Progressing to construction

View community engagement outcomes below

Providing safer connections at Manly Dam

Manly Dam and its surrounds (Manly Warringah War Memorial State Park) is a significant environmental, cultural and recreational site enjoyed by both our local community and visitors. This historic State Park provides a peaceful, bushland setting for walking, running, bike riding, picnics, swimming as well as memorial services and some recreational events.

Between 11 February 2022 and 13 March 2022, we consulted with the community on a concept design for a link trail, including a raised boardwalk, between Picnic Area 2 and Picnic Area 3 at Manly Dam. The purpose of the link trail is to help improve safety and accessibility, with pedestrians no longer needing to walk along the narrow road between the picnic areas.

Overall, there was general support for the proposed link trail, with the majority of respondents supporting a safer pedestrian path separate from the road. The need to be sensitive to the existing natural environment and landscape was also strongly recognised.

The project is progressing to the construction stage. Council intends to issue a tender before the end of the year and construction is expected to commence in mid-2023.

Consultation outcomes

The consultation process attracted a diverse range of responses which supported the need for a balanced approach to the design development of the link trail.

Community feedback recognised the park as a war memorial and important piece of urban bushland. People said they valued the area for its natural beauty and tranquillity, local fauna and flora, sporting facilities and various passive and active recreational opportunities.

Most respondents felt that the proposed link trail will improve both safety for them and their families and access for wheelchair users, people with low mobility and people with prams. This will allow a wider range of people to enjoy the area.

Some felt the area should be left alone and kept natural. Concerns and questions were raised by respondents regarding impact on local wildlife, loss of native vegetation, accessibility, boardwalk materials and width, flood management and ongoing maintenance. These are addressed in the community engagement report below.

In response to some of the feedback, our plans will include additional offset planting as well as signage with educational messaging along the trail to promote environmental awareness. The width of the boardwalk had also previously been reduced from 2.2m wide to 1.8m wide based on feedback received from the Manly Warringah War Memorial State Park Advisory Committee.

The proposed design

The link trail was designed to fit the terrain and to be sensitive to the existing natural environment and landscape at Manly Dam. The gradient of the boardwalk through the bushland was designed to achieve the gentlest slope possible.

The low-key boardwalk will be constructed with a combination of sustainable, low maintenance, and durable materials offering viewing areas with places to sit and enjoy the surrounds. The proposed designs include a viewing deck on the water's edge which could be used for environmental education programs and an upper informal resting point to provide picturesque views of the water.

We are also preparing a comprehensive wayfinding signage plan for the entire park that will help visitors navigate the trails.

The story so far

Click on the expandable boxes below to learn more about the plans and investigations that have underpinned the proposed Manly Dam Link Trail.

The Manly Warringah War Memorial Park Plan of Management 2014 identified the need to address public safety and environmental issues, and to provide a better experience for visitors to the recreational spaces around the dam.

We are implementing a staged delivery of these improvement works in order of priority and to meet the community's needs. Works completed to date include upgrades to the mountain bike trail and installing better wayfinding signage, upgrading the playground and public amenities at Picnic Area 1 and progressively renewing the pedestrian trails around the Park.

A key issue for park users is the pathway connections between the four existing picnic areas.

The 2014 PoM includes the following action:

A high-standard pathway (with an appropriate hardened/sealed surface, including a boardwalk) will be progressively developed to extend from Picnic Area 1 to Picnic Area 4 - to provide dedicated pedestrian access between these areas, and move pedestrians away from the picnic area access road.

As part of this current project, we are addressing the link between Picnic Area 2 and Picnic Area 3.

Council investigated three separate design options for the provision of a key link between Picnic Area 2 and Picnic Area 3. These options were selected based on judgement of available option as well as the input from the Manly Warringah War Memorial State Park Advisory Committee.

The main design objective was to increase pedestrian safety, provide an inclusive experience for people of all abilities to be able to enjoy this area of beautiful bushland and minimise the environmental impact of the pathway.

Council commissioned a Traffic Safety Assessment of the following design options:

Option 1 – Off-road bush boardwalk (separated from the roadway)
Option 2 – Edge of road boardwalk or footpath (along the roadway)
Option 3 – Shared Zone (on the roadway)

The Traffic Safety Assessment report:

  • describes the site, existing roadway, condition and geometry
  • describes the proposed design options
  • assesses the adequacy of the proposed options having regard to traffic, pedestrian and cyclists’ safety
  • assesses the suitability of each option.

Option 1 was found to be the safest for pedestrians by the Traffic Safety Assessment as it separates them from general vehicular traffic entirely. This is especially important for more vulnerable groups such as children, older adults and wheelchair users. It was also found that this option would not affect the current use by cyclists or normal traffic.

In accordance with Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) was undertaken by independent consultants for the proposed Manly Dam Trail Link.

Biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage were key environmental considerations in the preparation of the REF.

The REF outlines potential environmental impacts and recommended mitigation measures for the proposed works.

Based on the assessment contained in this REF, it is considered that the proposal is not likely to have a significant impact upon the environment or any threatened species, populations or communities. On balance, the REF considers the proposal justified and in the public interest.