- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 email@example.com https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
The Nepean River is our region’s most iconic natural asset and its potential as a world-class destination for recreation, dining, leisure and entertainment is being realised with the delivery of exciting projects.
Projects on both sides of the Nepean River are underway to increase useability and access, improve amenity and provide more opportunities for residents and visitors to eat, meet, relax, be active and celebrate together.
The revitalisation of Regatta Park, upgrade of Tench Reserve and vegetation management of the riverbank at River Road are just a few of the key projects set to be delivered over the next 12 months.
These projects were identified in Council’s Our River Masterplan (2013) whichwas developed with the community and outlined a shared vision and a strategicframework to celebrate, activate and protect the City’s favourite natural asset.
Council’s ongoing program of work to revitalise the Nepean River is set to strengthen Penrith’s position as Western Sydney’s most liveable city.
The "Our River" Nepean River Master Plan (Clouston Associates 2013) provides Penrith City Council with a strategic framework for the management of the river reach and associated infrastructure servicing the River Precinct.
The Master Plan identified the need for future design management of these infrastructure elements, together with the management of vegetation within the River Precinct.
The Master Plan provides Penrith City Council and the community with a framework for the future stewardship of the city’s river reach. It is the blueprint for the next 20+ years of expenditure on the Nepean River precinct.
The Final Our River Masterplan (pdf 12.6MB) will be implemented in stages and as funding is available to:
- improve views and access to the river
- improve the health and amenity of the river and surrounding area
- expand Regatta Park into a flexible, multi-purpose events and festival space, and
- upgrade Tench Reserve.
The draft "Our River" Masterplan was on public exhibition throughout September 2013. Read the Community Engagement summary report (pdf 452.4KB) or contact us if you would like to see the full Community Engagement report.
During the Our River Masterplan consultation, the community told us that management of vegetation along the river corridor needed special attention.
In NSW the management of riparian and aquatic ecosystems is coordinated under a series of State and Federal legislative frameworks. Council is required to comply with relevant legislation when making decisions about the river corridor.
Council has begun to implement the key actions of the Our River Masterplan and has responded to community priorities by beginning the preparation of a dedicated Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) for the Our River area. Council appointed Eco Logical consultants to investigate the river precinct and work with the community to prepare the VMP. See the VMP Community Workshop report.
Alongside development of the dedicated VMP, Council also wanted to update the existing Plans of Management (POM) for the Nepean River reserves.
The study area for the VMP and Plan of Management includes reserves on the both the east and west riverbanks including Tench Reserve, River Road reserve, Weir Reserve and Regatta Park. See the Plan of Management for Tench Reserve, River Road Reserve and Weir Reserve and the Regatta Park Plan of Management.
The study area for the VMP and Plan of Management includes reserves on both the east and west riverbanks including Tench Reserve, Weir Reserve, River Road and Regatta Park East.
The VMP includes maps, lists of plant species and other information that will guide Council and the community on how vegetation in different areas within the corridor should be managed to ensure the community desire for a healthy, accessible river can be achieved.
The VMP outlines how to achieve the Our River Masterplan principles while addressing key constraints and opportunities. To achieve this, a balance between habitat improvement and public amenity is needed. The VMP also explains current legislation around vegetation removal and identifies opportunities for the community to be actively involved in caring for the river corridor.
Council is required under the Local Government Act to prepare a POM for its public reserves. The updated PoM provides Council with a prioritised framework for managing the reserves over the next 5 years and will help Council secure funding and resources to deliver the outcomes set out in Our River Masterplan. Together these plans will address issues including amenity, flooding and bank stability, biodiversity, litter and identify threatened species and habitats.
The Vegetation Management Plan and updated Plans of Management for Council's river reserves were on public exhibition from 29 August to 26 September 2014. All feedback on the plans was considered and will help direct further Our River projects.
• Vegetation Management Work gets underway at Nepean River - August 2020 https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/vegetation-management-work-gets-underway-at-nepean-river
• Council calls on community for Regatta Park design – January 2020 https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/council-calls-on-community-for-regatta-park-design
• New boat ramp improves access to river – October 2019 https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/new-boat-ramp-improves-access-to-river
• Wharf Precinct to further enhance the Nepean River - February 2019 https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/wharf-precinct-to-further-enhance-nepean-river
• Bold vision for Regatta Park soon to become reality – January 2019 https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/bold-vision-for-regatta-park-soon-to-become-a-reality
- Liveability the key to a great city: https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/639-liveability-the-key-to-a-great-city
- Regatta Park celebrated our river: https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/715-regatta-park-celebrates-our-river
- Work begins at Nepean Business Park: https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/762-work-begins-at-nepean-business-park
- Plan to build new log cabin: https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/765-plan-to-build-new-log-cabin-hotel
- Future Regatta Park a crowd pleaser: https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/669-future-regatta-park-a-crowd-pleaser
Current Status: Final design phase
The Penrith community’s vision for better access to the beautiful Nepean River and improved amenities is closer to being realised with final designs for Regatta Park underway.
