13 September 2023

Better by design: Council's Wagga Beach playground restoration recognised for flood resilience

| Jarryd Rowley
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flooded playground

Wagga Beach was deep underwater for almost two months in 2022. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga Wagga City Council has received an award for planning and restoring the Wagga Beach precinct following consistent and damaging flooding.

The council won the Statewide Mutual Risk Management Excellence Award (RMEA) in the Operational Risk Initiative category for submitting the Building Flood Resilience into Play project. This included the new regional playground and transforming the caravan park site and the old St Michael’s Oval into an accessible and high-quality recreational facility.

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The award recognises the precinct’s resilience to the ongoing flooding in a large regional and metropolitan council and its incorporated design concepts, which prevent damage to the equipment.

The new precinct was able to bounce back quickly from the heavy floods Wagga and surrounding towns sustained during spring 2022, unlike the previous trailer park, which would be out of operation for months following heavy flooding.

Elements that contribute to the play equipment’s flood resilience include softfall and footing allowing for the equipment to remain sturdy despite the pressures of heightened water. Meanwhile, the electrical infrastructure was strategically placed and planned to ensure it could be removed should the risk of flooding become apparent.

beach flooding

Flooding at Wagga Wagga Beach turned a popular attraction into a no-go zone. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It didn’t take long for the new precinct’s resistance measures to be tested as the park was opened in July 2022 and the first flood of a four-month disaster period hit in late August.

Despite the heavy and extended period of flooding, the new precinct required little repair to have the equipment back up and running.

Council manager of recreation and economic development Ben Creighton said the playground and precinct had withstood the flooding as hoped.

“We knew the design was structurally sound and built to withstand a flood event, and despite the inundation, the equipment fared well,” Mr Creighton said.

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“Once the water receded, all that was needed was the cleaning away of the mud, disinfecting the equipment and replacement of some mulch.”

Mr Creighton said it was this planning and resilience that had earned the council the excellence award.

“We are happy to be the recipient of this award, which recognises the innovative design of our Riverside Stage Two Project and regional playground,” he said.

The council was also recognised by the RMEA for its work reducing incidents at the popular Tarcutta truck interchange yard, receiving a Highly Commended honour.

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