What is happening at Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park?
Council adopted the Masterplan for Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park in August 2020 following extensive community input. This will be the guiding document for the park for years to come. Click here to review the Masterplan.
Works have already commenced on a new toilet block and accessible path, which will run from the ANZAC gates to the pool. The work is expected to be completed by mid 2022 and is funded by the Western Sydney City Deal. These improvements will make it easier for everyone in the community to access and use the park This is a separate project. Find out more about this project here.
Council will also be upgrading the playspace and making improvements to the duck pond and surrounding landscape. These priorities were identified in the Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park Masterplan after extensive community consultation.
How are the works funded?
Stage one of this project, which includes the new toilet block and accessible path, have been funded under the Western Parkland City Liveability Program, which is part of the Western Sydney City Deal (WSCD). The WSCD is a 20-year agreement between Australian and NSW governments, and the eight local Councils of the Western Parkland City. For more information please go to: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/liveability-program
The upgrade to the community hub area of the park (playspace, duck pond and surrounding landscape) is a separate project and will be funded through the NSW Government’s NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program.
The NSW Government is investing up to $250 million through the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program to support councils to deliver more and better public spaces across the state.
Blue Mountains City Council received funding for two legacy projects: Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park, and the Corridor of Oaks, Jackson Park, Faulconbridge.
When will construction begin on the play space and duck pond and surrounding landscape?
Duck pond - It is anticipated that construction will start early next year.
Play space - 2023 with timeframes currently being determined.
This is weather dependent as wet conditions can have significant impacts on construction timeframes.
Will there be a new toilet at the park?
Yes. it is already under construction.
Will I have a chance to have my say on the play space upgrade and the improvements to the duck pond and surrounding landscape?
Yes. Works will use design direction derived from the Masterplan and further community consultation. To have your say on the draft concept designs of the duck pond, take part in the online survey. You can also subscribe to updates on this project using the subscribe button on the right.
What works will not be included in the upgrade?
The grant conditions of the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program prohibit maintenance, studies, and works on roads.
What is a Masterplan?
The Masterplan is an overall plan that guides future design and development for public spaces. They improve function and access; recognise, respect and enhance the existing character; and facilitate social activity and amenity for both residents and visitors.
Masterplans must be endorsed by Council.
What is a district park?
Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park is one of four district parks in the Blue Mountains. District parks are large and high quality parks that cater to the needs of the broader Blue Mountains community. They offer a wider variety of activities and settings and are often the most popular parks and playgrounds. More information about parks and playgrounds is available at: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/playgrounds
Duck pond upgrade FAQs
- Installing a new pollution and sediment trap
- Removing the current build-up of sediment in the pond – particularly around the edges
- Directing water through a polishing wet-zone before it runs into the pond
- Relocating the island in the pond to a location where it has less impact on water flow
- Improving access to the water in certain sections
- Spreading of diseases between birds
- Displacing other native animals
- Poor water quality from extra duck poo and food in the water.
What happened to the Muscovy ducks from the duck pond?
A pair of domestic Muscovy ducks have been resident in the Blackheath Duck Pond for many months.
As the duck pond was being emptied of water, concerns were felt for their welfare as these ducks could not just migrate elsewhere like the native ducks can.
Golden Ridge Animal Farm in Dural undertook to take them in and care for them and experienced wildlife handlers were engaged to catch and transport them.
Apparently, there was little difficulty as the ducks were very friendly!
Interestingly, the contractors on site have noted that once the Muscovy ducks were gone, a species of native duck that they had not seen there before, arrived in significant numbers.
How will the planned upgrades to the duck pond improve existing water diversion and treatment processes?
The upgrades will improve the quality and flow of water into the duck pond by:
Will any vegetation be removed as part of these upgrades to the duck pond?
In providing better site lines and water quality at the duck pond it will be necessary to remove some low-lying vegetation. High-value, established trees will be retained but removing some other vegetation will help to re-open the original vistas of the park while also addressing some weed issues downstream. If appropriate, some plantings being removed in other areas of the park may also find a new home near the duck pond.
Will there still be a fence around the pond?
The interesting heritage fence along the dam wall, where the water is deep, will be retained. Elsewhere the fence will be replaced by a shallow edge.
Significantly upgrading the pond edges to make them safe is an important part of the upgrade plans. The pond edges are currently quite steep – dropping off quickly into the water. The planned upgrades will result in a much safer gradient along the edge of the pond to the water. With sympathetic plantings along the edge where appropriate, this approach will make the pond much safer for all visitors and improve access to the pond edge in certain sections.
Why relocate the island?
To allow better water flow in the pond - giving better water quality - and to give better views across the pond.
The island offers turtles and ducks a fox and quoll free nesting and roosting site.
Why isn’t there a duck feeding station
It is bad for the health of ducks to be supplied with extra food. Often the food provided is unsuitable to their healthy diet. Even if healthy food is provided, encouraging ducks to collect in large numbers can cause:
What is happening to the arch swing set?
This will be relocated closer to the other play equipment. This lets carers more easily watch multiple children at once.
Does the pond have to be emptied?
Yes. It is necessary to empty the pond to clean out accumulated sediment and to create the new, more habitat-friendly shape. The plan is to have it empty for as little time as possible.
Will there still be a BBQ?
Why is it important to improve the sight lines into the duck pond and surrounding area?
Improving views into the duck pond and its surrounding area is an important safety consideration. Vistas to the duck pond were originally a significant part of the park setting, but over time trees have obscured them. Besides the loss of views this creates a safety issue should anyone fall in the water.
Why are the arched swings being relocated?
The arched swings are being relocated to enable the loop walk and new BBQ shelter to be built.
Relocation of the swings closer to the other play equipment will also make it easier for carers of multiple children to supervise a child on the swings at the same time as children on other play equipment. The desirability of being able to supervise multiple children at once was a clear direction in an earlier consultation phase.