The design of Regatta Park is the result of careful planning and extensive community consultation, with the most recent consultation occurring in February 2020 to decide on important playground features.
The new park features event and festival areas, picnic spaces, river terraces, a regional playground for children and a potential future dining precinct with expansive river views.
Funding to upgrade Regatta Park follows Council's successful application to the Western Sydney City Deal's Liveability Program, which is designed to provide high quality community infrastructure and public spaces to create neighbourhoods that are liveable, sustainable and healthy.
The project is jointly funded with $15 million from the Australian and NSW Governments as part of the Western Sydney City Deal’s Livability Program and $9 million from Council.
The upgrade will maximise the potential of Regatta Park and give a further boost to this well-loved part of Penrith which is already complemented by the popular Yandhai Nepean Crossing, the expanding east bank dining precinct and the redevelopment of Emu Hall into a restaurant and bar.
The final design of Regatta Park is progressing and further community consultation on this will take place in late 2020.
Project update: EOI for Public artwork
Penrith City Council is calling for artists to submit their Expressions of Interest (EOI) to design and create an iconic public art piece for the new Regatta Park recreational precinct.
The commissioned artwork will celebrate the history and significance of the unique riverside location, highlight Regatta Park’s features, and welcome the community and visitors to the area.
Talented artists are invited to detail their experience delivering public artworks and their ability to develop durable and robust artworks in Stage One of the EOI period, which is open from 18 November until 16 December 2020.
Three shortlisted artists will each be awarded $1,500 to develop and present their concept design proposal and outline how the Artist will engage with the community.
The successful artist will be announced in February 2021 and receive $125,000 for all associated costs including the fabrication, delivery, and installation of the artwork.
Project update: Site undergoing investigation and assessment
Regatta Park in Emu Plains will undergo archaeological investigations and assessment for historical and Aboriginal heritage for a period of four to six weeks from 18 October 2020. During this time sections of the park will not be available for use and some disruption is expected. Penrith City Council has engaged McGregor Coxall to conduct this testing. The testing of this site is an important stage in the delivery of the new $24 million Regatta Park precinct which is due to start construction in April 2021.
Project update: The Police Cottage, Development application underway
The Police Cottage is an important local heritage feature of Penrith and its location adjacent to the Yandhai Nepean River Bridge provides a crucial link to the Regatta Park Precinct.
Council’s vision is to bring the Police Cottage back to life, delivering a destinational dining offering, through an adaptive reuse of the property, transforming the site into a café and restaurant, with outside seating that offers diners magnificent views of the Nepean River.
Constructed in 1908, The Police Cottage was the purpose-built police station and residence for Emu Plains. It forms part of the historical development of the locality of Emu Plains and was designed by the Government Architects Branch.
Significant heritage refurbishment is required to restore this building. Refurbishment will include façade restoration and replacement works to the verandas, roof, services upgrades, and internal refurbishments as well as an upgrade to the outdoor privy.
The proposal includes a possible deck extension to create an outdoor dining area which will be shaded by the row of mature Jacaranda trees at the edge of the site and will ensure diners can capture the views of the iconic Yandhai Nepean Crossing and the Nepean River.
With the cost estimated at more than $2.5 million, the project is seeking grant funding of $1 million as an investment contribution from Crown Lands NSW through the Crown Reserve Improvement Fund.
The expected timeline for this project is:
- Conservation Management Plan complete June 2020
- Development Application lodged late 2020
- Construction commences early 2021
- Construction complete mid-late 2022.
The restoration of the Police Cottage is an opportunity for Council to preserve its historical value, enhance the gateway into Regatta Park and help realise the potential of the Regatta Park Precinct as a high-quality recreational and dining destination.
Parks for People Program
Status: Consultation underway
The revitalisation of Tench Reserve continues with the announcement of a new $10 million open space park to be developed and delivered by the NSW Government.
This project is funded through the Department of Primary Industry and Environment’s Parks for People Program which aims to improve communities’ access to high quality open space areas and increase green cover.
The design will consider how to provide improved connection to the river for water sport and recreation; improve the Great River Walk and ways to open up the views, vistas and access to the Nepean River.
Consultation for this project has commenced and engagement opportunities can be found here: https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/tenchreserve
For out more about the Parks for People Program at dpie.nsw.gov.au/parksforpeople
Penrith City Council has received an offer of emergency funding from the NSW Government to improve safety along Nepean Avenue by putting temporary traffic and roadside changes in place.
Proposed short-term solutions include temporary flexible traffic barriers, a designated two-way pedestrian lane, speed cushions and reduced speed limits.
In addition, cyclists will be directed to use the roadway to ensure their safety, ‘speed cushions’ will be installed and the speed limit on Nepean Avenue will be reduced to 40km/hr for pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Council will consult with residents and users of the Great River Walk in an endeavour to develop a permanent solution to enhance the safety for both users and residents.
