Trees Stand the Test of Time at Cornmeal Parade
By Kristyn M. Levis
In a span of six years, Maroochydore’s Cornmeal Parade has flourished into a beautiful green scenery despite the harsh exposed conditions that worked against establishing trees in that area, thanks to the Citygreen® modular Soil Cell system®.
The project aimed to refurbish the waterfront along Cornmeal Parade in Maroochydore. This is a significant area that links the Sunshine Plaza with Cotton Tree Park, First Avenue, and Duporth Avenue.
In April 2008, then Sunshine Coast mayor Bob Abbot turned the first sod on the Cornmeal Creek Pedestrian Promenade project. The $1.7 million public walkway along Cornmeal Creek aimed to provide “landscaped access for pedestrians and cyclists on the south side of the Cornmeal Creek”.
The improvements allowed for “safe and easy access between the Sunshine Plaza and Cotton Tree”. The added lighting, street furniture and landscape amenity created a pleasant environment for the area.
The promenade followed the $3.17 million Maroochydore Urban Improvement Stratagy project, which was completed late 2008. The state government provided 50 percent of the funding as part of the Regional Centres Program.
The project was originally part of planning for the development of a Civic Centre near the Cornmeal Creek carpark. Rhys Pollett, Landscape Architect from the Sunshine Coast Council was responsible for developing the design of the project. “Cotton Tree had been upgraded and this was one of the key links to the renewal of the waterfront,” Rhys said. The Cornmeal Parade project lifted the area and created a pedestrian friendly environment.
“The reason why we used Citygreen was because of the harsh conditions down on the site. There is fill along the length of the site and we wanted to optimise conditions for tree growth. There is a lot of wind blow and challenges establishing trees in those conditions,” Rhys said. “We really wanted to maximise the root area for the trees and support pedestrian pavements.”
Rhys believes that the simplicity of the Soil Cell system is its real advantage. “It is easier to specify, detail and document than using a traditional structural soil. The Soil Cell is certainly more simple compared to others and takes the complexity out of it. It comes back to dollars and the fact that using a proprietary system can save you time, money and headaches,” he said. It’s easy to find out information about the system and get good product support.
Because it was a new product for them, the council decided to use the Cornmeal Parade project as a trial for the Soil Cell, which garnered a lot of interest. Although the client and contractor were unfamiliar with the product, a Citygreen representative was on the site to guide the installation. “The installation was relatively easy. We had heaps of support. Even though the contractors were relatively unfamiliar with the product, it went pretty smoothly. Since then everyone’s become more familiar with the technology.”
He added that the system fitted in very well with the whole intent of what they wanted to do with the site. “Technically, it enabled us to address and resolve the constraints and optimise the outcome that we wanted to achieve there. The system went well with the intention of the design.”
As clearly shown in the photos, the trees have established very well since the completion of the project. It also helped that the timing of the project coincided with several wet seasons. “They are in pretty good health given the exposure down there where the conditions are very harsh,” Rhys said.
At the moment, the Sunshine Coast Council are trialing various products and construction technologies for street trees establishment and works around existing trees. But he added that they are likely to use the StrataCell system in future projects.