Nature Based Playground Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Town planning to be build a nature based playground?

The nature based playground has long been an aspiration of the Town’s residents to see the playground constructed at Sandy Beach Reserve.

Demographics in Bassendean are changing and there are more young families living here.  With a growing trend to infill back yards, families have identified a requirement for public open space which caters to these needs.

The proposed Playground would provide an inspiring atmosphere for children to play and to promote networking amongst children and caregivers, as well as supporting the Town’s objectives around creating environments that support physical activity.

The proposed design would provide unstructured play opportunities for many age groups and cater for those with disabilities, aligning with the Town’s principles around access and inclusion.

Why was Sandy Beach Reserve the preferred location?

The Town’s ‘Liveable Town’ Advisory Committee identified a number of potential sites for the Regional Playground.  Important considerations included a connection to the river and a ‘nature based’ locality.  Access to existing infrastructure such as ablutions and parking were also important factors.

Land on Hamilton St and Hardy Rd would both require car park and ablutions constructed.  Additionally Hardy Rd would have required a dedicated access road, while Hamilton St would necessitate significant remediation of contamination.  Both sites were deemed to have too many disadvantages which would impact on viability of the overall project.

The irrigated section of Sandy Beach Reserve offered the fewest constraints as it had the benefits of existing ablution and parking infrastructure, but would have reduced the accessible space remaining for passive recreation, events and other activity by half.  This was considered a significant disadvantage.

The land to the South of Sandy Beach Reserve proved to be the favoured site as it also enjoyed the use of adjacent carpark and toilet infrastructure and did not have the limitations of the other sites assessed.

Will the construction and eventual use of the playground damage the environment/Ashfield Flats area?

The Town is working with the relevant State Government agencies to ensure that during the construction phase there will be minimal damage to the Ashfield Flats area.  The Town will also develop a management plan regarding the use of the playground and maintenance required.

No live trees will require removal to construct the playground.  The Consultants have designed the playground to take full advantage of the existing tree canopy for shade.  An additional 48 significant trees will be planted to increase natural shade for playground patrons, and compliment the nature based approach of the design.  The location for the playground sits more than 50 metres from the river shoreline and adjacent to the existing Sandy Beach Reserve, so will not represent a significant impact on Ashfield Flats.

Will the final playground look like the Concept Plan? 

The concept plan was based on feedback received from community consultation.  Council has offered additional feedback citing a desire for more emphasis on nature play, and a minimisation of concrete and plastics. 

Is flooding a concern at this site?

A flood impact assessment was completed to determine the likely impact on the environment in the event of a flood occurring with the playground being situated at the proposed location. The study revealed that the impact of a flood at the location where the playground would be built and upstream of the playground would be negligible.

When is construction of the playground likely to commence?

It is possible that construction could commence some time in 2019 and be completed within 6 months.  This would be very much dependent on funding and planning approval timeframes.

How will the Town fund the Playground’s construction?

To help fund the project, Council is selling two blocks of land acquired at 5% of their value from the State Government.  Council is also hoping to obtain a Lotterywest grant, with the balance to be funded from cash in lieu reserves contributed by property developers, and held by the Town for these purposes.

Will the playground have amenities to suit all people that visit Sandy Beach Reserve?

It is proposed that the playground to be an all abilities and inter-generational playground that can be enjoyed by a diverse range of people.

This includes elements that are accessible to those in wheelchairs, and features that accommodate parents’ and caregivers playing with their children.  The playground design aims to provide challenges for different ages and abilities.

Will fencing be used at the playground?

A perimeter fence is not included in the design but an array of barriers and structures are included within the design to ensure a safe playground experience for users.  Fencing or barriers are included throughout the playground where grade separation exists.  Plantings, rocks and other structures act as barriers and add to the sense of safety.

Will there still be ‘off leash’ opportunities for dog walkers?

Although the space is designated as an ‘on leash’ area, it is often used as an informal ‘off leash’ opportunity by many dog owners.  The expectation is that ‘off leash’ dogs are still under the verbal control of their owners.  The location of the playground, at a distance from the river’s edge means that most dogs would travel directly from  their owner’s car towards the water or and riverside path.  Additionally, the raised nature of the playground design limits the visual and practical invitation for dogs to enter the area.

Will there be enough parking?

The Reserve currently has around 25 car parking bays, plus some verge parking capacity. The site was selected partly due to this existing parking infrastructure.  Adjacent grass may be used for informal temporary parking in the months after opening when demand is likely to be highest.  This temporary parking space has been utilised in the past for overflow event parking.  There are no current plans for the development of additional asphalt or road-base parking areas.

Will there be sufficient shade?

The Consultants have designed the playground to take full advantage of the existing tree canopy for shade.  An additional 48 significant trees will be planted to increase natural shade for playground patrons.

Will a café be incorporated into the plans?

A café is not formally included within the concept plans, however there is the capacity for pop-up or mobile vendors to operate at the site.

Will there be a go kart track, sea containers and other outbuildings present on the site?

Although some of these ideas came up within the community consultation, these ideas were not incorporated within the concept plan.

How will the facility be maintained?

The Town will develop a management plan for the playground.  This will include a monitoring and maintenance program.  Being a showcase facility and a significant investment by the Town, adequate resources will be provided to maintain the facility to a high standard.

What is the overall plan for playgrounds within the Town?

The ‘Playgrounds Implementation Plan’ defines the Towns hierarchy of playgrounds and their locations.  The Town’s priority is to have three District Level Playgrounds at Ashfield Reserve (Ashfield), Jubilee Reserve (Eden Hill) and Mary Crescent Reserve (Eden Hill) prior to the construction of a Regional Playground.

Will the design incorporate cultural references?

These have been considered within the design and will be present in signage and artwork incorporated in the detailed design phase.  The concept plan includes the capacity for users to build their own ‘mia mia’ temporary play shelters, which reflects of the traditional land use.

Will there be ‘dirty’ or ‘mud’ play?

The proposed sand pit can use a variety of sands, e.g. river sand, which is more satisfying to play with and ‘build’ with young children rather than traditional ‘white’ sand pit sand.  River sand would also be more in keeping with the Sandy Beach site.