Plans are underway to redevelop the last stretch of Breakout Creek. Learn more, including how you can have a say.
Breakout Creek is located at the end of the River Torrens, running through Adelaide’s western suburbs and ending at Henley Beach.
Prior to European colonisation, coastal sand dunes formed a barrier that prevented water from the River Torrens flowing out to sea.
During rainy seasons, floodwaters filled a series of linked wetlands from Grange to Glenelg. This area of wetlands was known as the Reedbeds.
An artificial channel was built in the 1930s, named Breakout Creek, to provide flood protection for the nearby suburbs.
Over the past 20 or so years, work has been undertaken to naturalise sections of this artificial channel.
First, a 500m stretch upstream of Henley Beach Road was developed from an artificial channel to a more naturalised one in 1999. Then a stretch between Henley Beach Road and Tapleys Hill Road was worked on in 2010, which included widening and deepening the channel, removing weeds and planting thousands of native seedlings.
Stage 3 of the redevelopment is now on the cards. This final stage covers a 1.7km length of the channel between Tapleys Hill Road and the outlet, where the river meets the sea at West Beach.
The Stage 3 redevelopment aims to:
- create a high quality community space of regional and Kaurna significance that enhances recreational and tourism opportunities through the interaction of people, nature, the river, the coast and culture
- improve river water quality and provide habitat for threatened species through plant selection and innovative design.
Breakout Creek stage three redevelopment
What would the community space look like?
The draft design shows 15 hectares of public land unlocked for community use.
The existing linear trail would be improved with improved sightlines, two new river crossings and extra rest areas with seating.
A pathway loop, from the Military Road cul-de-sac on the northern bank of the river, will be graded to meet disability access standards.
Viewing decks and boardwalks will allow people to get close to the water, watch birds and enjoy the natural setting.
Interpretive signage will provide the opportunity for people to learn more about the site’s biodiversity and nature play opportunities will provide immersive and fun experiences.
How will these changes help nature and biodiversity?
Creating wetlands and planting native vegetation are included in the design for the redevelopment, which would create habitats that support aquatic and terrestrial native animals, including macroinvertebrates, fish, birds, and frogs.
Specially selected plants including reeds and rushes will provide hiding and breeding spaces for native fish and will encourage birds to the area that have lost most of their habitat in the Adelaide region – such as the Australasian bittern.
Deepening the creek will provide habitat for larger fish, such as the endangered freshwater catfish.
Faster-flowing meandering areas will oxygenate the water and create habitat for flow-loving macroinvertebrates and fish, and shallow zones will support habitat for wader birds.
The riverbanks will also be revegetated with bushland habitat to further support biodiversity restoration.
What about the horses that currently live on the banks of the river?
The draft design includes a horse agistment area in the south-western segment adjacent Apex Park in West Beach.
This would allow horses to occupy a space along the bank, provides horse access to the purpose-built equestrian arena in Apex Park, and enables the community to see and interact with the horses.
The agistment area will be fenced on all sides for the safety of the horses and the public and to prevent erosion of the watercourse by hooves and pollution from horse dung.
Want to have a say?
Members of the public are invited to comment on Stage 3 of the redevelopment.
All you need to do is visit the YourSAy website, where you can find stacks more information about the project and join the online discussion or complete the survey.
But be quick, the consultation closes on 27 September.
The project is a collaboration between Green Adelaide, the City of Charles Sturt, the City of West Torrens, the State Government’s Planning and Development Fund and the Australian Government. The project is committed to working with the Kaurna Nation.