Building with nature
Campbelltown City Council is proud to have been involved in the creation of Everyone Can Play by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Council have already started to implement the Everyone Can Play Guideline in the planning, design and management of all 95 playspaces across the Campbelltown LGA. Leading the way is the creation of a new playspace at Cook Reserve in Ruse, NSW.
Cook Reserve is a district park that is used by the local community and people from adjoining suburbs. The park has a range of landscape settings that include a creek, bushland area that is koala habitat, open grassed areas used as kick about space, and picnic grounds.
Cook Reserve playspace was identified for renewal as part of Council’s annual playspace asset renewal program. The existing playspace is 28 years old and currently has limited inclusive elements. Council’s intention for the new playspace was to integrate the natural landscape setting with play elements and create an inclusive space for the local community.
Following the creation of a concept plan for the new inclusive playspace by Council’s open space team, community consultation was undertaken to gather the community’s thoughts on the proposal.
Campbelltown City Council undertakes numerous methods of consultation for all playspace projects including through: Council’s website, social media, and face to face park drop-in sessions. During the Cook Reserve playspace drop-in session, our team presented plans including an analysis plan for the wider reserve area and a concept design for the playspace that incorporated inclusive playspace elements. Everyone Can Play in NSW gave us great tools for explaining to the community; what inclusive playspaces are, why they are important for our community, and how to design spaces to maximise inclusion.
Elements considered for the new district playspace included pathways enabling connection to the street and playspace, toilet facilities, shade and shelter for users and carers, accessible play items for both junior and senior play, sensory elements including plantings, and rubber softfall surfacing for access within the playspace. As this reserve is an important koala habitat the residents were also keen for nature-based play and the incorporation of indigenous plantings in the design including the main koala food tree Eucalyptus punctata (Grey Gum).
Over 50 people attended the park drop-in session following the promotion of the event across Councils’ website and social media. Feedback was not only provided for the playspace upgrade but also for the surrounding parkland. The feedback received during the engagement process has been used to tailor the design to meet the needs of our community.
By making design changes in response to the community’s feedback, Council have ensured our local community Can Get There, Can Play and Can Stay in the new Cook Reserve playspace.