Councillors this week were addressed by Mr Charles Stuart in regards to the Corrigans Beach Reserve Plan of Management. Mr Stuart is the president of The Bay Push, a not-for-profit organisation, and the instigator of the now complete, Variety Inclusive Playground at Batehaven. He reminded the councillors that a petition signed by 794 residents was presented to Council in September last year. The petition called for approval to a low impact kiddies splashpad at Corrigans Reserve that will be inclusive for all children irrespective of ability. He advised the councillors, once again, that the petition was a little unique in that the content of the petition was explained in person to each and every signatory, mainly conducted in the Batehaven area, because his organisation, The Bay Push, wanted to make it a meaningful petition and not a signature farming exercise. Mr Stuart told the councillors in his Public Forum presentation "Since the petition presentation and my address to council late last year, I have been in regular contact with Fiona Robbe, the architect who designed the highly successful – ‘Variety Inclusive Playground, Batemans Bay’. Fiona specialises in inclusive design and proposes a unique water experience, whereby children who are unable to access the proposed Water Park at Mackay Park through disability, may enjoy a more gently water experience at the proposed Splashpad. "Fiona points out that the children with special needs cannot tolerate a large indoor water park with water slides and tipping bucket, both of which cause excessive noise. "Fiona recommends a Interactive water play area comprising three zones, namely: Zone 1: A series of four hooped arches made up of low misty spray graduating in height and spray strength. Zone 2: A series of taps and pumps for water play. Zone 3: A traditional splash pad with ground level and raised nozzles and sprays. No tipping buckets, no swivel guns or slides. These components would likely result in meltdowns and other behavioural issues.
Above: Images that show the order of the graduated challenge Mr Stuart refers to where fog comes from below, mist comes from above to then transition to gentle water sprays from all directions (yellow hoop) before more pressured water jets from all angles (blue hoop). Once familiar and comfortable with these sensations the next transition is to more sprays progressing to the usual splashpad features. "The benefits of this waterplay area will enable users to become comfortable with water, reinforce mobility skills in wet conditions and act as a transition to a larger facility with confidence, such as the facility proposed at Mackay Park. "It is envisaged that the water play area will be installed adjacent to and compliment the highly popular Variety Inclusive Playground, Batemans Bay. The water play area will be fenced, be accessible to all and free of charge" When asked what was required by means of delivering the splash pad Mr Stuart told Councillors it needed an area of 6m x 20m. Mr Stuart asked of the councillors that in considering the review of the Corrigans reserve Plan of Management they acknowledge and support the proposal that the concept of a filtered inclusive waterplay area allowed for in the Management Plan Review be included. The Corrigans Reserve inclusive playground was officially opened at 10am on Saturday 4th March 2017
Above: Fiona Robbé (L) along with Charles Stewart of Bay Push (right) at the official opening of Stage One of the Variety Inclusive Playground in 2017
At the official opening in 2017 Mayor Innes congratulated the organisers of the playground and the members of Council’s Advisory Committee praising them for their drive and determination in providing a facility that served the more vulnerable members of the community yet at the same time offered a first-class play environment that was inclusive of all capacities saying "Eurobodalla Council applies itself to be an inclusive community and this facility is just one of the many examples across the Shire of our commitment to inclusion for all of our community". That drive and determination in providing a facility that serves the more vulnerable members of the community continues through the continued passion of Mr Stuart to see the park, as a whole, come to fruition. It is now hoped that that commitment translates into approving the next important stage of the Variety Inclusive Playground by councillors endorsing the area required for the splash pad and the commitment to fund the very affordable annual maintenance and management of the facility, as outlined by Mr Stuart in his November 24th presentation
Above: In December 2016, Eurobodalla's largest playground at Corrigans Reserve reopened even bigger and better and now catering for children of all abilities.