The area known as The Spit is the northern most section of mainland oceanfront on the Gold Coast, Queensland. This area has the largest area of undeveloped sand dunes on the Gold Coast mainland and as such is a very popular recreation area. The Federation Walk Coastal Reserve is a 93 hectare section of coastal sand dunes on the eastern side of The Spit set aside as public open space, this Reserve was originally in the northern section of Philip Park, which still remains. This sand spit has previously been sand mined and consequently revegetated in the 1970’s.
In 1998, The Main Beach Progress Association (MBPA) formed a sub-committee with the aim of restoring and conserving The Spit as a public asset for the benefit of the community. This Committee obtained a $75,000 grant from the Queensland Government under the auspices of Centenary of Queensland funding to prepare an overall masterplan for the area and a more specific vegetation management plan to guide the restoration work. Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) constructed the formal 3km pathway joined with the Oceanway pathway, through the hind dunes from Philip Park car park to the Gold Coast Seaway, for people to enjoy the natural beauty of the site, there are 9 beach access paths from Seaworld Drive..
The first community planting day was held on 19 March 2000 Over 100 people attended this official launch of the project including State and Local representatives.
A consultant was engaged by the community group to prepare an overall master plan for the management of the entire Federation Walk Coastal Reserve . The issues addressed by this master plan include restoration, conservation, education, infrastructure and recreation.
A vegetation management plan was completed at that time and forms the guidelines for the restoration and conservation work that has been currently underway on site since.
Currently these planning documents, prepared by the local community have been presented to GCCC and are in the process of being adopted. Both these documents are continually referred to by Officers of Council.
The project grew quickly and a separate entity was formed to oversee the work they had planned. Members of MBPA and many other residents of the Gold Coast outside of Main Beach incorporated a group known as Friends of Federation Walk Incorporated (FoFW). The community group successfully lobbied the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines to have the area Gazetted from a Park and Recreation area to a Reserve for Park, Environmental, Beach Protection and Coastal Management purposes. A further $25,000 has been donated to the community group by the State government through this Department.
At the request of FoFW, the whole area has been renamed the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve (FWCR) and ratified by Council. It was previously known as the northern section of Philip Park in honour of Prince Philip. This renaming was a significant step in the groups efforts towards recognising The Spit as a natural bushland Reserve in the heart of the city.
The Work for the Dole, Green Corps and Green Army crews also worked on the site.
Now that the area has been successfully protected as public land for Environment Purposes the community is focusing on the restoration of the habitat. This revegetation project consisted primarily of casuarina and acacia trees that lacked diversity, the aim of the vegetation management plan is to restore the biodiversity of the area using the vegetation community on nearby South Stradbroke Island as a guide. This restoration has been hugely successful and has contributed to the proliferation of fauna and bird species.
Volunteers hold regular planting and maintenance days on the last Sunday of each month, 10 times/year. In addition to this many school, corporate and community groups bring students, staff and members to learn about the coastal environment and take part in planting days.
In 2006, the State Government allocated $100,000per year to assist in the maintenance of FWCR, this was matched by GCCC but a new State Government halted this funding. GCCC has funded this amount since and has allocated a further $30,000 per year from Division 7. A signage suite has been adopted by FoFW for the Reserve, including wayfinder signs and interpretive signage to guide and inform visitors of the many areas of the Reserve. 50% of this signage has been implemented by GCCC.
Friends of Federation Walk Management Committee has worked tirelessly to make this all happen. Working closely with the local community, Australian, State, Local Governments, Tourism bodies and like minded major and small community entities,
we have ensured its permanence.