Leigh Creek has benefited from a visit by a Melbourne and five Canadian university students who are studying ‘The Future of Leigh Creek’ as their final year landscape architecture studies.
They brought with them presentations on six month’s work researching possibilities for future developments to support the sustainability of Leigh Creek.
Now with a firsthand perspective of the town, mine and environs they will spend the rest of the year fine tuning their suggestions.
Local businessman Darryl Bowshire helped sponsor the students’ visit and said it gave local people a really positive feeling to have these young people from the other side of the world be so enthusiastic about the town’s future.
Under the supervision of Professor Aziza Chaouni (architect / engineer) University of Toronto, Architecture, who is founding principal of Aziza Chaouni Projects and Associate Professor at the John H.
Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at Toronto University the students visited the Northern Flinders for just over a week.
Aziza is collaborating with Professor Gini Lee from the University of Melbourne.
“We have completed significant research on the internet but it was important for us to come here because we didn’t understand what a great example of Dryland Architecture the town already is,” Student Chenxuan Meng said
“It has so many sustainable ideas built into the town it is World class. For that reason alone people should visit here and future local development could highlight and build on this kind of uniqueness.”
Locals were impressed, Jill Murdoch said here are some very interesting ideas in the presentations which are just first drafts.
“The broad range of cycling ideas utilising natural environment, the abandoned mine landscape and existing roads to our communities in Li and Yuan’s proposal are both feasible and inspiring.,” Jill said.
"I can’t wait to see these ideas developed further.”
One other project is proposing Leigh Creek work to become a “museum of world’s best mine remediation” by modelling best practice.
There is a suggestion of an agriculture based innovation/production/tourism project not unlike Sundrop Farm, an of a network of cabins, or botheys as they are called in Canada that are linked for captivating ‘landscape storytelling’ through walking.
Extending Leigh Creek’s reputation as a model of arid lands architecture, and creating a significant Art precinct with environment/cultural/historical themes are other suggestions.
Sponsorship from the local business community helped make the visit happen. The warmth of welcome, and the number of local people striving to help the students understand the area has been humbling.
This will have a direct influence of the quality of the work these students produce. They have all committed to returning to present their final ideas, and sponsorship from businesses like the Leigh Creek Caravan Park have helped make that more likely.
Flinders Power Manager Mick Buckley lead a comprehensive tour of the mine site that was greatly appreciated by the students.
A day long visit to Iga Warta hosted by Terrence Coulthard provided important cultural information to underpin the students’ work.