Water Sensitive SA

Innovation in the development sector – big ideas, new technologies, integrated design

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Innovation in the development sector – big ideas, new technologies, integrated design

Presentations from the Innovation in the development sector seminar are available by following the links below



Our changing urban form offers opportunities for vibrant, walkable suburbs that support a connected community. Urban growth and densification, climate change, and increasing health costs, are driving an increased interest in green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design due to the multiple benefits that they can provide.

In this national seminar series, we showcase innovative developments that create the types of communities we all want to live in. White Gum Valley (WA), Aquarevo (Victoria) and Newenham (SA) clearly demonstrate how integrated design can deliver leafy suburbs that connect communities through access to high-quality private spaces, streetscapes and parks, with active links to healthy urban waterways. Combined, all of this offers lifestyles that support improved physical and mental wellbeing.

Josh Byrne, Josh Byrne & Associates; Rory Costelloe, Villawood Properties; David Bergmann, South East Water, Kym Burke, Burke Urban; and Joe LaSpina, Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec are at the forefront of their industries and will provide insight into these visionary developments, covering:

  • the technical and non-technical aspects that make them exemplar
  • key challenges to innovation and how they were overcome
  • enabling factors that contributed to the development’s success
  • why leading developments are embracing new approaches to urban greening and sustainable urban water management
  • how the market is responding to these creative developments centred on wellbeing.

* AILA Members can obtain 2.5 Informal CPD Points for this workshop


White Gum Valley (WGV), WA

White Gum Valley is a 2.2 hectare medium density development in the Fremantle suburb of White Gum Valley. The LandCorp ‘Innovation Through Demonstration’ project showcases precinct-scale design excellence on a number of levels by incorporating diverse building types, climate sensitive considerations, creative urban greening, and leading-edge energy and water management strategies. The innovations at WGV are being captured via a series of research programs in cooperation with research partners including Curtin University, the CRC for Low Carbon Living, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and ARENA. With a number of dwellings now occupied, performance data and practical learnings are being collected and widely shared to inform subsequent development projects by LandCorp and others.

Aquarevo, Victoria

Aquarevo is a new community developed under a public-private partnership between Villawood Properties and South East Water. Located in the heart of Lyndhurst, this new urban infill community will ultimately have 460 residential dwellings on a 42-hectare site. The development features 5 hectares of open space, beautiful wetlands, parks, walking trails and sporting grounds. Aquarevo will be Australia’s most water and energy-efficient urban residential development, pushing boundaries for what can be achieved in sustainable living

Newenham, SA

The Newenham urban estate on greenfield land in Mount Barker is distinguished by bigger blocks and the beautiful surroundings of Western Flat Creek, supporting an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle. Spread over 200 hectares the development will ultimately provide for 1,000 new homes.The preservation and enhancement of the integrity of the Western Flat Creek is central to the design of the public spaces. The innovative design has won Minister’s Award for Excellence in Sustainable Water Management at the Water Industry Alliance Smart Water Awards 2017 and an award for Excellence in Strategic or Master Planning at the Stormwater SA Excellence Awards 2018.


Dr Josh Byrne, Josh Byrne & Associates

Josh is an environmental scientist, author, television presenter and research academic. His working life continues to bridge the practical and theoretical by undertaking both consulting and academic pursuits. He is the Director of Josh Byrne & Associates, a landscape architecture and sustainability consulting practice, and a Research Fellow with Curtin University where his research activities span high performance housing, water sensitive design and sustainable urban development. Josh also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales.

Josh has a unique approach to environmental design and community engagement and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading sustainability communicators. He is well known as a television presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia where over the past 15 years he has showcased the benefits of sustainable gardening to a national audience. He has authored two popular books on this subject, along with a number of academic publications and industry guides on energy efficient housing and urban water management.

Josh is a past recipient of Murdoch University’s Distinguished Alumni for Science and Engineering and the AWA WA Water Professional of the Year. In 2018 he was awarded the Planning Institute of Australia WA Planning Champion Award for his leadership in urban sustainability.

Rory Costelloe, Executive Director, Villawood Properties

Rory Costelloe, BE, Dip F.S. is the Founder and Executive Director of Villawood Properties. With 35+ years of experience in local government, engineering and broad-acre development management, he is acknowledged as one of Australia’s most creative and innovative developers. From humble beginnings as a Bendigo-based property syndicate group, Rory’s hands-on management has seen Villawood Properties grow to become one of the Australia’s most successful and credentialed private property companies.

With formal qualifications in engineering, Rory contributes to a range of sector boards and leadership committees as well as industry, academic and government think-tanks. He was a Board Director at the Victoria Chapter of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) for 12 years, and is currently on the Geelong Authority, the RMIT Planning Advisory Committee, and Melbourne Water Liveability Directions Panel. In December 2017, UDIA recognised Rory’s considerable contribution to the property industry with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr David Bergmann, Research and Development Manager, South East Water

With a PhD in Chemistry, David has worked in R&D roles in chemicals, detergents, food, manufacturing, and now water and wastewater.

Within South East Water, David holds the role of Research & Development Manager, and is responsible for ensuring a healthy pipeline of projects being implemented, and to enable the opportunity for commercialisation through their subsidiary ‘iota’.

David is passionate about innovation and delivery of solutions that make a difference. Safe collection and use of alternative waters, making passive systems smart, and resource recovery are areas of particular interest for David in his role at South East Water.

South East Water is one of the three metropolitan water retailers servicing Melbourne. Its region covers the south eastern suburbs including a growing population of 1.6 million and 700,000 connections.

Kym Burke, Managing Director, Burke Urban

Kym started his planning and project company over 30 years ago. It has evolved as a family business and has grown into a highly regarded private residential property developer in both South Australia and Western Australia (under Domain Project Development).

As Burke Urban‘s Chairman and Managing Director, Kym oversees every project. His negotiation, financial and risk management skills have been key to the success of achieving sensitive negotiation with state and local governments and the consolidation of multiple land ownerships into manageable developments.

Joe LaSpina, Principal Stormwater Engineer, Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec


Joe is a proven industry leader in WSUD and sustainable management of stormwater. He has applied his skills on all scales of development from a single allotment through to major SA infrastructure projects and people place making development. His strong technical understanding of WSUD systems stems from local government and private consultancy with Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec.

Joe is focused on delivering the best outcomes with regards to the environmental management of stormwater and its integration into many forms of development. His vast experience lies in all WSUD techniques, wetlands, watercourse remediation, source control, infiltration systems, erosion and sediment control practices. His innovative WSUD has been recognised by industry peers for producing award winning design at state and national awards for excellence in WSUD.


28 Leigh Street
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Registration: 9:00am

February 12, 2019 @ 9:30 am
February 12, 2019 @ 12:00 pm

28 Leigh Street

Acknowledgement of Country

Water Sensitive SA acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Nations of the lands and waters we live and work upon, and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and respect the deep spiritual connection and the relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to Country.