4 November 2019

$600k new playground for locals and visitors on the Braidwood stopover

| Alex Rea
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There was a large turnout to opening of the new Braidwood playground. Photos: Alex Rea.

There was a large turnout in Braidwood on Friday (November 1) for the official opening of the new Ryrie Park. This new feature will be hard to miss as you drive through the heritage listed town.

The park equipment in the northern end of Ryrie park, by the Memorial Swimming Pool and public conveniences, has long been a stopover for drivers on the Kings Highway, from families to coach loads of school children.

After several years of lobbying by the community and a heated discussion about the inclusion of a skate park at the site, the new park equipment is much more comprehensive than originally envisaged by the community.

The park was officially opened by Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro, who was helped by children from Braidwood Central School and St Bede’s Primary School to cut the ribbon.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro with local students cut the ribbon to open the new playground.

The main feature of the park is a central spinning windmill climbing frame. Other elements include a carousel, an inclusive rocker, a basket swing, a slide and a rope bridge, shade (pergola) over swings, a gumnut themed cozy dome, spinning elements (wheelchair accessible), spring rockers, rope bridges, portholes in any solid walls, climbing walls, monkey bars, sensory garden, rubber soft fall and two ‘traveller’ or flying foxes.

The barbeques in the park have also been redesigned with small ‘rotunda’ structures, and concrete pathways wind through the park for young cyclists.

As Braidwood Community Association advocate for the park design, Catherine Bell said at the opening, “not only did we fight to have one flying fox included in the design but we ended up with two!”

President Sue Murray and Catherine Bell from the Braidwood Community Association lobbied hard for the new playground.

Mr Barilaro said “It was great to join the community and celebrate the opening of this amazing new playground, which got a big thumbs up from my daughter Sofia!”

“Thanks to this major makeover Ryrie Park will continue to be a favourite place for the community to gather and for families travelling between Canberra and the coast to take a break.”

The carousel was popular with the children at the opening.

The funding for the park came from $289,000 allocated from the Stronger Communities Fund (allocated when Palerang and Queanbeyan City Councils were amalgamated in 2016), and a further $200,000 grant from the NSW Government as part of the Everyone Can Play Grant.

With the Braidwood Community Association (BCA) put a lot of effort into raising $12,000, and then a further $161,000 from the Stronger Communities Fund became available after an unsuccessful tender for kerbing work on Braidwood’s main street. This was allocated to the Ryrie Park BBQs, rotunda, street furniture and repairs to water stations.

John Barilaro with his daughter Sofia enjoying the new playground.

A master plan for the Braidwood CBD, was created by Phillips/Marler Architects following community consultation that encompasses the main CBD of Braidwood, including Ryrie Park North and South in Wallace Street. The tender for the park component was awarded to Creative Recreation Solutions.

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Thanks for the excellent article. A correction though re the funding. QPRC originally allocated $125,000 from the Stronger Country Communities Grant, Stage One. The Community raised over $12,000. QPRC then added more funding to bring the total available up to $200,000. We then applied for the NSW Govt “Everyone Can Play Grant, which was a matching grant. We were successful in receiving the maximum possible amount, which was $200,000. This gave us $400,000 total. QPRC then added extra funds, from the SCCF Grant, to meet the costs of the final plan. The total amount spent on the entire project is definitely not $600,000.

Sue Murray, President, Braidwood Community Association

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