Each year Yarrawonga occupational therapist Kaitlyn Cummins accesses more than 100 children and each year the proportion of children that can’t jump, catch a ball or hop grows.FIONA BLICK February 25, 2014 2:45pm
“This was the motivating factor for me to push for an all-abilities playground for Yarrawonga and this is why I am so thrilled that Moira Shire has now come on board,” Kaitlyn told the Chronicle.
Kaitlyn was at the Moira Shire meeting held in Cobram last week to witness the passing of a recommendation which contained six separate clauses, for council to support the development of an all-abilities playground.
And she was not alone.
More than 60 supporters ranging from the coaches, president, and players of the Yarrawonga Pigeons (Kaitlyn is the A Grade netball coach for the club) to school groups including representatives from the Cobram Special School, turned out to hear the councillors speak on this project.
Mayor Peter Mansfield asked councillors for approval to bring the recommendation forward to the start of the meeting; it had been tabled to appear towards the end but Cr Mansfield said he believed it only practical for the recommendation to be discussed first due to the large number of people present.
Cr Wendy Buck moved the recommendation saying the all-abilities playground would not only significantly benefit local children and families but it will also attract tourists to Yarrawonga.
“Cr Don McPhee has asked me to move this recommendation as he is unfortunately an apology for this meeting,” Cr Buck said.
“There is clearly abundant community support but this is just the start of the project, there are a lot of negotiations to go.”
Cr Marie Martin told council the all-abilities playground was a wonderful proposal.
“It will be inclusive of all children, be educational and fun,” Cr Martin said.
“Yarrawonga is a great tourism mecca for Moira Shire and this project will cater to a wide age group.”
Cr Brian Keenan acknowledged the packed council rooms and said “when you look around tonight there is no doubt this project will succeed”.
“This will be a great adjunct to the community,” Cr Keenan said.
The recommendation, which did not include a promise of financial support but did encompass contributing in-kind resources and for the project to be included in the 2014/15 Corporate Plan, was passed unanimously by councillors.
The Yarrawonga Holiday Park has already come on board as major sponsor for the proposed playground with a $210,000 donation announced last December.
“The Holiday Park’s generosity was overwhelming,” Kaitlyn said.
“They recognised the need for appropriate outdoor recreation in our community and they have been very proactive.
“I was also thrilled with the support from the community at last week’s Moira Shire Meeting.
“It demonstrated to councillors and staff how much support there is for this project.”
Kaitlyn said the proposed playground will be filled with fun and challenging experiences for children of all ages and abilities from babies to teenagers.
“The proposed playground will be a unique and innovative space with a nature and river theme which we hope will attract tourists from all over Victoria and Southern NSW,” she said.
“Cr Don McPhee has been an amazing support and we have toured playgrounds in surrounding districts and met with the Wodonga Council to get their ideas.
“Play not only contributes to a child’s health, wellbeing, education, physical, social and cognitive development, but is also an invaluable tool in the development of strong community connections.”
The foreshore is the most likely place for the all-abilities playground with Kaitlyn believing the “outlook and ambience provided by the foreshore creates a relaxing and positive feel for all user groups and parents are more likely to stay for a whole afternoon instead of just half an hour”.
“Hopefully then it will become a tourist attraction and will bring school groups from outside the area to Yarrawonga which will then have a flow on economic benefit,” she said.
The Playground Committee has been investigating appropriate play equipment and Kaitlyn said prices range from $1,400 to $135,000.
“We are hoping to have the project running for the summer of 2015/16 but this is largely dependent on community support and generosity,” Kaitlyn said.
“We have made a great start though.”
For a full list of play equipment and other items needed please contact Kaitlyn Cummins on 0439485500; there is also a list on the Yarrawonga Adventure Park Facebook page.
Donations can be made through the Yarrawonga/Mulwala Development Trust at the Westpac bank.
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