Following the devastation left by Tropical Cyclone Yasi (TCY) in the coastal township of Cardwell in 2011, RPS was engaged to document and oversee a $9 million redevelopment of the town's foreshore landscape.
Building on the project’s masterplan, RPS was responsible for detailed landscape design, construction documentation and an art and interpretive strategy for a 4km stretch of foreshore.
Landscape renewal offers resilience for Cardwell
The strength and resilience of the local community in the wake of the TCY disaster provided much inspiration for our Landscape Architecture team, who were tasked to provide greater physical resilience for the town through the new landscape.
The design incorporates elements that will safeguard the town against future inundation, and a robust foreshore edge that protects against storm surge and erosion. A rock wall has been constructed to protect and stabilise the adjacent road, foreshore, Council assets and historic Calophyllum trees.
Site soils were retained and reused during construction, and much of the significant vegetation was able to be retained and integrated into the new foreshore landscape.
Nature and storytelling aids community healing
RPS Landscape Architecture team worked closely with the Girimay people and local community artists to develop a series of integrated interpretive elements for the project.
The result is a foreshore journey that takes you past beautiful sand blasted images, interpretive signage, a bush tucker trail and sculptures all designed by local artists.
Native and endemic plant species were selected for their suitability to the tough coastal environment, and connection with local habitat areas and cultural heritage. Endemic groundcover species such as Beach Morning Glory (Ipomea pes caprae) were used both for their hardiness and to connect with the wider landscape context, and traditional owners’ past uses of the site and this vegetation.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council believes that the revitalisation project was an important part of the town’s healing process after Cyclone Yasi, both socially and environmentally.
The revitalisation restored a sense of control and self-determination that had been lost, while the process of engagement and partnership in determining how the landscape would look, feel and function has played an important role in getting the community back on its feet.