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Memorial Gardens Playspace Redevelopment

Memorial Gardens Playspace Stage 1 is re-opening this Friday 5 June!

Come and explore the enchanted themed Playspace and have fun this long weekend in the new sandpit, water feature, footbridge, garden spaces, refurbished heritage shelter and much more.

Memorial Gardens Stage 1 Mushroom Stools   Memorial Gardens Stage 1 Bamboo Walkway 
     
Memorial Gardens Stage 1 Plantings   Memorial Gardens Stage 1 Fencing
     
Memorial Gardens Stage 1 Wooden Armchairs    
With Stage 1 of the Playspace completed and being enjoyed by many local families, Council is ready to move onto Stage 2 towards the development of the Playspace as a regional facility attracting families both locally and further afield.

At the special Council meeting on 10 February 2015, Council endorsed the below detailed design and layout for Stage 2 Memorial Gardens Playspace.

Location

The area to be developed extends from the previous works in the south-western corner of Memorial Gardens, as highlighted below. The previous works done in Stage 1 are faded out in a box from the bottom right corner. The new upgrade looks to extend the playspace right up to the footpath that dissects the gardens.

Choice of Theme - Enchanted Garden

Stage 2 redevelopment of Memorial Gardens Playspace continues with the theme of ‘Enchanted Garden’ that was developed in consultation with local children as part of Stage One.  Stage One redevelopment was informed by a community survey, interactive workshops with local children, and Council Workshop discussions.

What is Regional Classification?

Prospect Oval and Memorial Gardens Master Plan 2010, drawing upon significant community consultation, identified the requirement to develop the existing playground according to a Regional classification and include opportunities for a wide range of ages including family recreation.

A Regional classification park considers the broader metropolitan community and potentially areas where people will travel between 30 and 90 minutes (in SA) to visit.

Council’s Parks Strategy identifies Prospect Oval as the only area of Community Land that currently fulfils a Regional classification, largely due to Prospect Oval attracting visitors from across metropolitan Adelaide for spectator sports such as SANFL football.

Playspaces that are large, with interesting features such as a maze, adventure playground or unique play equipment may be classed as Regional and therefore attract people from outside of Council's boundary. 

While there generally is a good supply of playgrounds across the community, provision and distribution is relatively ad hoc and often duplicated within relative close proximity of each other.  Many of the playgrounds in Prospect have older play equipment and there is an opportunity to develop a key ‘flagship’ play area within Memorial Gardens.

What is the Playspace Development Model?

Also identified within the Prospect Oval and Memorial Gardens Master Plan was the requirement to develop the existing playground according to a Playspace development model which requires the inclusion of five features to meet the requirements of a Playspace:

  • Equipment-based play area

Play equipment has historically been the dominant factor in playground provision. However, play equipment should complement the remainder of the play environment rather than be the only play feature in an area.  Traditionally play equipment is primarily targeted at children in the 0-12 age group but can also be used by older children and adults and therefore designed according to the intended user.

  • Active/non-structured play area

This is an open space area that should not be confused with formal sport requirements and in essence will encourage and allow activities to develop spontaneously among the children present at the time.  Traditionally these areas appeal to older children and are often used as a meeting place/socialising area or for informal ball games.

  • Imaginative/creative play area

This is often the most neglected aspect of play provision and it requires sensitivity to develop the possibilities for such an area. Some areas, however, simply need to be left in their natural state. Establishment of this area is usually inexpensive and requires only enthusiasm, commitment, time and labour. The natural environment lends itself particularly well to this element of play provision and these areas usually appeal to younger children but are not specifically covered by the Standards.

  • Adult/care-givers area

Adults/care-givers accompanying children to play areas require a comfortable area where they can oversee activities should they choose not to participate.  The inclusion of such areas in playgrounds may result in longer periods of use by families or adult/care-givers with young children and increased adult presence can also reduce problems such as vandalism and is an important factor in reducing the occurrence of accidents.

  • Special feature area

This is an optional component which may be included in the Playspace and although these areas are not essential, such features could include art work, open air theatres, rotundas, pools, water features, themed equipment or other natural or man-made features which would attract greater use and visitation.

Incorporation of the Community Garden

Incorporation of the Community Garden into the scope for the Playspace redevelopment is an important consideration for the integrated overall design of Memorial Gardens. The close proximity of the Community Garden to the Playspace and the ‘natural play’ and ‘enchanted gardens’ themes of the Playspace are enhanced by the look and feel of the Community Garden. A detailed layout of the proposed community gardens plaza is provided here: Community Plaza Concept Plan(189 kb)       

Although the Community Garden is located immediately adjacent to Memorial Gardens, there are no links between those two areas; indeed visitors to Memorial Gardens are not likely to notice the existence of the Community Garden. Making a strong connection to the Community Garden will increase the overall sense of size, space and interest given to Memorial Gardens.

