Strata Corporation

The
Terracottem
Advantage

47

Well thought out space
This versatile, well thought-out space now connects Kingsville’s main drag with the town’s beach.

BIG WAVES = BRILLIANT MAKEOVER

Who would have thought that a foreshore pummelling would end up leading to something as wonderful as a new central park at Kingscliff? As it turns out, the storm events - which kick-started the process - led council and community to put something into place that is much, much better than what was there previously. And on so many levels.


Ian Bentley is the Tweed Shire Council landscape architect that worked to pull it together. Originally a horticulturalist from the north of England, he gained his LA qualifications here in Australia before working for a bespoke firm dealing with high-end private landscapes. He then stepped into the world of public landscapes, working for Mackay Regional Council before moving to Tweed roughly ten years ago. In short, he understands the big picture and has an eye for the detail.

“We were looking at the area which sits between the surf club and the bowls club, which was previously the foreshore caravan park. There have been a number of really severe storms over a few years and we’ve lost 50 metres of heavily vegetat, dunal planting.”

This ingress had taken out Kingscliff’s distinctive and well-established Norfolk Island pines and some of the caravan parks’ cabins had needed to be craned to safer sites. As things stood, the town’s main hub which sat across the road and facing the sea was exposed to future storm events. Any solution would need to provide future protection, but clearly here was an opportunity to provide so much more than a wall between land and sea.

“Once we had the Federal funding (2015) we worked fast. Using an existing 2007 master plan created before my time, we leased a shop in Marine Parade for eight weeks to consult with the community. With that feedback we drew, reviewed and amended the masterplan to reflect both the feedback and the new conditions. The project was tendered once the community where happy with the final design, then we played a role in the project’s supervision as it was being built over a 14 month period.

Ian makes it sound easy, and to be fair, there were no major hiccups along the way. But no project is easy. “We provide detailed documentation, that way there is no room for assumptions: problems tend to arise when you are vague. We’d meet with the site supervisor three times a week to help interpret the details of the design. It’s something I carry from my years previously in private practice. The result is worth it.”


Barrier between Land and Sea
Barrier between Land and Sea
During construction, shuttering and pumps allowed the seven metre high barrier to be put into place. Thoughtful design and the beach restored means this moment isn’t a monstrous barrier between land and sea but rather an invitation to move from one to the other.

Analysing the new landscape and all the elements within it, it’s obvious why these site meetings were necessary. There is a lot going on here that needed careful supervision to get just right. Take the main barrier works for example. To minimise damage from storm events in years to come, the seven metre high barrier wall has been designed and engineered to withstand the force of the waves, but at the same time encourage people onto the beach. Where the caravan park was once in the way, now that it has been moved to one side, anyone walking down the main street can easily drift across the new central park and wander down onto the beach on a whim.


Breakfast bar
A brilliant breakfast bar, above and words & steps below.
Breakfast bar

With that main box ticked, Ian and his team then designed in the details inspired by the community consultation. “It was a simple brief. People wanted a village feel with space for formal events as well as informal activities – to kick a ball and have a barbeque. Council is kick starting the program of formal events with opera in the park, an outdoor cinema and a market but the community will soon take over.” As for the other deft touches, they’re already being appreciated. The shade structures, the options for sitting with a take-away coffee (at a breakfast style bar or in the shade), any number of seats where you can chat to someone or happily lounge while people-watching. And all has been thought through from a longevity and maintenance view-point so that durable materials prevail. Even as the constructions fencing was being removed, the community was connected with the space, not only through the consultative process during its design, but through Ian’s deft but light touch: key Kingscliff-centric words etched into the beach steps; the community’s chosen 13 word description of what locals like about their town, marked into the paving.

Yes, it’s a successful project for all these reasons. “We could design to the lowest common denominator, but I try to push the boundaries. If you use imagination and think about the detail, people will enjoy the result. It’s a case of, I don’t know why I like being here but I just do.”

Stormwater Solution

Stormwater Solution

As part of this project, all the storm water run off had to be collected – not piped into the ocean. Under water sensitive urban design principles, large garden beds were drawn into the plans to retain water after rainfall events. Initially Ian anticipated these garden beds would be excavated and filled with an imported mix of sandy loam. Instead, tests were made of the existing sandy soil and with some adjustments – organic matter was added along with the soil conditioner TerraCottem – the native species plantings were able to go in and have since thrived. The significant savings this offered meant funds were freed up for some bespoke finishes elsewhere in the project – for example, the glorious blue-tiled Gaudiesque walls.


New Foreshore Park
New Foreshore Park
Custom built and painstakingly hand tiled, bubbles and waves of blue-tiled feature walls and in-built seating ripples through the new foreshore park.

THE RIGHT TERRACOTTEM FOR THE JOB

Terracottem Universal

TerraCottem Universal

PRODUCT DETAILS

The original TerraCottem Universal, is the product of over 25 years of research and development. This is the TerraCottem to use in most situations – to plant trees and shrubs, for revegetation and wetlands; flower beds and roof gardens, rain gardens, containers, and horticulture.

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Terracottem Complement

TerraCottem Complement

PRODUCT DETAILS

TerraCottem Complement has been specially developed for situations where the soil needs active replenishing. Crops and annual beds are a good example – they’re heavy feeders. TerraCottem Complement restores the components that have been consumed during the previous growing season as well as those lost each time plants are pulled from the soil.

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Terracottem Turf

TerraCottem Turf

PRODUCT DETAILS

TerraCottem Turf is based on the original formula but the proportions and ratios of the mix are tailored specifically to turf. Everything is geared towards remarkable root development so that turf, seeded grass or sprigs are firmly anchored, fast.

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Terracottem Arbor

TerraCottem Arbor

PRODUCT DETAILS

TerraCottem Arbor has been developed specially for tree and shrub planting. Central to this latest formulation are the new generation polymers, the inclusion of humic acids to further enhance water retention capacity, soil structure and microbiological activity and tree specific fertiliser (with a lifespan up to 12 months) balanced with a starter fertiliser for rapid plant establishment and a synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. All this, to ease early tree acclimation to the planting area, enhance root and plant growth and increase tree survival rate whilst reducing inputs and replacement costs.

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