What will the Yass Valley look like in 20 years? It’s the question community leaders have been trying to answer for some time.
The Yass Valley has been identified as one of the fastest growing regional communities in NSW. Not a small feat, it is expected to grow to 25,000 by 2036 and to around 43,900 in 2056.
The problem Yass Valley Council faces is where should the growth occur?
A draft Settlement Strategy has revealed Yass and Murrumbateman is key.
Despite some conjecture about whether the Valley’s hub would transfer to Murrumbateman, the draft settlement strategy undertaken by the council will focus most of it’s growth in Yass.
“The focus for Yass is on developing existing residential zoned greenfield sites and encouraging urban renewal of some existing housing,” the strategy stated.
While Murrumbateman will grow into a major town of 10,000 people, the strategy foreshadows it will be only half the size of Yass.
Yet, in order to achieve sustainable growth in Yass and Murrumbateman, a new secure water supply is required. While the ACT would be ideal for supplying the water, Burrinjuck Dam has also been considered.
During 2016, council consulted with Sutton and Gundaroo on future development. The inadequate water and sewage facilities and an unwillingness to change, despite the village's proximity to Canberra, the draft strategy doesn’t identify them for growth.
While villages closer to the border fear the Canberra ‘creep’, others on the western front like Binalong, Bowning, Bookham and Wee Jasper require no rezoning.
The report indicated that the low demand for housing, lack of infrastructure, existing supplies of undeveloped land and undesirable distances to Major Regional Centres as reasons no significant growth would occur.
The draft Yass Valley Settlement Strategy, which is currently on exhibition until March 13, is ready for community feedback.
“Council regularly receives enquiries from landowners ‘speculating’ on potential urban development of their land – some of which are located adjacent to the NSW-ACT border,” Director of Planning and Environment, Chris Berry said.
“We need a strong strategy in place to make it clear where growth can go.”