$40,000 master plan paves the way for new beginnings at Maitland’s historic Walka Water Works

HISTORIC SHOWPIECE: Former Maitland councillor Ray Fairweather worked tirelessly promoting Walka Water Works. Historic Walka Water Works is poised for a new beginning with Maitland City Council tipped to adopt a master plan for the site.

Councillors will vote at a meeting on Tuesday night whether to adopt the plan which will make the historical, political and culturalsignificance of the site accessible to the community.

Walka is located two kilometres north of Central Maitland and comprises 64.2 hectares of Crown land.

While the water works property is owned by the State Government, council pays substantial maintenance costs each year.

Council received a $40,000 grant from the State Government to implement the first stage of the plan which focused on developing educational attractions at the site for school groups and visitors.

The master plan seeks to provide direction on how the site might be developed to create greater meaning for visitors, now and in the future.

The plan has proposed the overarching theme of restoring Body and Mind for Walka’s place activation.

Within this, three themes are identified:

. Water Works. Providing context and introducing the human history of the site –why it is here, its technology, how it has been seen, what it has meant to different generations.

. People in the Landscape. Drawing attention to the impact people can have on landscape and the positive benefits landscape can have on people.

. Ecology. Exploring the flora and fauna of Walka.

The funding council received under the NSWHeritage Grants Program will be used to start the plan and the ongoing implementation of the plan will rely on future government grant opportunities.

An online survey of what interested people most about Walka Water Works found most people enjoythe recreational activities followed by the wildlife and environment.

Some people also suggested extendingbike paths around the reserve, more information and tours, interactive play and observation areas for children and mothers’ groups andmore opportunity for children to interact with wildlife.