Centennial Parklands worked closely with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to reinstate the pedestrian footbridge over Kensington Pond in Centennial Park, which was demolished in 2017 to facilitate the light rail construction.
Project name: Reinstatement of Kensington Pond Footbridge
Location: Kensington Pond, south-west corner of Centennial Park
Project timing: Construction works - April to December 2020, area closed for safety until mid-2021 during the construction of the Ponds Walk Stage 1.
Project owner: Transport for NSW
A new footbridge has been built by TfNSW on behalf of Centennial Parklands to connect Centennial Park to the Alison Road shared path and nearby CBD and South East Light Rail stop.
The new footbridge will reinstate a much-missed access point to the Park for the residents of Kensington, who have not been able to easily access the Park for the last few years.
The replacement footbridge will link into the planned Ponds Walk project outlined in the Centennial Park Master Plan 2040, consulted on and released in 2013.
One of the key aims of the Centennial Park Master Plan is to:
Accommodate the anticipated rise in visitor numbers arriving from the south, via Light Rail and from the expected increase in resident numbers coming from surrounding areas, circa 60,000.
Provide a contemporary and iconic entry to the park, which will also incorporate a new viewing platform with seating to encourage the observation of local wildlife.
The proposed works occurred within the southern section of Centennial Park, along Alison Road. The work site is situated over and on either side of the bank of Kensington Ponds. The proposed work area is shown in Figure 1, below.
Visitors to Centennial Parklands who pause to look around the Kensington Ponds area are most likely to observe water birds including Black swans, Pacific Black Ducks, and Cormorants, as well as eels and turtles.
To create a contemporary, environmentally sensitive and iconic new entrance to Centennial Park, Sam Crawford Architects were engaged to design a beautiful footbridge centred around the interpretation of the Parklands wonderful long-finned eels and their environmental story. Learn more their inspiring migration story here.
The form and elemental nature of the new bridge is intended to represent the skeletal structure of the long-finned eels. The fine elements to the sides and under the bridge representing fine bones, and the curves representing the eels as the move through the water.
The new footbridge is designed to connect with the planned Ponds Walk path once established. It will be an elevated surface that follows the pond edge and connects the new footbridge to Fearnley Grounds.
Its purpose is to protect the ponds bank and general area from further erosion, which it is experiencing in its current state. It will also provide opportunities for our visitors to engage more directly with the pond network.
The size of the footbridge will be slightly larger in width (2.5 m) to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists and to ensure it is fully accessible for all.
The footbridge proposal was approved by Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust (the Trust) under Part 5 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A) which applies to public authorities. The design has also received Section 60 approval from the NSW Heritage Council.
To accommodate the complex construction of the footbridge and ensure minimal environmental impact in the surrounding area, a temporary access road will be established from inside Centennial Park on Grand Drive. Approval for this access road is also being determined by the Trust under Part 5 of the EP&A Act and Heritage Council approval sought under the Heritage Act.
Once construction of the footbridge is complete, the temporary access road will be removed with some sections retained to form the base of the new shared path, which will become the first stage of the Ponds Walk.
The construction methodology of the footbridge has been determined by Transport for NSW’s engineers, with expert environmental input from Centennial Parklands and the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Construction will take place from inside Centennial Park as this is considered to be the safest and most viable solution.
As part of the build, vegetation removal including a small section of riparian vegetation along the bank of Kensington Pond will be undertaken as part of the works. These impacts will be mitigated through post-construction landscaping works and bank stabilisation and riparian planting.
Protection of ESBS
Centennial Parklands contains remnants of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS), an endangered ecological community protected under State and Commonwealth legislation.
The South West paddock, adjacent to Kensington Pond West, contains remnant ESBS. Due to the proximity of the works to this area, Centennial Parklands engaged a Bush Regeneration specialist to identify measures to protect the ESBS during the works which are now formalised and will include a Parklands representative to oversee these protection measures and ensure compliance during the works, using temporary fencing and signage.
The project is now complete with the bridge reopening in July 2021.