17 August 2020

Community jumping for joy at Coombs playground design outcome

| Ian Bushnell
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Proposed design

A design sketch of the proposed all-ages, adventure-style playground in Coombs. Image: SLA.

The Suburban Land Agency has released the final design sketches and details for a new playground by Holdens Creek Pond in Coombs, and the community is thrilled with the outcome after initial concerns about the size of the original proposal.

Gone is the toilet block and multi-sports court first proposed and there are fewer parking spaces, but the scale and size of the play equipment remains, although slightly relocated so it is less visible from nearby residences.

Residents, led by Alison Hutchison, had argued that the site was too small to support the original proposal and that the toilet block, which would have been 20 metres from homes, contravened the government’s own design rules.

It also would not have allowed spaces for seats around the edge of the pond. That area will now be landscaped and seating provided.

A barbecue and picnic tables will still be a part of the project, which will be an all-ages adventure-style playground in keeping with the site.

”We were wanting this play space to enhance the whole of the pond,” Ms Hutchinson said.

She praised the responsiveness of the SLA, particularly the Director of the Molonglo Development Simon Tennent and CEO John Dietz, and the consultant, Communication Link, which conducted the public consultation.

”The process was extremely valuable,” Ms Hutchison said. ”The SLA’s culture of wanting to get it right permeated this project.”

She also singled out Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur for raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly.

Coombs residents

Coombs residents who campaigned for improvements to the play space development, pictured last year: from left, John Hutchison, Mary Harrington, Pether Harrington, Leo Gollina, Beverly Gollina, Christine Mellors, Alison Hutchison, Gillian Carden and Molly Schrum. Photo: Supplied.

The playground will include a dual slide birds nest tower, pods with rope ladder connection and single slide, balance logs, posts and beams, an all-abilities carousel, step logs, rain wheel, talk tube, spider net swing, timber T swings, joey swing seat for adults and infants, all abilities harness swing, embankment slides, willy willy spinner, inground ant springers and mini kids in-ground trampolines

Parking has been cut to nine parallel spaces instead of the 20 to 30 proposed, including one for people with a disability.

The shade structures are designed like seasonal leaves and made of durable metal with perforations to allow air to circulate through.

A selection of trees and shrubs will be planted around and through the play space, with pond-side seating and shade provided.

“It is a stunningly designed playground that will enhance the location while taking into account the limitations of the site and complying with relevant standards,” Ms Hutchison said.

”This development provides an exciting play space for children and an attractive set of facilities in a great location that is already enjoyed by so many residents of Coombs.”

The SLA is also looking to collaborate with Canberra artists on elements within the play space.

Government approvals should be completed by December 2020, tendering and contract awarded by March 2021, and construction by November 2021.

Plans for the playground were first announced in 2016.

The final sketch plans can be viewed on the SLA website.

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Who ever they are, I hope they look after play ground. From my observation the play ground in WRIGHT is not looked after. No garbage bin, rubbish to be seen, at least mowed the wheat every now and then.

The design of this looks fabulous. However very concerning toilets are not included. Are 5 years old expected to wee on the grass? A playground of this magnificence will attract more than just the near neighbours who opposed the toilet block. I read the submissions and 54% of respondents said a toilet block was highly valued! This doesn’t make sense why it was taken out if majority see it as an asset to the area. I suspect the near neighbours are the ones pictured in the article who are jumping for joy and want to keep parents and children out of the area.

russianafroman7:14 pm 18 Aug 20

It’s good they considered the disabled in the design brief. I think they could’ve emphasised indigenous and minority culture more.

pink little birdie2:37 pm 18 Aug 20

So a destination playground without toilets. That sucks.

Hopefully the toddler area will be fully enclosed as it’s near water too.

I think you missed the bit about them wanting a park for them, but no one else. Less car parks and no toilets means it is really only of use for locals.

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