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ACT gets its first 6 Star Green Star community

(L-R): David Dawes, Romilly Madew, David Maxwell, Jessica Stewart

A new masterplanned community on the ACT and NSW border, Ginninderry, has become the first in the territory to achieve a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

It comprises four planned suburbs, three of them in the ACT and one in New South Wales. On completion it is expected to deliver up to 11,500 new homes and have a population of around 30,000 people by 2055.

The development is a joint venture between the ACT Government’s Land Development Agency and Riverview Developments, a subsidiary of Canberra company Corkhill Bros.

Corkhill has held ownership of the majority of the NSW freehold land since 1984, and holds a 99-year rural lease on the majority of the ACT portion, which it is surrendering to the ACT Government as part of the JV arrangement. Riverview Developments will act as development managers for the project.

LDA chief executive David Dawes said the Green Star certification was “a testament to the high-quality features and detailed planning that will make Ginninderry a liveable, environmental and community focused development”.

Plans for the development include setting aside more than a third of the land area as a nature conservation corridor, a community vegetable garden and a “Green Link” that will incorporate edible verges and orchards.

Water sensitive urban design principles are being implemented in the landscape plan, with a network of bioretention swales, wetlands and basins to capture, cleanse, recycle and infiltrate water created on the site.

Solar panels will be mandatory for all homes, and demand management systems installed to help residents monitor and manage their energy use.

The site includes an existing not-for-profit arts association, Strathnairn Arts, located on the site of a former farm. It is a hub for artist studio spaces, and has a cafe, gallery and working areas for community groups. The plans include expanding the hub to incorporate a multi-purpose community centre.

Riverview Developments chief executive David Maxwell said the development of the community aimed to be underpinned by “leading-edge design and development practices”.

“Environmental awareness and sustainability are at the heart of the vision for Ginninderry,” Mr Maxwell said.

“Sustainability is not a single idea, it’s about investing in conservation and the community to create opportunities for education, employment and innovation.”

Mr Maxwell said the size, location and long development timeframe of the project provided an opportunity to trial a range of technology and initiatives during the planning, design and construction phases.

The urban design will encourage walking and cycling connectivity throughout the community, and also into the broader West Belconnen area.

“We want more people out of their cars and exploring the wonderful natural environment that we have at Ginninderry,” Mr Maxwell said.

Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said Ginninderry’s 6 Star Green Star rating highlighted the ACT’s “know-how, technology and collaborative thinking”.

“The project team’s achievement is truly outstanding, especially when we consider the project stretches across four suburbs and two states,” she said.

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