A six-kilometre walkway linking Ballina and Lennox Heads has received a coveted engineering excellence award from the Institute Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA).
The Composite Fibre Technologies (CFT) division of global construction materials and infrastructure business Wagners designed and supplied the components of the Angel Beach Coastal Recreational Path Project, which was installed by Coffs Harbour-base B&S Property Services.
Ballina Shire Council, Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and the local Aboriginal community worked in close collaboration to ensure the heritage of the project was preserved.
Wagners general manager Engineering (Composite Fibre Technologies) Mr Michael Kemp commended the council for its vision to create a shared pathway, which would enable the community to safely walk or cycle between the two towns.
“A significant part of this project has involved the path’s construction through the East Ballina Aboriginal Place, which is a place of high importance to the Traditional Custodians of the land. This section stretches six kilometres along the Ballina coastline from Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach,” said Mr Kemp.
He explained this section of the pathway featured a series of 22 large interpretive signs, which recognised the Aboriginal cultural values and provided stories of historical events, dreaming, language and connection to place.
He said the project, which was supported by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Heritage Council of NSW, comprised 900 metres of raised boardwalks and viewing platforms constructed along the route to avoid direct and indirect impacts on sensitive vegetation.
"We've completed supply of a number of boardwalks along the Ballina Shire coastline and this one is very special providing a great opportunity for people to enjoy the pristine environment and learn about the cultural heritage of the area.
“We are proud to be part of the project and congratulate the Ballina Shire Council for their award win and vision,” he said.
Ballina Shire Council’s group manager Civil Services, Mr John Truman said the pathway was an exciting project that had really been embraced by the community.
“It’s exciting that visitors and locals can now explore the rich Aboriginal heritage amongst the beauty of the Ballina coastline,” said Mr Truman.
He said a web-based app has also been developed and could also be used in conjunction with the signage to provide complementary material along the path.
Mr Truman said the CFT used by Wagners in the project added value to infrastructure without compromising integrity.
"We've had a lot of success with Composite Fibre Materials in the past and it was the right material to construct the boardwalk and viewing platforms,” he said.
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