9 May 2020

Playground refurbishments, new nature spaces built ahead of easing restrictions

| Dominic Giannini
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Closed sign at playground.

Playgrounds have been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the ACT Government an opportunity to undertake refurbishment works ahead of restrictions being eased. Photo: Region Media.

An extra 30 playgrounds around Canberra will be refurbished as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased and the ACT Government looks to put more Canberrans in work through its $20 million jobs fund.

Two new nature play spaces will also be built at Yerrabi Pond District Park and Kambah Adventure Playground, providing children with unique experiences they would not normally get at other parks around Canberra, said ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel.

“It provides a different experience for children that they do not currently get through existing playgrounds,” he said. “We are really trying to connect students with nature through these spaces by using natural elements.

“[It] provides opportunities for them to engage in loose-parts play, with sticks and rocks that you would not usually find as part of your manufactured steel playground.”

Local flora and fauna are going to be focal points for the new spaces as the government looks to provide natural influences for children across the territory.

“At Yerrabi Pond, there will be opportunities for water play,” said Minister Steel. “The design is really based around local fauna and will involve the use of a turtle which will form the central part of that play space for children to enjoy.

“The design of the Kambah nature play is based around a shell and will provide balancing logs and a range of play opportunities for children, including Canberra’s first planted tunnel.”

The logs will be recycled from local infrastructure projects to create a planted tunnel for kids to run through, said Minister Steel.

Five new play spaces are also in the works at Richardson, Waramanga, Torrens, Narrabundah and Higgins after contracts were signed this week to construct a feature play space in each suburb.

The refurbishment costs for the extra 30 playgrounds will total around $375,000, while the two nature playgrounds at Yerrabi Pond and Kambah will cost the government $400,000. This is in addition to the 20 playground refurbishments and five play spaces that had $1.5 million allocated to them in last year’s ACT budget.

ACT Minister for City Services Chris Steel.

ACT Minister for City Services Chris Steel announced an additional 30 playgrounds are undergoing refurbishment works to be ready in time for the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the coming months. Photo: File.

Minister Steel said it was an investment from the government in the physical and mental wellbeing of children who are suffering from being cooped up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, across Canberra our 512 playgrounds have been closed during the pandemic and I know Canberra’s children are relishing the opportunity to come back and use the playgrounds,” he said.

“Quality play opportunities are really important for children’s development, particularly their physical health and wellbeing.

“We hope when children return and restrictions are lifted, children can enjoy new and upgraded play spaces across the ACT.”

Refurbishment work is currently underway on all 50 playgrounds and will be completed shortly. The new nature play spaces at Yerrabi Pond and Kambah will be completed by July.

Construction will begin on the other five play spaces in June and should be finished by September.

“This will just add to the variety of play spaces around Canberra,” said Minister Steel.

For a full list of locations and further information, visit the ACT Government City Services website.

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