- Project typeGrant funded by the NSW Government and the Federal Government, with co-contribution by Parkes Shire Council.
- Project value$750,000
- Project scheduleStage 1 (earthworks) completed in June 2023; Stage 2 (walking track) due for completion by mid-2024.
- Contractor nameSteve Magill Earthmoving (Stage 1); Total Groundworx (Stage 2).
- Completion Date30 June 2024
As the first drops of water trickled into Parkes Wetlands in August 2023 the site was supplied with water for the first time in more than five years, marking the beginning of Parkes Shire Council's exciting project to activate the Parkes Wetlands for community use.
The Parkes Wetlands project was first envisaged many years ago when the construction of Parkes Shire Council’s new Sewage Treatment Plant was nearing completion, and the town’s old maturation ponds were decommissioned.
The first stage of the wetland’s development was completed in 2023, which included earthworks to convert the old treatment ponds into a hydrologically complex, naturalistic and functional habitat capable of supporting a diverse range of native fauna and flora, including listed threatened and migratory birds.
The wetlands will create a crucial habitat for a range of native animals, affording birds, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates an important refuge, particularly during dry periods and prolonged drought.
Additionally, the area surrounding the wetland is being managed to restore a patch of Fuzzy Box Woodland Endangered Ecological Community (EEC). When this vegetation matures, it will provide connectivity between the wetlands, existing EEC remnants in nearby linear roadside reserves, and an adjacent waterway.
The next stage of this project (to begin in early 2024) will involve the construction of a gravel pathway around the wetlands to enable all abilities access to the site, and facilitate recreational activities such as walking, jogging and cycling around the site.
To fully activate this space for community use, Council are currently seeking grant funding opportunities to install infrastructure such as viewing platforms, an over water boardwalk, bird hides, and an outdoor learning space.
The transformation of this site into a fully integrated cultural, educational, recreational and eco-tourism space will, over time, create a high-impact birdwatching experience for locals and visitors, and provide a unique opportunity for tourists and travellers seeking ecotourism experiences, particularly birdwatchers.
The project is not only an economic win for Parkes but may facilitate regional collaboration and investment in nature-based tourism across the Central West, such as the potential to develop a birdwatching trail linking the Parkes Wetlands to Gum Swamp in Forbes, Lake Cowal, and Lake Cargelligo.
Community volunteers have already had an input into this project by taking part in annual National Tree Day events on and adjacent to the site for the past four years, creating green spaces to complement the work undertaken at the wetlands.
We're working towards getting this space open for public access, and we're not too far away.