Melbourne Water has been prioritising the ‘daylighting’ of some underground sections of urban creeks to improve the amenity value for the community.
Reimagining Blind Creek
Melbourne Water’s Reimagining Your Creek is a place-based approach to integrating the amenity of water and the natural environment seamlessly into a local urban context to benefit residents.
It transforms stormwater drains and creeks into natural waterways and open spaces for the community to interact with in cooler, heathier environments. Planting of site-specific species enables local flora and fauna to flourish.
Blind Creek flows from headwaters in the Dandenong Ranges National Park through Ferntree Gully and Wantirna South, under High Street Road, before entering Dandenong Creek at Scoresby.
As part of the Reimagining Your Creek project, a section of the creek between Manuka Drive and Scoresby Road has been transformed into a fun and friendly open space through a process called ‘daylighting’.
By replacing the existing piped waterway with an open and flowing channel, Blind Creek has been restored to a more natural state.
Revegetation of the surrounding creek area will increase and enhance biodiversity and habitat. Green open space enables the local community to connect and interact with their waterway in a meaningful way.
Involving the community improves the outcomes
The project involved extensive engagement with the local community and stakeholders to develop the design, where community members explored their vision for Blind Creek.. Knox City Council provided insights into opportunities and challenges associated with the site and community-led design.
Andrea Szymanski from Knox City Council highlighted the importance of collaboration to make a project like this successful.
“The collaboration and ongoing relationships that have been built with council and residents is a testament to the success of this project. There was robust accountability and conversations that took place in order to determine the best outcomes for the community, who would ultimately become the owners and custodians of the space” she said.
Friends of Blind Creek Billabong founder and community member Allan Rimmer believes that people are valuing waterways and connecting to nature much more due to COVID-19.
“There are heaps more people, particularly children and families that use the space. People are using it as a recreational facility to get their exercise. It’s fabulous” he said.
The video and podcast below provides further insights from Andrea Szymanski (Knox City council) and Allan Rimmer (Friends of Blind Creek Billabong) on the co-delivery and co-design process of Re-imagining Blind Creek, as well as the positive impacts of the project on the community.
Listen: Allan Rimmer from Friends of Blind Creek Billabong speaks about what the project has meant to the community
Watch: Andrea Szymanski, Knox City Council speaks from the council perspective on the project
Other Reimagining Your Creek projects
Other pilot locations for the Reimagining your Creek program include:
- Arnold’s Creek, Melton West
- Tarralla Creek, Croydon
- Stony Creek at Sunshine Hospital, St Albans
As a next step into the delivery of the program, Melbourne Water is partnering with Moreland City Council, Moonee Valley City Council, and Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek to transform a section of Moonee Ponds Creek to improve biodiversity, water quality, stormwater use and social outcomes including amenity, recreation and community access.