The Town of Victoria Park contains some significant water resources in the form of the Swan and Canning River system, groundwater resources and a lake system (in the form of G.O. Edwards Park). The urban activity that occurs adjacent to such water bodies impacts heavily on water quality, which can have significant effects on the ecologies contained within the water systems, as well as public health.
Trending declines in rainfall in the South–West of WA and subsequent water shortages are other issues which are a concern for the Town.
Water quality and conservation program
Sustainable water management is crucial for local government to operate effectively. The Town recognises that water is a scarce and valuable resource. For these reasons, the Town was previously involved in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Water Campaign, a program to enable local governments to investigate, understand, improve and show leadership in water management and inspire the community to adopt more sustainable water management practices.
Town of Victoria Park has been participating in Water Campaign since 2007. A key product of the Water Campaign was the development of a Water Action Plan. Endorsed in June 2013, the Town’s Water Action Plan was the main strategic document directing water management by the Town. The purpose of the Water Action Plan is to identify focus areas and associated actions that the Town will aim to implement to improve water quality and conservation.
In 2014/2015, the Town of Victoria Park implemented priority Water Action Plan actions, and assessed and reported on the quantitative and qualitative benefits resulting from the implemented actions.
Coinciding with the Water Campaign, the Town has also been participating in the Water Corporation/Department of Water Waterwise Council Program, which establishes a cooperative working relationship with local governments to improve water use efficiency in local government and their communities. Under this program, the Town has been progressing towards achieving Waterwise Council status.
As of June 2015, the Department of Water funding for the Water Campaign program in WA ceased completely. As a result, the Department of Water and the Water Corporation made changes to the Waterwise Council criteria, resulting in the requirement for councils participating in the Waterwise Council program to revise their existing Water Action Plans. To ensure that the Town continued to build on past achievements and continually improve water management practices, the Town since joined the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council’s Water Quality and Conservation Program, a key focus of which was the development of a new Water Action Plan. In 2015/2016, a cross-functional Water Team comprising members from Parks, Assets, Streets, Planning, and Aqualife was established to develop this Plan.
A new Water Efficiency Action Plan 2016-2021(PDF, 2MB) has been developed, superseding the previous Water Action Plan.
The objectives of the Water Efficiency Action Plan 2016 – 2021 are to:
- Assess current water use across council operations and the community.
- Identify inefficiencies and potential water savings.
- Set goals and benchmarks to improve water use.
- Prepare an action plan and implement water efficiency actions to progress towards your target.
- Provide a process for annual reporting on implementation of water efficiency actions.
The Town’s connection to the river by land places a special need on management of water quality, vegetation, fauna and physical access to the foreshore.
There a number of foreshore area that exists within Victoria Park. Whilst not all managed by the Town, these include:
- Balbuk Way foreshore;
- Belmont Park foreshore;
- Burswood foreshore;
- Burswood Peninsula; and
- Taylor Reserve/McCallum Park.
Currently, the Town is only responsible for management of approximately 2.5kms (of the 6.3kms) of foreshore area within the municipality, namely Taylor Reserve, McCallum Park and Balbuk Way. Management responsibility of other stretches of the foreshore is in private ownership. Consequently, management of the asset as a whole has not been undertaken in a coordinated, consistent manner.
There are a number of threatening processes to this foreshore, namely:
- Development, increased density and use;
- Weed invasion, and inappropriate landscape treatments;
- Uncontrolled access;
- Clearing and habitat fragmentation;
- Erosion (e.g. from boat wash, uncontrolled access, clearing); and
- Infrastructure failure (e.g. river walling)
The Town, in partnership with the Swan River Trust and Urbis, have developed a holistic Foreshore Access and Management Plan for the area, with a view to providing a framework within which to take a coordinated and consistent management approach to the long-term ecological sustainability and access to the community.
The objectives of the Foreshore Access and Management Plan(PDF, 45MB) are to:
- identify the natural resources and processes as well as the necessary management principles and practices across the foreshore, both for long-term ecological sustainability and optimum community access and utilisation;
- identify means to mitigate or minimise threatening processes to the foreshore;
- identify recreation and leisure resources and provide for public use of the area where appropriate while maintaining and enhancing natural ecosystem processes;
- investigate the potential and opportunity for development of interpretational amenities consistent with the values of the area.
