What is happening at Wentworth Falls Lake Park?

    Wentworth Falls Lake Park is being upgraded, thanks to the Western Sydney City Deal Liveability Program. Through the Western Sydney City Deal, we have over $1.7 million to spend on the current upgrade of Wentworth Falls Lake Park. 

    This includes the construction of an accessible bridge, extending across the top of the spillway to a walkway on the north side of the lake, and featuring a dual level viewing platform.

    This funding is for the upgrade of community facilities only. It cannot be spent on other infrastructure upgrades – like the upgrade of roads and potholes.

    Through the Australian Government’s Preparing Australian Communities - Local Program, Council has also been granted just under $4 million to significantly improve water management infrastructure at the park.

    As a separate, multi-staged project, Council will:

    • Improve the dam and spillway and provide systems for actively monitoring water flow
    • Deliver improved infrastructure for fire-fighting operations, and 
    • Construct a new, accessible pathway along the dam wall – that will connect to the bridge, walkway and dual viewing platform about to be built.

    Council is also currently seeking additional grant funding so that more parking can be installed at the lake, as a priority.

    Why is this upgrade happening?

    Wentworth Falls Lake Reserve 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 community. They offer a wider variety of activities and settings and are often the most popular parks and playgrounds.

    This upgrade is in line with the vision for the park as outlined in the community-endorsed Masterplan and Plan of Management (adopted on 29 June 2021). 

    The vision is to provide a high quality park that is accessible and inclusive for the community and visitors, while protecting its natural values and biodiversity, as well as safely managing dam infrastructure.

    The current bridge over the spillway is nearing the end of its life and its replacement is necessary. Council will also significantly improve water management infrastructure at the park.


    What parts of the community-endorsed Wentworth Falls Lake Masterplan are relevant to this project?

    The Masterplan: “Provides an overall guide to the layout and style of future developments of Wentworth Falls Lake to ensure the functions and the environment work together in synergy.”

    The Masterplan states:

    Focus – A Full Loop Walk (p. 16)

    • It is proposed to replace the existing stairs and bridge crossing over the dam spillway with a new accessible boardwalk. This enables the southern and eastern components of the loop walk to be accessible. 
    • A completed loop walk is planned for a future upgrade and funding will be sought. The new loop walk would be entirely within the reserve, improving safety and providing for an improved experience. 
    • Accessibility of each section of the loop walk will be further investigated during design development of each section. Each section of the loop track is to maximise opportunities for accessibility subject to natural site constraints and available funding.


    The current upgrade is one component of the “full loop walk” as outlined in the Masterplan.

    What parts of the community-endorsed Wentworth Falls Lake Plan of Management are relevant to this current project?

    The Plan of Management: “Provides strategic planning and governance for the management and use of Wentworth Falls Lake Reserve.”

    • The current upgrade is in line with the vision of the Reserve to provide a high quality park that is accessible and inclusive for the community and visitors, while protecting its natural values and biodiversity, as well as safely managing dam infrastructure.


    What community consultation has been held?

    Multiple phases of community consultation occurred during the development of the Plan of Management and Master Plan. This included:

    • Signage on site
    • Letter box drops to nearby residents
    • Media, Advertising & social media
    • Direct correspondence to stakeholders


    The Draft Wentworth Falls Lake Plan of Management & Draft Masterplan were on public exhibition 12 April – 24 May 2021. Following that, they were endorsed by the Council on 29 June 2021.

    Community consultation focused on the design of the accessible bridge that will connect to a walkway and dual viewing platform on the north side of the lake was conducted from 21 January to 7 March 2022. Originally due to end on 18 February, consultation was extended to allow further dialogue with the community.

    Download the Community Consultation Report.

    Consultation also highlighted the community’s call for more parking and the completion of a full loop-walk around the park, as outlined in the community-endorsed Masterplan.

    Council endorsed in principle at the Council Meeting on 31 May to seek an additional $8.5 million under the Blue Mountains Local Government Allocation for the WestInvest program.


    What are the features of the design?

    The proposed bridge, walkway and platform will follow the current footprint. The walkway is almost 2m wide x 56 metres in length.

