Right now, there are discussions being had about the future of Dubbo’s riverside land. While the vast majority of people that we’ve spoken to want the land to remain open public parkland, there is a private rugby club who have declared their intentions to construct a sprawling precinct over the public space.
This is our vision for this precious piece of remaining river-side country..
There should be no new sporting fields to be included in the river corridor. This area needs to be kept for public parkland, and for environmental restoration. River flood plains are sensitive environments and introducing more sports fields and associated infrastructure will have further impacts on the corridor and on the river.
The north and south precincts need to have as little infrastructure as possible but still allow public access and enjoyment. A sculpture park, children’s playground, small number of toilets, a small amphitheater would be examples of acceptable ‘infrastructure’. Pathways should be natural, i.e. dirt, woodchips or crushed granite. Universal access could be provided but only extend into part of the site but it would not be appropriate to have hard surfaces criss-crossing the whole of the precincts. In this regard vehicle access must be kept to a minimal and therefore no car parking areas be provided. Consideration could be made for dirt or crushed granite access roads (for staff) with a small number of inline parking adjoining the access track.
A mixture of forest, open woodland and some wild meadows could be envisaged. An arboretum style landscape with endemic species and a small amount of information plaques be provided.
Small wetland area with adjoining bird hide.
Sporting groups can be accommodated at Council’s many open spaces dotted throughout the established parts of the city or in the new subdivisions that are soon to be developed. There is a development application currently in at Council for the $22 million Dubbo Sports Hub which will have 4 football fields. That would be more than sufficient area for the football teams. Further areas could be adjoining Bunglegumbie Road or Sheraton Road. A developer in town proposed a football complex on Sheraton Road 10 years ago, with no further pursuit of that idea heard since, let’s reinvigorate it.
Introducing football fields in the river corridor will upset a large proportion of Dubbo’s population. Not introducing football fields in the river corridor but locating them elsewhere will not be to the football clubs’ detriment. It would be actually be a positive outcome for them to be located next to already established schools (i.e. the Dubbo Sports Hub adjoins Dubbo College and the CSU campus) or if located on Sheraton Road would be near the schools in that part of town. This would mean schools would have easy access to the fields or children could go straight from school to football training saving car pick-up and drop-off.
Regand Park has had a brilliant master plan previously prepared by Moir Landscape Architects in 2013. With a few modifications (i.e. no longer needing a velodrome and having less infrastructure than shown on the earlier plan) the parkland would be a credit to Dubbo and be a drawcard for visitors and residents alike.
New sporting fields need to be preceded by up-to-date strategic documents, master plans, needs assessments, etc. Why would ratepayers want to pay for facilities that may or may not be required? The cart should not go before the horse. If fields are required, the need for such has to be assessed properly and a plan provided. Consideration then needs to be made of Council’s current public open space areas and decisions made on what is to be provided.
Areas such as the north and south precinct for public parkland and environmental restoration are vital for people’s well being. The areas need to be sufficiently large enough to feel ‘immersed’ in nature. Taking chunks out of these areas will diminish their appeal and usefulness for biodiversity. Football fields and environmental restoration living side by side in the river corridor will be detrimental to the environment with disturbance to both flora and fauna.
Let’s create something wonderful, fun, playful, beautiful, silly, magnificent, creative, crazy, calming, wild, naughty, powerful, silent, honoring, reverential, uplifting and lets do it together!!
Image: Save Dubbo’s Greenspace!