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Brisbane council unveils plan to transform polluted waterway

A heavily polluted creek running through the south ­of Brisbane is set to be transformed into a world-class “green lifestyle and leisure destination” under a draft masterplan released by the city’s council.

The draft masterplan for the redevelopment of Oxley Creek would see the 15-kilometre waterway between Brisbane River and Larapinta reimagined as both a sanctuary for wildlife and an “urban playground.”

The masterplan was prepared by Brisbane-based multidisciplinary design studio Lat27 with Oxley Creek Transformation, the wholly council-owned company charged with guiding the vision for the area.

It includes provisions for a nature-based adventure park, bird watching facilities, a sports and recreation centre, and an extensive network of walking and canoeing trails.

Oxley Creek and its surrounds have a long history of agriculture, extractive mining, industrial uses, unregulated landfilling activities, illegal dumping and wastewater treatment operations.

Oxley Creek and its surrounds have a long history of agriculture, extractive mining, industrial uses, unregulated landfilling activities, illegal dumping and wastewater treatment operations.

Image: Oxley Creek Transformation

According to the masterplan, the creek water quality is impacted by industrial pollutants and contaminated groundwater. Closed landfill sites could also “produce unpredictable pockets of landfill gas which can affect human health.”

“Oxley Creek Transformation is committed to reducing the impacts of industry and development on the creek and its surrounds, embedding flood resilience into the corridor and growing its rich network of green spaces,” said Nigel Chamier, the company’s chairman.

“Seeking environmentally sensitive outcomes while transforming the Oxley Creek corridor into a vast multi-use parkland and attracting investment to unlock its economic potential will be a balancing act.”

Among those on the Oxley Creek Transformation board are Bevan Lynch, a registered architect and founding principal of ML Design, and Shaun Walsh, a national director of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and CEO of City Parklands Proprietary.

The Brisbane City Council announced $100 million for the project in 2016. Mayor Graham Quirk said that prioritizing the environment was central to creating a liveable city and that the project would revitalize Brisbane’s “most urbanized waterway.”

Oxley Creek and its surrounds have a long history of agriculture, extractive mining, industrial uses, unregulated landfilling activities, illegal dumping and wastewater treatment operations.

Oxley Creek Transformation state that future projects should aim to “enhance and beautify the creek, improve water quality, remediate or contain contamination, reinstate riparian habitats and biodiversity and better connect the creek to the river and local communities.”

The draft masterplan was published on 26 April and will remain open for public feedback until Sunday 27 May. The final masterplan is due to be released by late 2018 with detailed design and implementation to follow.

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