23 November 2018

Government to spend $1.9m to build three new nature play spaces across ACT

| Lachlan Roberts
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The ACT Government will build three new nature play spaces in Phillip, Civic and Farrer. File Photo.

The ACT Government is set to spend $1.9m to build three new nature play spaces and upgrade 24 playgrounds across the nation’s capital, with a community-led forum deciding how it will be spent as part of the Better Suburbs consultation program.

The decision on how to spend the $1.9 million of Government-allocated money was placed in the hands of a community-led Play Spaces Forum, with parents and carers of children in the Canberra community voicing their hopes for new and improved playgrounds in their suburbs.

The Forum reviewed detailed information about all of the suburbs that included existing quality and diversity of play spaces in the suburb, ages catered for play in the suburb and whether school playgrounds in the suburbs were open to the public.

As a result of the Forum’s recommendations, Minister for City Services Chris Steel said three new nature play spaces will be built at Eddison Park in Phillip, Glebe Park in the heart of the city and near the local shops in the south Canberra suburb of Farrer.

“We know that Canberra families love their local playgrounds, and the ACT Government is committed to investing more to upgrade playgrounds right across the city,” Mr Steel said.

“The Forum particularly wanted to support new nature play spaces in two of our growing town centres to enhance Eddison Park in Woden and Glebe Park in the City as a destination for children and their families.

“These new play areas add to Canberra’s extensive playground network and will enhance children’s physical health and wellbeing by providing opportunities for social skills and motor skill development.”

Mr Steel said the natural play spaces will provide unstructured play experiences that can be creative and imaginative, using primary elements from the landscape, such as logs and rocks, to encourage children to climb, jump, explore and develop their coordination skills.

24 suburbs across Canberra will also receive upgrades to existing parks and playgrounds such as shade sails, new benches and tables, upgraded footpaths, and fences to be installed at eight playgrounds.

Mr Steel said that the Government supported the Play Space’s Forum’s call for a more strategic approach to playground upgrades in the ACT and will conduct suburb play space reviews in Richardson, Waramanga, Torrens, Narrabundah and Higgins.

“The suburb play space reviews will be an important opportunity to work closely with established communities, to look at all of the existing play spaces in each suburb and how better quality play spaces can be provided that meet the needs of local children and families,” he said.

“I’m pleased that as part of this work we will also be able to fund the detailed design for a new playground in Waramanga.”

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The important take away message for me anyway is they’re recognising that play space is a real need and addressing that by investing resources (people will always quibble about how much and where and is it good value). Of course, we’d all love them to upgrade our own local (which has been stripped to the bone and left to decay despite being the only playground servicing a rapidly growing inner north suburb that’s regenerating and pulling in lots of families with little kids). The key thing to keep in mind here is that social infrastructure is a long term investment and is going to go through life cycles as populations wax and wane, so planning for community uses, clubs, arts and cultural experiences, recreation and play must keep up with population and demographic forecasts and be informed by what community service providers say is needed. There will inevitably be lags in delivery and patchy roll out, but if there’s no strategic plan we’re just flying blind.

How about the ACT Government spend some money to replace the play areas they’ve taken away since coming into government.

You won’t believe this image labelling the kids play facilities they have taken away in 3 separate areas across Kambah. https://imgur.com/bzwTpjy

All those poor kids who are going to be raised in flats instead of houses, thanks to Labor housing policy, will need to make use of them.

There is nothing wrong with flats and apartments as a property choice. Europeans have lived in them for centuries and I don’t think, on average, there kids are any better or worse off as a result. However, it does need support with appropriate public facilities.

Unfortunately not all of us can be wealthy enough to own large housing blocks particularly with Liberal policies designed to increase wealth for the upper few. So Lucy, what is your suggestion for accomodating more people in a city, continual expansion of the ‘burbs (hugely expensive for all modern infrastructure ie massive increases in rates) or urban infill.
Urban infill is always going to happen within a growing city, therefore playspaces for children become essential.

We’ll take some normal every day post 1980’s gear in Watson. We don’t need any of the $1.9M special gear you’re looking to roll out. We’d just like a few updated spaces in which kids of all ages can enjoy the equipment and the community can meet and socialise. Simple needs and very cost effective too.

Not impressed. The money should have been used for building new fitness stations in suburbs which don’t have them. Kids have been pandered to enough.

There are plenty of gyms around the place to be honest – I don’t see what aspect of fitness equipment truly is ‘public good’ like. Sure its great to have some fitness equipment around the place here and there, but I’d argue there isn’t a market failure there that really needs much government intervention either.

What a load of rubbish – literally.

These “nature” play spaces are actually cheap faux-parks for govt to dump any removed tree trunks and surplus calverts and excess tanbark, and call it a “park”. Cynically ripping-off kids. Yes, there’s noting the ACT won’t stoop to.

The ACT Govt’s strip-mining of our society continues, but they’ve got bags of cash for
-the extra 8 MLAs we’ve now had for 25 months plus all their advisors
-all the extra execs in the two failed health agencies
-ditto duplicated execs in the two dodgy land agencies
-dockless bikes – WHAT A JOKE
-blowing money on dodgy Floriade contracts
-the Arboretum (gotta be close to $200m by now)
-$250m courts precinct – no, wait, its late and overbudget… $300m???
-$300m City East precinct for the pollies and bureaucrats to have their own little fortress
-……aaaand the tram, initially $680m, then $800m, now well over $1.1b (when the bus option was only going to cost $276m)

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