Victoria | Urban
The Western part of the Sydney metropolitan area is highly urbanised and by 2050, it is estimated that an additional four million people will be living in, or near the Parramatta River catchment. The Eastern part of Sydney is well served with numerous ocean beaches, but for people in Western Sydney it is a long, sometimes hot, expensive and difficult journey to reach these areas. Council highlighted the lack of outdoor swimming opportunities in the Western Sydney Region as a priority. Since opening in 2015, the high number of people visiting the swimming area is a testament that there is a large untapped demand for local natural swimming areas in the western part of Sydney.
As part of the City of Parramatta’s (CoP) commitment to make Parramatta River and its catchment swimmable again, the Council reviewed all possible swimming sites in its area and found Lake Parramatta was the most promising site, as the water quality in the Lake had gradually improved over past decades due to a program of works in the catchment undertaken by the PRCG.
In addition to having great water quality, the Lake reserve also has existing walking tracks, toilets, a café, playground, BBQ’s and a car park, all of which added to the attractiveness of the Lake as a mixed-use community facility.
CoP established a project team and undertook the following activities to create a safe, accessible, natural outdoor swimming area:
A recent survey conducted by CoP, shows that 93% of visitors report swimming at Lake Parramatta is “good” or “very good” and it is rated as the number one Parramatta attraction by the TripAdvisor website.
The project demonstrates that it is possible to provide a high quality, popular experience for people without the need to expend large amounts of money for infrastructure or maintenance, instead leveraging the beautiful natural environment of the Lake Parramatta reserve.