Thank you for the thoughtful comments sent to me about this so promptly (more than a dozen).
Clearly there is a wide range of views. Much depends on your assumptions, and how you look at things.
It is accepted that the Dairy Road end is the more interesting section. That leads some people to say that the centre should be there, because of the view, and what birds people might see. However, the same consideration leads some to say that the centre should be somewhere else. In fact 3 respondents wanted the centre at the western end simply because it would incorporate a picnic area and playground. Some were influenced by the belief the centre would attract people not really interested in birds, wetlands or wild-life.
That raises a philosophical issue: whether the success of the centre depends on attracting large numbers of visitors, including whole families, or whether it should be judged by the standards of visitors who are, actually or potentially, nature-watchers.
As I see it, the consensus of the COG community is that the picnic facility and playground are undesirable features, and should certainly not be in a visitor centre on Dairy Road. If that were taken out of the equation, I think there would be about equal numbers for each of the two locations.
One suggestion was that the an elaborate visitor centre need not be developed immediately. That is based on the view that limited funding should be directed to enhancing habitats and some other infrastructure. That would leave open the possibility of a small information display, perhaps something at each end. I think that would serve COG’s interests. It does seem to me to be important to get in place something that is obviously and definitely a credible nature reserve, before development starts butting up against the boundaries.
Meanwhile for those needing an update on the southern section and neighbouring areas I append a little sketch made by some freehand drawing on a Google view. The shaded areas outside the Reserve boundary are proposed for intensive development. If I have got this wrong, I shall be corrected, no doubt.
From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Tuesday, 4 September 2012 8:59 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Jerra Master Plan
I would appreciate views on one specific point to be addressed in a COG submission, the proposed visitor centre.
This is described as an educational and information resource. It would have a car-park and toilets, with a picnic area and a playground associated. Later, it might have a café and a conference room.
The proposal in the draft plan is that the centre be located on Dairy Road at the present management centre. Reasons given are: panoramic views, accessibility from Monaro Hwy, present buildings would be a start that could be built on later as funds become available.
There is some support among COG members for that site. Some favour a smaller information facility on the western side, as well. However another view has been expressed in these terms:
“I would like to know why COG supports a visitor precinct on the Dairy Flat Road. The most important part of the Kellys Swamp complex is the swamp itself and any visitor precinct should be kept as far away from that as possible. I would suggest that the old car park at Kingston end would be a much better position to any visitor facility. My concern is that visitor precinct will see people attracted to the swamp who have no real interest in natural history and that sort of development will be the thin end of the wedge and will lead to more development which will again degrade the swamp.”
One of the basic issues to be decided is whether the proposed visitor centre should be built on Dairy Road or on the western side. I would be grateful for any views on the proposed centre and on its location. Please send your views to me, unless you particularly want to air them more broadly.