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Lower Deep Creek Pond Project Update

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this project about?

The Lower Deep Creek Pond (LDCP) is an essential component of the first land release of Molonglo Stage 3, the suburb of Whitlam, which lies between William Hovell Drive to the north, Coppins Crossing Road to the east, and Kama Nature Reserve to the west.

The ACT Planning Strategy has identified the Molonglo Valley Stage 3 (Molonglo 3) urban development area as a key future urban area to be developed over the next 30 years, following the development of Molonglo Valley Stages 1 and 2. The Molonglo 3 Planning and Development Framework provides more information of the development of Molonglo 3 and is available here.

Why is this project necessary?

The suburb of Whitlam will be a low-density residential estate, with an anticipated 2100 dwelling and a projected population of 5000 people. Aside from the ponds, the key structural elements of Whitlam include major roads, residential and commercial areas, urban open space, and a school.

With the development of Whitlam, there will be resulting changes to the existing flows of stormwater through deep creek and into the Molonglo River. To best manage these changes, pre-development water flows have been measured and the impacts of future residential development on future flows has been modelled.  This modelling work has confirmed the need to both slow water flows into Deep Creek and improve water quality prior to its entry into the Molonglo River. 

The most effective response is the construction of two smaller water quality ponds in the northern part of Whitlam, and a larger Lower Deep Creek Pond.  The first two ponds are now complete, and this project involves the design and construction of the larger Lower Deep Creek Pond.

The project will:

  • manage water quantity associated with the increased runoff from the Whitlam development.
  • capture and treat pollutants, sediments from the suburb of Whitlam and surrounding areas to improve water quality prior to it entering the Molonglo River.  
  • improve public amenity through the effective integration of stormwater infrastructure into the streetscape and recreational areas of Whitlam.
  • provide a road and utility crossing to support the future development of Whitlam west of Deep Creek. This will reduce the overall cost and footprint of the development.

Who is Suburban Land Agency (SLA)?

The Suburban Land Agency is a statutory authority established under the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017. We are responsible for delivering the ACT Government’s suburban development program, including urban renewal in established town centres and suburbs. This comprises releases for residential, commercial, industrial, mixed use and community purposes.

Our key functions are to:

  • conduct all Government land sales and strategic acquisitions
  • undertake civil works for Government estate developments, while ensuring availability of a mixture of public and private housing in line with Government set housing targets
  • serve as the vehicle through which the Government will enter into joint venture or other commercial arrangements to deliver land development projects
  • provide community information for operational elements of Government development projects
  • conduct place making activities and establishment of new communities

Who is GHD and how are they involved?

GHD is an engineering consultancy firm who have been engaged by SLA to undertake the detailed design of the pond and conduct the environmental impact assessments and community and stakeholder consultation.

What stage of consultation is this project up to?

GHD have commenced the detailed design of the pond and submitted the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). These investigations commenced in mid-2020 and the community and key stakeholders were informed about the proposed project in the Community Information Sessions (CIS). We aim to ensure that the community are always informed and consulted throughout the various stages of this project.

The CIS stage of consultation included two in-person community information sessions and an online forum. The in-person CIS were held on Tuesday 11 May 2021 and Thursday 20 May 2021, and the online forum was held on Thursday 13 May 2021. These sessions were used as platforms to provide a project update to the wider community and for the community to raise issues of concern or provide feedback.

Public comments were sought during the in-person online community information sessions and an online forum in May 2021. In addition, the draft EIS was publicly notified for 20 working days. During this time the public had an opportunity to view the proposal and make representations. The SLA will address any comments received on the draft EIS prior to submission of the revised EIS. Further information on the EIS process is available here. 

Additional opportunities to provide feedback will be made available during the Development Application phase, in 2022.

We value your feedback in relation to this project. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Suburban Land Agency:

Call: (02) 6205 0600

What studies will be undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

In January 2020 the ACT Government determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed for the project. The EIS Scoping document outlines the issues to be addressed in the EIS. Further information on the EIS process for the project is available here.

