Molonglo Valley Stage 3 timeline 2004-2040

Whitlam, Molonglo Valley, ACT. Top pond in stage 1 area.

This article is a chronological list of the Molonglo Valley Stage 3 development stages and contains the key documents to download. It is mostly for reference purposes.

Overview

This article has become rather long and continues to get longer. We thought it fitting to add an overview of the Molonglo 3 East development.

  • 2004 ACT Spatial Plan

  • 2008 Molonglo Staging Plan and Concept Plan

  • 2011 – 2019 Environmental Approvals

  • 2014 Molonglo Stage 2 Concept Plan

  • 2019

    Molonglo 3 Stage 2 Proof of Concept

    Molonglo Stage 3 Planning and Design Framework

    Molonglo Stage 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Project Study Brief

  • 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 Whitlam Land Releases

  • 2020 John Gorton Drive Bridge Approval

  • 2021

    Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 1)

    Molonglo Stage 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Project Study Brief

  • 2022

    John Gorton Drive Bridge design and construct tender released

    Whitlam Stage 3 construction begins (3A and 3B)

    Enabling works proceed for Molonglo 3 East

    Whitlam Local Shops and Primary School Place Making

    Molonglo Group Centre and Surrounds Concept Plan (technical Amendment TA2022-01)

    Molonglo 3 East Concept Plan

  • 2023 Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 2)

  • 2025 John Gorton Drive Bridge completion

  • 2030s East-west bridge completion

  • 2040s Molonglo Valley completion

  • 2050 Possible completion of Molonglo 3 East

Timeline

The bridges over the river are indicated with the little purple log. John Gorton Drive Bridge has been brought forward on this timeline.

Molonglo Valley development timeframe page 6, ACT Government Molonglo Valley Independent review of planning, development and built form (excellence in sustainable design) in the Molonglo Valley, Final Report, 23 March 2020
Molonglo Valley development timeframe page 6, ACT Government Molonglo Valley Independent review of planning, development and built form (excellence in sustainable design) in the Molonglo Valley, Final Report, 23 March 2020

Update 2041 in doubt and 2050 more likely

The available information for Molonglo 3 and the history of the Whitlam development would suggest that a 2041 completion of the Molonglo Valley is unlikely and 2050 seems more realistic. The exact date is not so important as to accept that it will take much longer than 2041. Read Molonglo 3 East: timeline uncertainty.

Past

Ongoing population projections

Predict the population growth to determine the demand for housing.

Latest ACT Population Projections – Treasury, ACT Government

The population growth in Canberra is discussed here.


Information box: ACT population update 30 June 2022

ACT population 454,499: 2021 ABS Census

The most recent ABS Census was conducted on 10 August 2021. Only now is the data being released. The population of the ACT is important for data comparisons and, importantly for the ACT, for funding ($$$) from the Federal Government. You will find this number behind in many articles on canberra.bike.

Molonglo Valley highlights

Molonglo Valley has a rapidly growing population. The population on the census night was 11,435 people. The proportion of the population in the 25-39 years brackets is almost twice as high as the ACT average, and 74 years and above less than a third. The ancestry data is notable, with almost 3 times replying Indian as the ACT average. The population is language diverse with households where a non-English language is used twice the ACT average (outliers are Punjabi, Telugu and Malayalam). The population is almost twice as likely to live in flats or apartments (35.2%) as the ACT average (19.4%). Those living is separate houses is lower than the ACT average (40.8% versus 63.2% ACT). In most other respects, Molonglo falls close to what is typical for the ACT, including schooling (type of educational institution attending). The new nappy valley? No.

Gungahlin highlights

ABS 2021 Census data, tell us that Gungahlin is a very typical Canberra district, with a population of 87,682. A notable difference is that people with parents born in Indian, Chinese or Pakistan are twice as likely as the Canberra average, and the languages spoken at home (Indian, Mandarin and Urdu) and religious affiliation (Hinduism and Islam) show the same pattern. Median weekly incomes are spot on the Canberra average. Two thirds of the population live in a detached house, which is typical for Canberra. Gungahlin Council resists the construction of new flats or apartments. That might leave the impression they have a lot of them. The census suggests otherwise. Fewer people live in apartments in Gungahlin than is typical for Canberra (13.1% versus 19.4% in ACT and Molonglo Valley 35.2%).