If you would like a copy of the Foreshore Access and Management Plan please contact the Town on 9311 8111.
Working in accordance with the Town’s Foreshore Access and Management Plan, the Town is progressing the next stage, which is the development of Foreshore Management Treatments Schematic and Detailed Design for McCallum Park/Taylor Reserve.
McCallum Park/Taylor Reserve
McCallum Park and Taylor Reserve form part of the passive recreation precinct extending along the Swan River foreshore from Burswood Park development through to the South Perth Esplanade. The park contributes significantly to the overall aesthetic statement formed by the eastern gateway to the city.
The only river foreshore the Town currently holds the management for is located between the causeway and the Department of Water buildings at the end of Ellam Street.
McCallum Park and Taylor Reserve provide recreation and leisure opportunities to a catchment area greater than the Town of Victoria Park. The Swan River foreshore is a natural attraction of the Town and neighbouring Councils, and the park therefore plays a significant role in attracting tourists to the Town. The park attracts large number of visitors during the staging of organised public events.
The Balbuk Way foreshore area covers the area of the Swan River foreshore from just north of the Goodwood Park boat ramp to just north of the boundary of the Belmont Race Course foreshore. Balbuk Way is a valuable recreational area for the local community and regional users. The reserve is used heavily as a skiing area as well as other passive recreational uses such as fishing, cycling and walking. Due to the minimal carrying capacity of the reserve and pressure on the area, it is becoming degraded and requires proactive management to improve the site as a recreational destination.
The management of the foreshore area is jointly vested with the Town of Victoria Park and the City of Belmont. In partnership with the City of Belmont, the Town has developed a management plan for the Balbuk Way foreshore area.
Other areas of foreshore that occur within the Town that are currently vested with other authorities include:
Burswood Park is another significant passive recreation reserve extending along the Swan River foreshore. This is managed by the Burswood Park Board.
Burswood Peninsula/Belmont Park
Located within Belmont Park and managed by the Belmont Park Racecourse, Burswood Penninsula is a degraded stretch of foreshore with little/no access to the community.
Belmont Park Racecourse is planning to redevelop Burswood Peninsula, and with it comes the opportunity for sustainable design practices, and enhanced foreshore environment, and community access.
The Town’s major freshwater body is G.O. Edwards Park Lake. G.O. Edwards Park Lake is an artificial lake located in G.O. Edwards Park, Burswood. The lake is some 30 years old, having been constructed upon the site of a former uncontrolled landfill in the 1970s as part of the 150 year celebrations for the State.
The site is now zoned Parks and Recreation being occupied by parkland comprising the lake and approximately 10 hectares of open space, including large expanses of irrigated turf, some native garden beds and stands of mature trees. The lake has two islands and is understood to be fed by a groundwater source providing a year-round water supply.
Unlike many of Perth’s ephemeral urban wetlands which dry out during summer, the lake at G.O. Edwards Park maintains a fairly constant water level throughout the year, even though water from it is used for irrigation. This, together with the fact that groundwater is suspected to be carrying nutrients into the system, is a major contributing factor causing algae outbreaks in this lake, including the presence of toxic blue-green algae. Water quality must be managed during the summer when outbreaks of algal blooms occur.
Water Quality Improvement Plan
In recent years, attempts have been made to control the threat of algal blooms through chemical treatment and the use of Phoslock. However, the Town of Victoria Park recognises that a more strategic approach is needed.
A Water Quality Improvement Plan(PDF, 6MB) (WQIP) has been developed to identify the characteristics and current condition of the site, determine potential causes of poor water quality and develop a “toolbox” of actions including Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) that would be suitable and viable for consideration at G.O. Edwards Park.
Complimentary to the WQIP, a landscape concept plan(PDF, 10MB) to enhance the G.O. Edwards Park has been developed. The intent of the landscape design is to protect the natural environment and existing function of spaces, whilst taking into account the opinions, needs and requirements of the local council, various stakeholders, the community and local school groups.
The implementation of this is expected to occur in the 2017/18 financial year.