Over 100 hectares of central farmland in Canberra's north have been purchased by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government for an undisclosed price in the millions.
The Land Development Agency (LDA) said the Wintergarden Estate in Belconnen will retain its existing zoning as hills, ridges and buffer land between the districts of Belconnen and Molonglo and will not be used for residential development.
David Dawes, LDA chief executive officer, said the government intends to undertake infrastructure works on the property, which is accounted for by three blocks of land near Cook.
Some potential future developments for the land include gardens, equestrian facilities and playing fields.
The estate passed in at $3.6 million at an auction on July 14th, with the LDA bidding up to $3.5 million - the first time the agency participated in an auction for rural land.
"As a long-term strategic purchase there are no immediate plans for the property but through this purchase the government has secured land necessary for important infrastructure works that will be associated with Molonglo Stage 3," Mr Dawes commented.
Indeed, the previous owners will continue to live at and maintain the property for the next ten years, with the government taking control of non-residential parts of the land as they are needed.
In the past, the land has been used for cattle and sheep grazing, as well as horse agistment.
According to Mr Dawes, the government accounted for the strategic importance of the land before acquiring the blocks.
Work will be carried out to build a bulk water supply main, in addition to the repositioning of power lines and a significant upgrade to the intersection of William Hovell Drive at Coppins Crossing Road and Coulter Drive.
"The government may also consider using a part of the purchased land for broader recreational pursuits that would service both Molonglo and West Belconnen," Mr Dawes said, adding that community benefit was an important consideration when the land was bought.