Marrickville Council, now amalgamated & known as the Inner West Council, has opened community consultation for their ‘Cooks River Parklands Plan of Management & Master Plan.’ The plans cover 2.5 kms of the Cooks River foreshore.
Of interest is that the whole of HJ Mahoney Reserve is designated as a ‘fauna link.’
Council plans to do some seriously good & beneficial things concerning the environment –
- Build a swale with plants, rocks & logs along the Wharf Street side of the park between the club house & the edge of the golf course. Pedestrian bridges will be built to allow people to cross the swale. This is excellent because Wharf Street has suffered severe flooding in the last few years.
- Plant shade trees in the parking area.
- Create a rain garden in the parking area.
- Construct an ephemeral wetland around the trees in the section beside Illawarra Road & Wharf Street. There will be seating, picnic & barbeque facilities in this area.
- A rock-lined overflow vegetated swale will be created in the park beside Illawarra Road. The three mature Poplar trees in this location will be retained. The 5 mature Poplar trees on the western side will be removed & replaced with natives. I am horrified about this tree removal & have written about the plan to chop down 27 Poplars trees here – http://bit.ly/1Wlfe1x
- Beside the art wall, Council plans to create two multiuse courts & install concrete bench seating that can be used by skaters. I love that there will be an area for kids to skate.
- The steel river edge will be removed & a new riverbank created & planted with either mangrove or sedges & saltmarsh. “The river edge naturalisation shall include alternate types of edge treatment; one that allows views to the river with low growing saltmarsh & wetland species & another that encourages mangrove species to colonise the intertidal zone.”
- New local native trees will be planted along the river edge.
- Dog owners will be happy as there will be a trial for off-leash dogs.
- Native ground covers & grasses will be planted underneath the double row of trees (mostly Casuarinas) beside the golf course. New trees will be planted in the gaps. Rocks, logs & nesting boxes will be placed in this area to increase viable habitat for wildlife.
- Council wants to install a new pedestrian crossing on Illawarra Road from Steel Park to a new 3-metre wide concrete shared pathway along the river’s edge after they have completed naturalization work on the river bank. The first stage will stop at the golf course, but Council would like to connect this path to the bridge over the Cooks River in Marrickville Golf Course after working out how to ensure users are not hit by stray golf balls.
I cannot see how the mangroves or the trees both in the park & in the golf course will not be negatively affected if a 3-metre wide concrete path is laid. Tree roots will need to be cut, the trees will be affected by the concrete & the compaction, plus the mangroves will need to be pruned back & so will many of the trees. I imagine that some of the trees will need to be removed. There are some significant trees in this area.
The river side of this park is one of the few peaceful places along Marrickville’s section of the river. Cyclists can use the road through the golf course in safety that already connects with the bridge over the Cooks River. There is already a shared pathway just across the river. Why not fix the riverbank, make it more beautiful & suitable for wildlife & allow this part of the park to remain peaceful?
- Council also plans to lay a 2-metre wide concrete footpath beside the park on Wharf Street. More concrete! I don’t understand why more concrete needs to be poured when most people enter the Mahoney Park crossing the road from Steel Park through an opening in the fence. All around the world de-paving is happening, yet our Council wants to lay concrete when it is not really necessary & in the most natural environment we have. There is a footpath on the opposite side of Wharf Street for those who do not want to walk on grass. All pedestrians would need to do is cross the road. Of interest to me is that I have visited many suburbs across Sydney that do not even have concrete footpaths, except in shopping or transport areas.
I think the plans for Mahoney Reserve are great overall, except for the laying of concrete along the river’s edge. Where will people be able to lay a picnic blanket if there are all kinds of plants along the river’s edge & then a wide shared concrete pathway? I think it would be much more useful for the community to have a quiet space where one can sit & peacefully, have a picnic, read & watch the river.
I didn’t need to look hard on the internet to find a study on the need for peaceful areas. This one called, ‘Quiet Areas and the Need for Quietness in Amsterdam’ was published by the National Library of Medicine in 2012.
In brief the researchers looked at the need for quietness at outdoor spaces in the urban environment.
“Visiting a quiet place & going outside to walk or bike can have a compensating effect on the need for quietness. This suggests that creating quiet places & enhancing possibilities for quiet recreation in urban environments can have a positive effect on the quality of life in the city.”
“In a Dutch survey on the need for space, quietness & silence in recreational areas 80% of the respondents report that these aspects are (very) important.” See – http://1.usa.gov/1RsCG54
Being able to find peaceful green spaces is a fundamental & precious part of a suburb’s liveability. Peaceful & quiet places should be available. I’ve said before that I think Council is turning the river foreshore into an entertainment area. It’s true that we can cross the river & go into other municipalities to access peaceful areas, but I don’t think we should have to do this.
Community consultation is open until Wednesday 8th June 2016. You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO