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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Sage Swinton

Throsby Creek rock wall works start to protect popular Parkrun pathway

Newy Parkrun co-director Penny Redhead, deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen Parkrun managing director Renee Gimbert. Picture by Simone De Peak

Work has started to repair a river wall holding up one of Newcastle's most popular pathways more than a year after safety fencing was installed on the stretch.

City of Newcastle is investing $350,000 into the Throsby Creek river wall at Wickham, which runs adjacent to a pathway used heavily by cyclists, pedestrians and the weekly Newy Parkrun.

The project will repair a 200-metre section of the rock wall, which has been gradually crumbling and eroding the pathway.

The council placed temporary fencing on the stretch in the first half of 2022 for safety reasons. Newcastle deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said the works had been delayed since then due to a short supply of the appropriate type of rock.

Works on the rock wall are expected to take several weeks. Picture by Simone De Peak

The original igneous pink rocks that have fallen into the creek will be reinstalled as well as about 210 tonnes of newly-sourced material.

"Work started a few weeks ago ... it will only take a couple more weeks to complete," he said. "The issue has been getting work underway due to difficulty gaining access to the right type of rock. We've now got that engaged, so the work will come together quite quickly."

The Herald reported in December 2022 that Wickham residents had called on council to get on with the works six months on from the safety fencing being installed.

One resident, Peter Smith, said he was pleased the work had started.

"We're all looking forward to seeing the final result," Mr Smith said.

"Everyone I've spoken to is feeling very positive.

"After waiting for so long, seeing it not only get underway but progress that quickly is great."

The crumbling rock wall had eroded the pathway. Picture by Simone De Peak

The rock wall was created more than 20 years ago by a private developer on behalf of the NSW government. Cr Clausen said the reconstructed wall will be built to a higher standard and will include formal access to the artificial beach on the southern and northern end of the stretch.

"Throsby Creek was previously a really unpleasant, polluted waterway," Cr Clausen said. "There has been fairly significant investment, which has really transformed it since the 1990s.

"It's super popular now. Formalised access was something that was missing and has been demanded."

Diversions are in place for pedestrians. The works have also caused a temporary change to the Parkrun course, the country's second most popular which regularly attracts more than 500 participants.

Newy Parkrun co-event director Penny Redhead said the temporary fencing was a hazard considering the number of runners and walkers.

"This will be a lot better for children and for the peak section when the crowd is thicker," she said. "They can move over to the edge and to the left.

"The shared pathway will be safer and more accessible for everyone."

Cr Clausen said the council was considering future upgrades in the area.

"There is going to be a rolling series of works over a number of years to continue to upgrade the whole cycleway," he said.

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