Works begin on Baranduda Fields this week with soil testing taking place ahead of the start of stage 1 of the multi-year project.
The site’s master plan has also been reviewed and updated following environmental and flood modelling surveys undertaken late last year.
The updated plan allows the council to better optimise the whole site, as well as ensuring the environmental benefits of the precinct are retained and incorporated with the use of the sporting fields.
The main changes for stage one include moving the main entry and roadway, reconfiguration of the car parks and moving the soccer precinct further west. The tennis, lawn bowls, athletics track and highball facility have also been moved and the criterion circuit removed while further investigation is undertaken into the management of the wetlands.
The nationally significant Sloane’s Froglet (Crinia sloanei) can be found in the wetlands area of the site. The Sloane’s Froglet is a small, ground-dwelling frog distinguished by its repetitive call.
Sloane's Froglet. Image: David Hunter
The layout for stage one and overall master plan excludes any works from the identified froglet habitat. The council’s long-term plan will include the ongoing protection and enhancement of the Sloane’s Froglet habitat on the site.
The revised layout also means about 20 per cent less plantation trees will be removed as part of the project.
The greenfield site includes a large area of eucalypts, planted as part of a farm tree planting scheme under the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation in the early 1990s.
The plantation is considered poor quality, with the majority of trees of poor structure and amenity, as well as providing limited habitat.
However, a zoologist will work with council and contractors to assist with wildlife management throughout the works.
Removed trees will be processed and reused in a range of ways including instream habitat and bank stabilisation in regional waterways, landscaping features and mulch in our local parks and reserves, firewood, bollards and the creation of “fish hotels”.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Kev Poulton said it was an exciting milestone to see works begin on the ground for Baranduda Fields.
“This project has been a long-time in the planning and will be a significant drawcard for our city in the coming years,” Cr Poulton said.
“While always planned for development, we are pleased to see such fantastic environmental outcomes for the site with the reuse of the plantation timber for environmental and community benefit and the protection of colonies of Sloane’s Froglet.
“As the precinct is developed, opportunities to further enhance the environmental values within and surrounding the site will be incorporated including opportunities for the community to observe and connect with the natural feature.”
Design for the civil works continue on the entry road, car parks and service connections. The first part, intersection works on Baranduda Boulevard, are due to go out to tender next month.
Works are under way to design for the soccer precinct, pavilion and fields with the tenders awarded in July last year.
Stage one of the project includes a soccer pavilion and two fields, one Australian Rules-cricket oval, two netball courts, paths and landscaping.
The project received $10 million from the Australian Government towards stage one which is due to be completed by 2023.