    The bridge has been raised to span between the dam wall and the existing lookout for:

    • Safety – removing pedestrian traffic from the spillway
    • Accessibility standards
    • Better views across the lake


    All elements of the design will comply with Australian accessibility standards.

    • They have been approved by an accessibility consultant.
    • Handrails are low enough for someone in a wheel chair to look over the hand rail.
    • The decking will be heel guard mesh.


    In regards to the materials that have been selected for the design of the bridge, materials have been chosen to blend in with the natural surroundings. This includes corten steel, that will weather and blend with the backdrop of the trees and sandstone cutting.

    Following community consultation, Council has resolved to reduce the height of the corten steel facia on the bridge, walkway and viewing platform, from 650mm to 450mm (the minimum height to meet structural requirements).

    The structure will be well integrated, and not visually prominent, despite being some height above the spillway.

    Wentworth Falls Lake Master Plan also gives direction to the use of materials and design that highlight the natural setting wherever practical. The current design follows that direction.

     

    Will the works impact the ecological, cultural or heritage value of the park?

    This upgrade is in line with the vision for the park, as outlined in the Wentworth Falls Lake Reserve Masterplan and Plan of Management, adopted in 2021. As with all proposed Council projects, extensive environmental assessments have been undertaken. This includes a formal Review of Environmental Factors. 

    It is important that, while we improve accessibility and the appropriate level of recreational amenity for a district park, we balance this with the need to preserve the natural values of the site, as well as the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

    A full flora and fauna study has been undertaken and all work is being done in consultation with Council’s tree, environment, and heritage staff. 

    The proposed activity will have a small footprint in relation to the overall site and environmental impacts have been avoided or mitigated in the concept design process.


    What other upgrades are happening at Wentworth Falls Lake Park?

    A component of the City Deal Liveability grant funding is to improve sections of the footpath leading up to Wentworth Falls Lake.

    The Sinclair Crescent section of the path – that will be completed in 2022 – improves access to Wentworth Falls Lake Park. It runs from Hill Street, Wentworth Falls, through to Blaxland Road.

    Through the Australian Government’s Preparing Australian Communities - Local Program, Council has also been granted just under $4 million to significantly improve water management infrastructure at the park.

    As a separate, multi-staged project, Council will:

    • Improve the dam and spillway and provide systems for actively monitoring water flow
    • Deliver improved infrastructure for fire-fighting operations, and 
    • Construct a new, accessible pathway along the dam wall – that will connect to the bridge, walkway and dual viewing platform about to be built.


    Council is also currently seeking additional grant funding so that more parking can be installed at the lake, as a priority.

    With additional funding of $200,000 from the 'Everyone Can Play' grant, and Council's contribution of $400,000, a new play space was also completed at the park in 2021.


    Will there be additional parking in this upgrade?

    Council has resolved to prioritise a parking precinct plan for the area around the lake. Funding is currently being sought for the precinct.

    The proposed parking precinct plan is listed in the City Wide Parking Precinct Plan – and is one of 12 areas that are currently being scheduled.  Other areas include:

    • Katoomba Town Centre
    • Leura Village Centre
    • Wentworth Falls Village
    • Springwood Town Centre
    • Blaxland Town Centre
    • Wentworth Falls Lookout
    • Katoomba Falls


    Meanwhile, the current Creating shared paths (Liveability Project) is currently improving pedestrian access and thoroughfare at Wentworth Falls Lake Park.

    Adjacent car parking and pedestrian connections to the new toilet block were also improved in 2018-2019.

    When will works start on construction of the bridge and pathway?

    The timeline of the current project is

    • Community consultation (completed 7 March)
    • Prepare Request For Tender (May/June 2022)
    • Tender report to Council (September 2022)
    • Construction to start (October 2022)
    • Project completion (June 2023)


    Will the other District Parks be receiving an upgrade?

    All four district parks in the Blue Mountains – including Springwood’s Buttenshaw Park, Wentworth Falls Lake Park and Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park – will receive upgrades totalling more than $5.2 million as part of this program of works. Glenbrook District Park has already been upgraded.