A Polluting Industrial Relic Transformed into a Model of Sustainability

What happens when you mix an abandoned industrial site, thoughtful design and stunning harbor views? You get an award-winning community space; a model for cities looking to combine green design with multi-use public areas.

Meet the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. What was once a desolate, inaccessible landscape of crumbling concrete has been transformed into a showpiece of gardens, cultural and environmental education and recreational space along the Sydney Harbor. This former coal bunkering site is now the largest publicly-accessible green rooftop in Australia, a community hub, research facility and multi-purpose recreational park.

When the site was decommissioned in the early 1990s after being used as a coal transfer location for 70 years, the local community fought to save the area from commercial development. Using grants from national and area government, after a multi-year design process, the Centre for Sustainability was opened in 2011. In 2018 the Coal Loader Platform (green rooftop) was completed, finishing the transformation of the site into one of the most unique public spaces in Sydney.

Here, walking and jogging paths weave among community gardens, and a native bush nursery stands near magnificent aboriginal rock-art engravings, unearthed during the redevelopment process. Massive underground tunnels, once used to transfer coal onto waiting ships, now store stormwater filtered through the Platform’s rain gardens. This rainwater is used to irrigate community garden plots as well as the urban farm of fruit trees, vegetable plots and native plantings. Visitors can attend educational programs on the environment and sustainability best practices, work in the gardens, watch a concert, learn about the cultural and industrial history of the site or simply sit and enjoy the view.

Along the Platform, a colonnade provides a shade break for visitors and also supports integrated solar panels that generate 100% of the site’s power requirements. KLIK LEDpod™ 40 units integrated into the handrail along the Platform are part of the contemporary design, which won the Park of The Year and the Community Facility of the Year awards from Parks and Leisure Australia in 2018. LEDpods were a natural choice for the designers, with a 50,000 hour warranty and less than 2 watts of energy usage per fixture perfectly complementing the sustainability goals of the project.

Congratulations to the community of Waverton in NSW for realizing your vision, and thanks for letting KLIK play a part in the transformation of this space into an asset for all.

Learn more about the Coal Loader project here.

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