North Canberra Community Council

National Capital Village redevelopment

The Watson Community Association campaigned very actively from 25 September 2000 to 20 March 2001 in an attempt to preserve native grassy woodland habitat located on Block 7, Section 74, Watson, known formerly as the ‘National Capital Village’, and now known as the ‘Solstice’ residential complex.

This set of documents records the WCA’s endeavour to save habitat from high density residential re-development. The development was referred on 16 March 2001 under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as EPBC 2001/210, specifically on the grounds that the habitat was used by the nationally endangered Regent Honeyeater, which successfully bred in the immediate vicinity in 1995-96. A decision notice to referral 2001/210 on 12 April 2001 was issued to the effect that the ‘Decision that Action is not a Controlled Action’ by the Commonwealth of Australia and signed by Senator Robert Hill (the then commonwealth Minister for the Environment).

The decision appears to have been predicated by a report issued on behalf of the proponent of the development by David Hogg Pty Ltd. The WCA received alternate advice from local ornithologist Anthony Overs. Both of these reports are included in the extensive set of documents provided. Incidentally, David Hogg Pty Ltd. is a firm which has been extensively used on several occasions by proponents to assess the ecological implications of Draft Variations to the Territory Plan and Development Applications in Watson.

1. Hogg on Regent Honeyeater
This document is entitled Implications for Conservation of the Regent Honeyeater. Proposed Subdivision – Block 7, Section 74, Watson, written by David Hogg Pty Ltd on January 29 2001. The document, which was apparently written using the current scientific literature of the period and not on personal scientific experience, was heavily criticized by the Watson Community Association, using independent advice from ornithologist Anthony Overs (who has worked with the species) in the ACT.

2. Correspondence
This is a set of letters written between the Watson Community Association (including the Watson Woodlands Working Group), Senator Robert Hill (the then federal Minister for the Environment), Brendan Smyth (the then ACT Minister for the Environment), and Environment ACT. The correspondence ends as of February 16 2001, before the referral under the commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (referral EPBC 2001/210) of the proposal to redevelop Block 7, Section 74, Watson.

3. WCA on DA20010245
This is a set of four separate documents.

The first document is a submission written by the Watson Community Association (WCA) on redevelopment of the National Capital Village Motel (NCV) to Residential Development Application 20010245 (Block 7, Section 74, Watson), written 14 March 2001.

The second document, written by the WCA, comments more specifically on the referral under the EPBC Act 1999 (referral EPBC 2001/210) issued on 16 March 2001 to connection with the Development Application for the proposal.

The third document was written by ornithologist Anthony Overs on behalf of the WCA, who has worked with the Regent Honeyeater in the ACT. Overs (20 March 2001) comments on the redevelopment of the National Capital Village Motel (NCV) to residential, and its potential effect on the conservation of the Regent Honeyeater in a local sense.

The fourth document was scanned from a photocopy of the Commonwealth of Australia decision notice for referral EPBC 2001/210 under the EPBC Act 1999. The decision states that the proposal by Milin Bros Pty Ltd to redevelop Block 7, Section 74, Watson ACT for medium residential development was a ‘Decision that Action is not a Controlled Action’. In other words, the federal Minister for the Environment (then Senator Robert Hill), would not ‘call in’ the proposal, or modify the proposal. The go ahead from the Commonwealth of Australia was given on 12 April 2001.

EAL regional plan
EAL regional plan

EAL regional plan
This is an image which shows block and section numbers subject to the Entertainment, Accommodation and Leisure land use policies (coloured blue), in the previous ACT Territory Plan map. These are now grouped under the CZ6 Commercial Zone in the ACT Land and Development Act 2007. The map shows the location for Block 7, Section 74 in Watson, the subject of DA20010245.

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