The Wharf Street Basin – Next Generation Community Park has transformed an inaccessible stormwater basin into a community smart park.
Wharf Street Basin is located within the Canning City Centre – a designated state Strategic Metropolitan Centre – that is currently undergoing a $76 million, 10 year urban Regeneration Program to transform its infrastructure, roads and public spaces. Once complete, the Canning City Centre will have capacity to be home to approximately 25,000 people.
A pilot project for water sensitive infrastructure and technology, the Wharf Street Basin Next Generation Community Park is the transformation of an inaccessible stormwater basin in Cannington into a community smart park.
The City of Canning and its funding partners – the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, Water Corporation and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation – have used landscape design and technology solutions to create a recreational space that also incorporates a new approach to stormwater management.
The park is where nature and technology unite. It’s a green space for people to relax, a habitat for wildlife, and an education space to learn more about water.
A Western Australia first, the smart park is an innovative example of transforming a stormwater basin – which there are hundreds in Perth – into a multi-purpose space that benefits the environment and community.
This pilot project has taken home multiple awards, including:
- 2023 Stormwater Australia Awards
- Excellence in Infrastructure
- Excellence in Research & Innovation
- 2022 AILA National Landscape Architecture Award for Infrastructure
- 2022 AILA WA Landscape Architecture Awards
- Excellence in Urban Design
- Landscape Architecture Awards - Infrastructure
- 2022 Stormwater Western Australia Awards
- Excellence in Research and Innovation
- Excellence in Infrastructure
- 2022 PLAWA Regional Awards of Excellence, Best Use of Technology Award for the Smart Canning App - Wharf Street Basin (Commendation)
- 2022 IPWEA Australasia Excellence Awards, Best Public Works Project $2m - $5m
- 2021 PIA Awards for Planning Excellence WA for
- Climate Change & Resilience
- Technology & Digital Innovation (Commendation)
- 2021 WA Water Awards - Infrastructure Project Innovation Award (Metro)
- 2021 Waterwise Community Choice Award (Waterwise Council program)
- 2021 IPWEA WA Excellence Awards
- Best Public Works Project $2m - $5m (Metro)
- Excellence in Water Projects
- Excellence in Environment & Sustainability
- Excellence in Innovation (Metro)
- The G.K. Watters Local Government Engineering Excellence Award
- 2021 Winconnect Apartment Award for Excellence for Civic Leadership
- 2020 National Smart Cities Future of Place Award (Highly Commended)
The importance of water
Stormwater basins capture surface water after rainfall and before it flows into major waterways like the Canning River.
Rainwater runoff picks up nutrients from dog poop, fertilisers, grass clippings, detergents and oils from driveways and roads. These contaminants flow through the stormwater system and end up in the stormwater basin.
Therefore, as a key life source for our local ecosystem, the Next Generation Park’s stormwater basins plays a vital role in keeping waterways and the Canning River healthy.
The importance of water is portrayed in a mural in the park. Painted by Jade Dolman and Brenton See, the two Western Australian artists blend Aboriginal artwork and Western Australian flora and fauna to pay homage to water as a source of life.
About the mural
As seasons changed, Whadjuk Noongar people followed water as a source of life. Travelling across land, their journeys started and ended in the same place. The change of seasons and movement of water is also important for the lifecycle of animals and plants that live in and around water.
Landscape architects, Josh Byrne & Associates, developed a concept for the park of the future.
Using smart design and technology solutions, incorporating environmental data and community needs, the Wharf Street Basin Next Generation Community Park’s design includes:
- landscape design to enhance the natural environment
- interactive education stations
- a bridge for pedestrians to access Cecil Avenue from Wharf Street
- a boardwalk on the Wharf Street side of the basin
- technology to provide real-time information on environmental conditions at the park to aid resource management.
The park was constructed by Environmental Industries.
The project drivers
- Multipurpose use – unlock the potential of a piece of single-function water utility infrastructure to create a new asset that benefits the environment and the community.
- Smart city vision – the project aligns with the City’s vision of building a precinct that embraces liveability, sustainability and productivity, while delivering measurable value to our wider community.
- Water sensitive infrastructure and technology – trial new technologies to improve water quality and management.
- Water education – use the project to enhance the community’s awareness of urban stormwater basins, impacts on urban wetland systems and build awareness on the cultural value of waterways to the Whadjuk Noongar people.
- Industry development – collaborate with researchers, engineers and government agencies to strengthen innovative water sensitive urban design in Western Australia.
1. Augmented Reality Smart Canning app
Interactive app for park visitors to learn more about the water quality, wildlife and plants in the park.
2. Nutrient stripping wetland
Water is cycled through a rill into a number of basins designed to improve water quality and remove nutrients before it goes downstream into the Canning River.
3. Living lab and solar panels
An informal education space to allow schools and community groups to learn about the water cycle in a real life situation. Solar panels in the park generate renewable energy to offset the site’s electricity use e.g. for lighting, pumping of water and device charging.
4. Waterwise native plants
Vegetation helps clean the stormwater and provides food sources and habitat for local wildlife.
5. Smart irrigation
Controls watering of vegetation and helps reduce water usage in the park.
6. Sensor technology
A range of IoT sensors measure water quality, weather, power and water use in the park in real time.
7. Open data portal
Publicly available data for schools, researchers and government departments to assist in developing solutions for urbanisation and climate change.
8. Smart lighting
When conditions in the water change, the lighting in the park responds.
- Valuable data – easily accessible, real time information is available to researchers, scientists, local governments and the community.
- Benchmark research – Curtin University is conducting research into the Next Generation Park’s innovative approach to the management of stormwater infrastructure. The learnings can be used to inform similar sites throughout metropolitan Perth.
- Efficient resource management – smart technology allows the City to make better decisions to improve liveability, sustainability and productivity.
- Water education – the project helps to close a gap in knowledge relating to drainage basins and natural systems.
- New public park – more green spaces for the community to enjoy in Canning’s City Centre.
The City of Canning received $1.09 million funding from the Australian Government; $300,000 from Water Corporation; and $30,000 from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to assist in delivering the Wharf Street Basin Next Generation Community Park.