The Greater Sydney Green Grid is a long-term vision for a network of high quality green spaces that connects communities to the natural landscape. It links tree-lined streets, waterways, bushland corridors, parks and open spaces with town centres, public transport and public places. The Greater Sydney Green Grid builds on the District's established open space, the Regional Tracks and Trails Framework and the Principal Bicycle Network.
Tree-lined streets, urban bushland and tree cover on private land form a component of the urban tree canopy. The urban tree canopy is a form of green infrastructure that mitigates the urban heat island effect, with a 10 per cent increase in tree canopy cover reducing the land surface temperature by 1.13 degrees Celsius. The urban tree canopy also supports cleaner air and water and provides local habitat. Trees remove fine particles from the air and help insulate against noise pollution, particularly along busy roads. The urban tree canopy can also help make communities more resilient by reducing the impact of heat waves and extreme heat.
The urban tree canopy
The South District benefits from bushland and national parks, and trees in parks and public spaces, along streets, and in the front and backyards of privately-owned land, creating a distinct tree canopy. These native and exotic trees provide an average of 26 per cent tree canopy cover in the Urban Area. Some areas in the south of the District such as Loftus and Padstow Heights have more than 50 per cent cover. Figure 21 shows tree canopy cover in the Urban Area in 2011.
Sutherland Shire Council has initiated a Green Streets program of street tree planting, with more than 5,000 trees planted since 2013, along with native grasses in road reserves and on other public land. The NSW Government has set a target to increase the tree canopy cover across Greater Sydney to 40 per cent.
Along many busy roads, where there is limited space to plant trees, there may be opportunities to plant other forms of green ground cover, such as garden beds and hedges that can help improve air quality.
Trees are valued by residents and contribute to the streetscapes, character and amenity of the District. As the District continues to grow and change, the urban tree canopy will come under pressure. This means that expanding the urban tree canopy in public places will become even more important for supporting sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods.
The tree canopy may be formed by a mix of native and exotic, deciduous or evergreen trees, which provide shade in summer while allowing sunlight into homes and onto roofs for solar power, particularly in winter.
Urban renewal and transformation projects will be critical to increasing urban tree canopy cover. This can be complemented by other green cover, including rain gardens, green roofs and green walls. Green cover can help slow and store stormwater and improve water quality, filtering pollution before it reaches the District's waterways.
Challenges to extending the urban tree canopy in public and private include the lack of sufficient space within existing street corridors and the competition with other forms of infrastructure both above and below the ground. Opportunities to relocate power lines underground or bundle them may be explored at a local or precinct scale, particularly in areas experiencing urban renewal, to provide space for the urban tree canopy and enhance the public domain. Extending the urban tree canopy should be balanced with the need to allow sunlight into homes and onto roofs for solar power.
The District's councils generally provide guidance on enhancing tree canopy and tree cover in the urban environment, and information on street trees. Some encourage permeable surfaces to allow rainwater to soak into the ground and reduce stormwater run-off, which supports the growth of canopy trees and vegetation, and reduces pollution, flooding and urban heat. Where trees are lost as a result of development, some councils have developed programs to plant replacement trees in the public realm.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Apartment Design Guide and the new Greenfield Housing Code guide the requirements for landscape areas that can support the urban tree canopy. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is preparing an urban tree canopy manual, as part of a green infrastructure policy framework, to support the expansion of the urban tree canopy.
Connecting the Greater Sydney Green Grid
Enhancing the amenity and activity within, and accessibility to, the Greater Sydney Green Grid will promote a healthier urban environment, improve community access to places for recreation and exercise, encourage social interaction, support walking and cycling connections and improve resilience.
The long-term vision for the Greater Sydney Green Grid in the South District is shown on Figure 23.
This vision will be delivered incrementally over decades, as opportunities arise and detailed plans for connections are refined. Green Grid Priority Projects have been selected to provide district-scale connections that link open space, waterways and bushland. Table 4 lists Green Grid Priority Projects for the District.
Councils will lead the delivery of the Greater Sydney Green Grid through land use planning and infrastructure investment mechanisms such as development and land use controls, agreements for dual use of open space and recreational facilities, direct investment in open space, and other funding mechanisms such as local development contributions and voluntary planning agreements.
State, regional and district parklands and reserves form a principal element of the Greater Sydney Green Grid for both biodiversity and recreation purposes.
