Excellence in Public Works Project < $2M
Winner: City of Whittlesea, Missing Links Program
The Missing Links Program responded to concerns regarding the disconnection of communities, resulting from out-of-sequence development, by prioritising the delivery of pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure. The physical disconnection limited pedestrian and cyclist access throughout the municipality and undermines social cohesion in growth areas, increases car dependence and poses significant safety concerns, with the community forced to use unsafe pathways or travel on road shoulders. Whilst improving pedestrian and bicycle links delivers great outcomes for those who regularly walk and cycle, the program did little to grow active travel participation rates across all sectors of the community.
An Equity focused Health Impact Assessment (EfHIA) evaluated the potential health impacts within the community. This process made a series of recommendations that minimised negative health outcomes and ensured the infrastructure benefitted larger groups in the community. The final EfHIA report provided recommendations across six key themes: physical activity and social cohesion, traffic safety, safe environments, connectivity and key destinations, walkability, and community engagement. Many of the recommendations aligned with the program’s original criteria and were adopted by Council to ensure the ongoing success of the Missing Links Program, which has seen an improvement in active travel rates in groups such as young children, and single parents, an increase on the community’s perception of social cohesion and safety and also enhanced the overall reach of the Program throughout the community.
The Equity focused Health Impact Assessment and the re-prioritised Missing Links Program is a fantastic example of how innovative thinking and collaboration across sectors, as well as strong capital investment, can enhance traditional engineering solutions to provide positive outcomes for the community as a whole.
Excellence in Public Works Project $2M - $5M
Winner: City of Stonnington, Melbourne High Drain Upgrade
The City of Stonnington set out to minimise localised flooding issues affecting private property in Claremont Street, South Yarra. The project was to tunnel bore and pipe jack 900mm diameter pipes near the existing 600mm diameter drain which was identified to have a mid-point displacement, whilst minimising disruption to the functionality of Melbourne High School and the surrounding commercial area.
The catchment at Claremont Street discharges via a 600mm diameter drain located under Melbourne High School’s Oval. This drain had been displaced and was operating well under capacity and subject to failure. As a result, water floods the northern end of Claremont St near the Melbourne High School entrance and the lower basement levels of 56 Claremont St. The project involved management of several stakeholders including Melbourne High School Old Boys Association, Melbourne High School staff and students, commuters along the Yarra Main trail, and the residents and traders of Claremont Street.
Despite encountering two main challenges, the project was highly successful. It was completed with minimal disruption to Melbourne High School, residents and traders in Claremont Street, road users and the Yarra Main trail shared bike path. Contaminated material was well managed without environmental impact, however the budget was strained and required additional funds to cover the contamination. The duration of the project was extended by 2 months to allow for management of contaminated material which reduced the overall cost of contamination disposal.
This drainage infrastructure project has greater community benefits by improving the livability of the area and minimising flood potential in a major storm event.
Stonnington City Council’s Travis Jenkins with Ventia’s Naomi Nielsen
Excellence in Public Works Project > $5M
Winner: Melbourne Water, Daylighting Dandenong Creek
Through the ‘Daylighting’ Dandenong Creek project, Melbourne Water’s commitment to working with the community and other agencies to achieve exemplary outcomes is clear. What was once a grassed floodway has been transformed into an open flowing channel through world-leading waterway renewal works. Delivered in 2018, an 830m+ section of piped waterway was excavated, and a meandering channel reinstated. Over 28,000 plants were planted with the help of local community. This project is a great example of how Melbourne Water and other authorities can deliver channel naturalisation projects in the future and the value they provide to local communities.
Bringing community groups and councils together and encouraging a culture of collaboration and community led decision making, the scope and aims of the project were:
- ‘Daylighting’ a key section of the creek (‘daylighting’ is the process of restoring piped or underground flows to the surface)
- Re-engagement of seven billabong sites along the creek, for amenity and habitat
- Provision of interpretive signage and other amenities, such as seating, drinking fountains and gym equipment
- Restore and naturalise a section of Dandenong Creek
- Provide more opportunities for revegetation
- Increase the natural amenity and signage of the creek to benefit the local community
- Maintain or improve flow capacity; and
- Improve instream habitats
What was once a man-made grassed floodway has been transformed into a visible waterway, with greatly improved ecological, biodiversity and community value. Furthermore, the process has created trust and respect between the community, stakeholders and water industry.
