One of the earlier projects of the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre was The Great Kai’Mia Way, which envisaged the establishment of over two hundred kilometres of sustainable walking tracks and cycleways to link Botany Bay, the Woronora valley, large parts of southern and western Sydney, and the Illawarra Escarpment.
The Sutherland Shire Environment Centre, in collaboration with Georges River Environmental Alliance (GREA), launched the Great Kai’Mia Way project in 2002. The Project and Feasability Study Report – which can be downloaded below – was released in 2004.
The Vision of The Great Kai’Mia Way
This vision of the Great Kai’Mia Way arose from community concern for the Georges and Woronora Rivers and Botany Bay and an acknowledgement that parts of these river systems were under great environmental stress. PlanningNSW’s Georges River Foreshores Improvement Program funded the Environment Centre to conduct a feasibility study. Stage one of the project was completed and route options were plotted along the Georges and Woronora River catchments for walking tracks, cycleways, and even water transport.
The project was a collaborative work involving broad participation, including: Indigenous Elders; Local Aboriginal Land Council representatives; six state government and two local government agencies; a number of schools; and no less than 24 community groups and NGO’s. A diverse range of community groups, from precinct residents’ associations, wildflower and bushcare groups to cycling, canoe and Rotary groups participated. Partnering with stakeholders was valued as a strategic cornerstone of the project. A fundamental principle was that of stewardship. It was hoped that the participating organisations would play an ongoing role, taking the vision of the Great Kai’mia Way to the next step of progressive implementation in partnership with landholders, land managers and the community.
The original vision has not been implemented as a system of interconnecting active transport routes branded “The Great Kai’Mia Way”. However, The Way has been described in retrospect as a concept rather than a blueprint for implementation; in this sense the project has proved invaluable, having been referenced for many years by councils, government agencies and community groups.
Natural systems are connected systems and municipal boundaries bear no relationship to natural systems. Consideration of this interconnection has been too often ignored by planning authorities. The Great Kai’Mia Way advocated for the natural systems – such as wildlife corridors and water catchments – to be incorporated into municipal planning. This principle has as much relevance today as it did back then.
Download The Great Kai’Mia Way report
You can download The Great Kai’Mia Way report as a PDF document here. (14 MB)
It is hoped that the vision of the study will continue to guide and inspire, connecting communities – both human and natural – in the spirit of mutual flourishing and respect. You are invited to get out and explore The Great Kai’Mia Way!