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Tuesday 28 February 2023

The much-loved Wonthaggi Guide Park will be officially opened today after a major $1.77 million redevelopment which has created a new playspace for people of all ages and abilities.

The park now includes a mine-themed slide tower, flying foxes, a trampoline, carousel, gentle exercise area and nature-based play. Supporting infrastructure includes a drinking fountain, bike racks, pathways, fencing and an accessible BBQ.

Landscaping works include garden beds, mature trees and irrigation works, as well as changes to the internal road configuration to create more parking and improved vehicle access.

The new park, which Bass Coast Shire Council began construction on in April 2022, will be officially opened by Mayor Michael Whelan and Member for Bass, Jordan Crugnale MP.

“Guide Park in Wonthaggi is a much-loved playspace for Bass Coast Shire residents and visitors,’’ Cr Whelan said.

The Guide Park design is an interpretation of the natural landscape of Bass Coast mixed with local mining history, mimicking the rolling green hills, beautiful coastlines and native heathlands.

The sandpit with giant boulders and a wave edge references the local coastline, while the water feature replicates local water courses, such as the Powlett River, rolling down from the hills through a valley into the heathland area. The bush tunnel is a representation of the many local beach paths which have a dense canopy meandering down to pristine sandy beaches.

The main tower rises out of the playspace referencing the local area’s mining history, while also looking towards the future with a wind turbine on its roof.

“As an accessible intergenerational space, the design incorporates a range of accessible features allowing everyone to be part of the whole space with opportunities to swing, spin, bounce and get their hands sandy and wet. Extensive consultation with the neighbouring Bass Coast Health and Rose Lodge Aged Care Home saw the development of a purpose-built gentle exercise and rehabilitation area to meet the needs of their clients,’’ Cr Whelan said.

Council received substantial funding from the Victorian Government for the delivery of the playspace with $700,000 funded by Sport and Recreation Victoria and $350,000 from the Growing Suburbs Fund. Council contributed $720,000 and managed the project build

The new playspace’s clever design provides an inclusive, gender-neutral area catering to the needs of the whole community.

“With a focus on natural shade and lots of areas to socialise, climb, balance and swing, the new space has been designed to encourage all genders and ages to be involved,’’ Cr Whelan said.

The new park has already proven popular with locals.

Local father of three, Kamal, said: “The new Guide Park is such a great, well thought out space. The mix of traditional and nature-based play is set amongst the existing trees which provides a wonderful natural feel along with heaps of shade. My three boys all love it and we have been there every day since it opened, twice a day sometimes.”

Carolyn Thompson, lifestyle manager at Rose Lodge, said: “Our residents have been watching the construction of Guide Park from our leisure room and are excited to now be able to visit. The fitness area was constructed to suit our needs, but the residents were more interested in testing out the flying fox, carousel and tower which were all accessible to them.”

With huge thanks to everyone involved for their hard work in making the new Guide Park a reality including South Gippsland Water, Deery consulting - structural engineering, Orchard Design – playspace designers, Planned Constructions – for build and Lions club of Wonthaggi for our celebration BBQ

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Images courtesy of Copper Door Studio