Greenways — History and Information

 

Originally this area was a part of the Yarrowlumla Council and it was their policy to include Greenways into new subdivisions as many of these larger blocks also included public land, i.e. Crown road reserves. The Bywong and Wamboin Greenways now comprises of a network of at least 30 kilometres. They were established as a ‘pilot project’ in 1994 within a vision of a Shire-wide network of Greenways.

What are Greenways?

“Greenways” is a common or colloquial term for the network of access ways or corridors in Bywong and Wamboin, NSW. It is a matrix or patchwork of different types of public roads and public access ways that allow people to walk, cycle, horse ride and enjoy the local Bywong and Wamboin area and in some cases, facilitates wildlife and native vegetation corridors. Roads and access ways include crown roads in all forms — paved, unpaved and unmade road reserves — and also council reserves and specially gazetted as a “Greenway” (see below). This means ownership of these Greenways is with either local or state governments.

Greenways Renewal Working (GRoW) group aims to identify new areas for walking and enjoying our local area in non-motorised ways by working with the community to identify suitable access ways and promoting their use. We also look to see if we can also enhance the environment for walkers, wildlife and flora at the same time.

What is a Crown Road?

A crown road is a strip of land or reserve of land, usually 20m wide, which is legally owned by the Federal Government and legally maintained by the NSW Government for the sole purpose of access to properties. Many crown roads form the basis of our roads network – highways, main roads and local roads. They can also be used as driveways into properties. There are also many crown roads that have not ever been used as roads because they have not been needed. However, these are still legally known as crown roads and must always be available to provide through access, even though they are unmade roads and legally remain so until such time they become private land. Technically, this means that all Crown road reserves must be accessible and this makes them useful also for recreational purposes.

What is a Council Reserve?

A council reserve is a parcel of land set aside by council for specific or designated public use. This could be a park or an access way or some other council access or amenity. The Les Reardon Reserve is an example of this.

What is a “Greenway”?

An access way that is set aside by council, usually as part of a sub-division, to provide amenity to the local population. Many of these have come about as part of sub-divisions that have absorbed crown roads, and the Greenway has become a substitute or requirement of a sub-divided parcel of land.

Why are the Greenways Important?

The Greenways provide an important public amenity for recreational access for safe public social walking, cycling and horse riding for the community in a rural residential setting that has few alternatives: where fenced properties are the norm. The Greenways also provide potential wildlife corridors that may not be available in areas that are increasingly built-up and developed. Both these aspects will become increasingly socially and environmentally important in future as the local population expands and available public land decreases. We are privileged in our community to have access to public land for recreation.

Who owns the Greenways?

Ownership depends on who is responsible for the specific access way. For example, those Greenways that are crown roads are legally owned and maintained by NSW Government, even those that have enclosure permits or are leased by adjacent landholders. Those Greenways that are either gazetted as such or are council reserves are the responsibility of council. Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has a s.355 committee — Greenway Management Committee — comprising a councillor and local residents who oversee the maintenance of the existing Greenway network.

Can people walk on crown roads that go across or next to my property?

Yes. If you have a crown road running across your property or alongside it, you will have this noted on your title deed. A crown road is public property and exists for access. This will be the case even if you have an enclosure permit that allows you to “fence in” that road as part of your property. Part of the arrangement for having an enclosure permits means you must have an unlocked gate and no barriers that will prevent access across that crown road, from one end to the other.

History of the Greenways Project

Public demand for riding trails in the Bywong (originally known as Gearys Gap) and Wamboin locality first arose in the early 1980s, and in 1985 the Yarrowlumla Council established a working party to develop a Shire-wide approach to a Greenway network that resulted in the Council adopting “Access to the Countryside” as their Bicentennial theme in 1988.

In 1989, the then Geary’s Gap Community Association (GGCA), now the Bywong Community Inc, developed a case for the establishment of the first Greenway in the area. The GGCA held public meetings as part of the public consultation process. As a result of community action and support, the Yarrowlumla Council provided an initial grant to establish the first Greenway in 1990. Two key residents in developing the concept and negotiating with Council, were the founder of the local Pony Club and later Shire Councillor, Suzanne Ridley and the late Julian Thompson.

In 1991, the Yarrowlumla Council established a Steering Committee to recommend a network of Greenways and to advise on general land use, fencing and any associated issues. Another role of that committee was to liaise with adjoining landowners and to advise them of the proposal. It also became evident to the steering committee that the conservation values of many sections of the Greenways were very high. This was because most proposed Greenways were Crown road reserves. As a consequence, they were protected from clearing, and where fenced, from grazing.

This added considerable impetus to the creation of the Greenway network, as they would provide wildlife corridors that are now recognised as essential to the welfare of flora and fauna. Strong support and technical advice was received from well known local environmentalist, Geoff Butler.

In 1995, the Yarrowlumla Council implemented a pilot Greenways project in the Bywong and Wamboin locality.