Two years later, tick for Pioneer Park playground

Pioneer Park


It has been a long haul, but Tumut Rotary Club’s push for an adventure playground at Pioneer Park has met with success.

Two years has passed since approval was originally granted to build a unique interactive playground at the picturesque Pioneer Park, only for the development to stop before it started as the final location of the park became the subject of debate and discontent at monthly council meetings.

As the council to’d and fro’d between locations, Rotary’s concept was shelved in favour of the recently built playground at the top of the Bull Paddock.

But with a change of council has come a change in direction, and  the Pioneer Park project has been given the green light. This time though, no council funds have been allocated, as yet.

The money previously committed through a state government grant of $40,000 and a $90,000 Blakeney Millar Foundation grant will be used to finance the venture.

Since being given approval, Rotary are now keen for the work to commence and according to club president, Pamela Oppelt, they are looking forward to seeing the results.

“We are very excited about the playground and are delighted it was passed through council,” Mrs Oppelt said. “Rotary are about serving the community and this adventure playground is a way of giving something back to the shire.

“It will be an amazing adventure playground and no money will be coming out of rate payers pockets to pay for it. Rotary are looking forward to getting on with the project and to having the adventure playground up and running.

“The playground will be such a wonderful asset to all the parks in the Tumut area for the children.”

Snowy Work and Services will be tasked with the management of the project and the installation of the equipment.

The adventure playground will be a scaled back version of the plans that were designed by consultants Prue Walsh and Alex Dalglish. The original project was costed out at $229,000 when council included the project its budget of 2011.

Ordering of the equipment is now paramount and underway for the planning team as the $40,000 state government grant has to be spent by the end of this year. Rotary has been given approval to purchase a range of playground equipment, including a flying fox, five-way swing, slide and climbing net.

The money sourced from Blakeney Millar – there’s $80,000 remaining – will be used for landscaping works that will include rocking and planting of trees along the creek, and has also paid for the concept and development plans as well.

The landscaping , along with the installation of the playground equipment is scheduled for March and seating along the Riverwalk worth $10,000 received from another state government grant, will also be installed at the same time.

While the council has previously approved aspects of landscaping work outlined in the plan prepared by Walsh and Dalglish, it has now approved the plan in its entirety.

The adventure playground – and the $40,000 state government grant attached to it – were among the more contentious issues dealt with by the former Tumut council.

Initially proposed by Brian Cullis and Rotary, an adventure playground for the top of the Bull Paddock was approved by the council in March of 2010. The council wasn’t prepared to financially back the project, butRotary had secured a $40,000 state government grant, under the Rotary organisation’s name.

Six months later the council reached an agreement with Rotary to move the playground to Pioneer Park, with Blakeney Millar agreeing to contribute $90,000. They hired consultants Prue Walsh and Alex Dalglish to come up with a concept plan, which was consequently displayed for public comment and was published by the Times, and money was set aside in the budget for the park.

But Mr Cullis successfully lobbied the council for a different playground at the Bull Paddock and in May of 2011 council decided the project would return to its original proposed location, at the top of the Bull Paddock.

Petitions and public meetings followed as proponents of both locations put forward their views, and in July the council voted to allocate just over $221,000 for the Bull Paddock park.

Subsequently, in October last year the council reached an agreement with Rotary to carry out some aspects of the landscaping work outlined in the plan for Pioneer Park.

Now, Rotary has approval for the full plan. It also still has the $40,000, despite claims by Mr Cullis – and some former councillors – that it should be allocated to the Bull Paddock project, for which it was originally granted.

After generating widespread discussion and debate a year or so ago, the plan went through with barely a murmur at the October council meeting.

With the playground equipment approved and the plans advancing it appears the children of the shire are set to be the winners once more and will have two adventure playgrounds to enjoy by the time the first Autumn leave falls next year.