I am sure many Coffs Harbour residents have issues with our Jetty Park. The park is symptomatic of poor regional planning. As a public park, besides some interesting sculptures, it is largely unappealing.
By ‘John Cleese‘
On a landscape architecture level it is a total disappointment, executed by D graders. It should be a focal point of the beautiful Jetty area, it has all the natural geography to be enhanced.
Common complaints include no shade trees, limited parking , brown turf and a general poor horticultural vigour. So what went wrong with our $11 million park and associated works ?
Hopefully I can keep your attention !!
1/SOIL QUALITY : is a questionable sandy loam, it was obtained somewhere near Grafton supposedly. It contains many rocks and I believe there is a major salinity and PH issue with the soil. The general lack of vigour and poor plant growth indicate serious soil health issues. A simple lab test for soil and leaf tissue sample may indicate problems. Nurseries commonly use these tests on growing stock to test for fertiliser programs and soil mix issues. Did the imported soil meet an Australian Standard test before purchasing or was it she will be right mate attitude ?
2/ PLANT SELECTION; Was a planting schedule submitted with the plan? The poor plant selection such as Banksia as a shade tree is beyond a joke. They are a medium tree suited to coastal littoral areas not shade trees. They are also in the Proteacae family and highly sensitive to phosphorous . A fact overlooked by council staff fertilising the parks turf and causing phosphorous toxicity in the Banksia,many have since died . Even the old parks Casuarinas seemed more appropriate and provided dappled shade.
Dozens of companies supply super advanced trees for major projects craned in, why were they not consulted? Instead we have this constant band aid replacement of dying trees with small trees and grasses, from the now defunct council nursery and tree farm.
3/ TURF : Poor selection of the turf species. Zoysia is a grass that loves heat and does not like the cooler months, hence it is brown over the winter months and Coffs Harbour gets cool in winter down to 5 celsius. Kikuyu, even soft buffalo, would have been a far more suitable, it has a quick recovery to traffic and responds well to irrigation and fertilising. It handles the cooler weather well and stays green. Were local greenkeepers consulted? Tt could have been helpful
4/ IRRIGATION : poor design coverage and incorrect pop up sprinklers and pipe size selection. It has been troublesome from the beginning with rocks in the soil damaging the pipe work and wet spots and poor coverage.
5/DRAINAGE; Always an issue with an old park , the new park was supposed to solve drainage issues. The new park has few drainage rain pits and proper falls. A major oversight in a sub tropical climate which can receive over 500mm rainfall in a day . Was a hydraulic engineer engaged to design drainage and stormwater plan?
6/ CARPARK; Again the old park had better parking.The new park has insufficient parking with just over a dozen parking spots. Another poor planning decision.
7/ PARK FURNITURE : Aluminum benches and tables unusable in the summer heat with no shade are too hot to sit on! Don’t mention the seat heights, at over 1.8m tall my feet do not touch the ground! The whole design should be commonsense. Attempts have been made to introduce shade sails years after the park opening but they are still inadequate.
Questions that requiring some answers.
1/ Who did the initial landscape design and plan and who approved the design?
2/ Was the project tendered and who submitted tenders? Were the tenderers qualified in landscape construction and what was the criteria of the tender ?
3/ Who supervised the whole construction of the project and who signed off on the final handover and what was the final cost of the park?
Well surprisingly I did some research on the JETTY 4 SHORE project on the CHCC website and it was very helpful!
The project was tendered and awarded in March 2017, at the cost of over $9 mill. Four companies tendered and their backgrounds were in earthmoving, building and plumbing. Bizarrely no landscape construction companies tendered.
The project was lauded as a success with glowing praises , even winning a top excellence from the the Local Government Association in engineering.
I have not included the so called erosion steps that lead to the Jetty beach, that are now mostly covered in sand (see above).