The draft Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground concept design has taken inspiration from feathered wildlife and its natural surrounds to develop plans for a transformed play space likened to ‘the humble nest’.
Baldwin Swamp sits at the edge of the Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground, a thriving ecosystem which is home to valuable feeding and breeding grounds of a flourishing population of birds and wildlife.
It was this setting, coupled with feedback from local families about the park’s current reputation for nurturing opportunities for children of all ages, which inspired the concept design for the new Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground as a ‘nest’ catering for all children from hatchling to fledgling.
Constructed in 2008, the area began as a community project to deliver increased and inclusive play opportunities for the region’s youngest residents.
The Lake Ellen Heritage Hub Park and Playground concept design is now available for community feedback before the project moves on to the detailed design stage.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said community engagement for the project began in March 2022.
“We were able to gain some valuable feedback from residents about how they currently use the Lake Ellen playground area and what they’d like to see there in the future,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This has helped us to develop a concept plan which meets the needs of our community while revitalising this popular location.
“Park users told us, in addition to being a family space to play and enjoy nature, the most popular reasons to go to the park included events for barbecues and picnics, relaxation and exercise and informal meetings for a variety of groups.
“Now we’d like to hear from the community again about our vision for the new Lake Ellen Heritage Hub and Playground before we proceed to detailed design for this project.”
The key themes of the draft Lake Ellen concept design include:
- A precinct focussed on safe and inclusive play for children of all abilities
- Play equipment may include anything from music, a maze, swings, trampolines, quiet play zones and climbing
- A large play tower would be fully accessible to the first platform to allow for inclusive play opportunities
- May include tactile surfaces, sensory experiences and access elements like ramps and half steps
- Addresses feedback on the exclusivity of access to the Liberty Swing
- Aimed at older children aged between 7 and 15, these elements introduce the concept of risky play
- May include features such as ladders, long slides, elevation
- The bespoke structures would introduce learning opportunities about challenging play and incremental risk in a safe setting
- Designed to stimulate through sight, smell, touch, taste and sound these elements can offer calming and inclusive play
- Sensory play could be incorporated as a sensory garden or pathway with interactive elements
- Opportunities to create safe and enclosed play spaces with dedicated entry and exit points
- This could be achieved through a combination of approaches which may include fencing, artistic instalments or strategic landscaping
Connection to nature
- Located adjacent to Baldwin Swamp and along Washpool Creek, which is also being revitalised, residents outlined in feedback to Council the importance of the location’s connection to nature
- Nature play opportunities will be enhanced through the use of informal play opportunities, natural materials, artistic storytelling, interpretive signage and unique challenges
Mayor Dempsey said learn-to-ride facilities, fitness nodes and passive open space were also incorporated in the draft Lake Ellen Heritage Hub and Playground concept design.
To find out more and to provide your feedback head to the project page here, or visit any Council Service Centre or contact Council on 1300 883 699.
Consultation on the draft Lake Ellen concept design closes on 16 October.