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Tharwa draft village plan released for consultation

Tharwa residents have described the new village plan as reading "like an episode of Utopia".

The draft plan, which has been released for community consultation, includes proposals to release blocks for residential development, rezone the public hall and tennis courts for commercial use, and improvements to the village to entice tourists.

It also proposes enhancing the river corridor to benefit recreation, and connect the Cuppacumbalong precinct with the rest of the village via a shared path.

The draft plan states that "the Cuppacumbalong homestead precinct is recognised as one of Tharwa's most valued historic assets".

However, owner of Cuppacumbalong homestead Bruce Gibbs said if the government wants to see it more publicly accessible it would need to fund it or buy it.

Mr Gibbs said as a private owner of the homestead, he did not have the money needed to fund it as a tourist attraction.

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A spokeswoman for the environment and planning directorate said the draft plan does not recommend the purchase of the homestead or funding it.

"The draft village plan is an opportunity to talk to the community and lessees about the opportunities for this site, Tharwa and the broader area," the spokeswoman said.

Other Tharwa residents have also expressed their disappointment at the draft plan.

Tharwa Valley Forge's Karim Haddad said the plan "reads like an episode of Utopia", with lots of buzz words but not much substance.

Mr Haddad said the government needed to put their money where their mouth was. He said he'd prefer simple things fixed like the verges of the road so cyclists "don't get hammered by cars going past".

"We want to see our school back, but they won't even talk about it. It closed 11 years ago.

"Closing the school killed the community. They come back 10 years later saying let's revitalise the community after we killed it."

Shane Trevor has lived near the historic Tharwa bridge for about three years. He said parts of the plan will destroy the village.

"It's going to cause much more traffic out here and the bridge can't handle the weight for starters. And it's going to destroy the nice quiet Tharwa feel," Mr Trevor said.

He said he'd like to see facilities like the public toilets upgraded and rubbish bins added to prevent littering on the river banks before anything else happens.

Liberal member for Brindabella and shadow minister for planning and heritage Nicole Lawder said the timing of the plan was bittersweet, coming less than a month after the death of Mr Jeffery who fought for the needs of a community who felt they were often ignored.

Ms Lawder said concerns had been raised that there was inadequate consultation in the process to develop the draft plan.

A government spokeswoman said the draft plan had been delayed due to Mr Jeffery's death, but has been released after liaising with the family.

Minister for planning and land management Mick Gentleman encouraged the community to submit feedback on the plan.

"The ACT government understands the importance of Tharwa to those who live, work and visit the village and the unique challenges that it presents," he said.

"Community engagement has been crucial in developing a strong vision for the village.

"This will inform the final village plan and the preparation of a new precinct code to define Tharwa's planning and heritage requirements into the future."

Consultation closes September 22, visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au