A sump-tuous pocket park in Vincent

Urbaqua’s staff have been busy recently, promoting Water Sensitive Urban Design in their community as well as their workplace! Halinka, in her role as a member of the City of Vincent’s Environmental Advisory Group, helped with the conceptual design of transforming what was once a fenced, ugly hole in the ground, to the City’s latest cool, green park, located on the corner of Lawler St and Bedford St in North Perth.


City of Vincent Mayor Emma Cole, with Halinka & her bub at the newly minted park! (Photo: Steve Grant, The Perth Voice)

The Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) first began to discuss what to do with the Lawler St sump back in September 2016. Given the way the inner city is densifying as Perth’s population grows, the City of Vincent was looking for ways to increase its green, public open spaces and the sump site (~10 m x 25 m) seemed like a natural option to explore.

The site had existed as a fenced off hole in the ground full of weeds, rubbish, and some beautiful, mature native trees for at least two decades. Given its location on a corner block and right next to a school it made sense to turn it into somewhere people could relax, play and interact with a bit of nature. The existing mature trees could easily be retained to provide shade and also habitat for the local birds and bees.

While the primary purpose of the sump was to store and infiltrate road runoff during big rain events to prevent flooding, this function could still be provided by installing the appropriate amount of stormwater storage cells underground, and filling the lot (~500mm soil) so that it could be landscaped and used as a beautiful pocket park.

Almost two years and over 300 stormwater cells later, the park site now has 50% more drainage capacity (~195 m3 total), bush tucker plants steadily growing away, and lots of logs, and play areas for everyone in the areas to enjoy. The park has also been designed with a bubble up pit and overland flow path for those “Great Perth Hailstorm of 2010” type events.

The City of Vincent celebrated the opening of a new little park last weekend, with students from Kyalla Primary school singing songs by Gina Willimas in Nyoongar, Halinka giving a little speech, and local community members gobbling up free delicious BBQ goods, coffee and cake!

Just goes to show that Polish engineers are achieving more than their national football team!