After a bushfire devastated the small community of Tathra in 2018, there was an opportunity for the community to create a new public open space together. To support recovery and healing, Bega Valley Shire Council received Everyone Can Play funding to upgrade an ageing beachfront playground into an inclusive playspace.
The community was central to the playspace design. Stakeholder sessions were held with local Aboriginal representatives, Council’s Access Inclusion Advisory Committee, and members of Tathra Public School, Tathra Playgroup and Tathra Lions Club. After consultation, the playspace plan was uploaded to Council’s website for public comment.
The Everyone Can Play grant was critical to funding extensive refurbishment of the playspace. Lot Stafford Playground is reported as “packed every weekend” and a celebrated space for the community.
Council has since applied the Everyone Can Play principles to playspace upgrades in Bermagui and Eden. Inclusivity and accessible design are now part of Bega Valley Shire Council’s strategic plan.
“We learnt from the Tathra playspace to make sure that the design was thorough. We have a landscape architect review all our designs now. It’s about fine tuning the design so that we get the best outcome.
It’s about being inclusive, but also about having play experiences that are challenging for all ages and ability.”
Leanne Barnes, General Manager, Bega Valley Shire Council
A new concrete pathway connects the playspace to accessible car spaces and nearby fitness equipment. Blue soft fall flooring curves around the playspace — inspired by Bega River, an important cultural feature for the local Aboriginal community.
Soft fall flooring links with a range of inclusive play equipment, including regular swings and a harness swing, a climbing arch, a wheelchair accessible carousel, and a trampoline. The town’s children insisted the iconic giant green dragon from the old playground be kept, as it informed the unique identify of the place.
The playspace includes public toilets, shade sails, picnic tables with overhangs that accommodate wheelchair users, and benches with handles. The playspace is fully integrated with the adjoining skate park, offering places for more people to stay and enjoy the park.