Shearwater, Cowes

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Client: FKP Lifestyles Pty Ltd
Project Value: $15 million
Site Location: Settlement Road, Cowes
Council: Bass Coast Shire Council
BW Services: Civil Engineering
Urban Design
Town Planning
Project Management


Shearwater is a residential subdivision located east of Cowes town centre on Phillip Island. The site is adjacent to the Cowes Golf Club which abuts the environmentally sensitive Rhyll Inlet and the greater Western Port Ramsar site. Shearwater is located adjacent to Phillip Island Golf Course. The land has been transformed from a flood prone, windswept paddock into a master planned estate with 256 lots ranging from 360m2 to 1530m2. The development incorporates wetlands and neighbourhood parklands, and enjoys the dynamic combination of open space, natural environment and access to local amenities.

Shearwater is located in the lower section of a very large drainage catchment that drains to significant RAMSAR listed habitat. The integration of the wetlands provides water quality treatment water quantity retardation and flood mitigation. Parts of the pre-developed site were low lying (less than 2m AHD) and were flood prone. Beveridge Williams worked with specialist consultant Neil Craigie to determine a favourable design outcome. The wetland system replaced the open excavated Cowes East Main Drain and combined water quality treatment and flood management in a manner that will greatly enhance landscape and environmental values. Particular consideration was given to protection of Rhyll Inlet. Rhyll Inlet is a mangrove wetland habitat and forms part of the Western Port Ramsar site. Adjacent to this site is Rhyll Swamp and Conservation Hill Reserve. These habitats contain significant roosting and feeding sites for migratory waders. The intertidal mud flats extending from Rhyll to Newhaven are of State significance, and the area from Rhyll Inlet to Churchill Island is of national significance as part of a group of primary foraging sites for the 32 migratory waders found in Western Port. Rhyll Inlet is a major tidal inlet, rather than an estuary, as there is negligible water inflow from streams. With expansion of urban areas there is potential for greater stormwater runoff to fragile landscapes. The WSUD strategy for Shearwater extended well beyond the site boundaries, to ensure that the Rhyll Inlet was protected through flow management. The WSUD strategy has provided a potential source of fresh water, excess to natural discharge, for reuse at the Cowes Golf Club.