Designs

Gladstone East Shores Precinct - Turf Supply

By Gladstone Ports Corporation

  • Gladstone East Shores Precinct - Turf Supply

    Gladstone East Shores Precinct - Turf Supply

About the project

The Gladstone East Shores Precinct is a major new recreational hub for the City of Gladstone located on the foreshore of Auckland Inlet. The integrated parkland design features an innovative application of ‘wicking bed’ technology to store locally harvested stormwater runoff for passive irrigation of a high use open lawn area.
Gladstone East Shores Precinct
Location: Gladstone, QLD
The Gladstone East Shores Precinct is a major new recreational hub for the City of Gladstone located on the foreshore of Auckland Inlet. The integrated parkland design features an innovative application of ‘wicking bed’ technology to store locally harvested stormwater runoff for passive irrigation of a high use open lawn area.

Delivery of sustainable irrigation using harvested stormwater and wicking bed technology to achieve green and resilient turf open space within the new Gladstone East Shores Precinct.
• World-class parkland in a drying climate – The Gladstone climate and the existing soil profile required an innovative solution for supporting resilient green spaces, water management and irrigation for the parkland.
• Sustainable and healthy environment – The aim was to protect Auckland inlet from stormwater pollution and reduce reliance on potable water supplies.
The innovations:
Harvesting, storage and reuse of stormwater to passively irrigate a high use turfed open space using wicking bed technology.
• Shallow storage zone – Stormwater is diverted from the road and shelters into a storage zone (artificial sand aquifer) built beneath a 1420 m2 turf kick and throw area.
• ‘Wicking-bed’ technology – Using the natural process of soil capillary rise, driven by evapotranspiration, the water stored in the storage zone is drawn up to the active root zone, thereby ensuring optimal soil moisture conditions for healthy turf growth. This soil profile also ensures the fields are able to drain effectively after rainfall for quick return to play.
• Passively irrigated and resilient green space – The storage zone and wicking bed provides the turf above with a reliable supply of water using a method that doesn’t require the use of energy (e.g. irrigation pumps). This solution also reduces stormwater pollutant loads entering Auckland Inlet by storing and using the stormwater for passive irrigation and thereby reducing the volume of stormwater leaving the site.
• Treatment of stormwater flows - Vegetated swales, bioretention raingardens, permeable pavers and rainwater tanks are also used across the site as part of the overall stormwater management strategy for the precinct.
Turf Selection
Wintergreen couch was chosen for the East Shores maritime precinct due to price and availability from local grower. The turf supplier for the works was Bay Turf Gladstone, who the Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) have always found great to deal with and very knowledgeable. This project was handled by the principle contractor and not directly by the GPC however, turf supplied to GPC from this supplier has been of excellent condition.

The turf was performing well in the beginning however after 12 months or more it began to struggle. Soil tests were undertaken which indicated the soil was the issue, having some specific nutrient deficiencies. These soil deficiencies have since been rectified and the turf is now performing very well.

The reaction of the community has been tremendous, with continual heavy usage over the last 4 years. This has been reflected in 2 nominations from the community with Gladstone’s “best in business awards” winning 2 years (17 & 18) in a row for best Tourist attraction.

Wicking Bed Technology
‘Wicking bed’ technology is a highly transferable and scalable concept for the passive irrigation of sports fields, high profile open space, podium planting, planter boxes and street trees. For large-scale sports field/open space application, the concept is most applicable on new sites or existing sites where the soil profile needs to be rebuilt as the wicking zone can be incorporated cost effectively. Retrofitting existing parks or sports fields, where there aren’t other drivers for reconstruction, may be cost prohibitive due to the earthworks and infrastructure required to incorporate the water storage/wicking zone.

• Results to date show success – Since its construction in 2014, the success of this project has demonstrated that wicking-bed technology is a viable solution for achieving healthy turf growth and integrated water management benefits.

• Site challenges can create opportunities – Poor soils, shallow rock and the need for fill on the site provided the opportunity to recreate the soil profile in a new and functional way.

• Stormwater as a resource – Stormwater quality outcomes can be achieved by using stormwater as a resource and don’t necessarily need to be achieved through traditional stormwater treatment devices.
Project collaborators:
• E2Designlab
• Gladstone Ports Corporation
• Urbis
Awards:
• Planning Institute of Australia 2016 – National Award for Planning Excellence – Great Place Award
• AILA 2015 – Award for Excellence in Urban Design
• Parks and Leisure Australia Qld 2016 – Best Parks and Open Space – Development