WARRAGUL’S new-look Burke Street Park was officially opened today, with celebrations seeing in better and brighter play equipment and more to do for people with disabilities.
Pictured: Charlie looks to father Paul while on the Liberty Swing.
All photos by William PJ Kulich.
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The reopening of the park was focused around the Liberty Swing, provided by Variety – the Children’s Charity, which was tested by two-year-old Charlie Tandberg.
Charlie’s mother, Amy Tandberg, told The Warragul Citizen the swing means Charlie can play with other children.
“It means that when we come to the park as a family Charlie can participate, Charlie’s got something fun to go on,” Ms Tandberg said.
“When we come here with a group, like the WECAN group that we’re with and other Mums with special needs kids, it means he’s got something to go on, he can have a turn on something.”
As part of the park’s redevelopment local artist Sue Acheson was commissioned to create a number of hand-made wooden totem poles, which were unexpectedly well received by those with disabilities.
Pictured: Sue Acheson with two of her totem poles. Each took around ten hours to carve.
“I was really impressed with the Mawarra clients coming down, because the blind clients that they have were touching and feeling and smelling all the different textures on the poles,” Ms Acheson told The Warragul Citizen
“Apparently she (a Mawarra employee) couldn’t drag them away!”
Baw Baw Shire mayor Murray Cook cut the ribbon for the new swing, accompanied by Variety Victoria spokesperson Julie Baxter and Warragul Police officer Kevin McClaren.
Pictured: (Left to right) Baw Baw Shire mayor Murray Cook, Variety Victoria spokesperson Julie Baxter and Warragul Police officer Kevin McClaren.
Cr Cook previously worked for disability group Yooralla, covering all of Gippsland with just one other representative. He said the redesigned park was a massive change.
“Two workers in two important areas (physical and mental disability) for the whole area, and it was really bad back then,” Cr Cook told The Warragul Citizen.
“I really appreciate some of the facilities we have now. It’s just so great to see things like this special swing now and a range of people who are working in the disability area.”
Pictured: Warragul ward councillor Joe Gauci hands balloons from the opening to children.
The decision to upgrade Burke Street Park came from the council’s Playground Strategy and Draft Open Space Strategy, which considered the park to be a “regional-level facility.”
The redevelopment saw new play equipment, a sensory garden bed, new landscaping, public art and new pathways installed and received $152,522 funding from the Victorian Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development’s Community Works program.
Pictured: Ella tries out some of the new play equipment.
Between 8,000 and 9,000 people use the park every week.
The Warragul Lions Club helped with the reopening celebrations through providing free barbecue lunches.
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