Clever Geelong scoops up awards

Aaron McGlade from the City of Greater Geelong, Mahbube Subhani from Deakin, COGG Innovative solutions portfolio holder Cr Peter Murrihy and Ross George, Managing Director of Austeng.

Two clever and creative projects that showcase the City of Greater Geelong’s sustainability commitments have been recognised in two separate awards.

The city’s sculptural Dell Eco Reef at Clifton Springs took out top prize at the Victorian LGPro Awards for Excellence in the ‘Special Projects Initiative’ category.

Designed by The Reef Design Lab’s Alex Goad in collaboration with the City’s Senior Strategic Environmental Planner Ralph Roob, this innovative reef helps to reduce coastal erosion while also creating a habitat for marine life.

The 46 Erosion Mitigation Units, made of eco-friendly concrete and recycled shells, are also a tourism drawcard for recreational snorkelers and swimmers.

The Dell Eco Reef has won multiple awards including the international Dezeen Award for Sustainable Design (Building Product) of the Year 2023.

Meanwhile, the sustainable bridges project at Cowies Creek in Seagull Paddock won an ‘Excellence in Environment and Sustainability’ award at the 2024 International Public Works Conference.

The City, local manufacturer Austeng, Deakin’s cutting-edge Waurn Ponds Carbon Nexus facility and Australian engineering company Rocla are behind the two bridges, which are made from a world-first geopolymer designed to be maintenance-free for at least 100 years.

The geopolymer is extremely long-lasting and uses up to 80 per cent less greenhouse gases in production than concrete, while also being made from recycled materials.

In 2022, the bridges were recognised with three awards and a commendation at the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australasia (IPWEA) Victorian Division awards.

Mayor Trent Sullivan said the awards were well earned recognition for the City teams and project collaborators involved.

“Our Dell Eco Reef and sustainable bridges are great examples of circular economy solutions in practice that meet community need,” Mayor Sullivan said.

“Council is committed to delivering innovative investments that prioritise sustainability and benefit both the environment and our people.

Councillor Peter Murrihy said the winning projects delivered environmental, financial and social benefits.

“The Dell Eco Reef units help to build a healthier ecosystem along our coastlines, contain recycled materials and also protect humans from the fallout of storm surges and erosion,” Cr Murrihy said.

“Council was keen to encourage sustainable innovation as well as delivering safe and accessible infrastructure at Cowies Creek, by inviting companies to come up with solutions to the costly maintenance and waste problem associated with traditional bridges.”