Walka Water Works redevelopment

Aerial view of Walka

Update 3 May 2024: The recent decision by Maitland City Council to prioritise the remediation of asbestos contamination at the Walka Water Works site has prompted Reflections Holidays to withdraw from its partnership with Council to deliver visitor accommodation at the iconic site on 3 May 2024.

 


 


On 23 January, 2024 Maitland City Council passed the following motion: In consideration of the NSW Government‘s advice that there is currently no additional funding available to achieve the complete remediation of the contaminated Crown Land at Walka Water Works, Council seek their agreement to reallocate the existing funding allocations to prioritise contaminated land remediation and pumphouse building remediation and enhancement, while proceeding with planning works for appropriate future accommodation on site. 

An important step to any future use of the Walka Water Works site is to deal with the contamination issue and undertake remediation.  The remediation works have been staged and are dependent on future funding from Crown Lands over multiple financial years. Maitland City Council is working with the NSW Government to determine if funding allocations can be redirected from the Regional Tourism Activation Fund to the remediation works for both the land and pumphouse building. 

What’s the vision?

Our vision for a revitalised Walka Water Works, rooted in nature based tourism with modern infrastructure for weddings, functions, events and accommodation, is starting to take shape. Over the coming months and years, we’re moving forward with detailed planning and community consultation, to bring this vision of a revitalised and renewed Walka Water Works to life.

Nature at the forefront

Our vision is rooted in nature based tourism with modern infrastructure for events and accommodation

Destination hubs

Walka Water Works is one of five priority destination hubs identified in Maitland City Council’s Destination Management Plan 2020-2030.

Project funding

The NSW Government has pledged $10 million in funding, with co-contribution from Crown Lands, Reflections Holiday Parks and Maitland City Council bringing the total funding allocation for stage one to $15.1 million.

Free forever

Public access to the Walka Water Works site will remain free following the completion of stage one.

How did we get here?

Alongside Morpeth, Maitland Gaol, The Levee and Tocal, Walka Water Works is a priority destination hub identified in our Destination Management Plan.

Our Destination Management Plan is a collaborative plan that proposes a range of opportunities covering marketing and promotion, product development and infrastructure to enhance Maitland’s visitor economy.

We developed the plan with the help of 1,100+ ideas and suggestions from the community, tourism operators, local businesses and visitors.

family riding bikes

What will stage one look like?

  • Pumphouse restoration
    Partial restoration of the 1887 Pumphouse building including the ground floor of the main building to allow for activation, and the Eastern Annex to reopen for weddings and functions.
  • Free forever
    Public access to the Walka Water Works site will remain free following the completion of stage one.
  • Improved accessibility
    Remediation and partial upgrades to the car park; new access road to accommodation site.
  • Events infrastructure
    Improvements to the Pumphouse lawn as a wedding and event site.
  • Onsite accommodation
    Cabins (10 to 12) and powered sites (40), camp kitchen and BBQ area.
  • Continued public access
    For recreation users, such as walkers, bird watchers and picnickers.

What could future stages look like?

Subject to funding being sourced or secured, future stages of the Walka Water Works redevelopment could look like:

Pumphouse restoration

Full restoration of the 1887 Pumphouse Building to accommodate a museum space, café, restaurant and function centre and brewery, distillery or wine cellar.

Improved infrastructure

Upgrades to the walking trails, miniature railway station, car park, access roads and new amenities. New picnic and BBQ areas.

Onsite accommodation

Diversifying to include glamping within the Stage 1 footprint.

Stay, play and learn

Outdoor function and event spaces, water play and adventure play spaces, Walka Beach remediation and water improvements to allow for SUP and kayak use and hire; education centre.

Improved connectivity

Morpeth to Walka shared pathway access; Shared pathway connection to Rutherford.

Improved accessibility

Remediation and partial upgrades to the car park; new access road to accommodation site.

Our Walka Community Liaison Group

We’ve established a Walka Water Works Community Liaison Group (CLG) to allow for two way communication and engagement between Council, its partners in the works and representatives of the Maitland community throughout the redevelopment of Walka Water Works.

Project timeline & updates

Complete
Destination Management Plan 2020-2030 adopted
Aug 2020
Complete
Partial site reopening following remediation
Dec 2022
Complete
Stage one funding announced
Jan 2023
Complete
Community Liaison Group formed
Apr 2023
Complete
Live community Q&A session
May 2023
Upcoming
Principal Planning Consultant appointed
Mar 2024

Frequently asked questions

We’ve seen and heard from speaking with, and listening to, the Maitland community that Walka Water Works is an important and significant part of our shared history and story, with diverse interests and views on the site.

Outlined below are responses to some frequently asked questions we’ve heard from the community since this project began.

Additional documentation

Here you will find some useful resources and further reading relating to the history of the Walka Water Works site.

Find both the original and revised application for funding for Walka Water Works under the NSW Government Regional Tourism Activation Fund (Round 2).

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A Contamination Summary which incorporates an Asbestos Management Plan and Asbestos Register is available to download.

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Find information regarding the maintenance and vegetative growth of Walka Water Works.

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A brief history of the land at Walka Water Works and surrounding Council land. Walka Water Works is a storied site, stretching back to the 19th century.

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The Remedial Action Plan relating to Walka Water Works is referenced in the Long Term Environmental Management Plan.

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The Long Term Environmental Management Plan which incorporates an Asbestos Management Plan and Asbestos Register is available to download.

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