During 2017 Byron Shire Council and the Waterlily Community Playscape Committee (WCP Committee) worked together to apply for funding to finance Stage 3 of the Waterlily Community Playscape. Early in 2018 when we celebrated the completion of Stage 2, it was announced that Council would receive $418,806.00 for the Waterlily Playscape via the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Grant.
Stage 3 of the Waterlily Playscape Project includes an all-abilities Flying Fox, a multi-level ‘treehouse’ structure, shade sails for the existing play elements and an all-abilities cycle/pathway. The funds are also to be used to support Council’s upgrade of the carpark and Council has budgeted additional funding for new outdoor gym equipment in Waterlily Park.
Program of works
Anyone who has visited Waterlily Park since the beginning of February will be aware that works are definitely underway. Safety fencing (surrounded by safe walkways) has been erected around the respective work-sites and as work is completed the fencing will be moved to enclose the next work area.
The time-line for the works is as follows:
|Carpark refurbishment and sealing||February – March 2019|
|Installation of new gym equipment||Early March, 2019|
|Removal of existing gym equipment||Late March, 2019|
|Installation of Flying Fox and ‘Treehouse’ structure||Early April, 2019|
|Installation of shade cloth||Early April, 2019|
|Installation of cycle/pathways||Late April – May, 2019|
The carpark is currently being redeveloped and despite some minor delays, final completion should not be pushed out by much more than two weeks.
The installation of the current outdoor gym equipment pre-dates the Waterlily Community Playscape initiative. Council is installing new ‘like-for-like’ gym equipment (in stainless steel) on the edge of the sportsground. It is suggested that relocating it outside the children’s play-space will make it more attractive to adults who use the equipment.
The new ‘treehouse’ structure will be installed where the current gym equipment is located.
The ‘treehouse’ structure is not the Community’s preferred design, however the suggested alternative structure is currently being redesigned to better fit the Playscape vision. It will be constructed out of the same Australian ironwood timber as the current play elements and will not include any plastic panels.
It has been confirmed that the constructed length of the new all-abilities Flying Fox will be 40m. It will also be constructed out of ironwood timber in order to continue the natural materials theme.
Gumleaf-green shade sails will be installed over the new ‘treehouse’ structure as well as the existing play equipment.
Location of Play Elements
Over more than two years the WCP Committee engaged extensively with the local community and schools before preparing a Design Plan of the Playscape. When the Design Plan was provided to Council, the Committee strongly advocated that the play elements should be spaced apart and also separated from the tennis courts so that they would complement the community’s vision of a Playscape.
A ‘Playscape’ typically provides open areas – with simple natural elements such as rocks and logs to promote imaginative play and movement – between constructed play elements.
Council Site Plan
In due course, Council advised that the accepted Site Plan has the play elements located (1) close together – to allow for the best possible supervision, and (2) away from the lake – in order to avoid attracting children to the water’s edge. Council also advised that the co-location of the play elements will allow for broader shade-sail coverage and will also minimise the impact on Waterlily Park’s neighbours.
The WCP Committee strenuously opposed the adopted locations of the Flying Fox and Treehouse and has suggested that Council must take full responsibility for not heeding the community’s wishes and contend with any disenchanted community members.
After extensive discussions with Council the WCP Committee accepted Council’s decisions regarding Stage 3 of the Playscape acknowledging that Council received the Grant funds, has responsibility for Project Managing Stage 3, and has the authority over and responsibility for the management and ongoing maintenance of Waterlily Park and the Playscape.
The WCP Committee wishes to acknowledge everyone who has contributed to the Waterlily Playscape Project over the last few years. We thank you all for your part in making Waterlily Park and the Playscape an exciting and inclusive outdoor recreation area for everyone and a wonderful, valuable asset for Ocean Shores.
Both the WCP Committee and Council look forward to joining with the Ocean Shores community to celebrate the exciting additional elements in the Playscape and the enhancements to the Park. We feel sure we will all delight in seeing the children having fun, playing in the moment and enjoying healthy, social, outdoor activities.
We will definitely keep you posted on progress over the next few months as Stage 3 of the Playscape becomes a reality.
Waterlily Community Playscape Committee
(Fabricio, Helen, Jason, Lois, Stan, Tina and Tom)