Junior Play

The Junior Play area is located in the western portion of the Playspace to take advantage of the existing shelter, mound slide, shade structure and picnic tables. The existing ‘Hurricane’ (spinning net) will be relocated to the Senior Play area to create space for more suitable junior equipment. The old equipment (which is approaching the end of its life) will be replaced with new junior equipment which supports the ‘enchanted garden’ theme. A detailed layout of the Junior Play area is provided here: Junior Play Concept Plan(1225 kb)

Senior Play

The Senior Play area is located in the eastern portion of the Playspace adjacent the large existing trees. A detailed layout of the Senior Play area is provided here: Senior Play Concept Plan(1425 kb)

Ensuring that there is enough perceived risk and adventure incorporated into the design and layout of the Senior Play area was the message provided during an August Council Workshop while discussing an early proposal for the design and layout of the Playspace. 

The discussion centred upon increasing community concerns that we are raising a generation of ‘cotton wool' children that are denied the opportunity for minor scrapes and tumbles as a normal part of any healthy childhood.   Playgrounds should provide childhood experiences that include the perception of risk rather than actual risk and the opportunity for children to have adventurous play experiences without the sense of close adult supervision. 

Landscape architects Outerspace presented at the Council Workshop design features and play elements for Senior Play that has been developed within Europe and available within Australia that fulfil the requirements from Elected Members for more perceived risk and adventurous play, however, until very recently did not fulfil the requirements according to the Australian Standards for Playgrounds. 

Standards Australia has recently published revised Playground Standards, AS 4685 Parts 1 to 6. The revised standard is an adoption of the European Standard for Playground Equipment with some minor deviations that take account of specific Australian safety and design requirements such as higher UV exposure. 

The release of these new Standards is very timely for the proposed next stage of Council’s redevelopment of Prospect’s premier playground within the leafy surrounds of the Memorial Gardens, far from wrapping kids in cotton wool, the aim for this Senior Play area will be all about challenging children’s imagination, adventure and developing important skills for life.  

Nature Play

Nature Play has become an important part of children’s development and an integral part of contemporary Playspace design. The proposed design incorporates a central exploring ‘loop’ with natural play elements such as water, sand, rock boulders, stepping stones, logs, gardens and sculptures. A detailed layout of the Nature Play area is provided here: Nature Play Concept Plan(242 kb)

Prospect Children’s Playground Memorial Shelter

Prospect Children’s Playground Memorial Shelter is located immediately adjacent to the Playspace and will benefit from the proposed scope of works through:

  • Improved foot access provided by clear paved access points
  • Removal of the need to step over shallow open storm water drainage
  • An access pathway leading from the centre of the Gardens increasing the sense of connection and integration
  • Installation of a picnic washing up facility located at the rear of the Shelter.

Complementing this work, though outside the scope of the redevelopment, the Shelter will benefit from an allocation within the 2014/15 budget of $65,000 towards the completion of restoration work.

Perimeter Fencing of the Playspace

The proposed design of the Playspace includes a fence around its perimeter as an important consideration to protect children from entering onto Menzies Crescent as well as peace of mind for parents/carers.

Selected Plants

The plants selected for the garden beds will be robust, low maintenance plants, more suitable to withstand and quickly recover from the impact of exploring children. The height of the plants will be kept low, in accordance with CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) principles, to ensure sightlines are clear. 

Overall Cost of the proposed re-development

Indicative costing for the final completion of Stage 2 is shown as $580,600 with construction able to be staged over a number of years according to the requirements of Council’s budget priorities and the active pursuit of State and or Commonwealth funding to complete the project.  

Having a well planned and ‘shovel ready’ project will ensure that Council is well placed to take immediate advantage of the availability and successful application to the State and/or Commonwealth to receive grant funds towards completion of this project.

What Can Get Constructed this Year?

Within the 2014/15 budget, Council has allocated a capital amount of $112,000 towards the construction of Memorial Gardens Playspace. 

Although final completion of the Playspace may be staged over a number of years, the proposed work to be completed according to Council’s 2014/15 budget will achieve the entirety of the proposed landscape works (excluding the Community Garden Plaza).

Details of the scope of work able to be completed according to Council’s existing $112,000 budget are shown as 'Stage 2a' in the above table. 

The discussion and decisions for the draft proposal is based upon the Report presented at the August 2014 Council Meeting. The full report can be downloaded here: Council Report 26082014 - Memorial Gardens Playspace Redevelopment(2791 kb) 

For further information please contact Brendan Lott, Manager Community Development on 8269 5355, or via email.

 

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