Cataract Gorge Playspace

Thank you to everyone that provided feedback on this project!
We have had overwhelming support for the redevelopment of the Cataract Gorge Playspace with 93.4% in favour of the proposed changes. 
We received a number of fantastic, detailed suggestions that included ideas such as the positioning of the swings and different types of equipment, and the design team has taken these on board. 
Among the comments, some issues were raised and we would like to respond to these concerns.
• Provision of shade - We will include the planting of more trees to provide increased shade over parts of the playspace as they begin to mature. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of shade structures and their ongoing maintenance costs, this is not feasible at this point. If tender prices come in lower than our current estimates, the inclusion of shade structures will be our top priority for consideration. 
• Safety concerns around the proposed water play area - we acknowledge that this could have been clearer in our plans. Rest assured this is running water that is virtually zero depth. Water will run through open pipes and open trays where children will be able to explore and experiment with sand and water. The design meets Australian standards for Water Play.
• More play equipment for younger children - As this is a highly popular regional reserve that attracts families with children of all ages, we need to cater for all age groups as much as possible. However, due to space limitations it's impossible to provide a full range of items for each particular age group. The new regional park in Invermay, opposite Seaport (due to be completed later this year) will offer multiple items of play equipment for every age group. Younger children at the Cataract Gorge Reserve will love the nature and water play areas as well as the swings, and with adult assistance will be able to try the tunnel slide and mouse wheel.
• Provision of bench seating and picnic tables - The project designers are currently identifying appropriate spaces so that these items can be included.
• Loss of existing flat lawn area - In achieving the overall objective of raising the playground out of the flood zone it is not really possible to retain the existing flat lawn areas surrounding the playspace. The sloping lawn area on the low side of the play space has been designed with an incline to allow people to continue to sit and relax in this space, as well as have quick access to the playspace.
• Overall cost - The majority of the associated project costs will be spent on the earthworks to elevate this space above the level of most floods, as well as the cost of building new accessible pathways. Currently, when the existing playspace area floods it can cost up to $20,000 to replace equipment and the certified bark soft fall. Consequently the 'do nothing' approach is not a sustainable option. 
So, where to from here? 
In the coming days a Development Application will be advertised and following this we will publicly tender for contractors with an aim to start construction around July this year. It is then expected the building works will take about six months.

Thank you for being part of this Cataract Gorge Playspace consultation. We really appreciate your feedback and look forward to seeing your input on our future projects.

Kind regards, 
The Project Team