Wingara Project – Landscape Regeneration
We are excited to launch this dedicated webpage about our proposed vision to convert bushland at the rear of the Junior School Campus into safe and accessible learning and recreation space.
As many would know, this vision has been a long time in the making and we are looking forward to continuing to develop a proposal, in collaboration with the school and broader communities, that will benefit students, staff, parents now and into the future.
We are currently working with our landscape architects, planners and expert technical consultants to develop detailed plans, informed by the outcomes of our engagement with the school community and local residents.
In the meantime, we encourage you to have a look at a short video, photos of the current landscape, a statement from our Principal as well as the latest FAQs about the proposal.
"Research indicates outdoor experiences play an important role in education as well as providing positive health and well-being outcomes for children. At the very heart of our proposal is a commitment to delivering real educational and wellbeing benefits to our students while delivering environmentally sustainable outcomes and mitigating impacts to neighbouring residents."
Mr Graham Leddie
The Principal and Director of the Junior School discuss Wingara
What is Waverley College planning for the land at the rear of Wingara?
Waverley College is currently working with a range of technical experts, including landscape architects and traffic, heritage, stormwater, security and biodiversity consultants, to develop plans to convert the land at the rear of our Junior School Campus (Wingara) into a safe, usable learning and recreation space.
Our vision is to provide students with greater opportunities to explore and connect with this natural environment in a safe and engaging way. We are looking to preserve much of the existing environment, including the native trees and flora, whilst providing much needed outdoor space for our students.
What are the details of what is proposed?
We are still working with our landscape architects to develop a detailed design for the proposal however, our draft concept design includes the following key elements:
- Protection and retention of important ecological species, including fig trees, palm trees, banksias and eucalypts.
- Extensive local native plant species, including grasses, ferns, groundcover and canopy trees.
- Upgrade of the existing terraces to provide learning areas with ocean views.
- Safety improvements to existing walkways.
- Spaces for quiet reflection and engagement.
- Emergency vehicle access and turning circle.
- Stormwater upgrades.
- Installation of measures to enhance security, privacy and mitigate noise, including fencing, screening and planting.
The design proposal is intended to deliver an outdoor recreation and learning environment set in the bush. The design vision for the Wingara space draws heavily on the ‘natural’ character of the Bronte Gully with an emphasis on a rich and diverse layer of local native vegetation.
What are the key drivers for the proposal?
- At the heart of our planning is a commitment to delivering real educational and wellbeing benefits to our students while delivering environmentally sustainable outcomes and mitigating impacts to neighbouring residents.
- Access to safe and accessible outdoor recreation and learning spaces are at a premium in the Waverley area.
- Current research indicates outdoor experiences have an important role in education as well as providing positive health and well-being outcomes for children.
- Our proposal would provide students with safe and engaging spaces to learn, play and connect to nature.
- We are excited to have the opportunity to provide these opportunities for Waverley College students.
What is the proposed location for this new space?
Our proposal would see the school re-occupy the Wingara wilderness space at the rear of the Junior School Campus which borders Brown and Henrietta Streets.
At what stage is the proposal?
We are currently working with our landscape architect, planners and expert technical consultants to develop more detailed plans.
A number of studies are now being undertaken, including assessments relating to traffic and parking, arboriculture, heritage, stormwater and security.
How will the space be used?
While we are still working through the detailed design for the proposal, our vision is for the space to be used to:
- Encourage connection to the natural environment.
- Provide practical opportunity to learn about the area’s rich cultural and natural histories.
- Enhance learning outcomes and communication through the provision of alternative, stimulating learning environments.
- Promote physical activity and outdoor recreation.
What is the planning pathway for the proposal?
We are still working with our planners to identify the most appropriate planning pathway for our proposal. When this decision is made, we will let the community know.
When will the planning proposal be submitted?
Waverley College’s initial plan was to submit our planning proposal in late October /early November 2021. However, the impact of COVID-19 means that we now anticipate completing our planning process in early 2023. With a public comms to follow.
This revised timeframe will allow our technical consultants to complete their assessments. The assessments will then be reviewed by Waverley College, our planners and landscape architects and incorporated into the planning proposal.
What consultants have been engaged?
Waverley College has engaged a number of consultants to help us develop robust plans and design for Wingara, including:
- Landscape architects.
- Statutory planners.
- Security specialists.
- Traffic and parking experts.
- Geotechnical experts.
These consultants are currently undertaking studies that will inform the finalisation of our planning proposal and design.
Why have you engaged communications consultants?
Waverley College has engaged independent communications consultants to help us ensure the school and local communities are kept informed throughout the design and planning process. Our consultants are also tasked with recording any feedback received throughout the process to ensure community views, ideas and concerns are documented and inform planning and design.
The appointment of communications consultants is a direct reflection of the importance we attribute to working with the school and local communities to deliver this proposal.
What are the next steps?
Waverley College will commence any required formal planning process in the first quarter of 2023.
As part of developing our submission, a number of technical consultants have been engaged to undertake independent studies, including in relation to traffic, access, biodiversity, heritage, stormwater and security. The resultant reports will further inform our design proposal, including ensuring appropriate measures are in place to mitigate potential impacts to residents and the environment.
Local residents, stakeholders and the broader community will be engaged as part of the formal planning process and will have the opportunity to review our proposal, technical reports and provide feedback.
What will be the impact on local traffic and parking?
Our proposal is not anticipated to result in an increase to local traffic volumes or to impact current on-street parking arrangements. However, we acknowledge that the additional emergency / pedestrian access point on Brown Street may potentially change driver behaviour.
