New play space open

Darcy tests out the new slide.

 Healesville’s revamped Queens Park play space is officially open.

Yarra Ranges Council and State Government representatives were on-hand to launch the upgrade on Wednesday 15 May.

Ryrie Ward Councillor Fiona McAllister said the play space had equipment for younger and older children, including swings, double flying foxes, a sandpit, nature play area, balancing logs and an accessible spinner.

She said there were also picnic tables for families, a drinking fountain and an accessible path.

“Children can ride their bikes and scooters at the Roll Play bike park to learn traffic skills on a specially-made track, have a picnic with their family and play for hours all in the one park, a short walk from the main shopping areas in town,” she said.

Cr McAllister said the play space was designed using feedback from Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association (HICSA), community members, school children and local Elder Brooke Wandin.

“The equipment, activities, artwork and play sculptures throughout the play space are a direct result,” she said.

“Playgrounds are such an important part of any town, whether you’re one of the children using it, a parent, grandparent, a carer, or just someone who uses the park to walk through on the weekends.

“They’re a great meeting space for all of the community.

“We wanted the project to reflect that sense of belonging for the community, along with the area’s Indigenous heritage and its place in the environment, sitting in parkland between the Grace Burn and Wirrup Yaluk creeks.”

The State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund provided $500,000 for the play space, which the council matched.

In November last year the Mail reported that the old playground would spread smiles to underprivileged children in Sri Lanka.

Rotary Club of Healesville members dismantled the equipment to pass onto the Rotary Club of Flemington, who was to gift it to the Rotary Club of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Healesville Rotarian David Lau explained that the Flemington group searched online for playgrounds facing demolition.

Members came across the Queens Park redevelopment and reached out to their Healesville counterparts and Yarra Ranges Council.

Mr Lau said the old equipment was destined for landfill as it had fallen out of use in terms of child safety.