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Local firm’s caring ethos pays off

Kevin Covey and Woombye Care staff at the awards


Local firm’s caring ethos pays off

Local engineering firm Covey Associates was recognised at the Queensland UDIA Awards for its work on two groundbreaking Sunshine Coast projects.

Covey Associates has been a familiar company name in the Sunshine Coast region for 27 years for providing engineering services to significant local projects and lending its expertise to some of our most familiar, much-loved places.

This year the locally based team shone at the Queensland Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Awards of Excellence as four projects were recognised. Covey partnered in winning two awards – the coveted Consultants’ Excellence Award for its long-term work with the developers of Parklakes II at Bli Bli, and the Residential Care Award with Woombye Care Inc. Parklakes II also achieved a finalist placing for the Environmental Excellence Award and the Master Planning Award. Woombye Care Inc. was a finalist for the President’s Award.

Director of Covey Associates, Kevin Covey, is justly proud of his team and the groundbreaking innovations in environmental and water management it has realised at the Parklakes II masterplanned residential community.

“The major feature at Parklakes II is the significant floating wetland system which is 2100 square metres in size, making it the largest stormwater treatment system of its kind in the world,” he says.

“It is attractive and practical, filtering and ensuring the health of the five-hectare lake throughout the estate and it has attracted worldwide attention as a leading model for its design and environmental sustainability.”

In another first, the University of the Sunshine Coast and Covey have partnered to create a fully funded $350,000 research program for the floating wetlands, including a PhD scholarship to enable a graduate student to work alongside the team. It’s a major testament to Covey’s research-based approach that the teaching institution has partnered with an industry leader to enable the brightest future community of engineers to learn from the best.

“We have presented to several global conferences and events and hosted many research teams interested in both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the floating wetlands, which has also already created a major new habitat for native birds and wildlife – it’s been a huge success in every aspect for the environment,” Mr Covey said.

Alongside the extensive lake at Parklakes II, Covey designed walking tracks and bushland reserves linked to the Bli Bli town centre, native tree planting and landscaping, and an Avenue of Honour commemorating Australian conflicts and peacekeeping exercises. This living memorial spurs heartfelt feedback from residents and visitors of all ages.

Another exemplary project recognised by the State awards was Woombye Care Inc. The non-profit, non-denominational care and accommodation facility for elderly and disabled residents was established in 1986 and is located between the towns of Woombye and Nambour. Woombye Care has experienced strong community demand and focuses on accepting older residents with dementia and younger patients with mental health issues.

Its rural setting and nature reserve with large leafy trees is home to many native birds, creating a tranquil place for residents to enjoy being outdoors. Mr Covey, a voluntary Board Member and Chairman for Woombye Care, believes that ensuring residents have a sense of connectivity to the outside natural world is important to supporting their wellbeing.

“We’re very aware that a peaceful outlook matters to people living or working in care and offers respite in every sense of the word to residents and their families,” he says.

This focus on integrating environmental elements to create a sense of place for people and communities is clearly an objective for Mr Covey and Covey Associates in designing every one of their projects.

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