Sydney is filled with canals, funnelling water into the Parramatta, Cooks, Nepean, and other water courses. These spaces are blocked off from use by chain link fences, and cut through our neighbourhoods, blocking dog walkers and children from walking from one side to the other. When there are bridges, they are often blocked for anyone with a pram or mobility device, with stairs or bollards.
Once you start to see these spaces, and all the lost pocket parks and pathways, you can’t unsee them. So much space for community gardens and playgrounds! Trying to find new places to walk within our five kilometres during the Covid lockdowns brings choices about land use into even sharper focus.
One such canal runs through our community, from the Ashfield Pool all the way to the Bay Run. Our Council had already planned on opening this up for public use, but had no budget or time frame, so we started the Friends of Iron Cove Creek – a non-partisan, grassroots, community group, whose aim is to bring momentum to the campaign to turn Iron Cove Creek, otherwise known as the Dobroyd Canal, into a walk and cycleway. Please see our website for more information, and to take the community survey.
We were formed in early 2020, and have already seen some success! Our community survey run in 2021 has received almost 500 responses from a diverse range of residents, 98% of which want to see this project progressed as soon as possible.
This project has been given unanimous support from Councillors, who have organised a meeting with Council staff, and have passed a motion supporting the walk and cycleway. This was followed by an amendment to the Budget to include funding for the master plan, which was also successfully adopted.
We are now gathering further community support, and reaching out to the local schools and businesses. There are nine schools within one kilometre of the creek – we are hoping that this can form the backbone of a larger network of safe cycling routes, so children can walk and cycle to school independently.