heritage places and objects within the subject area would be conserved.
It said that to ensure that these not be damaged the Well Station Road alignment should be maintained in its historic form, as an open dirt track, and that any works within the Nature Reserve should require a Cultural Heritage Assessment.
Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said the changes would give residents in Kenny access to a reserve right on their doorsteps.
“We know Canberrans really value being close to green spaces and we are delivering on our commitment to growing the Canberra Nature Park,” he said.
“The reserve will also act as an environmental offset to protect endangered species and enable work to begin on the suburb of Kenny. Offsets like these help us balance the impact of urban development on our wildlife.”
Member for Yerrabi Suzanne Orr said this would be the second nature reserve created in the Gungahlin region this year, after adding the Franklins Grasslands.
“There is a lot of love for our iconic Canberra Nature Park and I know protecting the environment is very important to Canberrans, especially as more threatened species are impacted by climate change,” Ms Orr said.
“I look forward to hearing feedback from the community on this newest nature reserve. We are seeing Canberrans embrace our precious and unique ecosystems as we open more of them up to the community.
“Just nearby in Franklin we’ve seen the formation of a parkcare group, clean up days, open days and enthusiastic feedback on the draft landscape plan. I am sure the new reserve in Kenny will be welcomed with the same enthusiasm.”
The reserve will be managed by Parks and Conservation.
DV 379 will rezone the area from a range of existing urban zonings to the Non Urban NUZ3 Hills Ridges and Buffers Zone, and will replace the Future Urban Area Overlay with a Nature Reserve Public Land Overlay on the Territory Plan Map.
It is now open for community consultation and can be viewed on the planning website.