With winter well and truly behind us and those long warm summer days giving us extra playtime in the afternoons the parks across Wagga’s local government area are being put to good use.
As the kids make the most of upgraded facilities, Wagga City Council is looking towards the coming decades and inviting community feedback on its draft Playground Strategy 2023-2043.
“Essentially, the playground strategy identifies that we’ve got 100 playgrounds across the local government area and it really guides how we are going to develop and manage those playgrounds into the future,” explained Recreation & Economic Development Manager Ben Creighton.
“We’d really like the community to have any input and say into how we do that … given that playgrounds are such an important aspect of the city.”
The 100 venues across the LGA are valued at more than $9.5 million and share an estimated 500,000 visits a year.
The draft strategy aims to deliver high-quality, accessible play spaces for kids of all ages and includes 16 recommendations.
On the list is a bump to the annual maintenance budget, the installation of nonverbal communication boards, improved accessibility and more shade.
“We have six recommendations which directly relate to improving shade coverage at existing playgrounds and ensuring it’s integrated in the planning of future play spaces,” Mr Creighton said.
“This reflects the wishes of the community, who identified it is a key issue in the online survey conducted by council during the initial review of the Playgrounds Strategy 2016-2036.”
The draft strategy sets a target of at least 40 percent shade at all local major, suburban and regional playgrounds with additional trees and shade sails to be added.
Water-based recreational facilities are a popular topic of discussion in the Riverina and Mr Creighton said they were keen to gauge interest.
“We have also heard their feedback about a water play/splash park for the city, with a recommendation that it be included in the planning for the Bolton Park Masterplan,” he said.
“Part of the public exhibition period this time is really asking the community, is this something that you would like to see?
“And if it is, then we would encourage them to put a submission in and confirm that that’s something that they’d like to see developed.”
The recommendations also include new regional playgrounds for the city’s expanding northern and southern suburbs and Mr Creighton said that the strategy included management, upgrades and additions.
“Wagga is a growing city, so we need to be able to provide additional playgrounds to service those new growth areas, but it’s also making sure that there’s equity in the playgrounds that are provided across the city,” he said.
“Essentially, what we’re looking at is having a playground that’s walkable within 500 metres of every property within the city.”
The draft Playground Strategy 2016-2036 is on exhibition from 9 November 2023 to 7 December.
You can have your say here or examine a copy at the customer service desk at the Civic Centre.