The potential impacts of our proposal will be the subject of comprehensive modelling and analysis by our traffic consultants. While these traffic studies are currently ongoing, the results will inform planning and design, as well as potential engagement with relevant local / State roads authorities to discuss necessary mitigation measures, if needed etc.
The traffic studies will be made publicly available through the formal planning process.
What is being done to preserve and maintain the area’s character and heritage?
Waverley College recognises the cultural and environmental importance of the site and we are working with our design team to ensure our proposal respects and enhances the local character and cultural and environmental histories of the Wingara space:
- A former drainage line (which is likely to have fed the Bronte Gully watercourse) will be interpreted with the introduction of a dry creek bed, this element is intended to build the students’ environmental awareness and provide an opportunity to connect with country.
- Extensive local native tree and shrub planting is central to the design as well as the use of sandstone (the natural geology) all of which respond to and enhance the natural landscape character.
How has the community been engaged about changes that could impact local character?
A primary objective for the design team is to address any foreseeable impacts to our neighbours, the natural environment and the local area.
This is a key driver of our commitment to implementing an informative and responsive community engagement process, including securing the support of a communications consultancy.
Has there been any local consultation with First Nation’s people?
Waverley College together with our landscape architects consulted local Aboriginal Elders to inform development of our initial concept plan. Further consultation will be undertaken as appropriate to inform finalisation of our detailed design.
What specific mitigations will be implemented to maintain the privacy of neighbouring properties?
Our concept design would mitigate impacts to privacy, security and amenity through mechanisms such as additional tree planting and the installation of a security screen along the perimeter of the site.
What impacts will there be on solar access to neighbouring properties?
Our design is being carefully conceived to minimise any impacts to solar access both to neighbouring residents and the existing campus.
What fencing or other structures are proposed to mitigate access to neighbouring properties from the school?
Our proposal would enhance security for the campus and neighbouring properties through installation of a 1.8-metre-high gate to secure the boundary along the right of way and security screening between residential properties and the campus.
What is being done to recognise Wingara’s heritage protected vegetation?
We recognise the protected heritage status of many of the trees at Wingara as well as the importance of this space to local residents. These factors are reflected in our concept design which ensures retention and protection of the existing sandstone outcrop, the mature figs and heritage listed palm, jacaranda, banksia and eucalyptus trees.
Our concept design would enhance the area’s green character to provide a natural setting for future activities in the space through:
- Removal of weeds (Privet, Lantana, Cestrum, Madeira Vine, Morning Glory) and unsafe vegetation (Coral Trees) to be replaced with appropriate local native species.
- Preservation of ecologically important species.
- Increased planting.
- Reconfiguration of lower area to include more planted areas and trees.
Our design team is developing a planting strategy to increase biodiversity, manage weeds and increase habitat (especially for birds). The strategy will be made available through the formal planning process.
What steps are being taken to maintain an appropriate balance between the built form and the natural environment?
Our concept design includes a range of initiatives to address this concern:
- Significant reduction to the extent of pavement in the lower area.
- Introduction of permeable surfaces.
- Reduced footprint and scale of ‘amphitheatre’ element to three bleacher style seats.
- Change from the use of concrete material to timber.
- Conversion of concrete stairs to light weight timber stairs.
When will construction take place?
- Timing of construction is subject to finalisation of our proposal and completion of the formal planning process.
- Construction cannot commence until planning approval has been granted.
- Waverley College will engage with the local community, including site neighbours, ahead of any commencement of construction.
What measures will be taken to manage wildlife displaced during site remediation and construction?
- We are still in the process of identifying the flora and fauna on site, to plan for the least disturbance possible.
- Management of flora and fauna will be detailed in our Construction Management Plan and informed by the technical studies we have commissioned as part of developing our planning proposal.
How will construction impacts be managed?
- Construction activities would be subject to a detailed Construction Management Plan that will be made publicly available and shared with the school community and neighbouring residents. The Plan will provide details of permitted hours of work, the types of work that can be undertaken and the range of potential construction mitigation measures that would be implemented.
- Construction activities would be staged to minimise impacts on the school and local communities.
- The Plan will also provide details of the proposed arrangements for construction-related vehicles, including the use of local streets, access to the site and parking.
- A Traffic Management Plan will be developed to manage pedestrian safety and traffic arrangements throughout construction.
- Proactive notification of the school community and local residents would be required ahead of any potentially impactful work.
How will the impacts of stormwater and soil erosion be managed?
Stormwater and soil erosion will be managed and mitigated through detailed design and planning and informed by the relevant consultant reports.
What steps have been taken to engage with the community so far?
The College has liaised with our staff, students and members of our community to seek feedback to inform ongoing planning and design. Engagement activities undertaken so far include:
- One-on-one meetings with neighbouring residents.
- Distribution of letters to neighbouring residents and other interested community members in August, September and October 2021.
- Creation of a dedicated page on our website as a central point for information and updates.
What has happened as a result of the engagement undertaken?
We have received substantial feedback, particularly from neighbouring residents, about issues such as traffic, access and parking, preservation of local character and environment, impacts of stormwater and soil erosion and privacy, security and amenity.
Waverley College has listened to this feedback and a number of changes have already been made to our concept design as a result, underscoring our commitment to engagement and the importance we attach to being a good neighbour and member of the local community.
Will there be additional opportunities to find out more about the proposal and provide feedback?
Engagement so far has focused primarily on the school community and adjacent neighbours. We will engage with the broader local community to share our design proposal and seek feedback as part of the formal planning process.
In the meantime, the school and local communities are encouraged to contact our telephone and email channels to ask questions and provide feedback and visit our dedicated webpage for updates.
What are the community contact channels?
If you have any further questions or would like to provide any feedback, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Statement from the Principal