A new Defence Housing Australia (DHA) residential community at Ipswich has been recognised for its treatment of floodplains at Torhaven Park—avoiding the creation of a large, unusable space with bio-retention drain and instead delivering a highly activated community asset.
The design is so ground-breaking it has been named as the winner of the Excellence in Infrastructure award at the 2019 Stormwater Queensland Awards for Excellence in Cairns on 2 October.2019. The development has also been named a finalist in prestigious industry awards—the 2019 Sustainability Awards, Landscape and Biophilia category and the 2019 Australian Water Awards, Innovation category. The project is also entered for the 2019 Urban Development Institute of Australia (QLD) Awards in the Parks and Recreation category, with finalists to be announced at the awards ceremony on 1 November 2019.
Currently, best practice urban flood management strategies restrict the use, embellishment or development of floodplains; creating large unusable land spaces within urban developments. At Torhaven, DHA replaced these traditional bio-retention stormwater systems with an ephemeral wetland that retains the land’s slope and existing watercourse. While dormant for extended dry periods, the wetlands can accommodate torrential run-off from the Torhaven estate and 45 hectares of surrounding areas, removing pollutants naturally before the water flows back into the local Deebing Creek waterway.
The clever design also allows and promotes engagement by residents—both human and wildlife—with a previously unusable floodplain.
On the crest of the park is an architect-designed adventure playground complete with shade sails, treehouse network with rope bridges, climbing frames, and rock-climbing walls, plus seesaw, spinami, hoop carousel, multi swing and mounded slide.
Walking trails fall stem from the playground, dotted by plaques informing users on local flora, fauna and the site’s heritage, with drawings contributed by children of the Deebing Heights State School. The trails meander through the gum trees, wetlands and floodplain which features 50 native, drought-tolerant
plant species that attract native birdlife.
The many mature gum trees on the site have been retained for birdlife to flourish. The gums have been safeguarded to prevent damage to delicate, centuries old root systems. Large boulders were retained and recycled for catchment landscaping resembling a natural creek.
DHA engaged E2Designlab to design the project and through rigorous site investigation and modelling, provided Ipswich City Council with confidence to proceed with Torhaven’s innovative ephemeral wetland solution. The result is a project that not only meets the water quality objectives of the State Panning Policy, but delivers a natural ecosystem for the broader community.
DHA is committed to creating healthy and sustainable communities for Defence families and the broader community. They have a long-term commitment to the communities they build and are continually looking at new housing methods and sustainable practices.
For more information visit www.torhaven.com.au
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