Botany Bay’s missing link, the $6.2 million Woolooware Shared Pathway was completed on the weekend with the final 400 metres connecting Shorebird Reserve and Atkinson Road Taren Point opened to the public.
The new shared pathway includes boardwalks, concrete pathways, viewing decks, new sand bird habitat protections and an environmentally friend sea wall.
It completes the five-kilometre Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway which is part of the 43.6 kilometre long Botany Bay Trail, the dedicated shared pathway around Botany Bay from La Perouse to Kurnell.
Sutherland Shire Council has been transforming the foreshore of Woolooware Bay since 2003 with the staged construction of shared pathway network.
This was the sixth and final stage of the project and the most intricate involving restoration of a heritage wharf, remediation of contaminated land and protection of mangrove, saltmarsh and aquatic ecologies.
Sutherland Shire mayor, Carmelo Pesce said the opening of the missing link provides a significant improvement to pedestrian and cyclist safety, creating a totally separate pathway along the bay foreshore that avoids the heavy vehicles and general traffic in the Taren Point industrial area.
“This once heavily polluted and weed infested industrial foreshore area has now been transformed into one of Sydney’s most scenic foreshore reserves and community spaces for all to enjoy,” Cr Pesce said.
Sutherland Shire Council contributed $4.2M to the overall $6.2M cost of the project with the balance coming for the NSW Government’s Active Transport Program, with funds also provided by NSW Planning and Environment under the Metropolitan Greenspace Program and NSW Greater Sydney Local Land services.
The project involved several complex and interlinked environmental issues.
The foreshore is also an ecological sanctuary and vital habitat for thirty types of migratory shorebirds of which four are listed as endangered and ten vulnerable.
The dilapidated heritage-listed oyster processing jetty was restored and a new sand island constructed to provide a place for roosting and nesting for shorebirds.
Mangroves, saltmarsh and aquatic ecologies also had to be preserved to provide protection of the local endangered pied oystercatcher and the migratory bar-tailed godwit that flies as far as the Arctic Circle.
Significant remediation of the land, contaminated from earlier oyster farming activity, was carried out in conjunction with Roads and Maritime Services.
Interpretive screens built to shield the endangered shorebirds from the disturbance of cyclists and pedestrians, minimise the impact on the colony and providing them the best chance of storing energy for their long annual return flight.
The viewing deck, boardwalk, interpretive screens and shade structure have been architecturally designed to interpret the sites industrial history and immediate environment, providing views across the bay.
The shade structure reflects the geometry of the original jetty; the balustrade depicts the motion of the bays waves and also assists in disguising the substructure of the boardwalk, creating the illusion of a floating path over the bay.
Environmentally friendly seawalls provide protection to the foreshore from erosion and have been planted with 990 square metres of threatened native salt marsh species.
Interpretive signage has been incorporated throughout the project to inform the community of its rich history and the environmental significance of the area.
Miranda MP Eleni Petinos said projects provided under the NSW Government’s Active Transport program are helping build new routes to connect growing communities, providing better access to new walking and cycling paths and helping link people to transport hubs, schools, shops and strategic centres.
“By delivering the final link of the Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway, we are improving the way we move around the Shire and ensuring locals can better enjoy the amenity of the beautiful bay foreshore,” she said.
Cronulla MP Mark Speakman also welcomed the completion of the missing link to the Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway.
“I’m pushing extremely hard to progress the development of the Sutherland to Cronulla Active Transport Link, a shared pathway linking our town centres, schools and recreation spaces that will form the backbone of the shire’s cycling network and regional links,” Mr Speakman said.