A change in Play...

We’re making a few significant changes to our Playgrounds Strategy. This includes minimising the number of playgrounds and building bigger and better ones in specific locations. Why? Well, to ensure they are well-maintained, is cost-effective for ratepayers and at a high standard.

We know, it isn’t the ideal solution, but it is the best solution to ensure we provide high-quality playgrounds for your kid(s) that are cost-effective for our ratepayers (best of both worlds?). We want to ensure you are part of the conversation through it all. So join us at the community consultation coming up in Kununurra Library, Mon 07 Nov 1:30 pm) and Wyndham (Croc Park, Tue 08 Nov, 1:30 pm)

DRAFT Playground Strategy

Join the Conversation...

We've put together commonly asked questions regarding the DRAFT Playground Strategy. If your question hasn't been answered below, email mail@swek.wa.gov.au and we can answer your question and add it below. 

We also have an upcoming Community Consultation (dates and places listed in the graphic above) so you can have the chance to express your concerns or provide any further suggestions on how we can effectively manage our playgrounds. 

Why do we need a playground Strategy?

A Playground Strategy is required to ensure that the Shire is providing high-quality assets for the community whilst being cost-effective and realistic. It is an important document that lays the foundation for future playground planning within the Shire.

Community feedback identified that there is a lack of recreation and play spaces. The locations that exist are either in poor condition, run down and/or outdated. Additionally, Council found that the assets they own and the cost associated to maintain them far outweigh the manpower available. Rather than continue with ‘business as usual’, the Shire would like to look at substantial diverse equipment in key locations which will reduce maintenance costs, and require less manpower while providing better services to the community.

Information relating to this item can be found on Page 4 of the strategy, under the heading ‘Strategic Context’ and in the following heading ‘Introduction’.

Why can’t we have more playgrounds?

Having more smaller playgrounds is not efficient for the Shire to provide the quality maintenance services that each playground requires. Like many other Shires, we have more ‘stuff’ than we can afford and as a result, we are unable to replace or maintain it to the standard our community expects. However, we understand that play spaces are incredibly important to our kids and should be developed as a gathering point for friends, family and visitors to our region. It should be a place for our community to meet and mix with others.

Playgrounds should be built to be inclusive, diverse and interesting. Maintenance and inspection of our current assets have determined that our previous approach is unsustainable. Details can be found on page 40 of the strategy, under the heading ‘Maintenance, inspections and auditing'.

Why can’t we just fix the ones we have?

Council has considered fixing the current playgrounds but has found it to be unaffordable and unsustainable for our small ratepayer base. Many of our existing playgrounds need to be replaced as they have gone past their use-by date. Some playgrounds do not have suitable soft fall which is required to protect our children.
Additionally, grant funding is very difficult to obtain unless we develop a sustainable long-term strategy, which the proposed document will supply.

Details can be found on page 39 under the heading ‘Economic Environment’.

Why have the locations in the report been selected?

The locations selected in the report fulfil the following requirements

• How far people have to travel to use them (catchment area);
• How they travel (foot, car and bike);
• The size of the space;
• The kind of setting and experience it offers; and,
• The location.

For the Shire to consider large diverse installations, we need to provide benefits to the largest possible catchment area of residents to ensure it is easily accessible by foot, bike or vehicle. Information on this item can be found on page 16 of the strategy, under the heading ‘Classification’.

What will happen to the areas where playgrounds are taken away?

Just because playground equipment is removed, does not mean that a space ceases to exist. The area can still be used as a kick space, a picnic spot or just a nice open area to sit and enjoy the environment.
When play equipment is removed, the houses in the immediate vicinity will be notified and included through community consultation for any future plans to improve the vacated area. This may be progressed through tree planting, the addition of paths or seating spaces.

Details on this point can be found on page 35 of the strategy under the heading ‘Method and approach to removing nominated playground equipment’.

Will existing playgrounds be immediately removed?

Where playground equipment is found to be non-compliant and can cause risk to children, it will be immediately removed. Savings made by the reduced asset will go toward the replacement and maintenance of new items listed in the proposed strategy.

Equipment that still has existing life will be retained. The components of the playground will be detached as they fail or until the complete asset is removed. This is the only way we will be able to install and maintain our new assets, keep them fresh and provide new or replacement components moving forward.

Details on the current recommendation can be found on page 43 of the Strategy, under the heading ‘Conclusion’.

What will the new playgrounds include?

Unfortunately, this Playground Strategy does not deal with individual playgrounds or playground design. The Playground Strategy is a strategic plan that will assist the Shire in building a 10-year plan which is a separate document that informs our ratepayers and residents of our intentions moving forward and provides an ongoing framework for Shire staff and administrators in developing and shaping our Shire. The Playground Strategy will show how the Shire’s asset balance should be managed, where key locations should be placed and what should be taken into consideration when developing a new playground asset.

Apart from just a playground, what we should consider are the three key age group cohorts, what other amenities should be included in a design, the location of a park, connectivity through roads, and pathways and opportunities for inclusivity. Many considerations are identified in the report, a few of which are; built environment, amenities, demographic, cultural environment, social environment and equal access.