7.3 Maintaining visitor and park infrastructure
- The Park Facilities Manual standardises the establishment and upgrading of park visitor facilities.
- The Park Signage Manual aims to deliver updated state-wide signage standards that create a recognisable identity for parks and effectively inform the reader.
- DECCW's Asset Maintenance System supports management of assets and infrastructure within the park system.
- Park managers report that the adequacy of visitor facilities is improving.
DECCW manages a range of infrastructure within the NSW park system, providing opportunities for public appreciation and enjoyment of the parks by both presenting and conserving an area's natural and cultural heritage. Infrastructure includes:
- visitation facilities, such as access roads, parking and picnic areas, walking tracks, signage, shower and toilet facilities
- interpretation facilities, such as displays, stationary and mobile viewing platforms, visitor centres, picnic and hospitality facilities
- other facilities, such as boat ramps, moorings, huts, cabins and standing camps and opportunities to stay in unique accommodation such as lighthouses.
DECCW aims to provide visitors with an appropriate level of facilities to support their visit. The 'appropriate level' varies according to the level of visitation and the type of activities carried out in a park. National parks and state conservation areas, for example, aim to protect natural and cultural values while also providing opportunities for recreation, so they often have more visitor infrastructure. Nature reserves, however, are primarily for nature conservation and therefore often have minimal visitor infrastructure.
Parks in and around Sydney are among the most visited in the state, so providing appropriate visitor facilities is essential to ensuring positive visitor experiences and protecting natural and cultural heritage. The four-year Revitalising Sydney's National Parks Program began in 2005 with the aim of revitalising key visitor destinations in the Blue Mountains, Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Royal, Lane Cove and Georges River national parks. This funding has been used for a variety of projects, including:
- improving park information and safer and more accessible walking tracks and facilities in the Blue Mountains
- stabilising and upgrading the seawalls of Bobbin Head (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park), which were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s to support the shoreline
- enhancements on Goat Island, in Sydney Harbour National Park, to expand visitor access at the wharves; to restore and upgrade the historic buildings for adaptive reuse; and to improve the provision of interpretive facilities
- significant improvements on Fort Denison, in Sydney Harbour National Park, to ensure the conservation of the historic site, improve visitor access and enhance visitor experiences
- a comprehensive upgrade of visitor facilities, visitor access, information and park administrative facilities at Lane Cove National Park
- upgrading visitor facilities and park infrastructure to current building and access standards and codes in Georges River National Park.
Bundjalung National Park
A Park Facilities Manual has been developed that standardises the establishment and upgrading of visitor facilities. The manual was released in late 2007 and provides a set of planning and design guidelines to support excellence in sustainable visitor facility management. Its key objective is to provide a system with a recognisable identity and image for facilities in NSW parks, while ensuring that facilities planning and design strategies will be sensitive to the environment and heritage context.
DECCW's Asset Maintenance System supports the management of park assets and infrastructure. The logistics of managing and maintaining this network of assets requires DECCW to have systems in place to ensure assets remain in good condition. In order to achieve this, DECCW has developed an Asset Maintenance System (AMS), which contains a list of all maintained assets including roads, fire trails, buildings, structures, vehicles, plant and equipment. As a tool, the AMS enables DECCW staff to record asset data, schedule and prioritise work, capture costs and task staff to asset maintenance. After successful trials, the system was rolled out across the state throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009 and now captures all park assets.
Warrumbungles National Park
Providing appropriate and adequate visitor facilities and services in NSW parks is a priority for DECCW. Park managers report that the adequacy of visitor facilities is improving and more parks have visitor facilities and services that are appropriate to the reserve category, and the level and type of visitation, than ever before.
Park managers report that a small number of parks require improvements to available visitor facilities or services. Many of these parks have only recently come under DECCW management and facility development is occurring as planning and demand studies are completed. In other cases, the need for improvements reflects the ongoing nature of the provision of appropriate visitor facilities. Where facilities may have once been appropriate, increasing use or changes to the type of visitation may require improvements. For example, track upgrades might be required where visitation levels have increased beyond the capacity of the original track. Only 17 per cent of parks advise that no facilities are required due to limited visitation.
- Provide adequate and appropriate visitor facilities to support efforts in ensuring parks are accessible for public appreciation and enjoyment.
- Ensure visitor facilities are adequately maintained on a regular schedule through the Asset Maintenance System.
Page last updated: 27 February 2011