A parcel of unused Territory land next to the Australian National University near Parkes Way has been earmarked for a new combined ACT Ambulance and Fire & Rescue Station for the city.
The National Capital Authority has opened consultation on Draft Amendment 92 to change the land use from ‘Uncommitted land’ to ‘Community Facility’, at the ANU’s request so it can build student accommodation on a block it already leases and this neighbouring piece of land, Block 1 Section 86 Acton.
But the NCA says ACT Government’s Emergency Services Agency (ESA) has also been scoping the land for a new city station, and it is proposed that the ANU Precinct Code be changed to permit a Community Protection Facility on the site.
The site is bounded by Parkes Way to the south, Clunies Ross Street to the west and Sullivans Creek to the east. The Australian National Botanic Gardens and Black Mountain are to the north and west of the site, and Lake Burley Griffin to the south.
The ACT Government confirmed that it is investigating a block of land adjacent to the ANU on Clunies Ross street and that ESA is undertaking due diligence on the location for a new city station.
A spokesperson said that as part of the 2019-20 ACT Budget, the Government committed $483,000 for due diligence and preliminary design for the new combined ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Fire & Rescue station in the city.
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According to the Budget papers, the Government is also investigating a new station for the Molonglo Valley, with a total allocation of $939,000.
“These combined new stations will support our emergency services to keep Canberrans safe in our fast-growing suburbs and ensure our emergency response times remain among the best in Australia no matter where people live across our city,” the Budget papers say.
A decision on the Clunies Ross Street site is likely later in the year. A feasibility study into a city ambulance and fire station was launched in 2017 with the belief that it would improve response times.
There are no buildings or structures on the site and existing mapping and databases does not indicate the presence of any significant plants, animals, or vegetation communities. Nor is the site listed on the National or Commonwealth Heritage Lists, or the ACT Heritage Register.
Block 1 Section 86 Acton is identified as uncommitted land under the ANU Precinct Code of the National Capital Plan and is one of a number of parcels of land in the Central National Area that was identified as uncommitted at the inception of the Plan in 1990. The intention was to vary the land use once its intended purpose was determined.
The NCA says the ACT Government and ANU are in talks to enable the development of the student accommodation across the two blocks.