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All go for Horsham Nature Play Park

The entire October 13, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

By Dean Lawson

A $2.453-million project in an overall plan to develop Horsham riverfront attractions and assets is set to get underway after winning final municipal approval.

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Horsham Rural City Council has awarded a tender for the design and construction of Horsham Nature Play Park on the north side of the river in a ‘Wotonga’ area near rowing sheds, boat ramp, botanic gardens and caravan park.

The council awarded the tender for the park and also a tender for a $480,000 project to construct three interactive riverfront decks, at a meeting on Monday night.

Both projects sit under the first stage of the council’s City to River project designed to transform and revitalise Horsham’s river precinct and central business district.

The council awarded the play park job to civil construction company AWS Services VIC and the decks-nodes project to Point Lonsdale firm Bridgewater Marine.

Horsham mayor Robyn Gulline said she expected contractors to complete construction of the nature-themed play park by October next year.

“We won’t see action on the ground immediately because there will be work on concept and architectural designs involving drainage and so on, but my hope is that it would be finished by this time next year,” she said.

“Everything is fully funded by the state and federal governments and ongoing maintenance is negligible.

“Everyone at the meeting spoke in positive terms about this project. It’s been designed around the natural environment – a predominant request from residents who responded to a community engagement process. It will all be about encouraging children to be involved in creative and imaginative play. 

“It is just so exciting to see more activity occurring along the river.”

Cr Gulline said unlike the play park, on-ground work on the river nodes could start immediately.

“They are good to go and should be finished by March,” she said.

One of the in-water and-or on-ground water-edge nodes will be a wharf-style design aligned with Firebrace Street and an ‘entrance pergola’.

A second wharf-style node will be at the western end of the precinct, aligning with the nature play park, and a third eastern-most deck will be on the riverbank only without footings in water.

Cr Di Bell, in moving at Monday night’s meeting to accept the tender, said she looked forward to the nature play park coming to fruition.

“It’s been a long while in planning and having been on the community reference group a lot of people are looking forward to it,” she said.

Cr Claudia Haenel immediately backed the move, adding that Horsham’s climate provided opportunities for outdoor activities.

“Providing splashing water for children in a safe environment will be fantastic for our community,” she said.

Cr David Bowe also echoed the sentiments with, “It’s fantastic to see this fully funded project going ahead for play for all ages and all abilities.”

Cr Penny Flynn: “We’ve demonstrated we have an affordable new piece of community infrastructure. It’s a concept design and we have scope to make more enhancements. Because things have come in under budget, we’ve talked about how we will be able to add some mature trees to provide more shade in a shorter period.”

Cr Ian Ross said the project offered great value to the municipality.

Cr Gulline said she expected sealing work on a riverbank pathway upgrade to be finished this month.

She also stressed the play park was a different project to council plans to enhance outdoor features at Horsham Aquatic Centre.