Parkes' newest public garden is a green space whichever way you look at it. The Town Entry Garden was landscaped with repurposed soil, features water-wise natives, and will be irrigated with recycled water.
The Town Entry Garden was created as a value-adding project from the Recycled Water Rising Main construction. The vacant plot of Crown land was identified as a site in need of remediation and had been flagged as high risk due to the incidence of heavy vehicles parking in close proximity to major intersections.
The land had been disturbed during the recycled water pipeline construction, but rather than returning the site to its former state, Council took the opportunity to create a space that would benefit the community.
While the ecological outcomes are immediately apparent, particularly in the current climate, the benefits go beyond the literal grass-roots.
Parkes Shire Council's Technical Infrastructure Manager, Julian Fyfe said "sustainable development rests on three pillars; the economy, the community and the environment."
"Many people are aware of the relationship between sustainability and the environment, but for a project to be truly sustainable it must address social and economic considerations as well, and the Town Entry Garden certainly ticks all of the boxes. "
The scope and nature of the garden was informed by a community workshop held in May. Community consensus was for a low-impact native garden that would become a passive recreation space that will mirror the character of the existing gardens on the other side of the road.
Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "the garden will have two faces; from the highway it will be an ornamental native garden to beautify the approach into Parkes, but it will also provide a point of interest for walkers and cyclist using the bike path," Cr Keith explained. "As the garden is established it will provide shade, and will include information boards to educate about the native species, making it a little oasis for pedestrians."
"By involving the community in the urban design process, Council was assured of providing a space that reflects the wishes of the community," Cr Keith continued, "we were able to tailor the landscape design to meet the identified needs, and ensure the scale was appropriate for the location."
"Not only will it enhance the easterly approach to town, but it will also improve safety as it restricts unofficial parking."
Mr Fyfe said that the hardy native species will need minimal maintenance, and establishing the garden as a value-adding project was a cost-effective way for Council to remediate that space.
"The garden has been topographically landscaped using 100% repurposed spoil from the RWRM construction, which eliminated the costs of stockpiling or disposal. Local contractors were engaged to conduct earthworks and install irrigation, providing some flow-on benefits to the local economy."
The earthworks themselves are another waterwise feature of the garden.
"The topography was created with waterflow in mind. Trees were planted along swails, or ridges, that were constructed to take advantage of natural runoff and direct water to plants," Mr Fyfe explained. "During rain events stone-lined creek beds will flow into an ephemeral pond, so the garden will change with the seasons."
The Town Entry Garden is not the only project to come out of the RWRM Urban Design Workshop. Residents and educators explored the concept of an interactive bush food garden that could be utilised by Wiradjuri education programs - a project that has had long-standing community demand. Following the workshop process it was decided Bushman's Hill was a more appropriate location, and would enhance the Wiradjuri Cultural Precinct.
The new Bush Tucker Garden will soon go ahead with in-kind support from the Recycled Water Rising Main Project. Council is currently inviting Wiradjuri elders and educators to provide input into the garden design. For more information contact Raen Fraser on 68612333 or Raen.Fraser@parkes.nsw.gov.au
The Recycled Water Rising Main project is part of the $20.9m Recycled Water Scheme, which is jointly funded through the Australian Government and Parkes Shire Council.