Macquarie River Masterplan North and South Precincts

Masterplan hero image

The master planning project by Dubbo Regional Council extends from the Nita McGrath netball precinct to Devil’s Hole at the northern end and from the Lady Cutler Ovals to Shibbles Bridge at the southern end. Sala4D Landscape Architects has been working on spatial concepts for the river corridor precincts, informed by previous master plans, community strategic plan, Open Space Master Plan 2018 and initial ideas and insights gathered from a range of community and interest groups.

Expand the sections below to find out more about the consultation process, community sessions, and how to submit your feedback. For answers to any questions not listed below, please contact 


Please see below flowchart highlighting the consultation process for the Macquarie River Masterplan North and South Precincts. For an accessibility friendly version, please download Consultation Flowchart - Macquarie River Masterplan North and South Precincts (PDF 65.5KB).

Consultation Flow Chart Macquarie River Precinct


Q1. How much land of the plan is dedicated to environmental rehabilitation and restoration?

As shown in the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts) there is a high focus on environmental rehabilitation and restoration along the Macquarie River corridor. In the south precinct there is over 90 hectares set aside for environmental purposes, and a further 80 hectares in the northern precinct.
In contrast there is approximately 32 hectares in the south precinct and 42 hectares in the north that has been identified as active recreational areas. This includes the surrounding areas of ovals which also can be planted, to some extent, with riverine species to ensure connectivity of landscape and support biodiversity within our City.


Q2. Why does Council build sporting facilities on flood plain rather than on non-flood plain land?

Much of the flood prone land has been previously cleared of vegetation for agricultural activities and has access to non-potable water either through bores or from the river itself. Access to these water sources significantly reduces the need to rely on the potable supply for Dubbo, especially during time of drought. The irrigation of sporting fields also has a positive effect on reducing the heat island effect within the urban environment by reducing the amount of hard dry soil that absorbs heat and radiates it out at night, and through the cooling effect of evapo-transpiration. The construction of sporting fields and carparking on flood prone land does not exclude tree planting opportunities in these areas. Instead tree planting can be used to provide shade for spectators and to help reduce heat absorption by asphaltic surfaces, as well as providing habitat for wildlife.

Land under the 1:100 year flood level (AEP 1%) cannot be used for building residential or commercial structures. Building on land that is not flood prone reduces the available land that can be used to construct new residences for our growing population and also reduces the associated cost in extending our infrastructure networks including roads, water and sewer. These assets are costly to build, maintain and ultimately replace. By utilising a relatively small proportion of the land that is subject to flooding for the purpose of active recreation it enables these services to concentrated and reduce the intergenerational cost of providing these services.


Q3. Does Council need to build more sporting facilities?

As Council grows there will be a need to provide additional public open space that includes sporting facilities. Under the Open Space Master Plan 2018 there are identified rates of differing public open space categories that Council requires to meet our growing population. Based on these rates, and with our current population, there is an identified shortfall of 29.9 hectares of sporting facilities. As our population increases, and new subdivisions are developed, Council will continue to apply these rates to help ensure that the public have access to these facilities and that these facilities are appropriately located within our community.


Q4. How much would in cost in current terms to undertake the full scope of works identified in the master plan?

The Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precinct) is estimated to cost in the vicinity of $10 million to fully implement in current terms.


Q5. Is the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts) funded?

New elements of the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts) are not currently funded. However where assets already exist Council has an asset renewal program that will enable assets to be replaced and, in some cases, upgraded in accordance with the master plan.


Q6. How would Council fund the implementation of the Macquarie River Master Plan?

Dubbo Regional Council will be actively applying for grants to assist in the implementation of the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts). Examples of projects along the urban extent of the Macquarie River that have recently been or are being funded from grants include the development of the Riverside Ovals and amenities, Ollie Robbins Event Precinct, the Macquarie River Shared Pathway, John McGrath sports lights and the Nita McGrath court resurfacing. In addition to these grant opportunities Council also partners with sporting and community groups to help deliver projects that benefit residents and visitors to Dubbo.

In the North West Urban Release Area developers will be required to contribute to the public open space through land and/or embellishments.


Q7. Why does there need to be road and path access through rehabilitation, restoration and natural areas of the master plan?

Access roads and paths need to be provided through these natural area to ensure that people of all abilities and ages can safely access the area. The access roads and paths throughout the entire master plan are designed to provide residents and visitors to Dubbo the opportunity to enjoy, explore and experience our natural environment – and these values need to be made available to as many people as practical. The roads and trails are also necessary to service the facilities and spaces that have been identified by the community through the workshops and surveys. These facilities and spaces include BBQs and shelters, fishing spots, leash free areas and playgrounds.


Q8. Why build wetlands / lake system in Regand Park?

Regand Park has been identified by the community as an area for environmental restoration and rehabilitation. Wetlands form an important component of these natural systems and will provide the community with a range of different experiences and recreational opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. These wetlands, if approved, will be designed by appropriately qualified professionals to take into account periodic flooding and inundation, as well as ensuring public safety.


Q9. Where will the water come from to maintain these wetlands?

It is envisaged that these wetlands will derive their water from stormwater from South Dubbo and Regand Park subdivisions and potentially make use of backwash water from the John Gilbert Water Plant when it is available. Backwash water is a “waste” by-product from the production of potable water which is generally better quality than river water. This water has traditionally either been evaporated off or returned to the river to which Council is required to pay the State Government for. The wetlands will enable diverted stormwater to be cleansed and used by the public in a safe environment.


Q10. What is the purpose of the Eco Hub?

The Eco Hub is a space that has been set aside for environmental education and was identified and supported by the community both through the survey and workshops. It will provide opportunities for the growing of Indigenous foods and other groups. Any buildings or other structures built here, and along the floodplain, would be constructed in a manner so that it can withstand damage and be easily brought back to service.


Q11. Has flooding has been taken into account with the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts)?

In the development of the Macquarie River Master Plan (North and South Precincts) flood studies have been used to determine flow paths, depths and velocities of flood waters and structures have been placed to avoid high risk areas. As the master plan is implemented further detailed design will be undertaken, including careful choice of materials, to further ensure that structures can withstand periodic flooding and inundation without undue or substantial damage.


Q12. Why does Council want to install lighting along the western side of the Macquarie River between Sir Roden Cutler Park and the LH Ford Bridge?

Over a number of years Council, with support from other organisations, community groups and individuals, have effectively lit the majority of the central river loop for the benefit of community. The provision of a well lit recreational river pathway extends the usage of existing facilities into the early morning and evening. Well lit spaces also has a positive effect on reducing anti-social behaviour including vandalism by encouraging more people into the area and increasing passive surveillance.


Q13. What trees does Council intend to plant within the river corridor?

The majority of trees proposed to be planted in the Macquarie River corridor will be endemic riverine species. In certain areas of the environmental restoration and rehabilitation zones it is proposed to work towards the recreation of a full natural plant environment including overstorey species including river red gums, yellow box, grey box, etc. understorey species including various acacias and grasses and other ground plants. In other areas there will be a prominence of trees planted to help create open grass land areas.


Q14. Do we need as many carparks as shown? Can they have trees planted within them?

The lack of carparking around the sporting precincts were identified by the community as requiring to be addressed. During weekend sport and for large events in these areas carparking is at a premium and there are safety concerns about the lack of parking opportunities. To help reduce the visual impacts of carparks it is envisaged that tree planting will be incorporated into their design. The incorporation of trees into the design of the carparks will help reduce the heat island effect by shading the asphalt and complement the environmental restoration and rehabilitation zones.

Last Edited: 17 Feb 2023

Section Menu