The City of Parramatta’s first all-inclusive playground and water play park was opened at Ollie Webb Reserve, Parramatta on Saturday 23 February.
The $1.8 million regional-size playground, which received $300,000 of funding from the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund, promises to provide a place for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy year round.
At the grand opening event, City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson said he was delighted to see the unique playground become a reality.
“Parramatta has terrific parks, and it is very pleasing to see we are opening them up to more children,” Cr Wilson said.
The playground features a large variety of activities and equipment, including wide embankment slides, accessible carousel and sand pit, water play elements, and a supportive swing.
In addition to the playground, the design includes more disability parking on nearby Glebe Street, as well as accessible restrooms.
“We wanted to make accessing the facility as easy as possible for parents and carers of children with disabilities, while creating a fun space that the kids can really engage in,” Cr Wilson said.
Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee, Member for Granville Julia Finn, and City of Parramatta Councillors Patricia Prociv and Steven Issa also attended the opening event.
Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the State Government had committed more than $2.2 million towards upgrades of up to 20 playgrounds through the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund.
“The Ollie Webb Reserve inclusive playground and water play park is a wonderful and accessible space for all children to enjoy – a place where the community can come together,” said Mr Lee.
State Member for Granville Julia Finn was also excited to see the new playground completed.
“An inclusive play space at Ollie Webb Reserve will be the first of its kind within the Parramatta region where children of all abilities can play, learn and socialise,” said Ms Finn.
“I have championed this project from my time as a councillor on Parramatta Council and helped to secure the initial funding, so I am thrilled to see it come to fruition."
Council’s Access Advisory Committee, which is made up of community members with lived experience and expertise in disability, contributed valuable feedback and advice during the planning of this playground to help ensure accessibility for all in the community.
A number of external groups were also consulted throughout the design process, including Touched by Olivia (a charity that works with government and other organisations to create inclusive play spaces), Early Ed (a service for young children with disabilities), Northcott (a not-for-profit disability service provider), Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW, and many others.
“We’ve loved seeing how the community already uses the site as a meeting place, for tai chi and exercise. Adding a Livvi’s Place to the mix is going to ensure that everyone, of all abilities, can really connect in a very special place,” Touched by Olivia Executive Officer Bec Ho said.
The Ollie Webb Reserve all-inclusive playground features the third water play park in the Parramatta Local Government Area (along with James Ruse Reserve in Harris Park and Philip Ruddock Water Playground in Dundas Valley).