Improving your playgrounds

As highlighted in our Public Open Space Plan 2016-2031, Council strives to maintain the provision of public playgrounds, including replacement of playground equipment that has come to the end of its functional life.

Also included in the Plan are playground classifications. The classifications help us plan for our parks and reserves informing playground design and budget, including:

Large, individually designed playgrounds servicing the whole municipality where there is a full range of supporting amenities, catering for all abilities; i.e. toilets, drinking fountains, shelter, seating, bins, off street parking, tables, seats, etc. The expectation is that users are prepared to drive for 15 minutes or more to these parks and/or play spaces and could potentially spend up to four hours per visit.

Medium to substantial sized playgrounds, catering for a range of age groups and abilities. The expectation is that users are prepared to travel for up to 15 minutes to these parks and/or play spaces and could potentially spend up to two hours per visit.

Small playgrounds designed to cater for residents living within 400 metres. These playgrounds include one - two items of play equipment for a limited number of age groups. Local playgrounds are usually only used by residents from nearby streets who normally access the park by foot or bike.

Very small playgrounds with only one - two pieces of play equipment. Usually used by children in the immediate vicinity and accessed by foot.

As part of our continual improvement to reserves, parks and playgrounds, we undertake a site analysis for each new project upgrade or renewal. The site analysis helps us to determine what some of the opportunities and constraints are and assists our Open Space and Planning team to develop a concept design that aligns with the site analysis, budgetary constraints, the playground classification and the Public Open Space Plan 2016-2031.

The following playgrounds will be upgraded as part of the 2022/23 Playground Replacement Program.

  1. Yallambie Park Playground, Yallambie
  2. Partingtons Flats Playground (including Partingtons Flat North and South), Greensborough
  3. Harrington Reserve Playground, Montmorency
  4. Station Road Playground, Rosanna

These playgrounds will be designed to respond to the needs of local residents and the playground classifications as outlined in the Public Open Space Plan 2016 - 2031.

Play equipment that is removed will be upcycled by the Rotary Club of Nunawading who will refurbish and rebuild them in Sri Lanka.

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Design principals

Key elements

When planning play spaces, we consider the following key elements:

An assessment is made of each individual site to determine unique characteristics such as slope, aspect, tree cover, size of park, facilities and the proximity to other properties. From this we determine what might be the best fit for the site to ensure the new design is compatible with its surroundings and other facilities like toilets, paths, pavilions, sportsgrounds etc.

Playground classifications exist to help plan for our parks and reserves. We have invested in a number of regional play spaces including: Possum Hollow - Heidelberg; Binnak Park - Watsonia North; Malahang Reserve - Heidelberg West; and Anthony Beale Reserve - St.Helena. All other parks and reserves in Banyule are classified as pocket, local and neighbourhood parks and are designed and budgeted for accordingly.

We look at all the playgrounds and opportunities for play in the local area, within about 500m of the chosen site to see what is available, how the new design can complement these other facilities and to provide a wide range of experiences for all ages and abilities.

You have told us that you’re keen for new playgrounds to continue to offer opportunities for children of various ages to enjoy traditional experiences such as sliding, climbing and swinging, but also for nature play to be offered. As such we have identified avenues to enhance natural elements in our play spaces for example logs, log steppers, large rocks and stone elements.

We are keen to ensure that wherever possible, access to new playgrounds is improved. Proximity to paths and seating is an important consideration, as is the provision of equipment for all abilities.

Shade is an important element in the design of playspaces and there are a number of ways this can be incorporated. Shade sails are an option for our large regional playspaces, however maintenance and safety constraints mean that other options need to be considered for pocket, local and neighbourhood playgrounds. These options include:

  • Retaining existing mature trees near the playspace
  • Planting new trees that will provide shade for the playspace in the future
  • Wherever possible, incorporating roof elements within the proposed playspace

To ensure we can get maximum value from the new equipment, we carefully inspect the type of materials available, the construction type and quality to ensure it will be able to provide fun, safe and quality play experiences.

Council allocates a set amount each year for each site based on its previous value and the category of park and playground eg. Pocket, Local, Neighbourhood or Regional.

Why playground renewal?

Why playgrounds matter

Local government plays an important role in promoting and providing opportunities for the community to be physically active and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.

When replacing playgrounds we try to make sure they provide:

  • Stimulating fun and learning activities
  • Age related risk opportunities
  • Activities that support the development of different skills and abilities
  • Structured and unstructured play opportunities
  • Public art in plays space.