The $6.5 million Grafton Waterfront Precinct project will connect the city to the Clarence River and revitalise the waterfront parkland with continuous shared path linking Prince Street to Clarence Street and footpaths connecting to the new bridge.
The endorsed redevelopment plan includes raising the levels, widening the path and rebuilding the flood levee at the end of Prince Street, for the purpose of creating a clear sense of arrival at the lookout point within the park.
“We ultimately wanted to provide the visitor with a ‘wow’ feeling upon arrival at the lookout point overlooking the mighty Clarence River,” Grafton Riverside Precinct Project Manager Andy Seaman said.
“The Indigenous Dreamtime story of Dirrangun has a strong connection to the Clarence River and will be told at this location.”
During design development of the Grafton Waterfront Precinct, the current location of the Boy Scout Memorial was considered not ideal.
“The Boy Scout Memorial pays tribute to a significant event in our history that is important to Grafton and the Scouting community,” Mr Seaman said.
“In its current location the memorial would sit lower than the adjacent path. Its new location would be considered more prominent.
“It will need to be relocated to enable all to access the memorial and avoid having to look down on the memorial.”
It was determined to relocate an electrical panel (in Stage 2), one of two Indigenous Dreamtime story signs and the Boy Scout Memorial, which commemorates the tragic events on 11 December, 1943, when 13 cubs drowned returning from Susan Island.
The new design has the memorial moved approximately 25 metres to a higher location within the quadrant of Memorial Park with a garden bed and adjacent seat, maintaining a prominent view to the river to which it holds significance.
“The input of the Grafton Scout’s Group has been sought through the CEO during the detailed design phase and before any works start.”
The waterfront area is currently fenced off and work is expected to continue throughout 2022.
While the core part of Memorial Park is retained, there are a number of improvements at its edges including:
1. Open up entry point at the northern end by removing part of the boundary fence up to the gate house. Retain shade trees throughout. Consider additional seating in shade.
2. Prune hedge tops of the existing pergola structures.
3. Remove or relocate clutter associated with the Prince street levee area.
4. Provide a seat wall instead of the Besser block wall around the children’s memorial. Level the lawn to the top of the levee at the children’s memorial.
5. Investigate the possibility of relocating the Korean War memorial to the opposite side of the park to facilitate the river centre development.
6. Mark the alignment of the old customs house in the lawn.
7. Removal of the existing public toilets in association with opening up the Duke Street entry. Relocate toilets into the River Centre.
8. Provide a new path on the northern and eastern sides of the park to define the memorial area. Limit any new memorials to within this square.
9. Potential new children’s playground located on the site of the former toilets, located outside number 1 Duke Street property.
10. Extended paved access to the rowing club, with additional terrace seating to address the change in level.
11. Indicate the historic baths with markers and a new timber jetty
12. Provide mooring anchors for a non-permanent floating river amphitheatre shell. Amphitheatre to be anchored during events and stored elsewhere to allow for rowing club access to the river.
13. Improve the entry ramp and re-arrange car parking to facilitate pedestrian access.
14. Access to boat ramp retained for recreational boating including kayaks, canoes, dragon boats etc.
15. upgrade Jetty as per the 2009 Clarence River Wharves Development Plan.
The inclusion of any structures within the river will require detailed design and further consultation with stakeholders to ensure ease of access and use of the river are maintained. Existing trees would be retained to provide shade.