AECOM was engaged by Bundaberg Regional Council to develop a concept design for the replacement of the existing stormwater drainage channel within Washpool Creek which was at the end of its serviceable life. The drainage works consisted of an open concrete lined drain structure within a larger grassed drainage swale approximately 1400m in length which facilitates stormwater drainage of the greater Bundaberg South area.

The focus of the project works consisted primarily of the naturalisation of the existing stormwater channel system as well as identifying potential opportunities for water quality improvement along the project extent to improve quality of water entering the receiving areas of both Bundaberg Creek and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park. From an open-perspective, the project design also considered the future passive and active recreational uses throughout the immediate parkland network. The landscape concept design aimed to achieve a balance for the project around stormwater conveyance/management, water quality outcomes, open space/community aspirations as well as ecological and environmental benefits of the works.

AECOM’s approach to this project was streamlined and multi-disciplinary, thereby testing and shaping early design thinking. The need to replace the drainage structure poised a key decision – do the same or think differently? AECOM viewed the project as an opportunity to strategically reprioritise this important linear open space as much more than a drainage environment into an integrated open space which performs water quality, environmental, ecological, open space and broader community benefits to the City.

Successful naturalisation will deliver lasting benefit to Bundaberg through waterway health and water quality improvement; create environmental and ecological revitalisation; be liveable, sustainable and resilient; stay accessible, connected and safe, and create a place of community participation and education.

AECOM’s concept design resulted in a rehabilitated, reconnected and revitalised Washpool Creek that will play a vitally important role within the context of a health, vibrant and forward-looking Bundaberg.