Burdekin Shire Council is preparing to open tenders for the construction of North Queensland’s first Nature Based Play Space at Plantation Park.
Councillors were led on a 3D virtual tour last week of the play space design, which draws on natural materials such as rocks, sand and trees in the place of commercial playground equipment, creating unique opportunities for play, exercise and socialisation.
Council has allocated $469,000 in its 2017/18 Budget to develop the first stage of the Nature Based Play Space thanks to the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland program. Construction will be completed before Christmas.
Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the project was based on Melbourne’s award-winning Royal Park, but on a smaller scale.
The idea comes after Council called on residents to share their vision for future uses of Plantation Park in a survey last year.
Cr McLaughlin said many people suggested playground equipment be provided in the area.
“The nature-based concept for the site is in keeping with the natural bush setting at Plantation Park and will be unique for North Queensland,” Cr McLaughlin said.
“The benefits of children’s contact with nature are many, from connecting with the natural world around them to encouraging outdoor play and physical activity.
“Some of the highlights of Stage One include a timber climbing wall, sandy creek bed with fossil digs, swings, a rope balance bridge and net, a forked log climb and a seating circle with large rocks and timber plank seats. The design also incorporates accessible pathways and imaginative play opportunities.
“The hero of the development will be a proposed multi-level fortress with hiding nooks, rock and rope climbs and an elevated viewing area.
“There are elements of controlled risk and physical challenges for children built into the design, which are key to children’s physical and cognitive development as they grow and learn to navigate the world around them.”
An additional $165,000 will be spent on sealing roads and creating more car parks at Plantation Park in the area around the nature playground.
Burdekin Shire Council Operations Manager Wayne Saldumbide said stage one was aimed at constructing most of the hard infrastructure for the play space, while stage two would focus on artistic finishes, with the involvement of local artists.
“It’s not your stock-standard playground,” Mr Saldumbide said.
“We’ve tried to stay away as much as we could from shiny, plastic equipment. Shade is provided by a rustic roofed structure rather than bright, colourful shade sails.
“The feedback from the community reference group is that their vision for this project has been met very well.”