Why has Council closed the walkway?
Following a significant rain event in June 2016 the detention basin was filled with a large volume of sediment which lifted the base of the basin above the level of the path. Council decided to close the walkway for safety reasons.
Council must place the immediate safety of pedestrians at a higher priority than providing direct access across the detention basin.
However, we are endeavouring to find a solution which will allow this area to function effectively as a detention basin while integrating other desirable land uses such as transport and recreation.
What is a detention basin?
A detention basin is an excavated area installed on, or adjacent to, tributaries of rivers, streams, lakes or bays to protect against flooding and, in some cases, downstream erosion by storing water for a limited period of time.
Why do we have a detention basin in this area?
The primary benefit to the community provided by the area between Ironbark Avenue and Halley Crescent is temporary storage of floodwaters. As well as offsetting the impacts of increased urbanisation this detention basin protects land from flooding by storing high peak flows from steep land to the west and releasing these at a controlled rate onto flatter land to the east.
Unlike recreational parks across the city, it is normal for a detention basin to fill up with sedimentation, particularly in cases where the detention basin is located close to the foot of the escarpment. As such, the maintenance pattern for a detention basin is different to the level of maintenance Council provides for recreational parks and reserves. Council will continue to maintain this area in line with its major function which is to protect against flooding.
Has Council closed the walkway before?
Council has closed the walkway several times since the detention basin was built. In 2008 the area was closed so sediment could be removed. Sediment removal is a costly and invasive exercise.
In 2011 the walkway was closed and partially reconstructed at a higher level in order to reduce the frequency of maintenance and footpath closures.
The most recent closure occurred following powerful storms after which parts of Wollongong were declared a natural disaster area.
What solutions has Council considered?
Maintenance of the existing path will have little to no benefit as the path is now below the bed of the basin. The ongoing cost of removing the sediment left after each heavy rain event is prohibitive both in economic and environmental terms.
Council has developed several options to replace the current pedestrian access with a safer and more sustainable alternative.
To help us identify which option provides the best outcome for the community we need to learn more about how people use the existing walkway when it is not closed.
This is especially important where substantial works are proposed, as these must be considered alongside a range of other projects across the city so we can properly prioritise the expenditure of ratepayer’s money.
Why is Council asking community members to complete a survey?
Council needs to understand how residents use the walkway. The survey is designed to provide an opportunity for the community and Council to identify the frequency and reasons people use the walkway.
What happens to the survey results?
Feedback from this survey will be used to inform a safe and practical solution which Council will discuss with the community next year.
How can I have my say?
The easiest way to have your say is to complete the survey on the Council website at www.haveyoursaywollongong.com.au
You may also want to visit the community information kiosk and talk with Council officers. The details are:
Date: Saturday 26 November 2016
Time: drop in any time between 10 am and 12 noon
Location: Council marquee near the detention basin.
For further questions please call 4227 7111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org