Over the last 8 years, continuing work on the design, construction and maintenance of the Victorian Desalination Project and broader ecological reserve by ASPECT Studios has resulted in an immense change in the landscape, from denuded farmland to what is now a world-class ecological reserve.
Continued effort from the ASPECT Studios team in assisting the plant operators in maintaining the reserve includes ongoing yearly planting, weed management and general maintenance to ensure the longevity of the revegetation strategy, which has seen 225 hectares of cleared landscape transformed into a rich mosaic of wetlands, coastal and swampy woodlands, and sand dune vegetation types.
The challenges of such a huge project, one of the largest ecological restoration projects of its kind ever undertaken in Victoria, have been complex. Nearing 4 years on, the results are remarkable, with plant coverage beginning to reach early maturity and wildlife returning to what is now an ecologically resilient landscape, including kangaroos.
The community is increasingly utilising the facility and engaging with the broader reserve, which features over 8 km of walking tracks and shared trails through restored wetlands and bird hide to the north and the wind farm and former coal mine (just outside of the project site) to the east. The site will continue over decades to develop and change in terms of its ecological diversity and visual appearance.
The quality of the design has been commended by the Victorian State Architects office, DSE and other government entities.
• 2013 The 10th IFLA APR Awards for Landscape Architecture, Award of Excellence, Landscape Planning Victorian Desalination Project Master Plan and Green Roof Research
• 2012 Green Roofs Australasia Design Award Victorian Desalination Project Green Roof
• 2012 AILA Victoria Awards, Research & Communication Victorian Desalination Project Green Roof
• 2016 AILA Victoria Infrastructure Award for Excellence for The Victorian Desalination Project & Ecological Reserve
• 2016 AILA National Award for Infrastructure Victorian Desalination Plant & Ecological Reserve
• 2017 Green Good Design Award for Infrastructure Victorian Desalination Project & Ecological Reserve
Photography by Peter Bennetts