Liberty for all children at Jacaranda Park

INCLUSION: Clarence Valley plans to have liberty swings similar to the Variety Liberty Swing in South Lismore.
INCLUSION: Clarence Valley plans to have liberty swings similar to the Variety Liberty Swing in South Lismore. Cathy Adams

PASSIONATE pleas were heard in the Maclean Council Chambers as Councillor Jason Kingsley called on his counterparts to remember the work that had gone into the redevelopment of Jacaranda Park.

The painstakingly long and in-depth planning to create a park that was inclusive and all-abilities park had come to an end.

"Councillors, we sat in this very chamber two years ago to the month listening to a deputation from the director of a childcare facility and she told us about an all- abilities playground down south and how it became a community-led project,”

Cr Kingsley said.

"The following week we moved a motion and it was unanimously supported by all councillors and six of those councillors are still serving.

"That motion was to form a working group consisting of councillors, staff and interested community members to create an all-abilities playground and that's what we've done.

"The objective was to develop an all-abilities playground, not just a playground, but a playground that provides equal access equipment to children with or without disabilities.”

Cr Karen Toms had put up what she described as a "protest” before Cr Kingsley spoke, saying there had not been enough thought into how much the playground would cost.

"I don't see why we have to have a park that is $1.4million worth when we've closed other parks around the community, we've downgraded some... but I personally just can't justify spending $1.4 million on a playground,” she said.

"I doubt very much that people in the Lower Clarence will drive an hour or more to go to the park and I think it would have been better in hindsight to spread the money around and not have such an elaborate park.”

Cr Kingsley said a lot of thought and effort had gone into selecting the equipment to ensure all children could use it.

"This stuff isn't cheap and I can assure you the a lot of the stuff we looked at was no all abilities and each piece of equipment there would range from $80-150,000 and that was something simple, something basic,” he said.

"This park will set the standard for other district parks, that's what it's about.”

The council will apply for funding from the State or Federal Government to help fund the 46%, or $645,608, of the project currently unfunded.

When it came time to vote, Cr Kingsley had changed Cr Toms's mind, and all councillors present voted for the council to exhibit plans for Jacaranda Park for 30 days.

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