“The big slide!”
It was unanimous – Sam, Daisy and Orlando didn’t hesitate when asked to nominate their favourite piece of equipment at the new playground at Kingston Park.
The Grade One students from Surfside Primary School were at the playground as part of the opening ceremony.
Playgrounds play a vital role in encouraging children of all abilities to get outdoors, get active, and build their skills.
The one at Kingston Park is a community hub for local residents and the old playground had been much loved for many years.
However, the equipment was limited, it had become dated and it needed upgrading.
The new playground features many accessible play areas including slides and a sand digger.
There are also slides, passive and active play areas, a rope climb and shade structure.
Add to that the nearby barbecue and toilets and the park is now a perfect venue for getting children outdoors and active, or for holding social gatherings and events.
Paul Cotter is the team leader for community recreation at the council. He’s proud of the way Sport and Recreation Victoria and the council have worked together to invigorate a number of playgrounds across the council area.
“They all have different themes,” he explained. “This one is the big slide, the one in Barwon Heads is the ship, and so on.”
“They’re all different but they all have the same universal design element, so people of all abilities, in wheelchairs, or mums with prams can get around and enjoy the activities.”
Sam’s dad Martin is full of praise.
“The old playground was quite tired with not much equipment, but watching this go up over the last few months has really excited my boys – it’s very, very good.”
Orlando’s mum Eloise agrees.
“We’ve been coming down regularly to check on progress and both my boys love it. It connects to all the nearby housing estates so you can walk or ride here – there’s no need to drive.”
Thanks to the local Rotary Club the old playground equipment is not going to waste. It’s being refurbished and sent to Sri Lanka where it can be enjoyed by children over there.
SRV Regional Manager Erika Gee-Kot said the region was growing rapidly and new infrastructure like this was in demand, especially around new housing estates.
She said to get things done it was vital SRV formed partnerships and worked closely with stakeholders.
In this case she said the council, construction firm and Rotary had really nailed it, and the result was a win for everyone.
This project was supported by the Victorian Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Fund, one of several government infrastructure grants programs that encourage universal design and accessible infrastructure for all.