Brimbank, Australia

Birds Eye View - Sunvale Community Park

Photo by Brimbank City Council

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Emma Cross

Photo by Brimbank City Council

Initiative: Sunvale Community Park

World Green City Awards 2022 Logo
City:Brimbank
Country:Australia
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Sunvale Community Park is the result of Brimbank City Council and Greener Spaces Better Places (GSBP), engaging with the community to transform a dormant 1.1-hectare area of land into a resilient, inclusive and community-led park.

The site was a school which closed in 2009. Brimbank purchased the land in 2014 which was key action in Council’s Creating Better Parks Policy and Plan (CBP) which highlighted a lack of open space in this part of Sunshine. Council was determined that it would once again be place for public use and to bring a community together again on this site.

GSBP, a national initiative to increase plants and trees in urban areas, identified the area as ‘Place Type 3’ or Urban, Spacious and Low Rainfall (Where Will All The Trees Be, 2020). Being highly built up with low rainfall has a unique set of challenges. Brimbank has the third lowest canopy coverage, and the third highest growth in ‘grey cover’ (i.e. hard surface to support population growth; shopping centres, roads, carparks, etc).

GSBP gave Brimbank a ‘Challenge Rating’ of Very High, indicating that the Council would face very high challenges in maintaining and growing green cover over the next decade.

The park is the result of four years of community advocacy, engagement and design. It is enthusiastically embraced by locals and offers a lively, busy green space. Users of the park span all cultures, ages and abilities and it has provided residents with strong social, recreational and ecological outcomes.

From the 548 ideas submitted by the community for the site, Council distilled these into a design that shaped the park. The result of this 360 degree design process is a park guided by community attachment for the old school site, and the ambitions of residents for a new space for their community to gather.

Examples of community consultation informing the design include the resurrection of a cricket pitch, with the previous site containing a pitch that was popular with refugees, and residents asking for the inclusion of the Wurundjeri people, whose deep connection with the landscape was important to recognise. This resulted in Council engaging indigenous artists to design and build a sculpture walk within the park.

Sunvale Community Park was the 100th park upgrade under CBP and won three Park of The Year awards in 2020. It has been celebrated by GSBP as a successful example of a project completed under the ‘Very High’ challenge rating with the park has been showcased nationally.

It includes many sustainable features, with an integrated blue-green infrastructure, making the 1.1-hectare space water neutral. Surrounding stormwater is directed to a network of rain gardens and biofiltration ponds with additional UV filtration, the water produced is suitable for irrigation. With this system the park can harvest 100,000 litres of water via underground tanks during the wetter months.

Additionally, the community requested a communal garden, and the park includes an edible garden with figs, olives, pomegranate and herbs, free to be enjoyed by all.