The NSW Government supports the delivery of regional open space and green grid connections through the Metropolitan Greenspace Program. The NSW Government also supports the delivery of regional open space using special infrastructure contributions.
Transport for NSW is establishing a Principal Bicycle Network in collaboration with councils. Opportunities to integrate the Principal Bicycle Network with the Greater Sydney Green Grid will be an important part of linking centres.
In some areas, rail lines and other linear infrastructure prevent Green Grid connections. Where feasible, planning and investment must consider opportunities for connections across rail lines, roads and other linear infrastructure.
Table 4: South District Green Grid Priorities
Cooks River Open Space Corridor
This regionally significant parkland corridor in the South and Eastern City districts will improve water quality and link high quality open spaces between Strathfield, Sydney Olympic Park, Campsie, Canterbury, Dulwich Hill, Marrickville and Wolli Creek. This is a Priority Project for both the South and Eastern City districts, and forms part of the Principal Bicycle Network.
Wolli Creek Regional Park and Bardwell Valley Parkland
This project on the boundary of the South and Eastern City districts will provide open space for recreation, walking and cycling trails, connect areas of ecologically significant vegetation and improve water quality and stormwater management. It will connect to other Greater Sydney Green Grid projects, forms part of the Principal Bicycle Network and is a Priority Project for both districts
Salt Pan Creek Open Space Corridor
The corridor contains important ecological communities, mangroves, wetlands, recreational facilities and walking and cycling trails on both sides of the creek, which form part of the Principal Bicycle Network. The project will strengthen the connection between Bankstown and Salt Pan Creek, improve trails and recreational opportunities, and improve bridge crossings and connections to Bankstown, Punchbowl, Riverwood, Padstow, Peakhurst and Lugarno. The Stage 1 Detailed Design works for Salt Pan Creek Reserve II received $171,500 under the 2016-17 Metropolitan Greenspace Program. The design works will deliver a reserve as a regional park, with recreation activities including a new shared pathway system to connect the reserve to the existing Salt Pan Creek trails network.
Bankstown to Sydenham Open Space Corridor
This project will transform surplus rail easement land and wide local streets that run parallel to the rail line into an active walking, cycling and open space corridor connecting Cooks River, Wolli Creek Regional Park, The Greenway and Salt Pan Creek Open Space Corridor as well as the wider open space network. The cycle path will form part of the Principal Bicycle Network.
|Projects important to District|
The Coastal Walk: Botany Bay Foreshores
This will link Taren Point Bridge and Shell Point to an open space corridor across Taren Point Bridge and onward to the eastern and northern shores of Botany Bay. The cycle path will form part of the Principal Bicycle Network.
Illawarra Rail Line Corridor: Kogarah to Sutherland
The corridor will integrate walking and cycling paths with open spaces, green urban areas and stormwater treatment along the surplus rail easement lands, and parallel local streets and centres along the rail line including Kogarah, Hurstville and Sutherland. This project is part of the Principal Bicycle Network.
The Coastal Walk: Kurnell to the Royal National Park
This includes a cluster of projects to connect Kamay Botany Bay National Park and Bonna Point Reserve to Cronulla. The Boat Harbour site and the beach to the south west are important missing links in the coastal walk from Kurnell to Cronulla.
Georges River Parklands
The project will connect parklands along the Georges River to protect and enhance threatened ecological communities, improve water quality and stormwater treatment, improve access to the river and parklands and create a continuous walking and cycling trail. The Gannon's Park Water Quality Improvement and Renaturalisation Stage 2 received $562,000 under the 2016-17 Metropolitan Greenspace Program to reinstate the natural line of Upper Boggywell Creek in Gannon's Park, with wetlands, bioretention systems and storage ponds, and a new 138-metre boardwalk to improve public access.
The Great Kia'Mia Way River Foreshores Walk
This will create linked foreshore access from Menai and Woronora to the Georges River along Still Creek, Woronora River and Mill Creek and form part of the Principal Bicycle Network.
Duck River Open Space Corridor
The project will establish the Duck River Open Space Corridor as a regional open space with improved recreational space, habitat for ecological communities and better treatment of stormwater. It will create a continuous walking and cycling link north-south between Parramatta, Camellia, Granville, Auburn, Regents Park and south to Bankstown, forming part of the Principal Bicycle Network. The corridor will complement the Salt Pan Creek Corridor to form a combined connection from the Georges River to Parramatta River. This is a Priority Project for the Central City District.