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New location recommended for bike track

28 October 2018

The ACT Heritage Council has determined that the proposal to construct a 'mountain bike track' along Hall's Creek would entail unacceptable risks to Aboriginal cultural heritage. The site initially chosen for the track lies within the 'Aboriginal Sites Zone' which was identified in the Hall village precinct heritage listing dating back to August 2001. Any development within such a Zone has to satisfy the requirements that:

(a) the proposed activity is justifiable at, or near, the Aboriginal places; and
(b) there are no reasonably practicable alternative ways to carry out the proposed activity at the heritage sites: and
(c) reasonable steps have been taken to reduce the risk of damaging the heritage sites.

The Council determined on 17th October that it was not satisfied in relation to all three criteria, and has written to Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) accordingly.

Transport Canberra and City Services, proponents of the development, commissioned a heritage consultant's report in relation to the three criteria set out above and submitted it to the Heritage Council on 17 September 2017. Amended versions were submitted on 10 January 2018 and 19 June 2018 following requests from the Council, and a further Addendum was submitted on 25 July 2018. In formal terms, these constituted a 'Statement of Heritage Effects' (SHE) in relation to the development proposal, which it was supportive of.

In its response, the Council expresses the view that 'there are reasonably practicable alternative ways to carry out the proposed activity', specifically by choosing an alternative location. It nominates one such alternative in particular, which was identified as 'Site D' in the community consultation process – east of Hall's Creek between the creek and the polocrosse area, outside of the Aboriginal Sites Zone. 'The Council encourages TCCS to assess the feasibility of this alternative site through further heritage assessment'. (Heritage Council statement here)

In short, Hall may still have a bike track, but an alternative site to that initially proposed will need to be found and agreed upon.

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