In the words of one community member: “The daylighting project is an inspirational example of how past environmental degradation can be reversed. It’s wonderful to see and hear a flowing creek where once was just sterile weedy grassland. Seeing different species of ducks already using this section of the creek gives a hint of how rich this area will be in years to come.”
Naomi Nielsen with Sarah Watkins and John Woodland from Melbourne Water
Excellence in Public Works Project
Commendation: Warrnambool City Council, Liebig St City Renewal
The Liebig St City Renewal project included extensive renovation of the city’s Café, Restaurant and Nightclub precinct, to encourage people to shop and socialize in the area. The project included implementation of universal access principles through eliminating steps at the kerb and door thresholds to the majority of stores in the 150-year-old main street, and encouraging the use of alternate transport and improved pedestrian safety through the addition of bike lanes and a pedestrian priority environment. Renewal of end of life infrastructure assets involved collaborating with several service authorities, including Powercor, Wannon Water, Telstra, NBN and SP Ausnet.
The renovated City Block, encompassing the café, restaurant and nightclub precinct, was delivered in seven months, three months ahead of schedule. This was achieved through savings in civil works by programming similar tasks to occur concurrently, early works for drainage and services, sharing resources such as excavators and trenches, and scheduling a significant amount of night works to capitalise on the longest days and best weather during the February – May construction period.
Ongoing collection and analysis of EFT spend data, pedestrian and static counts, intercept surveys, parking sessions, vacancies and business mix statistics, is demonstrating the economic benefit of investment in main streets.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to the Council and its community are the social outcomes, principally making the main street a focus for the community, which in time presents greater social benefits.
Ben Storey and Scott Cavanagh, Warrnambool City Council
Excellence in Innovation - Metropolitan
Winner: Wyndham City Council, Capital Works Dashboard
The City of Wyndham has experienced rapid population growth, and as a result, continuously works to ensure that infrastructure meets the needs of the growing community. In the 2018/2019 capital works budget, Wyndham allocated $146M for the delivery of infrastructure such as the development of roads, community centres, local parks and sports reserves. In 2018, Wyndham launched an interactive online tool, the Capital Works Dashboard (CWD) to ensure that residents across Wyndham are kept informed on changes occurring within their neighbourhoods, via an intuitive dashboard accessible on the Council’s website. The CWD allows residents to see the progress of all capital works in a format that is easily accessible.
The team designed two separate views of the dashboard:
- External Portal View - the interactive map view made available to the community via Council’s website. This view allows the customer to engage with Council on the works occurring within their area and offer informed feedback.
- Internal Portal View - provides more details about the projects which are not visible to the public. This includes information on the project budget, the details of the project team and contractor details.
The dashboard offers a visual map with colour coded markers highlighting nearby capital works for an address or a location within a preferred radius. Specific details about a project provide a new level of transparency and access to the capital works program.
The Capital Works Dashboard brings a wide array of benefits to the internal workings at Council and the community, such as:
- Community and investors are well informed about Wyndham City’s capital works projects.
- Demonstrates the level of investment made by external funding bodies, such as the State Government.
- Allows Project Managers to see projects in their area, leading to efficiencies and cross-collaboration opportunities.
- Refers residents to Council’s consultation platform ‘The Loop’ where residents are encouraged to provide feedback on projects within the municipality.
- Provides a clear alignment to Budget and City Plan outcomes.
The Council’s Project Management Office now run the dashboard, managing weekly updates of projects, monitoring user feedback and working with the Project Teams to ensure that relevant data is presented to both internal and external users. This project will have ongoing benefits for council staff, contractors, councilors and local residents.
Sudha Vasudevan, Shambleen Qamar, Linda Smith-Thompson, Melissa Falkenberg and Vierka Tait from Wyndham City Council