GHD are currently undertaking various studies on key issues to assess the environmental impacts of this project, and how the design will manage these impacts and help achieve the targeted outcomes outlined. These assessments include:

  • Planning and land
  • Traffic and transport
  • Material and waste
  • Soils and geology
  • Water quality and hydrology
  • Climate change and air quality
  • Socio-economic and health
  • Noise and vibration
  • Landscape and visual
  • Hazard and risk
  • Ecology and natural environment

Project benefits

What are the benefits of this project?

The project forms part of the stormwater management system which aims to protect the Molonglo River from pollution, sediment, and nutrient loads. It also enables the future development to the west of Deep Creek (as the embankment will serve as a road crossing and to convey utility infrastructure). This will enhance public amenity through the effective integration of stormwater infrastructure into the streetscape and recreational areas of Whitlam.

Project location

Where is this project located?

Molonglo Stage 3 is located between the Molonglo River and William Hovell Drive and comprises the suburb of Whitlam and two unnamed suburbs to the east of John Gorton Drive.

Project considerations/details

What is the project timeline?

The indicative project development timeframes are:

  • Submission of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement – July 2021 - Completed
  • Approval of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Development Application – Mid-late 2022
  • Commencement of Construction (subject to obtaining the necessary project approvals) – Late 2022
  • Completion of Construction - 2024

Construction of the LDCP is expected to take 18-24 months.

Will this project impact local biodiversity?

In accordance with The Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance (the NES Plan), the impact on local biodiversity is not expected to be significant. Impacts to local biodiversity will be considered in detail as part of the EIS.

Will the project impact landscape and visual amenity?

The project is designed to enable the future development to the west of Deep Creek (as the embankment will serve as a road crossing and to convey utility infrastructure) and will enhance public amenity through effective integration of stormwater infrastructure into the streetscape and recreational areas of Whitlam.

Landscaping will be provided around the edge of the pond, to further enhance water quality and aesthetics.

The landscaping assessment was included as part of the EIS and will be further developed during the detailed design phase.

Will there be any disturbance to items of Indigenous heritage or European heritage?

Potential impacts to Indigenous heritage or European heritage sites will be assessed during the detailed design and will be addressed in detail during the EIS.

Will there be any acquisition of private or public land?

There will be no acquisition of private or public land associated with the Lower Deep Creek Pond.

How big is the pond?

The design of the pond is currently underway. Early designs estimate that the pond embankment will be approximately 270m long and 21m high from the base of the pond. The top of the pond embankment will include a two-lane road and a shared pedestrian and cyclist path. 

Once full the pond is estimated to have a surface area of 34,200m2 and hold 132,130m3 (132 megalitres) of water.

What type of dam is it and what is it made of?

The dam wall is a zoned earth fill embankment. This means that the dam is made up of a number of different zones. Each zone is made of different materials, such a clay, general fill, filter sand and rocks.

The dam will include a large concrete spillway, located near the centre of the dam wall. When the dam is full water will overflow through the spillway into a spilling basin and then into Deep Creek.

The dam will also include an outlet pipe, approximately 500mm in diameter, through the dam wall. The outlet pipe will allow for the controlled release of water from the dam. The outlet will allow water from different levels within the dam to be released. 

Will I be able to use the pond for swimming, boating and fishing?

Swimming and boating will not be permitted in the pond, however fishing will be allowed.

Will algal blooms be an issue with the pond?

Management of water quality impacts is a key issue to be addressed during the EIS. To help mitigate the risk of agal blooms the project is investigating various treatment options, such as the construction of wetlands, changing the shape of the pond base, planting aquatic vegetation and installing aeration facilities. These issues will be assessed during the detailed design and inform the EIS process.  

When will the Environmental Impact Statement be submitted?

The draft EIS was submitted in July 2021. A revised EIS is expected to be submitted in early 2022, subject to addressing the comments received on the draft EIS.

How many dwellings is this project expected to accommodate?

Whitlam is projected to accommodate around 2,100 dwellings comprising low and  medium densities, a school and a local centre.

Further information