Chain of Parks
What is the Chain of Parks?
The “Chain of Parks” is a project to, over time, turn some historic landfills areas into a series of linked parks that offer a wide range of recreational facilities and open space. The land earmarked for the Chain of Parks is located within Kingston’s Green Wedge.
How did the idea come about?
Kingston has a number of landfills and there are limited ways that land can be used after landfills are closed. The idea of a series of linked parks in the Heatherton/Dingley area has been around since the early 1970s.
In 1994, this idea was formalised into a report by the former Melbourne Parks and Waterways (now Parks Victoria).
The report, Sandbelt Open Space Project, recommended a series of parklands stretching from Warrigal Road, Heatherton to Springvale Road, Dingley, including:
- 355 hectares (the size of about 150 MCGs) of core parkland
- public open space
- public and private recreational facilities, such as golf courses and sportsgrounds
- shared bicycle and pedestrian paths connecting the parks.
Successive councils and state governments, and the community have supported the concept of a Chain of Parks since it was first suggested and the recent development of Karkarook Park was an important catalyst project.
Why have there been so many landfills in Kingston?
The archaeological context of Kingston is predominantly sand dune fields. About 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, when the sea level stabilised at its current level, numerous small swamps began to form in the dune swales. This created the resource rich sandbelt that is located under parts of Kingston and was mined through the 1900s.
The large holes left in the ground from mining had to be filled and so they were used as landfills for the region. Various types of materials were/are accepted, from inert materials such as construction waste, to putrescible waste, which decays and rots, such as household garbage.
Why use the old landfills for parks?
Once all of the mining pits are filled, there are limited ways the land can be used and it can take decades to be safe for certain uses again.
Former landfill sites are not suitable for constructed or heavily paved surfaces because as waste settles in the landfill, the surface above becomes uneven.
Depending on the type of waste accepted by a landfill, gas and leachate (water) continues to be produced for many decades after it has closed. This process takes longer for deeper landfills.
Parks are an excellent end use for remediated landfills. In fact, many of Kingston and Melbourne’s parks are former landfills.
From the time a landfill has closed, it can take anywhere from 10 to 40 years for the site to be considered safe for parkland, and it takes significantly longer for them to be safe for constructed facilities. This is due to higher environmental standards now in place to rehabilitate landfill sites.
Are parks needed in the area?
The area is ideally located to address the deficiency of regional parks in Melbourne, specifically for the suburbs between Caulfield and Clayton. Although the area does not have many sites of botanical and fauna significance, it is valuable for open space and recreational purposes.
Who is responsible for managing the Chain of Parks idea?
Parks Victoria is the lead agency; while Kingston Council is joint project coordinator with Parks Victoria.
Who owns the land?
A mix of parties own the land needed to achieve the Chain of Parks idea including Council, State Government and private companies. A Public Acquisition Overlay, which identifies land to be purchased by a public authority (in this case Parks Victoria), was applied to 128.2 hectares of land needed for the project.
However, it may take decades for the entire project to be realised due to higher environmental standards now in place to remediate landfill sites and significant funding will also have to be sourced to buy the land under the Public Acquisition Overlay.
What would the Chain of Parks look like?
The Chain of Parks development plan proposes:
- a core area of 355 hectares (the size of about 150 MCGs) of publicly owned land to create continuous park “spine” from Warrigal Road, Moorabbin to Braeside Park, Dingley;
- a range of parks to complement Braeside Park and other conversation and recreation areas;
- six broad park themes including: regional parklands; an outdoor adventure/education area; and an area developed for family/fun/theme park activities;
- two major regional parklands: Karkarook Park and Braeside Park; and a
- central pedestrian and bicycle trails/shared paths over the 10 kilometre length of the linked parks with secondary trails and links to the surrounding communities.
When will this happen?
The reality of bringing the Chain of Parks idea to life is complex, with many different public and private agencies involved, as well as significant funding needed from all levels of government.
Kingston Council supports the Chain of Parks concept. As part of a wider vision for the area, Council developed a Green Wedge Plan in 2012 and appointed a project officer in 2013 to co-ordinate the interests of Council and work with other agencies to ensure a focus is placed on the Green Wedge Plan.
Council continues to work on initiatives in the area such as planning for new walking and cycling paths and a study to look into the need for equestrian facilities.
Download Sandbelt Open Space Project Development Plan.