Community engagement ensures new open space facilities are appealing and accessible to users via a pedestrian/cycle network. High quality graphics clearly illustrate the design concepts for each of the 16 spaces that incorporate recreation facilities identified as desirable by the community. Photomontages provide a sense of being in the new space. Place making, public art and 'wayfinding' are used to create engaging public spaces. Extension of Kokoda Track Memorial Walk to Rhodes railway station acknowledges the role of Australia in the broader Pacific Campaign of WW2. Pedestrian/cycle routes along sections of Parramatta River and Homebush Bay waterfront connect adjoining urban areas and Sydney Olympic Park.
City of Canada Bay adopted the Master Plan to upgrade open space recreation facilities throughout the Peninsula to increase their capacity to meet community needs within a dense urban environment. The Master Plan Report layout provides for easy navigation by first addressing Peninsula wide issues and then detailed concepts for each open space. A paper titled From Front Door Foreshore discussed how residents experience the public domain from their front door to public open spaces throughout the Peninsula. Open space is treated as a network rather than a collection of individual parks and sites. The Master Plan provides a model for similar urban areas that are undergoing redevelopment and increased density.
Safety is addressed through an integrated network of pedestrian and cycle paths that provide safe and convenient access to open spaces throughout the Peninsula and Sydney Olympic Park, with minimum conflict with vehicles. Concept designs for each open space take account of safety in the proposed layout and type of facilities. Passive surveillance from adjoining high rise buildings, streets and waterfronts was considered. Proposed changes to a number of car parking areas will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The safety of Kokoda Track Memorial Walk users is enhanced by modifications that would remove the section ending in a car park and creating a new section extending to Rhodes railway station.
Ecological values throughout the Peninsula are identified and incorporated, including remnant Mangroves on Homebush and Brays Bays and Eucalypt/Melaleuca/Casuarina vegetation communities. An Urban Forest Strategy was prepared which incorporates the existing canopy cover and proposes new tree planting throughout the open spaces to provide shade for users and improve the urban micro climate. A set of sustainability measures were identified as climate change adaptation measures that include renewable energy, alternate transport, stormwater treatment, biodiversity, an urban forest strategy and water sensitive urban design. Recommended plant species include those adapted to site and requiring minimum watering.
Corkery Consulting also prepared a Plan of Management that details how the Master Plan will be implemented. An Action Plan lists all the works to be carried out in each open space with the community values addressed, priority of the works, responsibility for implementation, potential budget source and assessment criteria. The design concepts are cost effective because they are specific to the open space, make best use of the site resources, provide for multiple uses and build on the existing facilities. Selection of materials included in the design concepts was focused on robust materials and construction techniques together with the selection of plant species with minimum on-going maintenance cost.
The proposed open space facilities and opportunities for passive recreation represent good value in relation to the various returns they provide. Research confirms that access to good quality open space makes a significant contribution to community health and well being, resulting in reduced public health costs. High quality open space also increases the value of adjoining residential properties. Trees and other vegetation planted as part of landscape works are assets that increase in value over time as they grow. In addition trees provide environmental services that include improved air quality, greenhouse gas capture, energy conservation through shading, improved storm water quality and wildlife habitat.
The Master Plan adopts an innovative planning approach by treating all 16 public open spaces as an integrated network connected by pedestrian and cycle paths to each other and Rhodes railway station. A community survey ensured facilities within each open space meet community needs. The Plan of Management provides a comprehensive program for the implementation of individual open space design concepts over time which will increase their capacity to meet the needs of all users. The 2015 AILA NSW Award for Planning Jury Citation noted that the project “displays a complex, powerful and intelligently considered approach to precinct open space planning and management for a dynamic and challenging urban centre.”