16 July 2023

Last Coombs community-zoned land released for sale

| Ian Bushnell
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Aerial view of Coombs land

An aerial view of the community facilities zoned land in Coombs released for sale. Photo: SLA.

The Suburban Land Agency has released the final community facility (CF) zoned site in the Molonglo Valley suburb of Coombs for sale by tender.

The 5118 sqm site (Block 10 Section 17) is set in a picturesque pond-side location next to Charles Weston School on Madgwick Street and a short stroll to the Molonglo River.

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It is adjacent to the future Residential Treatment Centre for eating disorders, which has ruled out some uses for the site such as as a childcare centre, cultural facility or place of worship despite community support for the latter two.

Allowable uses for the land include a facility associated with a religious organisation, residential care accommodation, retirement village, supportive housing, a business agency, health facility, office and public agency.

Community feedback also showed support for a community centre and health facility.

The SLA said participants showed a strong preference for services and facilities that had a community focus and multiuse options for different groups.

But the site presented a number of challenges in accommodating high-impact community uses, being nestled within a low-density residential environment, and a residential health facility next door.

Uses that generated higher than average noise levels or significant traffic were considered incompatible, and more appropriately located in the future Molonglo Group Centre.

The post consultation analysis also considered the current and future availability of community facilities in the Coombs and Wright area.

In addition to the already operating Stromlo Cottage, Coombs Health Hub Activity Centre, and the Denman Village Community Centre, the SLA is preparing a design for a Community Activity Centre in the future Coombs and Wright Village, and a private developer has submitted a development application for a Community Activity Centre in Diesendorfer Street in Wright.

Retaining the site as parkland was also ruled out, given the limited supply of zoned community facility land in Coombs and Wright and the many existing local parks and green belts in and nearby to Coombs including the Ruth Park playground, Molonglo River Reserve and Mount Stromlo recreation reserve.

Molonglo Valley Community Forum chair Ryan Hemsley said the forum was hoping the tender process produced a high-quality outcome.

“The usual method of selling community sites at auction hasn’t worked particularly well, and a successful community precinct in the Molonglo Valley is long overdue,” he said.

“Whatever ends up being built on this site, we hope it provides residents with new and exciting opportunities to spend time in, and connect with, their local community.”

The SLA said the purchaser could determine the type of development on the site within the uses described in the lease.

If community housing was proposed, the number of dwellings would need to be consistent with the planning rules.

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The SLA is also looking for a developer committed to sustainability for the all-electric block including electric vehicle charging facilities and rooftop solar, and adhering to the 30 per cent tree canopy provision of the ACT Living Infrastructure policy.

It would have communal spaces and landscaping that fosters connection, the SLA said.

The tender closes on 22 August. Ray White Commercial is marketing the property.

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