GILPIN Park in Brunswick is many things to many people: dog walking park, concert venue, BMX cycling course, jogging track and children’s playground.
Add wetlands to that list. Merri-bek Council has begun a round of consultation over a plan to convert the south-western part of Gilpin Park into a vegetated swale.
Stormwater will be captured and directed to flow through a swale – which is similar to a dry creek bed – into an artificial wetland near the Pearson Street end of the park.
A swale is a depressed channel to capture and transfer stormwater. In this case, it will be populated with Indigenous plants.
The project arose out of community consultation in 2020 and 2021 about the future of Brunswick’s central park lands, alongside the development of an integrated water management strategy for the entire city of Merri-bek until 2040.
Feedback was that people would like to see more trees and shade, water and cooling, nature and diversity and improved habitat for wildlife.
The project will cost $750,000, including $400,000 in grants.
The wetlands is the latest addition to Gilpin Park, which was once a massive quarry providing raw materials for nearby brickworks until the mid-1940s. Later it was a municipal tip before being reclaimed as a public park several decades ago.
The wetlands at Jones Park are now the home of a range of wildlife.
The proposed swale and wetlands at Gilpin Park is similar to those at Jones Park in Brunswick East and Edgars Creek Parkland in Coburg North, which have attracted new wildlife including ducks, frogs, reptiles, bugs and even fish.
The concept plan for Gilpin Park will convert an existing shallow drainage line into a natural swale by redirecting stormwater from a 3.3 hectare area to the west of Gilpin Park through an underground pipe.
After the water is filtered through the wetland system, the treated stormwater will be piped back into the Pearson street drainage system which connects to the Moonee Ponds Creek.
There will be several bridges to cross the swale, and at the main pool, we will create dog beach area, where dogs can interact with water.