Brimbank, Australia

Photo by Emma Cross

Sustainability and Resilience

What efforts have been made to reduce the carbon footprint of the initiative?

The blue-green infrastructure methodology used within the park consists of natural and semi-natural systems implemented to mitigate climate change impacts in urban areas, including elevated air temperatures and flooding.

Designed as a walkable/cyclable precinct, the park has been designed as an active/low carbon transport area. The design of Sunvale encourages people to walk or cycle to this park and it is located near Sunshine Station so that children from across the municipality can catch a train to Sunshine then ride, walk, skate or scoot to Sunvale Community Park to meet up.

With the expected increase in population density of Sunshine, Sunvale will offer a great place for the local community so that they don’t need to drive to another park as all their needs can meet at this fantastic park.

Whilst concrete and other hard materials have been used they have been designed for durability to avoid a short lifespan which assists in minimising the future carbon footprint of Council.

How have the anticipated impacts of climate change been considered?

Climate change impacts include increased bushfire and heatwave events in many parts of Australia. Taking this into consideration was very important to the Council and the community and was reflected strongly in the community engagement process. As such, the blue-green infrastructure was implemented to mitigate climate change impacts such as elevated air temperatures, flooding and increased bushfire events. The blue-green infrastructure includes raingardens and biofiltration ponds to ensure access to high-quality water for irrigating the diverse plants.

The raingarden system was funded wholly by Melbourne Water, a state level water authority, who provides funds for local governments to deliver water sensitive urban design infrastructure that manages stormwater treatment at the source and for reuse thus decreasing reliance on potable water.

Tree canopy cover will reach 60% overtime which is double that of Council’s overall Urban Forest Strategy aim which seeks 30% canopy cover across the municipality. Parks are sites where tree canopy can be maximised, and Council is committed to delivering this level of canopy cover in all parks across the municipality through the implementation the Urban Forest Strategy. The irrigation system will support the establishment of a robust and diverse urban forest, without reliance on potable water.

Additionally, community gardens were planted in an edible garden walk with figs, olives, pomegranate, herbs, lily pilly and chocolate lilies amongst other plants available for community harvest. This increases community engagement with urban agriculture and localised food systems – key to developing climate resilient communities.

What processes does the initiative include for it to be considerate in its use of soils and other natural resources?

Sunvale has been designed to capture, treat and store stormwater for use as irrigation. The irrigation system is subsurface, so this reduces evaporation, and it operates overnight.
A water play feature has been installed that required users to engage with various play objects to pump water into the space. This uses potable water and all the water used drains into the raingarden system and storage for reuse in irrigation.

All the plants chosen are plants that are adaptable to the local clay soils. The only imported soils were used in the raingardens which require free draining material and plants that grow in this type of soil profile.

All shelters and hard surfaces have been designed to drain stormwater into adjacent garden beds to further assist in the retention and use of stormwater within the site.