This information will be used to inform a review of the program where a longer-term solution for this popular feature of our City may be considered, Council will also be seeking broader community feedback as part of this review.
Important vegetation management work along the riverbank on River Road will commence in August 2020.
This work is part of a three-year grant project funded by the Federal Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.
The $150,000 ‘Keeping the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers Healthy’ project will see a schedule of work rollout over the next three years to rejuvenate and enhance the riverbank along River Road, Emu Plains.
Some of the key issues identified on the riverbank include the well-established exotic trees, shrubs and ground covers, steep and eroding banks, and native Casuarina blocking views.
The immediate vegetation management work includes:
- Removing and controlling exotic weeds, trees, and vines
- Planting appropriate native species (groundcover) to help stabilise the bank
- Creating a mown edge alongside the upper footpath to provide a safe and tidy streetscape for pedestrians and residents and discourage snake habitat
Tench Avenue Path Works (Stage 1)
Council has constructed a new shared path along Tench Avenue, just south of Jamison Road.
Funds for Stage 1 of this project were provided through the Metropolitan Greenspace Program, traffic share-use program and Section 7.11 district open space funds.
The works included:
- construction of 160m of shared footpath and all associated works
- construction of stormwater drainage
- construction of a new bus stop
- construction of new kerbs and gutter, road pavement, bollards and fencing
- landscaping and furniture.
Tench Avenue Path Works (Stage 2)
Council has completed the construction of additional shared path between Jamison Road and the M4 Overpass.
Funds for Stage 2 was provided through the ‘Walking Communities’ – NSW Government Priority Funding Program.
The works included:
- construction of over 800m of shared footpath and all associated works
- construction of stormwater drainage and gross pollutant trap
- construction of a new bus stop
- construction of new kerbs and gutter, road pavement, bollards and fencing
- landscaping and furniture.
Council has completed the construction of new accessible parkland paths through Tench Park. Funds for the Tench Park path works was provided through the Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP) and Council contributions.
Waters Edge Deck Construction
Council has completed the construction of new water’s edge decks at Tench Reserve and River Road, opposite Lewers Gallery. The design and investigation was funded through a Better Boating Round 1 grant. Construction of the water’s edge decks was joint funded through a Better Boating Round 2 grant in addition to Council section 7.11 (formerly Section 94) Great River Walk funds.
New Boat Ramp and Trailer Parking
Council has upgraded the boating facilities at Tench Reserve. The works are an important element of Council’s Our River Masterplan, and were jointly funded by the Australian Government and the NSW Boating Now infrastructure program.
The works included:
- a new 3 lane boat ramp
- 34 new boat trailer parking bays
- new access roads
- 10 new vehicle parking bays
- new jetties along the foreshore, including connection to the existing jetty
- new footpaths, stairs, balustrades and fencing
- landscaping and lighting.
Rowing Dock Extension
Council has completed the extension to the rowing dock at Weir Reserve. The work included design and construction of the rowing dock, installation of rollers to assist with launching ‘tinny’ coaching boats into and out of water and asphalting between new deck and existing footpath. The rowing dock upgrade was funded through the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants (CDG) programme which funds community infrastructure projects across Australia.
Leonay Gully Bank Stabilisation and Stormwater Treatment
This project is part of a series of works designed to enhance and restore the natural environment along the banks of the Nepean River.
A series of stepped basins help slow down the water in the gully and prevent erosion, with planting in the basins improving water quality.
The site was actively eroding and would have seen further loss of riverbank soils, ongoing public safety issues and a further reduction in the aesthetic appeal of the recreation area/waterway and nearby streetscape.
The works involved:
- removal of introduced trees
- export and import of sandstone boulders, aggregates and soil
- reconstruction of banks
- construction of a series of stormwater treatment rock lining for the channel bed and toe of bank
- planting works (wetland plantings and low native groundcovers and grasses)
Council’s ‘Our River’ Masterplan (2013) identified a safe pedestrian and cyclist crossing as a key priority for the Nepean River precinct and following strong advocacy from Council, the NSW Government committed to funding and delivering a new pedestrian bridge in 2012.
After extensive consultation with the community and a two-year construction period, the $49 million Yandhai Nepean Crossing opened in late 2018. The name of the bridge signifies the language of the Darug people who have strong traditional and historical ties to Western Sydney and the Nepean River.
As well as providing a safe way to cross the Nepean River and complete the 7km loop section of the Great River Walk, the pedestrian bridge offers walkers and cyclists the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the Blue Mountains National Park and the Nepean River.
- Main span length – 200 metres
- Overall bridge deck length – 257 metres
- Overall length of shared path – 455 metres
- Truss width – 8 metres
- Truss height – 13.5 metres
- Number of support structures – two abutments and two piers
- Steel tonnage of truss – 485 tonnes
- Steel tonnage of deck – 155 tonnes.
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