Community Action has been key to improvements at Church Walk Park over the years.

Community action in Church Walk Park has taken many forms. Most notably it is local citizens who remove deadwood, weed and plant the park. We don't always have a lot of time, and sometimes groups fail and things get beyond us, but there's always some work going on via the good graces of local residents.

It's a privilege to have access to a pocket of biodiversity in the CBD of New South Wales' second city. Residents have undertaken:

  • Landcare

  • Pruning

  • Community plantings

  • Weeding

  • Plant survey

  • Placemaking

An urban park with a mature canopy is a precious City asset
Friends of Church Walk Park meets regularly and circulates newsletters about Park issues.

Role of the City of Newcastle

The City of Newcastle is the park's formal custodian, but funding for parks is stretched due to the City's size, and in that context there is, regrettably, no real recurrent budget for the park.

The community has extensively lobbied for implementation of the Park's Plan of Management and small steps have been taken to achieve its goals. Recently the City also reinstated paths being cleared by blower twice a week for which park users are thankful. Green waste generated by Community weeding is also removed regularly. However, other than occasional weed sprays, this is the limit of recurring Council expenditure, despite the park's prominent central location and heritage status.

That does not mean that Council has been inactive. A number of important initiatives have taken place over the last ten years.

  • Improvements to lighting

  • Geophysical Survey

  • Erosion control measures using coir logs

  • Resurfacing of paths

  • Replanting of parts of the park

  • Provision of plants to Community gardeners

We are very thankful for all works the Council has undertaken, and certainly the park has slowly improved over the last 10 years due to the combined efforts of Council and the Community.

Coir logs have been installed to help with erosion, but there are also underlying wall problems that need work.

Consequences of low funding

Unfortunately the low budget allocation for the Park has had significant consequences, many of which are due to the slow implementation of Church Walk Park's Plan of Management (excerpt at link) by City of Newcastle itself which highlighted the Park's problems twenty years ago.

  • Poor wayfinding

  • Lack of signage

  • Deteriorating steps

  • Decaying retaining walls

  • Erosion

  • Weeds

  • Removal of Seating

  • Retention of invasive plant species

  • Removal of all garbage bins

  • Removal of street sweeping services to the slip road

  • Blocked drains

Perhaps the worst consequence of all - the park's poor presentation and limited remaining facilities means that tourists and CBD workers cannot effectively use an amazing asset in the centre of our City.

Recently resurfaced paths have improved pedestrian safety
Church Walk Park lacks the standard signage common in other parks

Community Recommendations to City Council

  • Please establish a workable budget for the park. It isn't credible to manage a space so large with just two leaf blowers a week and a handful of volunteers!

  • Give the park a standard sign, like all of the other city parks.

  • Install some wayfinding signs! Church Walk Park is an important pedestrian route between King Street and Church Street but there is no signage to alert workers and tourists "not in the know".

  • The Park is an accessible route for prams and bicycles to Church Street, this should be marked.

  • Church Walk Park is absent from the list of City of Newcastle parks! Please put it on the web and on the app.

  • Please help the local community re-found the local Landcare group with expanded access to the Park shed which holds to tools we need to help you.

  • Re instate street sweeping services to the slip road so that the drains don't flood across the intersection of King and Darby Streets.

  • Reinstate garbage bins so that the garbage problem in the park is controlled.

  • Replace some park benches (in better locations) so that the local workers can use the park for lunch.

  • Prune and remove dead wood annually.

  • Update the Management Plan. The existing management plan is 20 years old. The update of the Park's Management Plan has been pending for ten years and the delay is preventing capital allocations for improvements!

None of these recommendations is terribly expensive and all are in line with City of Newcastle's own policies and goals. With relatively little funding and continued community support Church Walk Park can be a real asset rather than a perceived "problem".

Most importantly we ask, please consult with the Community!

Community weeding

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