New Epping sets a global standard in land regeneration

New Epping Quarry Lake.

Built on 51 hectares of dormant land, a portion of which was once a quarry and later a landfill, New Epping has been mindfully planned to restore the site’s natural wonder, reflecting Riverlee’s commitment to sustainability and a connection between people and the environment.

In addition to the provision of sustainably-focused homes, offices, health care, convenience shops and cafes, the comprehensive site revitalisation will include new parks, playgrounds, a 3.2km nature loop and the rehabilitation of 900 metres of Edgars Creek, inviting locals to enjoy the previously inaccessible wetlands and stretch of creek corridor.

“New Epping is a world-leading project in a rapidly evolving space,” says Core Environmental Projects technical director James Lucas. The environmental engineer and his team have played an active role in plans for New Epping, working closely with architects and engineers to ensure buildings are designed for the unique site conditions.

“The industry has taken the lessons learned nationally and internationally over the last 10 years and developed innovative solutions, that are adapted to Australian conditions, to allow multi-storey buildings to be built on former landfills. What’s happening at New Epping is groundbreaking territory but supported by established science.”

In order to guarantee the highest degree of environmental stewardship and revitalisation at New Epping, Riverlee has conducted extensive testing and monitoring to support an independent auditing process with oversight by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Helia EHS general manager Jeremy Newstead was engaged by Riverlee at the commencement of the project to support this process. He says the developer has gone above and beyond in the revitalisation of the site.

“All sites have challenges based on what they’re building on top of, and there are always tried and tested technical solutions to support the design response,” he says.

“Although there’s waste between the surface and founding depths, New Epping is built on competent basalt rock, so this project is very structurally safe. This project is awesome — it’s amazing to see the scale of the site revitalisation and the transformation of a former industrial site into an impressive development.”

Testing showed that the landfill sits beneath a 2-4 metre clay cap, and with strict building controls above there is no way for people to come in contact with it, meaning there are very low risks associated with building on top of it.

Buildings at New Epping are reinforced by venting systems of robust membranes and 250mm concrete slabs that ensure the continued health and safety of residents.

Above the ground, work is underway to bring the vision of this community to life. Once operational, New Epping’s residential community will be net zero in operation, maximising renewable energy generation and storage while eliminating operational carbon.

Commercial buildings have been designed to maximise sunlight, fresh air, and a connection to nature for workers while maximising health and sustainability outcomes.

In 2024, further site works will begin to restore Edgars Creek, including the conservation of the endangered growling grass frog species.

A dedicated conservation strategy is focused on protecting the site’s native flora and fauna, which includes the construction of conservation habitat for endangered species, the planting of 200,000 plants in Edgars Creek, and a potable water usage reduction target of 30 per cent.

Demonstrating a deep appreciation of the site’s rich history and intricate environmental features, Riverlee is realising a visionary regeneration and sustainability approach at New Epping. Achieved in close collaboration with our project partners, New Epping sets a new global benchmark for the mindful revitalisation of a once-lost parcel of land.

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