A new “iconic” walk is part of $20 million worth of additional recreational facilities set for the Western Sydney Parklands.
A 16-part plan develop for the Southern Parklands – the 1500 hectares of the urban park from the south of Elizabeth Drive in Cecil Hills down to Bringelly Road in Leppington – was unveiled on Saturday to transform it into a key recreational and community resource for western Sydney.
A key part of the development is the 8.5 kilometre Western Ridges Walk – the continuous ridge that runs north to south of the Southern Parklands. Walkers can enjoy the ever-changing landscape, farmland and a view from the Beauty Spot out to the Blue Mountains.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the walk – which is four-hours in its entirety – will become the new “iconic walk” for western Sydney. Currently, the 5,280 hectare chain of greenspace and recreational land is the largest urban parkland in Australia and attracts around 4 million visits a year.
Plans for the Southern Parklands also include a new regional dog park (with off-leash area), an 80 vehicle car park and more picnic facilities at Shale Hills. There are also plans for two proposed business hubs.
“In addition, we are revegetating 300 hectares of the Southern Parklands with more than 700,000 Cumberland Plain Woodland trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses to create an ideal habitat for the local wildlife,” Ms Upton said.
Other key features of the upgrades – excepted to be completed by 2022 – include:
- The Big Ring: A 3.3-kilometre walk which cleverly encircles a bowl-shaped landform in the centre. The ring’s huge scale reflects the vast landscape of the Parklands and can become home to festivals and markets to galleries, museums and a range of dining options. Even high-speed cycle racing is an option.
- The Slice: This shared pedestrian pathway and cycleway– the same length as the Sydney Harbour Bridge – offers stunning views over the Upper Canal that lies below and link to other areas including the active recreation area off Edmonson Avenue in the south.
- The Mirror Dam Cycleway: The projected cycleway cuts through the pair of twin dams, which sit on the same contour on each side of a central ridge.The route takes cyclists from the M7 cycle path on a 15-minute ride directly across the site and finishes at the Liverpool Offtake Reservoir.
- The Blue Seam: The water park is the perfect spot for daytime events or night-time camping and will appeal to adventurers, daydreamers and campers alike.The Blue Seam links the Liverpool Offtake Reservoir to Hinchinbrook Dam with residents able splash along a gully, relax on shady waterside terraces or enjoy a moonlight cinema over the reflection of shimmering ponds.
- The Lookout: A 360-degree view from the highest point of the land and looks out over the Parklands to the Blue Mountains and cityscape beyond. The upper level is open to the sky, while the level provides framed vistas within a sheltered space equipped with a bar, function room, amenities and a central amphitheatre.