2004 ACT Spatial Plan

Work out where you can put all those people. This involves zoning different parts of the city for different purposes. All that goes into the Territory Plan. The ACT strategy: Compact and efficient city

The majority of the newly created Molonglo district was affected by the 2003 Canberra Bushfires. A series of investigations and assessments were undertaken in 2003 and 3004 to determine the potential for future urban development in the area as articulated in the Canberra Spatial Plan 2004.

Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief (2 December 2019), page 4

2008 Staging Plan and Concept Plan

The Molonglo Valley is a large area and was therefore broken up into stages in the Molonglo Valley Stage Plan (ACT Government, 2012): Stage 1 consisting of the suburbs of Coombs and Wright, and the region of North Weston, Stage 2 the suburbs of Denman Prospect and Molonglo, and Stage 3 the suburbs north of the Molonglo River.

Molonglo Valley Stage Plan, ACT Government 2012.
Molonglo Valley Stage Plan, ACT Government 2012.

For each stage a Concept Plan is developed, which is a statutory document and part of the Territory Plan.

2008 Coombs Concept Plan (19 December 2008), page 1

2011, 2019 environmental approval

Further planning and studies. For the Molonglo Valley the environmental considerations have had a significant impact on the estate development. These two documents are important. 

  • Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Significance: NES Plan (ACT Government, September 2011)
  • Molonglo River Reserve: Reserve Management Plan (ACT Government, 2019)
East side, boundaries and public overlays, Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan, page 35
East side, boundaries and public overlays, Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan, page 35

2014 Molonglo Stage 2 Concept Plan

The Molonglo Stage 2 Concept Plan is included in the Molonglo Commercial Centre and Environs Draft Concept Plan (June 2014). Molonglo Group Centre is the shopping centre for the new suburb of Molonglo, in the Molonglo Valley Stage 2 area, opposite to Denman Prospect. This Concept Plan already includes the new alignment of the John Gorton Drive Bridge.

Molonglo Commercial Centre and Environs Draft Concept Plan shows not only the commercial centre but zoning of the land on both sides of John Gorton Drive. The Concept Plan will likely see alterations in 2021 with the release of the more detailed planning for the group centre.

2019 Molonglo 3 Stage 2 Proof of Concept

Molonglo 3 Stage 2 Proof of Concept report by Roberts Day (March 2019). This report was obtained from the ACT Government through a freedom of information request in 2020. It is not available on the ACT Government website.

2019 Molonglo Valley Stage 3 Planning and Design Framework

For each stage a Planning and Design Framework (PDF) is written. A Planning and Design Framework is a strategic document that describes the development and how it is to be achieved, guiding the planning of the later stages. Examples:

Molonglo Valley Stage 3 Planning and Design Framework (ACT Government, February 2019)

2019 Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief

The first phase of detailed estate planning begins. Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief (2 December 2019) describes the scope of work for the design tender and was released by the Major Projects Canberra Infrastructure Delivery Partner Group. The design work is outsourced to a consultancy. The consultancy reports back with options and a design concept. This design concept becomes part of the Territory Plan.

2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 Whitlam releases

Whitlam is the first suburb of Molonglo Valley Stage 3. The areas east of the John Gorton Drive has been named Molonglo Valley 3 East to distinguish it from Whitlam or Molonglo 3 West releases. The land sales began in 2020.

The Whitlam estate was broken into four stages of which the first three have been released as development applications. Stage 2 is finished and has proceeded to land sales in 2022.

2020 John Gorton Drive Bridge approval

The development application of the John Gorton Drive Bridge was released in early 2020 and approved.

2021 Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 1)

The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 1) was completed in mid 2021 and is the report produced from the Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief tender.

EPSDD engaged WSP and RobertsDay consultants in May 2020 to undertake Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 1)

Tender 53971.RFT.01, Preliminary Roads And Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy And Concept Plans, Final Dated 04/08/2021, 6.

This is only the first of two phases. The second phase will be the preliminary engineering design and preliminary sketch plans. (Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief, ACT Government, 2 December 2019, page 7).

Molonglo Stage 3 will be three suburbs which built and released one after the other (staged). The suburbs will be broken up into sections which will also be staged. For each of these staged sections a development application will be released, approved and put out to tender for construction. The ACT Suburban Land Agency is responsible for oversight of the construction until the assets are returned to the ACT Government at the completion of the work.

