The Sea Nymphs Colin Dunleavey

At 36km long and with art and sculptures along the way, our very own coastal walk is set to rival some of the best in the world!
 
Get your trainers out and your cameras ready because works are well underway for the new Northern Beaches Coastal Walkway. Set to expand and improve upon the existing Bicentennial Coastal Walk, once completed it will include 36km of linked pedestrian pathways taking in all the best vantage points between Palm Beach and Manly. As if that isn’t enough, the walk will also be lined with a series of installations by local artists. Once completed it will be up there with some of the most famous walks in the world – and it won’t be long before it’s one of the top tourist attractions in Australia.
 
The Shelly Beach to Manly walk is easily one of the world’s most stunning already.

Just completed are a new dual pedestrian pathway at Palm Beach, linking the ferry wharf to Beach Road, in addition to pedestrian pathways at the Serpentine Bilgola Beach and Bert Payne Reserve Newport, and improved access at Mona Vale Beach creating a corridor between the north and south headlands to Eric Green Reserve. A new dual footpath at Warriewood Beach links Narrabeen Park Parade to Turrimetta Beach and North Narrabeen – a route that was previously complicated by a lack of safe off-road pedestrian thoroughfare. There is still more to be done and upgrades to the Dee Why and North Curl Curl headland precincts are yet to be completed.

Existing Beaches’ walks are now in the process of being linked.

Facilitated by the $2 million merger fund of the three former local councils, and supported
by the state government, including a recent grant of $200,000 for Indigenous artworks
and signage, the project falls under the ‘Connecting Northern Beaches’ Program. It’s aimed at improving overall ease for pedestrians to transport links and subsequent eco-tourism appeal of the area with the upshot of increased trade for accommodation and hospitality businesses.

Just some of the amazing existing art and sculptures along the coastal walk. 

The additional art and sculptures proposed to line the walk adds a whole new and very exciting level to the project. The tender process for artist submissions closed in late July. Once the Public Art Selection Panel, comprising of curators and arts professionals has reviewed and finalised their decisions the artists will be appointed, and the first stage of installations will begin. Allocations of $100,000 to $250,000 of funding for each artwork will be given.

There’s a huge amount of scope for local artists to create new works, and hopefully many of the existing ones will remain as well.

Priority sites have been identified for stage one of the artwork installations and include Manly Corso, Dee Why and Long Reef Headlands, Collaroy Beach (South) as well as North Narrabeen rockpool area where there is also an upgrade to the ocean pool and
Amateur Swimming Club facilities currently underway.

Further north, Turimetta Headland Reserve, Mona Vale South Headland (Robert Dunn
Reserve), Mona Vale Headland (North), Little Avalon (South Headland), and Bangalley Park and Pittwater Park at Palm Beach are also earmarked for the first of up to 30 total art features in a process involving three stages.

“The artworks will add further vibrancy to the walk, as well as draw a direct connection
between the villages, beaches and headlands stretching from the north to the south of
the peninsula,’’ said Northern Beaches Council Mayor, Michael Regan.

The famous swimmer sculpture is literally a part of Manly Surf Life Saving Club.

Second stage locations include Manly Surf Life Saving Club and Avalon Beach with any third stage installations to be dependent on further funding.

A very 21st century feature of the improved walkway is the app being developed by
Northern Beaches Council, providing an integrated map and user guide highlighting the artworks and areas of natural and heritage significance.

Everyone’s favourite sculpture ‘Oceanides’ at Fairy Bower pool, or the ‘Sea Nymphs’ as dubbed by locals.

The project has been the culmination of community engagement and a collaboration
between Council, heritage consultants, arts curators and environmental community
groups and clubs with the Aboriginal heritage, beach culture and natural environment
key in the decision processes.

“Community engagement has been an important platform in developing the draft Coast Walk Public Art Strategy, with the main objective being to understand what the
community wants the Coast Walk to provide in the long term as an interactive
experience.” Mayor Regan said.

Is there any better way to see our incredible coastline?!

Beyond the Northern Beaches, keen walkers can continue by ferry, or foot via the Manly
to Spit walk, and onto Bondi and beyond as far as Port Hacking, forming what is
believed to be one of the greatest urban coastal walks in the world. At present the infrastructure works are on track for completion in 2020. We can’t wait!

Story: Jade Fernandes
Main image credit: Colin Dunleavey
https://www.instagram.com/dunleaveyphotography

 

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