Newcastle's largest playground is set to be built at Foreshore Park as part of an updated draft masterplan for the site.
Newcastle council has unveiled plans for the Livvi's Place inclusive regional playground. The fully-fenced space will include junior and toddler areas, water-based play, an industrial-themed elevated playground, maritime-inspired swing sets, accessible flying fox and nature-based play areas.
It will be developed in collaboration with Variety - the Children's Charity, which has provided funding for the design. City of Newcastle has also secured more than $1 million from the NSW government toward construction including $730,000 from the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund and $300,000 from Everyone Can Play and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The masterplan also includes an increase of shaded canopy within the park from 2800 to 9800 square metres.
Other features include upgraded amenities and improvements along Wharf Road and Tug Berth Lane, including a destination sign and grassed areas, a separate cycleway from Argyle Street to Nobbys Beach and improved cycle crossings.
The draft masterplan will be considered by the elected council this month.
The masterplan has previously drawn criticism from the Newcastle East Residents Group, which said council ignored community wishes in survey responses and instead dedicated large parts of the park to events.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said council had worked closely with community representatives on the plan for the precinct, which included moving the playground to the north-west corner of the park, provision for a multi-purpose skating, scootering and performing arts area at the base of the Shortland Lawn amphitheatre and leaving the Sandhills Community Garden where it is.
NERG spokesperson Christine Everingham said she was pleased council had moved the playground to a more suitable location and decided to leave the garden in place. The playground was first planned between Customs House and the carriage shed.
But Dr Everingham said she didn't believe the skate area was an adequate substitute for filling in the "frog pond", which has been a "hugely popular skating/picnic facility for families since the water was removed".
"This area will, however, provide a concrete base for big events with stages adjacent to homes," she said.
"Respondents to the council's community survey did not request more major event space. Instead, they prioritised trees and shade throughout the park and more amenities."
Dr Everingham also expressed scepticism at council's plans for the shade canopy, saying it was the same figure council promised as a result of installing 230 new plants to replace 170 shrubs and trees cut down before the inaugural Supercars event.
If adopted by the council, the draft masterplan will be placed on public exhibition from September 28 for 4 weeks.
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