Our warming capital needs a free splash park, say Liberals

Ian Bushnell 11 January 2019 62

The Long Gully Splash Park in Bendigo is a free, zero depth water splash park with a dry play area, shaded seating, barbecues and extra all season play areas. Photo: City of Greater Bendigo.

As Canberra heads towards another week of soaring temperatures, the Canberra Liberals say that the national capital should splash out on a free outdoor water park or two that would provide cooling relief and family fun during our increasingly sizzling summers.

The parks – in all shapes, sizes and designs – have popped up across the country in recent years, built and run by city and town councils as part of the public amenity. But Canberra, strangely, seems to be the odd one out, given the latest climate report.

There are dozens of them across Sydney, with 14 in western Sydney alone, and a 15th due to open in February. The Liberals are also pointing to Brisbane and country centres such as Bendigo, Mildura and Hervey Bay.

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe has visited many with his children. He says there would be many people in Canberra who have travelled interstate or come from interstate, who also would have given their family a fun respite from the heat at a splash park.

He says a water park could be had for about $500,000, which in a budget of $7 billion is ‘doable’.

“A lot of councils have budgeted about 500,000 for splash parks so I think it’s a pretty reasonable investment,” he said. “It’s not prohibitive, it just needs a bit of willpower.”

It’s likely the Liberals will take the proposal into the Assembly this year but at this point, they are sounding out Canberrans on the idea and where they would like to see one, or several.

Mr Coe says a water or splash park could be located in the city centre, Glebe Park, West Basin or on national land around Commonwealth Park, or alternatively in one of the town centres.

Better still in several locations, he says.

Mr Coe says there are many different designs, ranging from shallow paddling pools to play spaces with fountains, jets and slides, and suggests a design competition to select the most appropriate one for Canberra.

“Hopefully you have it in a way that every few years you’re able to mix up the modules and refresh it,” he says.

Pools can be more problematic, but many just have fountains and water immediately drains away to be recycled so there aren’t any safety issues, such as the one at Glenelg in Adelaide.

Mr Coe says that during the winter, the water would be turned off but the park would still provide a play space.

“You just wouldn’t have water going throughout but have other play equipment for kids and families. It’s the same for facilities around the country – outdoor pools only get used for a few months of the year,” he said.

“I think it would get used heavily from October to March, and then depending on how adaptable it is, potentially used in winter as well.”

The Government is currently conducting consultation for the design of three nature play spaces but Mr Coe does not see the water park idea being incorporated.

“It’s a pretty simple proposal that dozens of cities and councils around Australia have already put in place. We don’t need to over-complicate it,” he said. “All over the country they’re very popular, and if they’re designed well they’re relaxing not just for the kids but for the parents and friends while the kids are playing.”

Could Canberra benefit from a water or splash park? Where do you think one should be built?


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62 Responses to Our warming capital needs a free splash park, say Liberals
Maelinar Maelinar 9:01 am 14 Jan 19

Weston Park already has ‘a water playground designed for younger children or a wading pool for older siblings’.


The Libs should maybe learn to use google before using their mouths.

Neica Hall Neica Hall 10:19 pm 13 Jan 19

They need to replace the Manuka pool with something fit for purpose.

Jon McLeod Jon McLeod 7:59 pm 13 Jan 19

This is what they’re taking to the next election? Bwahahahah!

Kati McMeikan Kati McMeikan 6:35 pm 13 Jan 19

And shade cloths on public parks!

Maya123 Maya123 11:57 am 13 Jan 19

I like the idea of a splash pool, but it’s a shame that’s the only solution for dealing with global warming the Libs appear to have.

Max Fotios Begetis Max Fotios Begetis 11:47 am 13 Jan 19

Entire lake smack in the middle of Canberra. Splash around all you want.

Jason Preston Jason Preston 10:44 am 13 Jan 19

City walk civic , just pop up fountained that are OK to walk under 😬

Ann Kokoulis Ann Kokoulis 10:38 am 13 Jan 19

What a great idea👍

bigred bigred 6:45 pm 12 Jan 19

Fantastic idea being advanced. One should be installed at Stromlo Forest Park for the young ones to play on while the older ones are huffing and puffing. The older ones could then use it to cool down a bit before they pop a valve.

