Mackay City Centre revitalised...

Mackay City Centre revitalised with striking Hill’s Weeping Fig Trees

stratacell in Mackay City Centre

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In August 2014, a significant overhaul of Mackay’s City Centre commenced, known as the City Centre Revitalisation Project. This tropical CBD resides along the Pioneer River, and houses the bulk of Mackay’s hospitality and commercial businesses.

Designed and built over twenty years ago, the CBD was aesthetically outdated and often subject to minor flooding and drainage issues. The narrow sidewalk was also unsuitable for al fresco dining, and failed to offer a social, multi-faceted shopping experience. Through the revitalisation of the CBD’s aesthetic and environmental qualities, Mackay Regional Council sought to resolve these issues, and in turn promote local and regional economic development.

Tree in Mackay City Centre Soil Vault Beneath the Tree in Mackay City Centre

Dave Watt, formerly Landscape Project Manager at Vassallo Constructions, said, “The primary goal was to increase public access and better utilise the area while beautifying it and displaying some of Mackay’s existing features such as the many art deco period buildings. The project also enabled the upgrade of services to the area.”

Ben Ewins, formerly Landscape Architect at RPS Australia Asia Pacific, said, “Once Mackay Regional Council had confirmed the preference towards using Hill’s Weeping Fig Trees (Ficus microcarpa var. Hillii) in the central medians, we identified a disparity between this species and the prospective available root space and volume. Ultimately, we needed a solution that would allow the trees to grow by creating a greater volume of space below the road pavement for root growth, without encroaching on the proposed civil works.

stratacell installation in Mackay City Centre

Ewins said, “To achieve this, we required a sturdy support mechanism that would facilitate a number of outcomes:

  1. Support significant road pavement vehicle loads
  2. Prevent compaction of the soil / root zone
  3. Achieve a high ratio of support structure soil volume
  4. Address the concerns about warranties.”

Jim Carless, Project Manager – City Centre Revitalisation at Mackay Regional Council, said, “This project was a hard sell, because historically there are problems  with underground infrastructure being ripped up by figs and other big trees. Thankfully, Stratacell allowed us to kill two birds with one stone – providing a nice big volumetric space for healthy root growth, and providing a barrier to stop roots going further and causing damage. Essentially, it provides a giant planter box underground.”

engineered soil vault beneath pavements

Watt said, “Citygreen were the specified supplier, because their products had the capacity to meet the complexities of the project.” In fact, Citygreen’s Stratacell system was the only product that delivered the required structural integrity needed for this application. Watt continued, “Citygreen’s products have been tried and tested on other projects. The products’ proven success provided us with confidence that we’d achieve a positive outcome in the required timeframe, and enabled different construction methods to be investigated prior to implementing the best procedure.”

Ewins said, “The resulting outcome has been extremely positive and all trees installed to date are in excellent health. The key benefit of working with Citygreen was without a doubt their immediate response times in providing solutions and inputs to what was a critical situation, which required a fast turnaround. Their expertise, along with the fast turnaround, was invaluable.”

Watt said, “A positive outcome has been achieved, with both the public and business owners in the area very upbeat about the end result. Using Citygreen technologies also provided us with confidence that there will be no rectification works required and we can be sure of longevity in this striking-looking project. We’re proud to have played a part in providing long-lasting satisfaction for the local community and visitors to the area.”

excellent canopy after two and a half years

Rob Guthrie, Principal – Landscape Architecture at RPS Australia Asia Pacific, added, “The trees are growing, and the system is proving to work well for us. Citygreen were excellent to work with, providing lots of helpful information on the product and assisting us to convince council to proceed. I’d absolutely recommend them to others.”

Carless concluded by saying, “So far, the trees are performing well with minimal leaf drop. We’re confident we’ll continue to see good growth rates, without any damage to surrounding infrastructure. Citygreen were great to work with, with helpful technical people who gave us lots of information, and were really involved leading up to construction. I couldn’t fault them, and would definitely recommend them and this solution to other organisations that have a similar challenges.”

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -