What is Enviro-scape Precinct Master Planning?
Enviro-scape precinct master planning is a strategic process that coordinates the future development of the City’s park precincts. It considers water quality and conservation (hydro-zoning, eco-zoning), the natural and built environment and climate change, along with accessibility, amenity, community use and ensuring the precinct is fit for purpose.The plan developed aims to ensure that community needs are served at the most economic whole-of life cost.
What are the issues the master plan will address?
There are 67 parks in the City of Nedlands. The enviro-scape plans to be prepared for each of these parks will address the following issues:
- Water Use: The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DoWER) has capped the City’s annual allocation of ground water used for irrigation at 709,300 kilolitres, based on 7,500 kilolitres per hectare of irrigated area per year.
There is a possibility the Department of Water will reduce the allowance of water use to approximately 6,000 kilolitres per hectare, per year (equivalent to 2.4 Olympic-sized pools).
· Climate Change: Continued climate change with increased temperatures, reduced rainfall, rising sea levels; and increased risk of storms, droughts, and floods, requires a change of thinking in management practices. As Climate Change will result in increased erosion of the coastal and Swan River foreshore areas; damage to infrastructure and increased species extinctions.
· Passive Recreation: An increase in demand and use for passive recreation requires the need to improve the management of passive turf surfaces within the park.
· Water Quality: The quality of the ground water is currently reduced due to the rain water being directed to the Swan River, instead of naturally dispersing into the water aquifer which sits below the ground surface. More direct filtration into the aquifer will assist with improving ground water quality across the broader local area.
- Vegetation: The health and retention of native vegetation, most notably trees, is impacted by the quality of the ground water and how the water is applied. The planting of waterwise vegetation will support the reduction in ground water use that is likely to be imposed by DoWER in future needs.
- Natural Area Conservation: The increase of hydro-zoned areas, tree canopy and native vegetation in the City will assist natural areas conservation by expanding existing bushland areas and increasing greenway corridors and linkages between natural areas. This assists in increasing the resilience of urban areas and wildlife in the event of natural disasters along with improving water catchment and filtration and reducing heat island effects.
- User accessibility: Increased demand and a changing user profile requires a rethinking of how pedestrians can access the reserve and the facilities within the reserve.
What is hydro-zoning and eco-zoning?
This process includes hydro-zoning which is a water conservation practice that defines zones of usage and plant types with differing watering requirements, and eco-zoning where the watering needs of plants are met by rainfall alone.
How will the groundwater aquifers work in the future?
The planning process also considers the management of groundwater aquifers in terms of the total water cycle that includes storm water capture and infiltration into the aquifer, where it is stored, and eventual abstraction of the groundwater for watering of parks.
Why is the grass being replaced with mulch within the park?
The City is proposing to replace the turf with mulch within the park as the current water usage and quality is likely to become unsustainable into the future. In addition, replacing the turf with mulch around the mature native trees, together with eliminating groundwater irrigation will support their continued long-term health and viability.
Our future environment is likely to have reduced water allowances for irrigation and a need to maintain or increase tree canopy cover. As a result, the City needs to identify and implement practical solutions to continue to provide appealing and functional parks.
The alternative to replacing grass and mulching would be to reduce watering to grass areas to levels that would not support satisfactory grass growth and which would eventually result in large areas of sparse, brown and sandy ground.
What happens next?
The initiatives will be delivered over the long term. The following initiatives have been listed for the current and future Capital Works Program until 2021/22 financial year. However, there are no works programmed for the 2020/21 financial year.
However, on a yearly basis, the Capital Works Program is reviewed. As part of this review, priorities may change as a result of the condition and age of the assets changing. The assets that require renewal will be replaced in accordance with this Enviro-scape Master Plan. The priorities for the next five financial years are:
2017/18 Capital Works Program
- Greenway development in buffer (Stage 1)
- Construction of 710 metres of internal dual-use path
2018/19 Capital Works Program
- Construction of 400 metres of dual-use path
2019/20 Capital Works Program
- Greenway development in buffer (Stage 2)
- Replace combination table
- Replace drinking fountain
- Expand eco-zone planting
- Upgrade irrigation system including hydro-zoning
2021/22 Capital Works Program
- Install car park security lighting
- Replace combination table