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Walking on MARS™

High access with low impact at Myles Dunphy Reserve

As someone who’s spent a fair amount of his adult life building them, I can vouch not all public walkways are created equal. Whether it’s related to budget, timeline or topography, each brings its own unique challenges – and they’re rarely as simple as they first seem! Our recent project at Myles Dunphy Reserve is the perfect example. It saw us deliver an expansive new public boardwalk in an ecologically-sensitive area of Sydney’s south, with the added complication of sitting within a significant local Aboriginal heritage area.

Designed and constructed for Georges River Council, the project featured the extensive use of Fleetwood’s exclusive MARS™ boardwalk system. Looking back now, this made all the difference. The Council’s brief called for a boardwalk that would be low maintenance, robust enough to withstand the harsh wetland conditions, and could also be constructed without heavy machinery to preserve the local surroundings. MARS™ proved the perfect solution on every level and, ultimately, delivered a result that exceeded all expectations.

I’ve been with Fleetwood for several years now, but I never grow tired of working with MARS™. It’s such a versatile, reliable and cost-effective product that our clients invariably love. Made from fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), it’s strong and incredibly durable, even in the harshest of salty and acidic climates like beaches, mangroves, and swamps. The MARS™ system is also modular, lightweight to carry and can be piled by hand. That makes it a really smart choice when access is tight, and you need to minimise the use of machinery and/or reduce the environmental impact in sensitive areas, such as we did at Myles Dunphy Reserve. There have been plenty of projects where we’ve, quite literally, carried everything in and then installed complete MARS™ boardwalks by hand.

Removing the need for heavy machinery on-site also makes MARS™ a very quiet system to install. That’s important when work is taking place close to residential areas. It also minimises the impact on local fauna which, again, was a consideration at Myles Dunphy Reserve. We were really conscious of reducing noise levels so our work didn’t disturb the native grey-headed flying fox colony that likes to sleep there during the day!

The final thing worth mentioning about MARS™ is the way it helps to preserve the surrounding vegetation. Yes, it prevents footprint on the local habitat. But it also has a mesh construction that lets rain and light easily filter underneath, allowing plant growth to continue. As Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene said himself in a newspaper interview1 back in September, the Myles Dunphy boardwalk is playing a key role in reducing vegetation damage caused by foot traffic and, by doing so, helps to preserve biodiversity and habitat value in the area. That’s a great result for everyone in the local community.

MARS™ AT A GLANCE: 

  1. Lightweight – able to be carried and hand piled, no heavy machinery needed
  2. Low environmental impact – mesh allows rain and light to reach vegetation underneath
  3. Acid sulfate friendly – won’t break down in acid sulfate soils like many other materials
  4. Highly durable – super strong FRP construction won’t rot or rust
  5. Low maintenance – virtually no ongoing maintenance after installation.

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