It is not until you walk along Small Creek at Raceview that the significance of work to transform the waterway from a concrete drain back to a natural stream becomes truly apparent.

While it remains early days for the naturalisation project, with stage one of four recently completed, already the social and environmental benefits are beginning to show.

Where once a stark concrete channel sat as a blight on the landscape there is now a meandering stream punctuated with ponds, extensive plantings, areas for sitting and enticing rock formations.

Ducks, cockatoos and other native birdlife are making the most of the space, small fish can be seen in the ponds and community members go from Warwick Road to Briggs Road along a newly installed path.

Councillors David Martin and Charlie Pisasale, whose divisions Small Creek is in, inspected the completed stage one works last week.

“The transformation that has taken place at Small Creek is incredible,” Cr Martin said.

“It will only continue to improve over time as the plants mature, more wildlife is attracted to the site and people become more familiar with the space.

“This is a long term investment in our environment, water quality and community amenity which will benefit Ipswich residents now and for generations to come.

“I encourage people to come down and check it out for themselves. You won’t be disappointed.”

Cr Pisasale said if not for the remaining concrete sections upstream of stage one, it would be hard to believe it was previously just a concrete drain.

“To see the drab concrete drain taken back to something more reminiscent of what the area would have been like many years ago is wonderful,” Cr Pisasale said.

“I can’t wait to see future stages of this very exciting project roll out.

“Community involvement has been at the core of this project from the get go and it is a testament to what can be achieved for the environment when council and residents come together for the betterment of our city.”

Council set aside $1.9m for stage two of the Small Creek naturalisation project in its 2018-2019 budget.

Stage two will include the completion of naturalisation up to Briggs Road.

A tender is currently out for those works, which are expected to begin later this year.

The naturalisation of Small Creek is expected to mean cooler water and air temperatures, improved water quality, better habitat for local wildlife and more opportunities for active transport.

The project is being funded through council’s Stormwater Quality Offsets Program under which developers make contributions to help improve water quality in the region.

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