Attachment D – Molonglo 3 East Conceptual Layout (Wsp/Rd 2021), 28.

Top, the Northern Collector, is the unnamed collector shown left to right between John Gorton Drive and William Hovell Drive. Attachment D – Molonglo 3 East Conceptual Layout (WSP/Rd 2021), Tender 53971.RFT.01, Preliminary Roads And Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy And Concept Plans, Final Dated 04/08/2021, 28.
Bottom, the Southern Collector, is the unnamed collector shown left to right between John Gorton Drive and the East West Arterial. Attachment D – Molonglo 3 East Conceptual Layout (WSP/Rd 2021), Tender 53971.RFT.01, Preliminary Roads And Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy And Concept Plans, Final Dated 04/08/2021, 28.

2021 Preliminary Roads And Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy and Concept Plans

Tender 53971.RFT.01 (4/8/2021) for the Preliminary Roads and Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy And Concept Plans is next. The first part of this work for the area along John Gorton Drive will be completed in 2021 in line with the indicative land release targets. The tender includes geology and topological surveys (creating a Digital Elevation Model with 0.1 metre height intervals) and input to Molonglo 3 East road designs and Concept Plan.

2022 John Gorton Drive Bridge design and construct tender released

Minister Steel, announced the imminent release of the tender for the design and construction of the John Gorton Bridge in 2022.

2022 Whitlam Stage 3 construction begins

Whitlam Stage 3 started construction in 2022. The completion data is unknown, however, two years is a good bet.

2022 Whitlam Local Shops and School Place Making

The community engage to the design of the Whitlam Local Shops and primary school adjacent to John Gorton Drive in stage 3 of Whitlam has finished. A Project Design Brief is the next stage but as of 28 May 2022 was yet to be released. Later, the shops will go through the two stage development process that we have seen in for the Wright shops (currently second stage).

2022 Enabling works proceed

The 11 kV power line has been laid underground to the south of Whitlam 3. The much bigger project of burying the 133 kV electricity distribution grid across Molonglo 3 East has begun but will continue for another year until 2023. The works can be seen at the intersection of Coulter Drive and William Hovell Drive.

Delays

Delays are not unusual in large projects, typically not announced but rather are indicated by silence. Large projects require approval and their construction require a tender process (often multiple). For the following projects, we should have heard something by now but have not.

Whitlam Dam

In the suburb of Whitlam a massive dam and lake will be built on Deep Creek as environmental protection to storm water runoff consistent with the Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan. The dam requires approvals they have been difficult to get as EPSDD does not favour large dams.

Until the dam is finished, the construction of Whitlam Stage 3 cannot be completed and the Stage 4 cannot be begun. The dam is the linchpin between the two stages and the delay will could result in late completion of Whitlam Stage 4.

Future

2022 Molonglo 3 East Concept Plan

EPSDD is working on a concept plan for the Molonglo 3 East which will be informed from the studies and work from the Tender 53971.RFT.01 (4/8/2021). Molonglo 3 East Concept Plan will be a statutory document and included in the Territory Plan. History shows once we have this concept plan, the design will change little.

2023 Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study (Phase 2)

The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study is planned as a two stage process. At this stage, we still do not have a concept plan for Molonglo 3 East.

2025 John Gorton Drive Bridge completion

The projected date for the completion of the John Gorton Drive Bridge is 2025. See the ACT Government website for further details.

2030s East-west bridge completion

The Molonglo East-west bridge will not be completed for at least another decade. Read more here.

TCCS presentation 22 April 2021 east-west arterial road
TCCS presentation 22 April 2021 east-west arterial road, Molonglo Valley Community Forum, April 2021.

2040s Molonglo Valley completion

There is no clear date when the Molonglo Valley will be finished with the construction of the last stages of Molonglo Valley Stage 3 close to the National Arboretum.

Update 2041 in doubt and 2050 more likely

The available information for Molonglo 3 and the history of the Whitlam development would suggest that a 2041 completion of the Molonglo Valley is unlikely and 2050 seems more realistic. The exact date is not so important as to accept that it will take much longer than 2041. Read Molonglo 3 East: timeline uncertainty.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s