Letters / Jewel in the crown

IT’S not only the ACT government playing the role of “poacher and gamekeeper” for the “Ginninderry urban development” (CN, December 20) but it also applies to those cross-border entities, the Yass Valley Council and NSW government.

The Ginninderra Gorge and its Falls are in NSW and await proper recognition from local jurisdictions; the whole area including the adjacent Murrumbidgee Gorge, must be set aside as a national park for the fast-growing population of ACT and region; it is a place of unique beauty, unique (and endangered) flora and fauna, as well as providing vital recreational and tourist needs.

Moreover, the area includes numerous Aboriginal heritage sites, eg the Upper Ginninderra Falls is the classified ceremonial area. Sadly, quarrying continues alongside, together with proposals for urban subdivision!

It is time, indeed, for both the ACT and NSW governments to organise funding and legislation for a national park, covering both sides of these two grand gorges and their waterfalls. They must certainly say “NO” to the current push for the area’s rural urban rezoning in one of ACT/NSW’s bushfire-prone locations.

Dr Chris Watson, Latham

Everyone should have a say

COLUMNISTS Paul Costigan and Michael Moore (CN, December 13) both opine about how planning (for a city of the future we want to live in) is not being delivered by our current planning system and government. The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy has been hearing the same thing for over two years now.

How to “change the culture” (Costigan) and develop a “change in approach” (Moore) we think can be achieved by institutionalising more robust ways to bring citizen experience and knowledge into the planning process.

One element of this is to expand the resources for and build the capacity of the Community Councils and Residents’ Associations who could be one avenue for this input.

Citizen consultations without predetermined outcomes and adequately facilitated and resourced is another. There are more.

The point is that we all live here and so we all should be able to have a say in what this place is going to be like for the next century.

Peter Tait, Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy


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