2023 Sound Stories

Community push for new reserve in Molonglo Valley

Black and white suburban buildings framed by yellow-green gum trees.
View of Denman Prospect from the hilltop in Bluetts Block

A group of community members are campaigning for an area of remnant bushland in Canberra’s west to be zoned as a protected nature reserve.

Bluetts Block is located on the north-western side of Denman Prospect in the Molonglo Valley.

Entomologist Alice Wells says the community group behind the push is ‘disturbed’ by the type of development in the area.

“Near the Denman Prospect shops, for instance, there is no way any water can soak into the ground, you’ve got concrete between all these blocks of apartments…it’s not sensitive development,” she said.

Wells says Bluetts Block is a ‘community asset’ and is working to set up a ‘Friends of’ group for the block through the ParkCare volunteer programme.

“It’s a very rare patch of very nice bushland for the south of Canberra,” she said.

“If people would join us in supporting that Friends Group, that would really be a great asset.”

Plant community ecologist Rainer Rehwinkel is working with the Conservation Council ACT Region to document significant flora and fauna in the area.

“There’s a section that runs from the hilltop down towards the Molonglo River, and that contains a very large area of critically endangered Box Gum Woodland,” he said.

The Molonglo NES Plan 2011 identifies this area as medium to low quality EPBC Box Gum Woodland.

The NES Plan states that an offset site must be established if over two years, more than 30% of this area no longer meets EPBC listing criteria for Box Gum Woodland.

Molonglo Valley Community Forum Counsellor Ryan Hemsley says that Greens MLAs have expressed support for Bluetts Block to be re-zoned as a reserve.

“The ACT Government has not been…particularly responsive to the calls to date,” he said.

“It’s an open question at this stage.”