One early project of the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre was The Great Kai’Mia Way, a vision of over two hundred kilometres of sustainable walking tracks and cycleways linking Botany Bay, the Woronora valley, large parts of southern and western Sydney, and the Illawarra Escarpment.
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre, in collaboration with Georges River Environmental Alliance, launched the Great Kai’Mia Way project in 2002. The Project and Feasibility Study Report was released in 2004.
You can now download the final Great Kai’Mia Way report as a PDF document. (14 MB)
We hope 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.
The Vision of The Great Kai’Mia Way
This vision of the Great Kai’Mia Way arose from community concern for Botany Bay, the Georges and Woronora Rivers 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 genuinely collaborative, involving broad participation on the part of Indigenous Elders; Local Aboriginal Land Council representatives; six state government and two local government agencies; a number of schools; and 24 community groups and NGO’s.
A diverse range of community groups participated, from precinct residents’ associations, wildflower and bushcare groups to cycling, canoe and Rotary groups. Partnering with stakeholders was valued as a strategic feature of the project, the fundamental principle was of stewardship. It was hoped that the participating organisations would play an ongoing role, progressively implementing the vision of the Great Kai’mia Way through each step, in partnership with landholders, land managers and the community.
The original vision of “The Great Kai’Mia Way” as a system of interconnecting active transport routes has not been brought into being. However in retrospect The Way has been described as a concept rather than a blueprint; 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 is 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. The value and need for a connection to the natural world has an enduring relevance.