Wing Nut Wing Nut 2:04 pm 12 Jan 19

If there’s space for a water park, then there space for 60 units!

Dominque O'Dea Dominque O'Dea 2:03 pm 12 Jan 19

Bendigo has one and it is brilliant and in an area that does not have a pool. It is always busy

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 1:20 pm 12 Jan 19

Why bother spending taxpayer dollars on something only ten percent of the population will use? Oh wait, the light rail....😂

    Ursula Gamal Ursula Gamal 10:53 am 13 Jan 19

    Michael Blythe if we want to keep families in Canberra you must keep the children entertained otherwise the malls become the centre. That will teach consumerism through boredom.

Brian Ashcroft Brian Ashcroft 12:25 pm 12 Jan 19

one northside and one southside

Melini Cooper Melini Cooper 12:05 pm 12 Jan 19

Why build just 1????? Build several and save on the cost for bulk buying!!!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:59 am 12 Jan 19

It should incorporate a misting device that will create rainbows on a sunny day.

Approved forthwith.

Vicky  Scipione Vicky Scipione 7:47 am 12 Jan 19

30 years ago Weston park had beautiful ponds where as kids we would get soaking wet, wish these were revamped into a splash playground.

Broderick Proeger Broderick Proeger 5:26 am 12 Jan 19

Trust the Liberals to come up with something like this while half the country is in drought. I'm sure our farmers would appreciate all that precious water going to waste for the sake of winning a few votes

Joel Anderson Joel Anderson 12:41 am 12 Jan 19

We have heaps of lakes..

Cheryl Zehentner Cheryl Zehentner 11:08 pm 11 Jan 19

There's a small one at the boundless playground too in the city

    Ursula Gamal Ursula Gamal 10:49 am 13 Jan 19

    Cheryl Zehentner it's way out. You have to know where it is

    Cheryl Zehentner Cheryl Zehentner 10:54 am 13 Jan 19

    Kings park, Wendouree drive, parks, act, 2600. :)

    Ursula Gamal Ursula Gamal 4:17 pm 13 Jan 19

    Cheryl Zehentner I know but I googled it to find suitable playgrounds when my grandchildren came to Canberra. Decent playgrounds: 3 in the whole of ACT.

    Cheryl Zehentner Cheryl Zehentner 4:19 pm 13 Jan 19

    Ursula Gamal I think I understand. Have u tried this playground?

    Kati McMeikan Kati McMeikan 9:26 pm 13 Jan 19

    Is there shade?

    Cheryl Zehentner Cheryl Zehentner 9:27 pm 13 Jan 19

    It's completely fenced in. Has nice shades over the park and beautiful grass areas. Has a tiny water park, slides, it's just amazing. I'll post a video and a picture of one of the slides and caters for every child sonits awesome :)

    Melody Atonal Melody Atonal 12:46 pm 14 Jan 19

    There isn't shade over the water area, and there isn't shade over the grass area or pirate ship. It'd be great to have more shade.

    Cheryl Zehentner Cheryl Zehentner 12:51 pm 14 Jan 19

    Melody Atonal true. But it bought it was quite decent :)

Ava Lyons Ava Lyons 10:44 pm 11 Jan 19

There is one at Weston Park though.

    Kate Conrick Kate Conrick 8:42 am 12 Jan 19

    Ava I used to play at this as a kid, and haven’t seen it in working order in years! Why not revamp it?

    Ava Lyons Ava Lyons 9:16 am 12 Jan 19

    Kate Conrick i took my kids there not long ago and they had s great time

    Ava Lyons Ava Lyons 9:16 am 12 Jan 19

    Kate Conrick i took my kids there not long ago and they had s great time

    Suzannah Roberts Suzannah Roberts 4:58 pm 12 Jan 19

    my kids love the water play area at Weston Park too.

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