Protect Ngununggula/ Bluetts Block

The diverse woodlands of Ngununggula/Bluetts Block urgently need protection as a Nature Reserve. 

 BNgununggula/Bluetts Block is home to over 100 plant species as well as rare marsupial populations of Dunnart and Antechinus. A birding hotspot, it provides habitat for the endangered Superb Parrot, Gang-gang Cockatoo, and many more woodland birds – which we know are facing steep decline.

Protect Bluetts Block as a Nature Reserve

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Ngununggula/Bluetts Block deserves to be a Nature Reserve – instead it is under threat as Canberra’s Western Edge becomes the next frontier for development. All development that will impact on the area’s important natural values should be stopped.

In addition to its extraordinary biodiversity, Ngununggula/Block – Piney Ridge is important because it provides landscape connection from the Murrumbidgee River Corridor to Kama Nature Reserve, Pinnacle Nature Reserve, and Stoney Creek Reserve. Landscape connections allow animals to move safely into different areas to breed and forage. Without connectivity across the landscape, many species cannot find food, water or shelter when they need it, leaving them vulnerable.

Details on how to get to Ngununggula/Bluetts Block

Directions: From John Gorton Drive, turn into Opperman Ave, at the roundabout entrance to Stromlo Leisure Centre turn right into Uriarra Road. After about 3km you’ll see a parking area on your right and a gate with “BB”. The map below indicates red for the gate and green for the car spaces.

Take a trip to beautiful Ngununggula/Bluetts Block

Photos supplied by the ACT environment community.

The Western Edge Investigation Area

Expanding Canberra’s urban footprint to the west of the city is not sustainable development. Any development that takes place must not happen at the expense of natural values.

In the ACT we are privileged to enjoy a rich natural landscape and vibrant city simultaneously. However, we are challenged by the increasing pressures of a growing population, and the associated demands for housing and services.

The ACT Government has flagged plans for the Territory’s urban footprint to expand to the west of the city which will destroy a number of natural areas and increase the city’s ecological impact.

Bordered by the Murrumbidgee River and the regions of Weston Creek, Molonglo Valley and Belconnen, the landscape of the Western Edge is home to some of the ACT’s most significant natural places. 

 Ecological values of the Western Edge

Canberra’s Western Edge has been identified as having significant environmental value. Bluetts Block – Piney Ridge, a site that sits mostly within the western edge, represents the important  conservation values in the area and highlights the huge risks associated with continuing urban sprawl. 

Bluett’s Block-Piney Ridge should become a nature reserve.  Importantly, protection of this site alone will not protect all of the natural value of the western edge. 

If development of Canberra’s Western Edge proceeds, there needs to be a full environmental assessment to identify areas of environmental value and significance. There should also be swift action to manage the conservation value of the area. Some investigation is already underway, you can find preliminary ACT Government investigation into the Western Edge here

Discover the beauty of the Western Edge!

Canberra’s Western Edge is home to many unique and amazing plants and animals. From Murray Cod to Superb Parrots and even native orchids – there’s lots to discover!

The problem with sprawling cities

Sprawling cities are not sustainable. Widely spread cities lead to poor access to public transport, employment and other services. This can create increased traffic congestion, air pollution, and higher cost of living.  Instead of continuing to grow outwards, we need to invest in higher density housing that takes up a smaller footprint per person, with shared green space – connecting community whilst also being energy efficient and livable. A 2018 OECD report recommended density limits – which would contain and restrict city sprawl through better urban design. Importantly, as we densify, we need to invest in urban green space for recreation, urban cooling, and wellbeing, but also to enhance biodiversity across the urban landscape.

Canberra is Australia’s second least dense city. As we respond to increased population pressure, strengthening our commitment to urban infill will reduce pressure on natural ecosystems.

High quality urban development must be accompanied by a commitment to diversifying medium density housing options to provide better choices for the community.

Urban greenspace will help to build resilience against the impacts of climate change, enhance connectivity across the urban landscape, and deliver quality-of-life benefits to the community. Green space, trees and shrubs provide vital refuge for wildlife and pollinators across the urban landscape, cool the urban environment, and slow urban water flows.

 

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Bordered by the Murrumbidgee River and the regions of Weston Creek, Molonglo Valley and Belconnen, the “Western Edge” refers to 9,800 ha of undeveloped land to the west of Canberra. Much of the area is made up of rural leasehold land whose purchase by the Suburban Land Agency in 2015 garnered much public interest. Despite, at the time, stating that there were no plans for the land to be developed for 20-30 years, the 2021 Budget announcement indicates that early planning studies are afoot.

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