Wish list to reclaim Cooks River for the community

Vision quest: The Cooks River Community Assembly, ten locals who collated submissions from residents to develop the final Cooks River Imagine 2030 vision statement.
Vision quest: The Cooks River Community Assembly, ten locals who collated submissions from residents to develop the final Cooks River Imagine 2030 vision statement.

A pedestrian bridge across Wolli Creek, cafes and pathways along the Cooks River and water clean enough to swim in.

These are some of the ideas to reclaim the Cooks River for community use.

Hundreds of  proposals were submitted in an online survey by the Cooks River Alliance to draft the final Cooks River 2030 Vision.

Respondents were asked to pinpoint their favourite places in the catchment and imagine what they wanted for those areas by 2030.

These were collated by the Cooks River Community Assembly, ten locals who toured the river and reviewed the feedback from residents to develop the final Cooks River 2030 Vision statement.

The main message to emerge was: “Cleaner water entering Botany Bay”.

All of the Alliance member councils – Bayside, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Inner West and Strathfield have millions-of-dollars worth of projects costed to reduce the volume of untreated water entering the Cooks River and restore it as a waterway that can become the centre of community life.

Projects include creating wetlands, restoring bushland, installing rainwater gardens, naturalising river banks, increasing public access to the river and improving wildlife habitat.

“The consultation period showed how passionate residents are about the Cooks River and it was refreshing to hear its future being discussed in such positive terms,” Cooks River Alliance chair, Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne said.

“For the 2030 vision to be realised, all levels of government and community must rally together for its rehabilitation.

“Funding across all levels of government is needed to bring the Cooks River into line with a growing number of successful urban river restoration projects taking place around the world,” Mr Byrne said.

Now that it is completed, the community vision statement will be used to frame the Cooks River Catchment Coastal Management Program (CMP).

The vison will also be used to advocate for river health improvements. Ahead of the upcoming state and federal elections, the Alliance is calling on all parties to prioritise urban rivers and waterways and to partner with local councils to fund works to rehabilitate the Cooks River.

The Alliance welcomed the announcement on January 28 by the the Federal Opposition committing $200 million to urban river and waterway restoration.

Finally, the Alliance will promote a Community Participation Framework  to promote projects to restore the health of the river.

Visions for Cooks River Creek submitted by the public include:

  • Provide a bridge across the entrance of Wolli  Creek joining to Earlwood.
  • Cafes and artists along pathways and the riverside.
  • Removal of the concrete banks.
  • Aboriginal interpretive signs along the river.
  • Regional Cycle track along side railway eastern side, from Bexley to Tempe.
  • Retail area; coffee shops, bike hire and restaurants at the end of road on eastern side of Wolli Creek.
  • Walking track and bike paths along the south and north sides of Wolli Creek and pedestrian bridges across the creek to connect residents further up stream with the greater Cooks River Catchment.
  • Upgrading the aquaducts so pedestrians can access Arncliffe Street and Princes Highway.
  • Connecting the Landing Light Wetlands to Eve Street Wetlands by a bush trail.
  • No rezoning of the Industrial park to keep jobs in the area.
  • Reduce smell and buildup of rubbish.