Farmers Creek Precinct Master Plan
Lithgow City Council has engaged the services Gondwana Consulting to develop the Farmers Creek Precinct Master Plan.
The Farmers Creek project area extends from the historic Farmers Creek No. 2 Dam downstream through the Lithgow urban area and associated tributaries, then on to Lake Lyell – a total of approximately 18 kilometres – as shown on Figure 1. However, as the project brief acknowledged, “the majority of project objectives are focused on the 10 km section of Farmers Creek and tributaries within the urban area with the remaining 8 km of creek within a largely agricultural landscape with limited public access”.
Within the “urban” section of Farmers Creek and its major tributaries – the focus of this masterplan – the project area was divided into several planning units;
- Planning Units FC1 to FC10 along Farmers Creek, from upstream at the historic Farmers Creek No. 2 Dam to the Great Western Highway downstream;
- Planning Units SMC1 and SMC2 on State Mine Creek (upstream to downstream); and,
- Planning Units VoCC1 to VoCC3 on Vale of Clwyd Creek (upstream to downstream), with VoCC3 encompassing the Lake Pillans Wetlands and Blast Furnace Park.
Objectives of the Project
- Prepare a Farmers Creek Precinct Masterplan – including detailed maps, descriptive sheets, recommendations and priorities – describing the environmental and recreational measures proposed for each “project section” of the creek. The masterplan is to be a foundation for, and description of, the recommended strategic framework for future environmental and recreational works along Farmers Creek. Identification of an overarching “inspirational and visionary” future for Farmers Creek that can be endorsed by the community is a key element of the masterplan.
- Identify a connected network of public open space areas along the Farmers Creek Precinct, and show these linkages spatially.
- Identify measures for the improvement of public access and increased recreational use or opportunities (such as walking/cycle paths) and provide better linkages along the main section of Farmers Creek, State Mine Creek, Vale of Clwyd Creek, Lake Pillans Wetlands and Blast Furnace Park.
- Identify locations with the potential to be visitor nodes and provide educational opportunities for the built and natural environment. Identify measures to provide for the protection and management of the historic and cultural “icons” and historic fabric of Farmers Creek.
- Identify key areas for revegetation to improve biodiversity values – including in-stream habitat values – and measures to protect, enhance and restore remnant vegetation and biodiversity values in the catchment (including identifying stream reaches not under Council management but likely to impact upon the management of urban waterways).
- Identify measures to enhance the existing Lake Pillans Wetlands, and assess opportunities for additional aquatic habitat.
- Identify opportunities for water sensitive urban design and improvements in water quality in Farmers Creek – including stormwater drain treatment, litter management, and water quality enhancements.
- Identify soft engineering options for flood mitigation, such as wetlands, where consistent with the Lithgow Flood Study Review (2015).
- Develop a framework for the future management of open space and recreational facilities, and the reduction in costs associated with the ongoing maintenance of public reserves.
A Vision for Farmers Creek
This masterplan envisions Farmers Creek as a green corridor of publicly accessible land through Lithgow’s northern suburbs. It will feature a high standard path, suitable for multiple uses, meandering along the creekside through a mixture of developed parks and playing fields as well as attractive semi-natural landscape settings and restored natural riparian vegetation communities. Connections to the urban pathway network and low-key facilities dot the path, which will also link activity centres and heritage or other attractions in and around the town area. The path and its surrounding green spaces will be conveniently accessible for leisure, recreation and fitness activities for locals and visitors alike.
Weed control, revegetation using native species and improvements to stormwater management undertaken as part of the corridor’s improvements will deliver biodiversity and water quality benefits and also offer opportunities for outdoor education and interpretation.
The “new” Farmers Creek will become a valued, enjoyed and well managed asset of which the Lithgow community will be justifiably proud.