How Composites Transformed An Old Golf course Into And Urban Oasis

Can composites help transform a disused Golf Course into an urban oasis, reduce stormwater run-off, improve water quality, enhance environmental diversity and mitigate flooding? 

When the Elsternwick Golf course was handed back to Bayside Council in 2018, it marked the beginning of a major transformation for the land and surrounding waterways.  

Before colonization there were ancient marshlands, creeks and billabongs running across the Bayside area into Port Philip Bay. European settlement tamed much of the wetlands, the creeks were funneled into canals and open land was turned into grassy parks and sports fields. As a result, wildlife was pushed out and the natural water movements were interrupted. During heavy rains, the canals overflowed flooding local roads and houses, while polluted stormwater ran directly into the bay.

The transformation of the former Golf Course offered an opportunity to reverse some of the damage done over the years. After careful consideration, plans for a ‘Chain of Ponds’ and open bushland to replace the Golf course were drawn up and construction started. 

The ponds were designed to recreate some of the original, ancient water movements. Stormwater runoff is directed into a ‘soak’ area where it percolates through layers of soil that make a bioretention filter. The filtered water is collected into a soak-pit and pumped up to begin its journey through the ponds and billabongs and onwards to the Bay. In summer when stormwater runoff levels are low, water from Elster Creek is pumped into the ponds for filtration and to improve the quality of creek water eventually entering the bay.  

To achieve the interlinked ponds, there were several challenges that the designers overcame. Pumps had to be incorporated without interfering in the natural feel. Water had to move between ponds while, at the same time, allowing safe public access to enjoy the site. Maintenance of the pumps and removal of gross pollutants had to be quick and simple but safe and secure from unauthorised access. Finally, any structures had to blend into the environment safely and seamlessly. 

That’s when Terra Firma Industries lightweight, lockable composite access covers came into their own.  

Terra Firma composite covers were used to give secure access to a series of pits that house the pumps, allow access for cleaning pollutant traps and give general maintenance access for the culverts that run under pathways to move water between the ponds. Not only do the covers lock securely, but they are lightweight and easily lifted by one worker for quick and safe maintenance. The composite covers are B-class load-rated to allow mowers or mini diggers to safely drive over them without breakage. Finally, the Terra Firma pit lids were colour matched to the surrounds for extra aesthetic appeal. 

We’re proud to have been part of the Chain-of-Ponds project which turned an old ‘water hazard’ into a stunning ‘water feature’ and enhances both the environment and the community. 

If you’d like to know how composite materials could benefit your next project, you can contact us here to discuss it.

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