Retirement Communities Australia regenerating Point Cook Village Waterway
The fortunate residents at Point Cook Retirement Village are privileged to share the setting of their retirement community with a host of wildlife, newly returned to the rejuvenated waterway. This year, residents were delighted to welcome a pair of black swans who have set up home on the river. Six cygnets have recently emerged from the nest to join their parents on the river and can be spotted happily swimming along the waterway.
This naturally occurring river flows through the 15 hectares of villas, parks & open space that makes up the picturesque village. Now a beautiful, vibrant river abundant with wildlife, it was a different story before development of the village began, when the waterway was a polluted backwater.
Regenerating the waterway was an important factor to Retirement Communities Australia, the developer of the village. The clean-up operation was started by deepening and widening the river. Native plants were planted along the length of the banks to prevent erosion and soil slipping.
Bioretention swales were been built adjacent to the river. This bio-filtration device is designed to remove silt and other pollutants from storm water ensuring storm run-off is clean. The swales were excavated then backfilled with crushed stone and layers of sand and soil and finished with a mulch layer. Native, low lying shrubs were planted. When storm water passes through the mulch, sand and soil, pollutants such as nitrates and silt are trapped ensuring the water that runs into the river is clean.
The river was landscaped with canal walls and gently sloping banks were created with small jetties and walking paths. Some of the village properties have private river frontage. A walking circuit was constructed that encompasses the north and south sides of the river, with the north side coining the term “the island” while most of the facilities are on the south side.
The whole stretch of the river that runs through the village has been cleaned up. The waterway is private to residents of Point Cook Village. It’s around 300m in length and about 20m across and forms part of Cheetham Creek, before it runs down into Sanctuary Lakes and into Port Phillip Bay. Access to Sanctuary Lakes is gained through a security gate or you can head west towards the wetlands.
Since its development, the river is abundant with fish and has seen the return of many native birds. In addition to the black swans, a great egret has become a permanent resident of the village waterway and can regularly be spotted on walks along the river bank.
Adjacent to the waterway are the Cheetham Wetlands, which provide rare birds like the endangered orange-bellied parrot a home during the breeding season as well as providing habitat to support seven species of shorebirds including the Double-banded Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Red-necked Avocet, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Banded Stilt and Pacific Golden Plover.