21 April 2023

Four Canberra playgrounds to be upgraded by the end of the year, with more to come

| James Coleman
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Tuggeranong Town Park

Tuggeranong Town Park for the playground. Photo: Weekend Notes.

Put kids near anything for extended periods of time and the thing in question will soon start to look a bit drab. Leave it outside in the elements, and it only grows worse.

It’s a familiar case for many of Canberra’s playgrounds, dotted throughout the city’s green spaces. But community feedback on their condition has prompted the ACT Government to roll out its “biggest ever” upgrade to suburban infrastructure, starting this year with four playgrounds in Aranda, Ngunnawal, Chisholm and Gordon.

The final designs for the upgrades have been released, following community input on the drafts last year.

“Increasingly, we are hearing from the community about their desire to spend more active time outside with their families,” Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said.

“The final designs provide these opportunities, as well as functional amenities set across the many backdrops of our city.”

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The playground off Burrumarra Avenue in Ngunnawal is set to receive a range of new equipment, including climbing structures and slides and other accessible play equipment.

Also on the northside, the Banambila Street playground in Aranda will get a “fitness station for all ages”, a junior fort and central nature play area.

In Tuggeranong, nature play areas will also be incorporated into the Alston Street playground in Chisholm and at Point Hut Pond in Gordon.

For Chisholm, this includes climbing equipment and a “nest swing”, while Gordon will have boulders, “scramble nets and balance elements”. Chisholm will also receive a new basketball hoop and refurbished backboard.

Construction is expected to get underway before the end of the year. All four sites will also include artwork inspired by Ngunnawal culture.

Narrabundah playground

Nature play in Narrabundah. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The upgrades feed into the ACT Play Space Strategy, which Mr Steel said “highlights the need to deliver equitable and sustainable playgrounds”. This places a high priority on ‘nature play’, or the use of natural elements like wood and stones to encourage kids to run, climb, build and get dirty.

“Across the suburbs, Canberrans told us they wanted to see more nature play opportunities and diverse play elements.”

Elsewhere, the government is working on a new ‘destination’ playground for the Inner North (think Kambah Adventure Playground proportions). This will be based near Watson and – once the community has voiced their feedback later this year – open after June 2024.

Procurement is also underway for the construction of new community park in Casey, with final designs available online.

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In Tuggeranong, the timber and metal fort at the Town Park – complete with its slightly terrifying metal bug sculptures – has been fenced off for months “due to an issue with its support legs, which makes it unsafe”.

A sign at the park noted a “routine inspection” determined the fort was unsafe, with ongoing wet weather meaning the “timber structure has deteriorated rapidly and is in need of replacement”.

It’s set to be replaced by a new climbing structure and flying fox, with construction slated for the middle of 2023. This forms part of the government’s commitment to spend $4.75 million on improving the Tuggeranong foreshore precinct.

Submit feedback on the ACT Government’s playground plans on the YourSay Conversations website.

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Canberra’s pretty good in the way it has small playgrounds scattered throughout the suburbs. It’s embarrassing to admit to but when I was 15 I used to use the swing set in my home suburb and kept doing this until I was 19….by then the swing seat was too small for me. LOL

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