Elliminyt Wetlands Project - Communications and Engagement

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Project Update - April 2024

The Planning and Design phases of the project are well advanced.

Key activities necessary for the delivery of the project include a biodiversity assessment of plants and animals on the site, cultural heritage assessments with a view to developing a management plan for the site and preparation of civil engineering and landscape designs and plans for the reconstruction of the existing stormwater detention basin.

The site has been cleared of some areas of noxious weeds to enable improved access to all parts of the area for specialists to undertake their inspections and assessments.

Project Background

Colac Otway Shire Council has identified the Elliminyt Wetlands Project as a key infrastructure investment needed to facilitate residential land provision in the Elliminyt area. The project outcomes will manage, control and improve the quality of storm water in the Elliminyt catchment. The existing storm water basin was constructed about 40 years ago to manage storm events in the Deans Creek Catchment.

Council has received grant monies of $3 million from the Victorian State Government and $1.2 million from the Federal Government to upgrade the existing storm water retarding basin. The site is located on Irrewillipe Road between Hart, Ballagh and Armstrong streets (see map below). The grant will enable Council to make improvements to the functionality of the existing basin and create new wetlands. This will also help to unlock about 70 hectares of residential land for future development immediately upstream of the basin.

The grants for the project will also enable Council to include and develop usable public open space on the site for nearby residents and the local community to enjoy.

Need for the Project

Council has identified the Elliminyt Wetlands (locally known as the Irrewillipe Basin) as a key infrastructure investment needed to facilitate residential land provision in the Elliminyt area, to manage, control and improve the quality of storm water in the Elliminyt catchment.

In addition to supporting significant urban residential expansion, the wetland will treat storm water via a number of processes so that it can be re-used for watering at places like the Elliminyt Recreation Reserve, Colac Golf Course or Colac Racecourse, or alternatively released into other Deans Creek drainage channels on the way to the Lake Colac outfall.

The Elliminyt wetlands will function as a passive open space. Typical key features of a passive open space include things like open grass areas, areas planted with trees and bushes, path networks linking key parts of the site, seating and sometimes a small play space. The Elliminyt wetland is a naturally wet site, however with the improvements proposed will become a usable public open space. Council proposes that any proposed play equipment should be situated in the northern portion of the site, which is naturally drier than the southern portion.

Council has created a preliminary design for the wetlands which includes space for some play equipment (if budget allows). If Council is able to fund play equipment, the play area will be to a ‘neighborhood’ standard – that is a small selection of equipment that has broad appeal and function such as swings. Another example of a ‘neighborhood’ play space is the new equipment located in Petjuli Street.

Given the space will be a functioning wetland, Council proposes that nature play (where children and adults are encouraged to interact with nature) be a strong focus for the area and a cue for the look and feel of any built forms. This includes the construction of several dry creek beds, which are channels or swales which capture and carry storm water to the wetland during rain events. These dry creek beds will provide both play and educational opportunities.

Council has to set aside part of the reserve as a sediment drying area. This is an area where sediment from the wetland would be periodically removed from the water body using machinery and left to dry in the immediate area.  Following the drying process, the dried remnant sediment will be removed from the site and appropriately disposed. Currently the location of the sediment drying area is in the southwest corner of the site, and is subject to further consultation with the community.

Under the draft concept plans, the southern portion of the site would mainly comprise informal nature trails with seating nodes along the pathways. Paths will be a mix of concrete and gravel and generally be 2.5 metres wide. Plantings will likely be mainly native, with some introduced species where appropriate. Council welcomes feedback from the community on preferred species.

Interpretive signage will be a key feature, informing visitors about the function of the wetlands.

Because this will be a ‘neighborhood’ standard open space, features like barbecues, lighting and toilets are not proposed and not achievable within the existing project budget. For these facilities community is encouraged to visit the nearby Elliminyt Recreation Reserve.

Project Deliverables

The Project is planned to deliver over a period of years the following outcomes:

  • Stormwater treatment, detention and reuse infrastructure consisting of sedimentation ponds, wetlands, storage basin and associated pipework.
  • Ability for pumping infrastructure to be installed at a later date to enable reuse at local sporting and recreational facilities within the Elliminyt area.
  • The creation of passive open space and path networks.
  • Interpretative and educational signage.
  • Creation of a nature and built form play experience, to the level of a local neighbourhood play space.
  • Provide natural and built shade and seating for passive enjoyment of reserve.

Project construction is scheduled for delivery and handover during 2025.

Comment on the Project

Questions and comments are welcome at any stage of the project and can be forwarded via email to inq@colacotway.vic.gov.au or by phoning Council on (03) 5232 9400.

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Irrewillipe Road, Elliminyt 3250  View Map

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