PLAY TIME: Mayor Jim Simmons and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis enjoy the new play equipment at Jacaranda Park.
PLAY TIME: Mayor Jim Simmons and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis enjoy the new play equipment at Jacaranda Park. Debbie Newton

Clarence kids set for $1.2M Christmas gift

IF ALL goes to plan, Clarence Valley kids could be sailing on the pirate ship, Phoenix, by Christmas.

The partially completed ship is just one part of the massive $1.2 million revamp of Jacaranda Park which council are hoping to have finished for the festive season. The ship is the centrepiece of one of the largest inclusive playgrounds to be installed anywhere in Australia which will also include a rainforest tower, flying fox, musical pathways and water-play areas.

The space has been designed using the latest inclusive play space guidelines Everyone Can Play in NSW and will provide all abilities access when it opens in December with both the pirate ship and 'spinners' being wheelchair accessible.

Examining the site and testing out some of the equipment Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said it was important for the Clarence Valley to be strategic in how they developed their parks given the size of the LGA.

"It is really good to have a focal point where you have all sorts of play equipment so kids can come there and have a terrific experience," he said.

"At the end of the day if you have that asset spread right across the LGA you are going to have antiquated swings and a slide and that's all you will have whereas if you come here you have got that whole experience and it is like a day out."

Clarence Valley Council has funded the major redevelopment to the tune of $760,000 with a further $500,000 coming from funding from the NSW government's Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Mr Gulaptis said the community benefited when council worked in partnership with government to improve social and physical infrastructure.

"These two projects (with Ellem Oval) were a priority of Clarence Valley Council and I am thrilled the NSW Government was able to provide support in helping revitalising these important community spaces," he said.

"The Stronger Country Communities Fund is precisely for this reason - to kick start the delivery of projects which improve community infrastructure and services."

Mayor Jim Simmons said he was really pleased with the progress being made with both projects and he envisaged "stacks" of kids would be visiting the park when it opened.



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