The National Capital Authority (NCA ) is established under the Australian Capital Territory(Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 (the Act). The current National Capital Plan (the Plan) came into effect on 21 January 1990. In accordance with the Act, the NCA is required to keep the Plan under constant review and to propose amendments to it where necessary. The object of the Plan is 'to ensure Canberra and the Territory are planned and developed in accordance with their national significance.' The Plan identifies matters of national significance in the planning and development of Canberra and the Territory. These are:
- The pre-eminence of the role of Canberra and the Territory as the National Capital.
- Preservation and enhancement of the landscape features which give the National Capital its character and setting.
- Respect for the key elements of Walter Burley Griffin's formally adopted plan for Canberra.
- Creation, preservation and enhancement of fitting sites, approaches and backdrops for national institutions and ceremonies as well as National Capital uses.
- The development of a city which both respects the environmental values and reflects national concerns with sustainability of Australia's urban areas.
Within the framework of this legislative object or goal, key objectives of the Plan are to:
- Recognise the pre-eminence of the role of Canberra and the Territory as Australia's National Capital.
- Further develop and enhance the Central National Area which includes the Parliamentary Zone and its setting and the main diplomatic sites and national institutions, as the heart of the National Capital.
- Emphasise the national significance of the main avenues and approach routes.
- Respect the geometry and intent of Walter Burley Griffin's formally adopted plan for Canberra.
- Maintain and enhance the landscape character of Canberra and the Territory as the setting for the National Capital.
- Protect the undeveloped hill tops and the open spaces which divide and give form to Canberra's urban area.
- Provide a plan offering flexibility and choice to enable the Territory government to properly fulfil its functions.
- Support and promote environmentally responsible urban development practices.
The purpose of Draft Amendment 77 – Elm Grove campsite (part Block 624 Gungahlin) (DA77) is to add 'Elm Grove campsite' to areas where overnight camping is a permitted use in the hills ridges and buffer spaces of the National Capital Open Space System.
DA77 will permit overnight camping at the 'Elm Grove campsite' (part Block 624 Gungahlin) and allow the ACT Government to construct camping related infrastructure on the site to service the Centenary Trail.
DA77 to the Plan (set out in Part 2 – National Capital Plan - Draft Amendment 77 – Overnight Elm Grove campsite (part Block 624 Gungahlin) has been prepared in accordance with section 23 of the Act.
Part 1: Context
The ACT Government is developing a 'Centenary Trail' as an enduring means of acknowledging and celebrating Canberra's centenary. The trail will be a 140 kilometre self-guided loop trail for walkers and cyclists. It will take users on a journey between urban and rural environments and past iconic sites around the National Capital.
The Centenary Trail is designed to be a seven day walk or a three day cycle. The trail will be linked to accommodation and support services to allow walkers and cyclists to eat, sleep and enjoy Canberra's landscapes within varying budgets and tastes.
The range of accommodation options promoted to trail users will range from camping to more formal commercial options adjacent to the trail. There are some sections of the proposed trail alignment where accommodation options are limited. This includes the area between Watson and Hall Village. A campsite is proposed to be constructed within the Gungahlin eucalypt plantation nearby the historic Elm Grove homestead to address this deficiency.
On 10 August 2012, the Authority of the NCA agreed to prepare a draft Amendment to the Plan to allow overnight camping at part Block 624 Gungahlin. The campsite would be known as the 'Elm Grove campsite'.
1.2 Explanatory Statement
1.2.1 Purpose of the Draft Amendment
The current provisions of the Plan do not allow overnight camping or associated infrastructure in the Hills, Ridges and Buffers Spaces of the National Capital Open Space System except for at Stromlo Forest Park.
The purpose of DA77 is to allow overnight camping on a part of Block 624 Gungahlin. This will enable the site to provide temporary accommodation along this section of the Centenary Trail.
1.2.2 Site Description
Block 624 Gungahlin is located north of the existing Gungahlin urban area and its northern edge is the ACT/NSW border. The proposed 'Elm Grove campsite' is unleased Territory Land currently part of the Gungahlin eucalypt plantation, a non-commercial plantation managed by the ACT Government.
The nearby Elm Grove Heritage precinct comprises of a homestead, garden, orchard, well, dam, agricultural sheds and associated yards. According to the precinct's statement of significance these structures demonstrate the way of life of a nineteenth and twentieth century small to medium sized pastoral property of the region.
The campsite is not located within the Elm Grove heritage precinct or within its landscape setting as identified in the Elm Grove Heritage Precinct registry entry available on the ACT Heritage Register. The location of the proposed campsite and nearby Elm Grove homestead is at Figure 1.
Figure 1 – Locality Map
1.2.3 Existing National Capital Plan Provisions
The Plan lists the permitted uses within the each land use category. In relation to overnight camping in the Hills, Ridges and Buffer Spaces, the Plan states:
The range of uses permitted in the Hills, Ridges and Buffer Spaces part of the National Capital Open Space System will be the following:
- Overnight Camping (Stromlo Forest Park only).
1.2.4 Effect of the Draft Amendment
The addition of 'Elm Grove campsite' to areas where 'Overnight Camping' is a permitted use will allow the ACT government to construct modest infrastructure to support the Centenary trail.
The ACT Government has advised that the proposed campsite would provide camping facilities for users of the Centenary Trail. This may include a shade structure, picnic tables, solar power supply, a single environmentally friendly toilet, signage and a small water tank.
1.3 Draft Amendment Process
The process for making an amendment to the Plan is outlined in Figure 2.
Figure 2 Outline of the Draft Amendment Process
What has been Done
Proposal by the NCA of a Draft Amendment to the Plan
Public consultation on a Draft Amendment
What is next
Submission to Minister
Action by Minister
Expiration of disallowance period
1.4 Public Consultation
The NCA welcomes written comments on National Capital Plan DA77 from interested parties as part of the consultation process. All responses received will be considered before Amendment 77 is submitted to the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Printed Copies can be obtain from:
National Capital Authority
Ground Floor, Treasury Building
King Edward Terrace
PARKES ACT 2600
Between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday
National Capital Exhibition
Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am and 4pm weekends
A public information session was held on 19 September 2012
Comments closed on 19 October 2012.
Part 2: National Capital Plan Amendment 77 – Elm Grove campsite (part Block 624 Gungahlin)
The National Capital Plan is amended by the following:
Part One Principles, Policies and Standards, Designated Areas, Special Requirements
Chapter 8 National Capital Open Space System
Amend section 8.5.3(h) of the Plan to include 'Elm Grove campsite' as an area where 'Overnight Camping' is a permitted use as follows:
The range of uses permitted in the hills, ridges and buffer spaces part of the National Capital Open Space System will be the following:
- Overnight camping (Stromlo Forest Park and Elm Grove campsite only);
Part Two Administration and Implementation
- Amend the Plan to recognise consequential changes of Amendment 77 to page numbers, section titles and contents page.