The government has appointed an environmental expert from the ANU to head a community panel on the controversial western Greenway development.
The development – west of Tuggeranong Town Centre – would include more than 80 hectares between Greenway and the Murrumbidgee river corridor.
But the plans have angered sporting, environmental groups and local residents, who fear for the loss of facilities as well as the water quality of the river.
The government announced on Friday a community panel to partner with the government, "to see whether a viable, sustainable and equitable development is possible at the site".
The panel will be chaired by the ANU's David Shorthouse.
"Dr Shorthouse will lead the panel and consider key areas such as natural environment studies, landscape and architecture, heritage consideration, traffic and transport matters," Planning and Land Management Minister Mick Gentleman said.
Tuggeranong Community Council president Glenys Patulny, also invited to join the panel, said it was a "positive step".
The council is in the latter stages of preparing a survey for a more detailed understanding of what people think, which it hoped to bring to the table.
The community is mostly concerned with the development's impact on the river.
"It's a big issue, but how big is the question," Ms Patulny said.
"What we've said, we're OK with developing along Athllon Drive, but basically there needs to be more detail, more research about the rest of it.
"The ironic thing is the federal government is giving the ACT government $85 million to improve water quality and here's a development on top of the Murrumbidgee River," she said.
She said the community was also concerned about the impact of an ambitious development project by the Canberra VIkings Group, at their Erindale base.
With profits falling dramatically and poker machines destined for Canberra casino, the group has proposed demolishing its Erindale base to build a mixed-use precinct worth up to $350 million.
But how the two developments would interact was not certain, Ms Patulny said.
She said she would report back to the community after panel meetings.
Mr Gentleman said the panel was the second stage of consultation; the first, during March to May this year, culminated in the release of a report that revealed strong support for the protection of the Murrumbidgee River, and inclusion of sport and recreation users in the area.
But Mr Gentleman said the development would "stimulate urban renewal in the area, renewing and reinvigorating Tuggeranong".
"Development would also attract more residents to the Tuggeranong Valley in turn creating a wider range of housing choices available in the area, whilst maintaining community access to pre-existing sport and recreation areas."